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2010-2015 Tulsa Shock

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Tulsa ShockWomen’s National Basketball Association (2010-2015)

Born: October 20, 2009 – The Detroit Shock relocate to Tulsa, OK.
Died: July 23, 2015 – WNBA approves move of the Shock to Dallas-Ft. Worth in 2016.

Arena: BOK Center (7,479)

Team Colors: Yellow, Black & Red

Owners: Bill Cameron, David Box, Sam Combs III, et al.

WNBA Championships: None

 

The Tulsa Shock were a reliably terrible WNBA punching bag for the better part of six seasons.  The Shock finished in last place in four of their first five summers in Tulsa, crowned by a majestically awful 2011 campaign (3 wins, 31 losses) that ranks as one of the most miserable pro basketball seasons of all time.

The 2015 season looked to be more of the same. Two-time All-Star Glory Johnson would miss the season due to pregnancy.  Then All-Star guard Skylar Diggins went down with a season-ending ACL tear in late June.  But the Shock finally rewarded its small, long-suffering fan base with an 18-16 campaign and first-ever WNBA playoff appearance. Fittingly, Shock majority owner Bill Cameron announced midway through the season that his now-competent team would move to Dallas in 2016.

The Shock made their final appearance in Tulsa on September 19, 2015, losing the second and deciding game of their 1st round playoff series against Phoenix Mercury before a small crowd of 3,261 at the BOK center.

The Storm featured a handful of intriguing players during their 6-year run in Tulsa. In March 2010, the team signed disgraced former track & field star Marion Jones to a league-minimum contract. Jones famously won five medals (including three Golds) at the 2000 Sydney Olympics but stripped of her medals years later by the IOC after admitting to steroid use.  The 34-year old Jones played for the University of North Carolina’s NCAA champion women’s basketball team in 1994 but hadn’t played competitive basketball in over a decade by the time she signed with Tulsa. Jones would spend parts of two seasons with the Shock without making much impact. She was released by the club in July 2011.

In 2011, 40-year old Sheryl Swoopes made a comeback with the Shock after a two-year retirement. A legend of the women’s game, Swoopes was the first player to sign a WNBA contract when the league debuted in 1997. She averaged 8.2 pts in 33 games for Tulsa during the Shock’s infamous 3-31 season. Swoopes’ Shock highlight came on August 26, 2011 when she nailed a buzzer-beater against the Los Angeles Sparks to end Tulsa’s league record 20-game losing streak.

 

==YouTube==

The Shock host the Minnesota Lynx at the BOK Center on July 19, 2015 (full game). The following day, Shock majority Bill Cameron would announce the team’s planned move to Dallas-Ft. Worth for the 2016 season.

 

==Downloads==

2010 Tulsa Shock Media Guide

2011 Tulsa Shock Media Guide

2013 Tulsa Shock Media Guide

2014 Tulsa Shock Media Guide

2015 Tulsa Shock Media Guide

 

==Links==

Can The Tulsa Shock Become The Worst Pro Basketball Team Ever?“, Emma Carmichael, Deadspin, August 26, 2011

Women’s National Basketball Association Media Guides

Women’s National Basketball Association Programs

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Written by AC

October 3rd, 2015 at 6:01 pm

1998-2009 Detroit Shock

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Nancy Lieberman Detroit ShockWomen’s National Basketball Association (1998-2009)

Born: 1998 – WNBA expansion franchise.
Moved: October 20, 2009 (Tulsa Shock)

Arena: The Palace of Auburn Hills (11,268)

Team Colors:

  • Black, Red, Teal & Yellow
  • 2003: Red, White & Blue

Owner/Operator: William Davidson

 

The Detroit Shock were three-time champions of the Women’s National Basketball Association during the team’s 12-season voyage in Detroit.  The Shock joined the WNBA as an expansion team during the league’s second season in the summer of 1998 and were operated by the management of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.

Hall-of-Fame player Nancy Lieberman was the Shock’s first Head Coach, leading the team for three seasons, including a playoff appearance in 1999.   Lieberman’s tenure unraveled in locker room mutiny and scandal at the end of the 2000 season.  Several Shock players charged that their 42-year old married coach was conducting a relatively open affair with a 25-year old rookie point guard named Anna DeForge, whom Lieberman plucked from the obscurity of an open tryout and quickly elevated to a position in the starting line-up.  DeForge’s perceived lack of ability was at issue, as several Shock players felt that DeForge’s was overmatched in the WNBA and her playing time was due solely to her special relationship with Lieberman.  Sports Illustrated revealed the details in a long feature about coach-player relationships a year later in September 2001.  By then Lieberman was long gone, let go by the Shock at the end of that contentious 2000 season.  The rumors of the affair were never fully substantiated but there was no doubt that Lieberman had lost the locker room.

Detroit ShockAn interesting post-script to the Lieberman-DeForge controversy.  Anna DeForge was out of the WNBA for the 2001 and 2002 seasons, which seemed to support the allegations of at least a few Shock players who thought she was overmatched and undeserving of the playing time Lieberman gave her during the 2000 season.  But in 2003, DeForge earned a spot on the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and later developed into a WNBA All-Star, earning that selection in 2004 and again in 2007.  DeForge finished her pro career back with the Shock during the team’s final season in Detroit in 2009.

The Shock’s fortunes turned after the team hired former Detroit Pistons star Bill Laimbeer as Head Coach midway through a grim 2002 season.  The team was 0-10 when Laimbeer took the reigns.  They improved immediately but still finished with the worst record in the WNBA at 9-23.

The following season, the Shock went from worst to first, finishing with the WNBA’s best record at 25-9.  In the league championship series, the Shock defeated the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Sparks to claim the first of three WNBA titles on Laimbeer’s watch.  More than 22,000 fans were on hand for the decisive victory at the Palace (see video below).

The Shock would also win WNBA championships in 2006 and 2008.  In 2007, the Shock also made the finals, but lost in five games to the Phoenix Mercury.

Team owner Palace Sports & Entertainment gave up on the Shock at end of the 2009 season after 12 WNBA campaigns.  The franchise was sold and relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma in October 2009 and is now known as the Tulsa Shock.

 

==YouTube==

The Shock defeat the Los Angeles Sparks for their first WNBA title in 2003.


2009 WNBA All Access with the Detroit Shock

==Links==

WNBA Media Guides

WNBA Game Programs

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1997-2006 Charlotte Sting

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Women’s National Basketball Association (1997-2007)

Born: 1997 – WNBA founding franchise.
Folded: January 3, 2007 – The Sting cease operations.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

  • 1997-2003: Teal, Purple & White
  • 2004-2006:

Owners:

 

The Charlotte Sting were one of eight original franchises in the Women’s National Basketball Association, which began play in the summer of 1997.  The Sting were originally the sister franchise of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, operated by George Shinn and Ray Wooldridge.

During the Sting’s early years the club was a regular playoff contender.  2001 was the Sting’s best campaign, but started out as a disaster under new Head Coach Anne Donovan.  The Sting lost ten of their first eleven games in 2001 before rallying to finish 18-14 and claim the 4th and final Eastern Conference playoff berth.  Charlotte upset the #1 seed Cleveland Rockers and then the New York Liberty to advance to the WNBA championship series for the first (and only) time.  The Sting lost to the Los Angeles Sparks in a two-game sweep.

The Sting’s existence came under threat from two sides in 2002.  In May of that year, locally despised Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn and Ray Wooldridge announced that they were moving their franchise to New Orleans for 2002-03 season.  They were not interested in taking the Sting with them.  A few months later, the WNBA restructured its business model and contracted for the first time, dropping from 16 to 14 active franchises.  The Sting seemed like a prime candidate for elimination, since they no longer had an owner or a local NBA infrastructure to rely on for front office operations.  But the Sting managed to elude the executioner’s sword and soon found a new savior in Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson, who purchased a new NBA franchise for Charlotte to replace the Hornets (the Charlotte Bobcats) and soon afterwards decided to purchase the Sting as well.

Unfortunately, Johnson’s arrival on the scene in 2004 coincided with a steep decline in the Sting’s fortunes on the court and at the box office.  In 2005, the Sting finished with the worst record in the WNBA at 6-28.  Late in the season, the club fired Head Coach Trudi Lacey and replaced her with former Charlotte Hornets fan favorite Muggsy Bogues.

In 2006, the Sting moved out of their longtime home at the Charlotte Coliseum and into the brand new Charlotte Bobcats Arena downtown.  Muggsy Bogues was unable to right the ship, as the Sting finished near the cellar again in 2006 with an 11-23 record.  The move to the new arena didn’t help either.  The Sting averaged 5,783 fans for 17 home dates, which ranked 13th out of the WNBA’s 14 teams in 2006.

In December 2006, Bob Johnson handed the Bobcats back to the league.  An investor group expressed interest in buying the Sting and moving the franchise to Kansas City, but they couldn’t put the financial package together and the Sting shut their doors on January 3, 2007.

 

==Slideshow==

 

==Charlotte Sting Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
7/23/1997 vs. New York Liberty L 65-63 Roster Card
8/3/1997 @ Los Angeles Sparks W 77-70 Roster Card
6/18/2001 @ Seattle Storm L 60-52 Program

 

==Links==

WNBA Media Guides

WNBA Game Programs

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2000-2002 Portland Fire

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Portland FireWomen’s National Basketball Association (2000-2002)

Born: June 7, 1999 – WNBA expansion franchise.
Folded: December 2002

Arena: The Rose Garden

Team Colors:

Owner/Operator: Paul Allen

WNBA Championships: None

 

The Portland Fire were perhaps the least distinguished of all Women’s National Basketball Association franchises.  The Fire never had a winning season and folded after only three seasons.  Only one other WNBA franchise, the Miami Sol (2000-2002), has had such a short lifespan.

The Fire entered the WNBA in 1999 as part of a major expansion of the three-year old league that also saw new clubs for Indianapolis, Miami and Seattle.  As with all WNBA franchises at the time, the Fire were owned collectively by the league and operated by the local NBA ownership group, in this case Paul Allen’s Portland Trailblazers.

Each of the 1999 expansion cities were required to sell 5,500 season ticket deposits in order to begin play in 2000.  All four of the cities used the same PR strategy of recognizing local celebrities for purchasing milestone tickets.  In Portland, U.S. Olympic skier Picabo Street (1,000th deposit), World Cup soccer star Tiffeny Milbrett (2,000th deposit) and Portland Trailblazers Kelvin Cato and Jermaine O’Neal (3,000th deposit) were among the local sports heroes used to market the season ticket campaign.

Linda Hargrove was the Head Coach & General Manager of the Fire for all three seasons.  She wasn’t able to get much out of the Fire, who finished in 7th place in 2000 (10-22) and again in 2001 (11-21), before improving marginally to a .500 record of 16-16 during the team’s final season in the summer of 2002.

Among the few on-court highlights for the Portland Fire was the performance of rookie guard Jackie Stiles during the team’s second season. Stiles won the Wade Trophy as the best player in women’s Division I college basketball in 2001 and was selected 4th overall by the Fire in the 2001 WNBA draft.  Stiles averaged 14.9 points and won the WNBA Rookie-of-the-Year award in 2001, but injuries short-circuited her career a season later.  Stiles never played in the WNBA again after 2002.

In October 2002, the WNBA restructured its business plan.  The rule that franchises could only be placed in NBA cites and operated by NBA teams was dropped.  The local NBA ownerships that historically operated WNBA franchises for the league were given the option to buy them outright.  Most did, but in the event that an NBA owner no longer wanted to be involved with the women’s league, a new owner would need to be found, or else the WNBA franchise would fold.

Four NBA owners (Miami, Orlando, Portland and Utah) bailed at this point and the WNBA experienced its first contraction, dropping from 16 to 14 franchises during the 2002-03 offseason.  Two other teams relocated as part of the upheaval.  Fire owner Paul Allen, whose Trailblazers had the highest payroll and the worst reputation (the “Jailblazers”) in the NBA at the time, decided he’d had enough of the money-losing women’s team and dropped out.  No new owner stepped forward and the Portland Fire shut down in December 2002.

 

==Portland Fire Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other

2000

2000 8/6/2000 @ Seattle Storm L 66-58 Program

 

==Links==

WNBA Media Guides

WNBA Game Programs

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Written by AC

November 11th, 2013 at 1:12 am

1999-2002 Orlando Miracle

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2000 Orlando Miracle Media GuideWomen’s National Basketball Association (2000-2002)

Founded: April 22, 1998 – WNBA expansion franchise.
Moved:
January 28, 2003 (Connecticut Sun)

Arena: TD Waterhouse Centre (17,306)

Team Colors: Orange, Blue, Black and Silver

Owner/Operator: Rich DeVos

WNBA Championships: None

 

The Orlando Miracle joined the Women’s National Basketball Association as an expansion franchise for the league’s third season in the summer of 1999.  At the time, all WNBA clubs were located in NBA markets and operated by NBA ownership groups.  The DeVos family, owners of the NBA Orlando Magic, managed the Miracle, which shared similar colors, logos and mystical name with the men’s team.

The Miracle debuted at the TD Waterhouse Centre on July 10, 1999 against the WNBA defending champion Houston Comets.  The inaugural game crowd of 15,422 would hold up as the Miracle’s franchise record through all four seasons of the club’s existence.  The Miracle averaged 9,801 fans in 1999, which was good for sixth best in the 12-team WNBA.  Interest waned in year two, with the team never drawing more above 10,000 for any of its games.  By the Miracle’s fourth and final season in 2002, attendance dipped to 7,115 per game, placing Orlando 13th among the league’s 16 franchises.

On the court, the Miracle were mediocre, making the playoffs in only one of their four seasons.  The team’s best season was in 2000 under former Purdue Head Coach Carolyn Peck.  The team finished 16-16 and lost in the first round of the WNBA playoffs to the Cleveland Rockers.  Shannon Johnson (pictured on the team’s 2000 media guide, above right), Nykesha Sales and Taj McWilliams were perennial league All-Stars for the Miracle.

In October 2002, the WNBA dismantled its single-entity structure, wherein the NBA backstopped the operation of each local franchise.  The re-organization meant that non-NBA owners and non-NBA cities could enter the WNBA for the first time.  But it also meant that the NBA ownership groups that operated the existing franchises needed to decide whether they would take on the full and independent ownership of the teams.  NBA owners in Miami, Orlando, Portland and Utah decided to bow out of women’s basketball.  On October 21, 2002, the WNBA announced that the Miracle would not return to Orlando in 2003.

On January 28, 2003 the WNBA announced the sale of the Miracle franchise to the Mohegan Native American Tribe. The tribe relocated the team to their Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.  The new name of the team would be the Connecticut Sun.  The Sun became the first WNBA team to be located in a non-NBA market or managed by a non-NBA ownership group.

 

Orlando Miracle Memorabilia

 

Orlando Miracle Video

Fan-made 2002 Orlando Miracle vs. Charlotte Sting game montage.  With a soundtrack by Creed for some reason:

 

 ==Links==

WNBA Media Guides

WNBA Game Programs

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