San Antonio Stars at the Halfway Point (In Depth Review)

*Note – The Stars have played 19 games (more than half of their games) and with the Stars off until Wednesday after a busy week in which they played every other day, it was time to update on how the Stars are performing at the halfway point.

With the San Antonio Stars having played more than half of their games in the 34 game season, it is time to do a review on their first half of their season. It’s also time to take a look at how Stars players have played in the first half as well. The Stars are currently in 3rd place in the Western Conference with a record of 10-9. They are 3-5 at home and 7-4 on the road.  Taking a look back at the season preview, I expected the Stars to have a better season than last year simply because of the return of WNBA All Stars Becky Hammon and Sophia Young-Malcolm. What I didn’t expect was to see how well the Stars have played so far. Even though their record is one game above .500, they’ve been playing well in most of their games.

In an interesting twist, only Danielle Robinson has increased her scoring average from last season or from previous seasons (Hammon & Young-Malcolm). So, despite the better record, it isn’t reflected of players individual stats. The Stars are truly playing team ball and this proves it.

TEAM PLAY

If you take a look at the WNBA Standings, you will find something very unique this season. The Stars are one of FOUR teams to have a winning record (Atlanta Dream, Phoenix Mercury and Minnesota Lynx are the others) and the Stars have gone 1-7 against them. They were swept by the Atlanta Dream, split with the Phoenix Mercury so far and have lost three games against Minnesota. On the contrary, the two games against Atlanta were very close and could have went easily the other way. This shows the Stars are not elite or championship level. It does show that they are a playoff team as they are 9-3 against the rest of the teams. The Stars home and road splits are also interesting. It’s very rare to see teams to do so poorly at home but at the same time play well on the road. Taking a closer look at the home record (3-5) they’ve only played one close game (a two point loss to Atlanta) and they’ve lost by more than 7 points in all of their other home losses. Their biggest home loss was in 2 OT to the Phoenix Mercury. In their three wins at home, they’ve won 2 close games against the Tulsa Shock and in a blowout win against the Los Angeles Sparks. In all 5 of their losses at home this season, they’ve struggled and had to figure out ways to come back but in wasted effort. In three wins, the Stars have had the edge and have figured out how to win. The road record (7-4) shows that in the four losses, the Stars were in only one close game (a road loss to Atlanta) while the other three losses were won by more than 7 points. Their biggest road loss was to the Los Angeles Sparks. In their seven wins, they’ve been able to find ways to win close games (5 of their road wins were decided by 5 points or less). Their biggest road win was against the New York Liberty. It shows that the Stars are able to execute and be successful in winning on the road. It also shows that for whatever reason, the same formula hasn’t worked for the Stars at home so far. Considering the fact that the Stars only have six more road games as compared to nine home games, they have to figure out how to win ugly at home as well.

PLAYER ANALYSIS (QUICK THOUGHTS)

Becky Hammon – Becky Hammon is not the same Becky Hammon many Stars fans remember. She has had some vintage Becky nights in where she has led the team in scoring and assists, but for the most part she’s turned into the Stars second PG behind Danielle Robinson. She’s also had some nights in which she was held scoreless which would never happen in previous seasons as a Star. She does lead the team in 3 point shooting and is shooting at a unreal 52%.

Sophia Young – Malcolm – Like Becky Hammon, Sophia Young-Malcolm is not the same All Star Sophia Young. Instead, she’s a shadow of her former self. She’s not all the way there yet but unlike Becky, Sophia is young and she should be able to regain her All Star form next season. However, ever since she’s been moved to the bench in favour of Danielle Adams, she’s been playing better and has improved the team’s bench play.

Kayla McBride – Kayla McBride, the #3 pick in April’s draft is currently third in scoring on the team with 11.2 points per game. She’s had games in which she has shined and has even been able to hit two game winners against Tulsa and Indiana. For a rookie, she has had her rookie moments, has turned the ball over in crucial moments such as the season opener against Atlanta, but for the most part, she’s been one of the Stars consistent players of the first half. She’s a good learner and her potential is super star worthy. Not a WNBA star, but a superstar.

Jayne Appel – Her numbers are down from last season but she has been the Stars only interior defender. She’s had double doubles but she’s also had games in which she had trouble scoring the ball. After a great season last year statistically, she was one of the players I expected would make an even better jump. However, that still hasn’t happened and even though she has played in the WNBA for 5 seasons, she still has moments where she lacks confidence.

Danielle Robinson – Danielle Robinson is the only Star to be All Star worthy this season. Her scoring numbers have increased and she is the Stars go to leader when the Stars are in need of some quick scoring. Her ability to get to the basket is the best in the WNBA and other point guards have trouble guarding her. She has had games in which she’s struggled but they have been few and this is the season where she has officially replaced Becky Hammon as the lead PG.

Jia Perkins – Jia Perkins has been always steady for the Stars off the bench as an offensive and defensive weapon. When the Stars are in need of scoring, she is usually able to deliver. This season, it’s become more prominent as Jia Perkins has put herself out there for consideration as the sixth woman of the year. Jia Perkins remains a good defender and when she and Danielle Robinson are put out there together defensively, they are very good. Unfortunately, Jia Perkins recently was sidelined for a knee injury and hasn’t played in 4 games.

Danielle Adams – Danielle Adams has always been a scorer and that hasn’t changed for her. She still can score, however she still struggles to rebound and is ok defensively. She hasn’t made any major changes to her game and like Jayne Appel, her numbers are down as well.

Shenise Johnson – Shenise Johnson averaged double figures last season and this season, she’s been mostly in and out of the lineup with injury issues. Her numbers have also taken a hit and her play is erratic. She will have very few good games, and other games in which she struggles. It’s hard to make out of what kind of player Shenise Johnson is at this point in her career. She is like Adams ok defensively.

Shameka Christon – Shameka Christon’s value as a player has decreased every year as a Star. She is currently averaging a career low in points and is just relegated to the Stars three point shooter. She can still shoot and when she gets playing time, she is still a good reliable defender.  When she plays well, the Stars benefit and are able to win.

Kayla Alexander – Kayla Alexander has gotten better this season, but is prone to foul trouble. With her limited playing time, she’s gotten better at scoring inside and is shooting 80%+ from the FT line.

Heather Butler – It’s hard to get a read on Heather Butler when she hardly plays, but from a size standpoint, she has trouble shooting over other players. She however, does handle the ball fine in her very limited playing time.

Davellyn Whyte – Davellyn Whyte has barely played this season and will sit out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

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That wraps up my thoughts on the Stars season at the half way point. Remember to follow me on Twitter @sastarsblogger as I tweet thoughts on the games going on for the rest of the season.

– Aneela Syed

San Antonio Stars Preview of the 2014 WNBA Season

The San Antonio Silver Stars are heading into their 2014 season with better hopes of making the playoffs now that both stars Becky Hammon and Sophia Young-Malcolm are both healthy. They also received a future WNBA star Kayla McBride in the WNBA Draft. Things are looking up for the season unlike last season in which Sophia Young-Malcolm went down with an ACL injury. Then Becky Hammon went down with an ACL injury. It was not a pretty season at all for the Silver Stars who saw season lows in scoring at multiple points (48 points several times), some blowouts and saw another player Riquana Willams of the Tulsa Shock score 50 points on them. In the end, no matter how gritty the played some games, it was not enough to secure a playoff spot. They finished the season with a 15-19 record. One of the bright spots of the Stars 2013 season was Jayne Appel. She was able to increase both her points per game as well as rebounds per game. She played well enough that she signed a new multi year contract with the Stars.

The San Antonio Stars will have expectations of making the playoffs but all of this hinges on three key areas in which they struggled with last season. Their ability to score, their ability to defend and their ability to rebound. They will have no problem with scoring this season with their top players back. They will need to defend and they will need all of their players to do just that if they want to win games against good Western Conference teams. Rebounding has been a sore area for this team for a while and they will need more from other players excluding Jayne Appel who was one of the league’s top rebounders last season.

While Becky Hammon is healthy, she is at a point in her career where she is looking towards retirement and so the impact of Kayla McBride will be sorely needed. Kayla McBride will most surely struggle as all rookies do but she is an important piece to the Stars future and more will be expected from her next season onwards. Last season, Sophia Young-Malcolm made comments that were hurtful to 50% of the league’s fan base and it will be interesting to see how she is treated from other opposing fans as well as Star fans. On the court, Sophia Young-Malcolm will need to have an MVP type season in order to keep the Stars moving towards the playoffs otherwise they will be headed into the lottery. Danielle Robinson and Danielle Adams will need to continue their development as they enter their 4th seasons in the league. Both players are important and both players are capable of being WNBA All Stars. If both do not play well, it will not bode well this season for the San Antonio Stars. The veterans, Jia Perkins and Shameka Christon must contribute off the bench as there will be times where they will be sorely needed. Shameka Christon has been struggling for a while now, so if she is not able to contribute, I think it’s safe to say she will not back in 2015. Shenise Johnson will be entering her 3rd year and she like Danielle Robinson and Danielle Adams, will have more expected of her. Her play will also determine whether or not the Stars make the playoffs.

The San Antonio Stars have a good lineup of stars, veterans and young players. If they can all stay healthy, play well together and win close games, they will make the playoffs. Star fans should be excited as this season closely resembles 2012, when the Stars played well in the regular season, even though they lost in the first round of the playoffs. If the cards play out right, this can be a fun season for the San Antonio Stars. The Stars start their season on May 16th when they take on the Atlanta Dream.

Thoughts on the 2014 WNBA season & what to expect from the blog

Hey there!

It’s been a long while since I’ve last updated the blog. I was supposed to do an update last Monday, but got really busy with life. If you didn’t know, I got married in December, so I’ve been pretty busy adjusting to my new life and enjoying being a newlywed. While I was away, I noticed that the San Antonio Silver Stars changed their name to the San Antonio Stars (Personally, I don’t know why, I preferred the Silver Stars) and that the WNBA finally agreed to a new CBA. I also know that this is a big year for the Silver Stars as they are getting ready for a brand new season and a new lottery pick who could be a new star for the franchise considering the fact that Becky Hammon may be gearing up for her final seasons. It will be a fun summer and I am excited that I might have the opportunity to travel to New York this year to watch the San Antonio Stars LIVE this year! I can’t wait and hopefully it can come true so I’m looking forward to that! I’m also glad that the Sparks were able to stay in LA because for a while it looked pretty grim. Things are looking great for the 2014 WNBA season! Tune in!

As for me and my blog, there will be less posts from me. As you can already tell, I’ve stopped doing overseas updates as I can see that the San Antonio Stars are keeping up to date over there. You can check it out on their official website. I will also stop doing pre and post game blog posts and it will only be a weekly update from me. I will still be active on Twitter for live games and I will still keep track of player’s special milestones and news around the league, but there won’t be extensive blog posts from me from now on. I’ve come to the realization that even though I love the WNBA, the awesome players and the San Antonio Stars organization, I can’t keep writing for free anymore. It’s exhausting and I just won’t have the time anymore. It’s been fun last year and now that I’m married, I have other priorities to take care of. If you have read this blog before, I appreciate it and I always respond to great feedback and comments. Thanks for reading and here’s to a great 2014 WNBA season!

Happy trails! Xx

Aneela

Game #34 – Atlanta Dream vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Recap – The Final Game of the Season

Danielle Adams drives to the basket against Atlanta. Danielle Adams had 39 points to lead San Antonio to victory 98-67 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Photo courtesy of Daniel Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

The final game of the Silver Stars was historic for both the Silver Stars and their franchise as Danielle Adams had 39 points and the Stars were out of the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The final game recap is brief and is listed below.

GAME RECAP

San Antonio

September 15, 2013

The San Antonio Silver Stars put on a show over the helpless and road weary Atlanta Dream. The Stars cruised to a 98-67 win over the playoff bound Atlanta Dream and evened the series at 1 game apiece. The Silver Stars finished the 2013 season with a record of 12-22 and 7-9 at home. The Stars were led by Danielle Adams who scored a franchise high 39 points.  Shameka Christon finished with a season high 24 points, Shenise Johnson had 20 and Jia Perkins added 10.  The Silver Stars shot 49% and dominated from the second period on to win the game.  It was one of the rare Silver Stars games this season in which the Stars were able to play well all in all four quarters of the game. In a disappointing season for the Silver Stars, it was a nice way to reward their fans and give them hope for a better season next year.

NOTES + OBSERVATIONS

  • Nice way to close out the season. A blowout win with one of the players breaking a record? That’s awesome and good for San Antonio going forward.
  • Not one of the biggest attendance figures this season, but still respectable for a team that was struggling all season long
  • Jayne Appel didn’t attempt a shot. That is incredibly weird. I guess because San Antonio was playing so well of the other players, they forgot about Jayne or something. I did not anticipate that happening. Not at all.
  • The Silver Stars will now either head overseas or stay in the US and prepare for the off season while the coaching staff will prepare to scout for the college season as well as the international season as they look to add to their roster for next season
  • Just because the Silver Stars season is over doesn’t mean that the WNBA season is over. The WNBA Playoffs tip off soon and there are some intriguing matchups so make sure you tune into ESPN2 and NBA TV!