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 Silver Stars WNBA Offseason – Week 4 Overseas Update

The Silver Stars playing overseas continue to be busy as several players are either playing in Euroleague, EuroCup or in both of their domestic leagues. Here is the latest update from the week.

Danielle Adams – Danielle is playing in the Isreali league for Maccabi Ashdod. Her team is 3rd overall with a 3-2 record. On Nov. 20th, Maccabi played Elitzur Ramla a game in which they lost by a final score of 78-52. Danielle had 15 points and 6 rebounds. Maccabi Ashdod bounced back on Nov. 25th with a win against Ramat Hasharon 66 to 59. Danielle had a double double (17 points/11 rebounds). Overall, Danielle Adams is averaging nearly 20 points a game (19.8), 10.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in the domestic league. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 28th against Elitzur Neta.

Kayla Alexander – Kayla is playing in the Russian league for Energy Ivanovo. Her team is 5th overall with a 2-3 record. Kayla’s team has not played in any recent game. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 30th against Nadezha Orenburg. Overall, Kayla Alexander is averaging 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds a game in the Russian league.

Jayne Appel – Jayne is playing in the Chinese league for Liaoning Hengye. Her team is 7th with an overall record of 1-2. On Nov. 19th, Liaoning lost their first game of the Chinese league against Heilongjiang by a final score of 73 to 69. Jayne had 12 points and 5 rebounds. On Nov. 23rd, Liaoning lost their second game to Shanxi in a close game 76 – 71. Jayne had an impressive double double with 24 points and 20 rebounds. On Nov. 26th, Liaoning won their first game against Shenyang 93 to 72. Unfortunately, the site has not been updated yet to see Jayne Appel’s stats for that game just yet. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 30th against Shandong.

Shameka Christon – Shameka is playing in the French league for Lattes Montpellier. Her team is 2nd overall with an 8-1 record. In the Euroleague, Lattes Montepellier has a record of 2-2. On Nov. 20th against Euroleague opponent Rivas Ecopolis of Spain, Lattes won a close game 58 to 53. Shameka had 15 points.On Nov. 23rd, Lattes Montpellier won against Charlesville 66 to 52. Shameka had 8 points. In another Euroleague game on Nov. 27th, Lattes Montpellier lost against IMOS Brno of Czech Republic in a close game 67 to 64. Shameka had 7 points and 8 rebounds. Overall, Shameka Christon is averaging 11.2 points a game in the French league and 14.3 points and 4 rebounds a game in the Euroleague. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 30th against Arras in the French league.

Chelsea Hopkins – Chelsea is playing in the Isreali league for Bnot Hertzeliya. Her team is 6th overall with a 2-2 record. On Nov. 25th against H.R Le Zion, Bnot Hertzeliya lost 80-72. Chelsea had 15 points and 8 rebounds. Overall, Chelsea is averaging 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in the Isreali league. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 28th against Hap Petah Ti.

Shenise Johnson – Shenise is playing in the Turkish league for Istanbul University. Her team is 4th overall with a 6-2 record. In the EuroCup season Istanbul University is 3-0 and on Nov. 21st against Olimpia of Belarus they won 78-49. Shenise had 20 points and 6 assists. In the Turkish league on Nov. 24th against Orduspor they won 79 to 67. Shenise had 16 points and 4 rebounds. Overall in the Turkish league, Shenise is averaging 14 points and 5 rebounds a game. In the Eurocup season, Shenise is averaging nearly 16 points a game (15.7), Her team’s next game is against another EuroCup opponent Spartak N of Russia on Nov. 28th.

Cathrine Kraayeveld – Cathrine is playing in the Polish league for Artego Byd. Her team is 5th overall with a 6-5 record. On Nov. 24th against Riviera Gydn Artego Byd lost in a close game 62-59. Cathrine had 6 points and 7 rebounds. Overall, Cathrine is averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds a game in the Polish league. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 30th against MKS Konin.

Chelsea Poppens – Chelsea Poppens is playing in the Australian league for Bulleen Boomers. Her team is 2nd overall with a 7-2 record. On Nov 23rd, Bulleen Boomers lost to Sydney UF 81-73. Chelsea Poppens had 23 points and 16 rebounds. Overall, Chelsea P is averaging nearly 16 points a game (15.8) and 7.3 rebounds per game in the Australian league. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 30th against Dandenong Rangers. 

Silver Stars Off season – Weeks 2 and 3 Overseas Updates

The San Antonio Silver Stars have now played at least close to 4 weeks or longer of overseas basketball. Here is the latest update from the San Antonio Silver Stars playing overseas.

Danielle Adams – Danielle had 23 points and 7 rebounds against H.R Le Zion on November 4th in a win. On November 11th, she had quite the big game as she had 29 points and 15 rebounds in the win against Hap Petah Tikvah. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 20th against Elitzur Ramla.

Kayla Alexander – Kayla had 19 points and 9 rebounds against Dynamo GUVD on November 3rd. On November 9th, she had 12 points and 6 rebounds against UMMC.  Kayla did not play in Energy’s recent game against Dynamo Moscow. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 30th against Nadezha Orenburg.

Jayne Appel – The Chinese Basketball Association hasn’t tipped off yet, but Jayne Appel is playing for the Henan Elephants.

Shameka Christon – Shameka Christon had 8 points against Union Hainut on Nov.2nd. On Nov. 6th, Shameka played against Nadezha Orenburg in the team’s first Euroleague game. She had 20 points. Shameka also had 12 points in games against Nantes and Toulouse in the French league. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 20th against Rivas Ecopolis.

Chelsea Hopkins – Chelsea had 12 points and 6 assists against Maccabi R. Hen in the Isreali league. On Nov 11th, Chelsea had 18 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds against Elitzur Holon. Her team’s next game is on Nov 25th against H.R Le Zion.

Shenise Johnson – Shenise has been busy playing as she had 11 points and 5 rebounds against Canik Blvd on Nov 3rd. On Nov  7th, Shenise played in her first Euro Cup game of the season against Spartak N and had 11 points. On Nov. 10th, she had 1o points and 7 rebounds against Galatsaray in the Turkish league. On Nov. 14th she played in another Euro Cup game against Dynamo M and had 16 points. On Nov. 17th she had 7 points and 9 rebounds against Ceyhan Blvd. Her team’s next game is on Nov 21st against Olimpia.

Cathrine Kraayeveld – Cathrine had 8 points and 8 rebounds against Gorzow on October 30th. On Nov 2nd against Basket ROW, she had 12 points and 5 rebounds in the Polish league. On November 13th, she had a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Energa Torun. On November 16th, she had 3 points and 5 rebounds against CCC Polkowice. Her team’s next game in the Polish league is on Nov 23rd against Rivieria Gdyn.

Chelsea Poppens – On Nov 1st against West Coast, Chelsea had 23 points and 7 rebounds. On November 9th she had 23 points and 5 rebounds against Adelaide. On Nov 16th she had 13 points and 8 rebounds against Canberra Capitals in the Australian league. Her team’s next game is on Nov. 23rd against Sydney UF.

 

 

 

Silver Stars Off season – Week 1 Overseas Updates

The San Antonio Silver Stars have been finished since the WNBA playoffs began and some of them have headed overseas to play in their respective leagues. Here is the round up on some of the Silver Stars overseas season.

Danielle Adams –  Danielle Adams is playing in Isreal for Maccabi Ashdod. She has currently played one game and had 15 points and 4 assists. Their next game is on Nov. 4th against H.R. Le-Zion.

Kayla AlexanderKayla Alexander is playing in Russia for Energy Ivanovo. She has played two games and is averaging 15.5 points and 6 rebounds. Their next game is on Nov. 3rd against Dynamo GUVD

Jayne Appel – Jayne Appel is headed to China where they haven’t began their season yet. She will most likely play for Henan which is the team she played for last season.

Shameka Christon – Shameka Christon is in France playing for Lattes Montpellier. She has played one game and had 16 points and 3 rebounds. Their next game is on Nov. 2 against Union Hainaut

Becky Hammon – If you watched the WNBA at all this season, even for just a quick glance, you would know that Becky Hammon is recovering from a torn ACL and will not play overseas this season.

Chelsea Hopkins – Chelsea Hopkins, like Danielle Adams is playing in Isreal. Unlike Danielle, Chelsea is playing for Bnot Hertzeliya. She has played one game and had 11 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Their next game is on Nov. 4th against Maccabi R. Hen.

Shenise Johnson – Shenise Johnson is playing in Turkey for Istanbul University. She has played three games and is averaging 19 points and nearly 5 rebounds a game. Their next game is on Nov. 3rd against Canik Blvd.

Catherine Kraayeveld – Catherine Kraayeveld is playing in Poland for Artego Bydgoszcz. She has played three games and and is averaging 15.3 points and nearly 5 rebounds a game. Their next game is on Oct. 30th against Gorzow.

Chelsea Poppens – Chelsea Poppens is playing in Austrailia for Bulleen Boomers. She has played 5 games and is averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds. Their next game is on Nov. 1st against West Coast.

As of right now, Jia Perkins, Danielle Robinson, Davellyn Whyte and Sophia Young are not playing overseas and might either go over in January or just stay in the United States.

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!

Game #31 San Antonio Silver Stars vs Phoenix Mercury Game Recap

Diana Taurasi heads to the basket against Jayne Appel and Danielle Adams. The Mercury came out on top 83-80 in Phoenix at the US Airways Arena. Photo courtesy of Barrie Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images

 

I know this game happened more than a week ago, but I just haven’t had time to write the recap all week, so after this recap, I have 2 more recaps to write. The Stars headed into this game with a 2-1 series lead against the Mercury and at that time, still had a shot of making the playoffs.  Unfortunately, they came up just short and the Mercury prevailed and were the last team in the West to clinch the playoffs. The Stars failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Danielle Adams led the way with 26 points for San Antonio while Diana Taurasi had 21 for Phoenix. The Stars and the Mercury also tied the season series at 2 apiece and the Stars fell to 4-12 on the road. My game recap is below, along with notes + observations from the game.

 

Sept 6, 2013

PHOENIX

The San Antonio Silver Stars knew heading into this game that if they didn’t win this game, they would be out of the playoffs for this year. They knew it’d be difficult to stop a dangerous Phoenix team that was on a roll and they knew it would be hard to stop Diana Taurasi who averages 20 points and 6 assists a game. But, that didn’t stop them from trying. The Silver Stars fought and competed but came up short by a final score of 83-80 which ended the Stars streak of 6 consecutive seasons of going to the playoffs. Danielle Adams had 26 points for San Antonio and Jayne Appel had 17 rebounds. The Stars started off slowly but didn’t let the Mercury get ahead and the Mercury led at half time 42-32.  In the third quarter, both teams were able to stay close to an another but the Mercury were ahead after 3 quarters. In the fourth quarter, the Silver Stars battled back and made it a close game thanks to their defense as well as their offense. Danielle Adams  as well as Shenise Johnson who had 14 points. Jayne Appel also played well with 9 points and 17 rebounds. The Stars had a 27-16 run in the final quarter and had a chance to tie the game, but Danielle Adams lost the ball which cost them the game and the playoffs. The Stars lost their second game in a row and fell to 4-12 on the road this season. In a very rough and injury plagued season for the Stars, luck was just not on their side for the 2013 playoffs.

NOTES + OBSERVATIONS

  • This was looking like a Mercury win that they were going to cruise to the finish line but the Stars battled and for that, I have to give them credit. They could have folded and let the Mercury win, but they didn’t and competed with a shot to win the game.
  • I hate West Coast games. I live in the East Coast, so it means that I have to stay up at 10 pm to watch and finish the game around 12 am(in the morning). After a grueling long day, the last thing I want to do is stay up even later. But, I’m glad I did for this one. The Stars made it interesting, even with the announcing crew that was commentating for the Phoenix Mercury.
  • The Stars got solid performances from Danielle Adams, Jayne Appel, Shenise Johnson and Jia Perkins and still lost. I do think that if Danielle Robinson played in this game, it would’ve made a difference as the Mercury don’t have anyone on their roster who can stop Danielle Robinson’s ability to get into the paint.
  • I still want to see Brittney Griner dunk! Even though she probably won’t considering she’s had knee injuries this season.

Game #30 Los Angeles Sparks vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Recap

Jia Perkins shoots over a defender as the Sparks take down the Stars 80-67 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Photo courtesy of Daniel Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

The Silver Stars didn’t have enough energy and it showed with a 67-80 loss to the second place Los Angeles Sparks. The Stars are now 7-8 at home and only have 2 home games left to play. They are also 11-19 on the season. Jia Perkins led SA with 25 points and Jayne Appel had 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Stars loss meant that Seattle has clinched a playoff berth and 3 teams in the Western Conference are set. The Stars playoff hopes are fading away but as long as Phoenix doesn’t clinch, there is still hope. The Stars now get a couple of days rest and will play next Friday Sept 6 at Phoenix.

GAME RECAP

San Antonio – August 31, 2013

The Stars knew heading into this game that they would need to dig in within themselves and find ways to compete with one of the top teams in the WNBA the Los Angeles Sparks. They also knew they had to play well and compete after they suffered two of their biggest blowout losses this season in Los Angeles. Alas, it was just not meant to be. The Stars struggled shooting in the game at 35% from the field and 33% from three. The Sparks had command of this game from the beginning and the Stars did try to claw back into the game but could not get within more than 5 points. The Sparks All Stars were too much for San Antonio to handle as Candace Parker had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Kristi Toliver had 15 points and Nneka Ogwumike had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jia Perkins led the way for San Antonio with 25 points and Jayne Appel had 10 points and 12 rebounds.  San Antonio now gets a couple days of rest after a busy month of games played in August. 

GAME NOTES + OBSERVATIONS

  • Too much LA firepower for San Antonio. SASS didn’t stand a chance when all 3 All Stars are playing well and getting help from the bench from Marissa Coleman and Jantel Lavender. SASS also hasn’t played well against LA this season dropping their third straight game to LA. LA wins the series against San Antonio 3 games to 1. Other teams that have won the season series against SA this season are (Chicago 2-0, MINN 4-0, SEA 3-2, IND 2-0, WASH 2-0)
  • Silver linings in loss. Jayne Appel continues to play well and get better. She had a double double 10 points and 12 rebounds. Kayla Alexander also played well off the bench with 5 rebounds and 4 rebounds. Chelsea Poppens also had a career high 8 rebounds in the loss.
  • Tough season and game for SA. SA didn’t have Davellyn Whyte as she was battling an illness. Danielle Robinson hasn’t played in two weeks either. Would be nice to get an update from the team on her status.