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 #29 San Antonio Silver Stars vs Tulsa Shock Game Recap

That was probably the second most dominating game for the Silver Stars this season after their blowout win in Seattle. The Stars were able to lead in the second Q and were able to hold off the Tulsa Shock to win by a final score of 74-65. Jia Perkins led the team in scoring with 19 points. The Stars are now 11-18 on the season and 4-11 on the road. The Stars now head home to face the Sparks today in their final home game in August. My game recap is below, along with notes and observations.

GAME RECAP

Tulsa – August 30, 2013

The Stars suffered a heart break last second loss against Seattle which decreased their chance of going to the playoffs. However, their heart and fight didn’t let them give up on the season and it showed on the court Friday night. The Stars were still without Danielle Robinson while the Shock were without Liz Cambage (ankle sprain) and PG Angel Goodrich (illness).  The Silver Stars were down 1 after the first quarter 15-14 and it looked like it was going to be a battle between these two teams when the Silver Stars were able to take control in the game thanks to Shameka Christon who had 8 points in the second quarter. The Stars had their best quarter of the season outscoring the Shock by 15 points 28-13. The Stars had a commanding lead at half time 44-28 in which they shot 60% from the field and 40% from three. In the second half, the Shock responded to the Stars but the Stars were able to hold on firmly to the lead despite Tulsa’s repeated attempts to cut the lead down to 9 points. But, the Stars were just too much for the Shock and they were able to pull out the victory. SASS centers Jayne Appel, Danielle Adams and Kayla Alexander were too much for the Shock to handle as they had 26 points and 22 rebounds combined respectively. With their loss, the Shock were the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs for the fourth straight season. The Stars are now 11-18 and 4-11 on the road. The Stars face the Sparks on Military Appreciation Night at the AT&T Center tomorrow night.

GAME NOTES + OBSERVATIONS

  • Nice win for San Antonio after a tough loss against Seattle on Tuesday. The Stars looked like a playoff team against Tulsa who was missing their two starters.
  • The Stars got a balanced scoring effort from the team as Jia Perkins had 19 points alongside Shenise Johnson’s 13 points, Danielle Adams 10 points and Jayne Appel’s 8 points/11 rebs. They also got plenty of bench scoring with 22 points from Shameka Christon, Cathrine Kraayeveld and Kayla Alexander.
  • Despite the 7 TO’s from Skylar Diggins, I thought she played well for the Shock. She had 9 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. She controlled the game and even gave the Shock a lift to try to come back in this game.

Game #26 San Antonio Silver Stars vs Tulsa Shock Game Recap

The playoffs are fading away for the  Silver Stars this season as they lost to the Tulsa Shock by a final score of 73-67.  The Stars are now 9-17 this season and 3-11 on the road. It looks more and more likely that Seattle will be the last team to qualify for the 2013 Western Conference playoffs. My game recap of the game is below along with notes from the game.

GAME RECAP

TULSA

August 23, 2013

The Silver Stars knew heading into Tulsa that getting into the playoffs over Seattle was going to be tough. And now with a loss against Tulsa, it became even more difficult. The Silver Stars streak of going to the playoffs since 2007 will most likely end in 2013. The Silver Stars were playing the game without their All Star and WNBA assists leader Danielle Robinson as she was a game time decision. However, she did travel to Tulsa. The Stars struggled in the first half as they couldn’t score and Tulsa took full advantage of it and led 18-8 after the first quarter. The second quarter featured much of the same with the Stars struggling to score for minutes at a time and the Shock stretched their lead 40-22 at half time. It was the Silver Stars second straight bad 1st half of play. The third and fourth quarter finally saw the Silver Stars play defense, and made Elizabeth Cambage work for her points. The Stars managed to get the lead down to single digits many times, but didn’t have enough time to pull out the come back win and the Shock survived to win 73-67. Elizabeth Cambage and Glory Johnson both combined for 35 points and 12 rebounds for Tulsa while Shameka Christon had a season high 18 points and Shenise Johnson had 13 points and 8 rebounds to lead San Antonio. The Silver Stars and the Shock play a week from now and the series is tied at 1 game apiece. The Silver Stars play a home and home series next against Seattle which starts on Sunday.

NOTES + OBSERVATIONS

  • There were two games in that game. The first half featured the Shock’s ability to play well dictated through their talented center in Liz Cambage and All Star Glory Johnson. In the first half, the Stars lack of depth showed as well as inability to score in quarters this season whether Danielle Robinson plays or not.
  • In the second half, the game featured SASS ability to play through adverse situations and how they’ve responded to them this season. It featured SASS defense on Liz Cambage, SASS’s players playing gritty and how they usually play at home. It also featured Tulsa’s inability to close out games and their youth definitely was in focus. If SASS had more time, they would’ve pulled out the comeback win.
  • Nice to see the young players from SA play with more time. I’ve seen glimpses of good post play from Kayla Alexander, some good moments from Davellyn White and a little bit of promise from Chelsea Poppens. I’ve seen Shenise Johnson (despite her ups and downs) become a better player than she was when she was a rookie last year.
  • Glad the game was on FSSW and not the regular Tulsa feed. I’ve heard interesting things from people who’ve watched the Tulsa feed this season. Also, it’s remarkable how different TV games are then those without TV. Wow. I wish all 34 games were on TV for every team in the league. 
  • Despite out rebounding 36-23, they still lost. Rebounding is still only a part of the story. In the end, all it matters is the final score.
  • I really hope Danielle Robinson can play next game. She’s having one heck of a stellar season despite the team’s record and I hope she finishes the season on a strong note.
  •