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 #7 – Seattle Storm vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Recap

Danielle Adams tries to score over Camille Little`s outstretched hands.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Clark Evans (NBAE & Getty Images)

The San Antonio Silver Stars lost again for the fourth time this season. This time it was against the visiting Seattle Storm. Jayne Appel was out for the second straight game and is listed day to day. 

The official game day recap with highlights, post game video and photos. Check it out.

GAME STORY

San Antonio

June 21, 2013

The San Antonio Silver Stars came back from their road trip win less and were looking to do a complete turn around at home. After only failing to score 48 points in their last game, the Stars looked to make a change in their starting lineup. Shameka Christon who was struggling shooting from the field in the first six games came off the bench in favour of Shenise Johnson who was off to a hot start in her second season in the league. It worked in this game as Shameka Christon finished the game with a season high 19 points. The first quarter saw San Antonio trying to adjust to their new lineup and struggled while doing so which lead to Seattle having the lead. In the second quarter, the Silver Stars were able to adjust and kept the game close with Seattle having a 3 point lead at half time. In the third quarter, the Silver Stars got off to a hot start, and the Storm were able to match the Stars. It was see saw basketball until the late 4th quarter when the Storm were able to take a lead and held on to win the game 91-86. Tina Thompson, for the second straight game had 21 points and was 4-6 from long distance. Camille Little, who the San Antonio Silver Stars had no answer for was able to break free from defenders and finished with a game high 23 points and 10 rebounds. 

Tidbits from the game

– Jayne Appel`s defense was sorely missed as Camille Little was able to get into the paint and finish with layups and three point plays.

– Shameka Christon FINALLY broke through tonight with 19 points. She looked more aggressive and was 4-9 from three.

– Danielle Robinson was also efficient as she struggled in the last two games. Seattle couldn`t defend her and she finished with 20 points on 9-12 shooting

– After out rebounding Seattle in the first half, Seattle out rebounded the Stars in the second half 30 – 28.

– Two key reasons why the Silver Stars did not win the game. I listed Tina Thompson as one of the players to defend and the Silver Stars failed to do it which led to her scoring 21 points. Another reason why the Silver Stars did not win the game was the three point line. Seattle shot 67% from three (6-9) which was one of the big reasons why they won the game.

– The Silver Stars last grasp of possibly extending the game didn`t come as the Stars looked to cut the deficit down to 2. Trailing 88-84 late in the game, Shameka Christon was clearly fouled by Temeka Johnson on what was  a clear path foul. The referees didn`t notice and therefore the Storm were able to win the game.

– The Silver Stars are now 2-5 on the season (2-2 at home and 0-3 on the road) and their next game is on Sunday where they go on the road to face the New York Liberty.

– There was a good crowd at the AT&T Center. The arena looked pretty full and it was nice to see the Silver Stars get support from San Antonio

 

THE VERY LATE – Game #6 Los Angeles Sparks vs San Antonio Silver Stars Game Recap

*NOTE – I’ve been very busy the past couple of days, and I never got the chance to write the game recap as the game ended roughly around 12:30 am EST on Saturday night. This game was the second game of a 4 game series between both teams. The Silver Stars won the first game and the Sparks took revenge and blew out the Silver Stars by a final score of 84 – 48. It was ugly. VERY ugly. And so therefore, this recap will be VERY short and simple. 

GAME STORY

Los Angeles – June 14, 2013

The San Antonio SIlver Stars came into Los Angeles having lost both road games on their three day road trip and were looking for redemption against a team who they had beaten previously before. The Sparks on the other hand, were also looking to play a lot tougher than they did the previous night before against the Phoenix Mercury. The game started off with LA starting hot before the Silver Stars came back and made it a game which ended the first quarter with LA up 3 18 – 15. The Sparks and Silver Stars battled in the second quarter also but LA was able to pull away and have a seven point lead at half time. In the third quarter, the Sparks were just too much for the Silver Stars as the Sparks were able to get easy baskets in transition and the Silver Stars had a difficult time scoring. The third quarter was what LA needed to pull out the win and eventually won by a final score of 84-48. In the third quarter, Candace Parker of the LA Sparks had more total points than the entire Silver Stars team. The Silver Stars also were down to 8 players as Jayne Appel was sidelined due to concussion symptoms and were keeping her out for precautionary measures. The Silver Stars next game is a home game against the Seattle Storm on Friday, June 21.

NOTES

– The LA Sparks got contributions from Nneka, Kristi and Marissa Coleman and hence Candace Parker didn’t need to have a big game for the Sparks to win

– Alana Beard played after being out for several games due to a hamstring injury

– Shameka Christon continues to struggle and I will point this out until she is able to have a good game. Her contributions are NEEDED as the Stars try to get into the playoffs.

– Danielle Adams and Shenise Johnson were the only two double figure scorers for the Stars. 

– Danielle Robinson struggled for the second straight game as LA defended her quite well – She is the Silver Stars engine, the Stars won’t win games without her being the leading point guard

– That was UGLY. I hope I never have to watch a blowout of that extreme again this season.

 

Game #5 San Antonio Silver Stars vs Minnesota Lynx Game Recap + Notes & Observations

GAME STORY

The San Antonio Silver Stars lost their second consecutive road game of the season to the Minnesota Lynx by a final score of 72 – 87. The San Antonio Silver Stars managed to keep it close through out the first half and led at half time. Midway through the third quarter, the Lynx put the pressure on the San Antonio Silver Stars and were able to gain a lead several times before eventually pulling away from the Silver Stars to win the game.

Notes & Observations

 

The Silver Stars were very aggressive in the first half and gave the Minnesota Lynx problems which resulted in some physical play and holding Seimone Augustus to just two points on only two shot attempts. The second half featured some of the same from the first half before the Lynx took the lead and held on to it for the rest of the game. Lindsay Whalen was the MVP for the Lynx as she was able to drive by any Silver Star defenders and get to the free throw line. She was also able to facilitate the offense and in the process and got Lindsay Wright and Seimone Augustus to have a big second half. 

For the Silver Stars, they had a balanced scoring attack with MIP candidate Shenise Johnson leading the way with 16 points. The Silver Stars just couldn’t score in the third and fourth quarter. They got stops, they got to within 7, but just couldn’t get the stops and score when needed to be.

They also got out rebounded by the Lynx, just like in their previous game against Chicago. This was one of the problems from last season and its continuing to rear its ugly head again.

The Silver Stars bench scored 32 points and are tops in the WNBA in doing that.

I really wish Jayne Appel would try to score more. I know she can rebound, defend and pass, but I would like to see her be more aggressive on the offensive end so that the Silver Stars can be more potent offensively.

Shameka Christon is struggling big time. She’s shooting 27% from the floor. If she doesn’t find her offense soon, it will be difficult for the Silver Stars to win, especially when they need scoring.

The Silver Stars drop to 2-3 on the season and have another tough game against Los Angeles on June 15. The bonus is that LA will be on the second night of a back to back as they play Phoenix on Friday.