Last night, the San Antonio Silver Stars opened the 2013-2014 season with a tough first game against the reigning WNBA Champions, the Indiana Fever. With two starting members missing from the roster – Sophia Young out mending a torn ACL and Becky Hammon out with a broken finger – the Stars pulled other veterans from the squad to complete the starting five.
Warming up with unique agility/dynamic stretching mixed with traditional shot-taking, the Stars looked focused and ready. Young and Hammon came out with the team during introductions, with Hammon’s right hand in a bandaged wrapped brace. The Stars took the court with Christon, Milton-Jones, Appel, Robinson and Perkins as the starters.
The first half was a complete success. The team was fast, motivated and hungry for a win. Robinson lead the team with incredible aggression, including her “Try to get past me” face. The pace in the first quarter was quick, showing determination from the Stars. They wanted to hit first and hit hard, and accomplished that.
As Lin Dunn, head coach of the Indiana Fever, so aptly put it:
We figured that San Antonio would start off like gangbusters. It’s opening night with a lot of energy, a lot of excitement, and they did. They knocked down about five or six shots in a row, they were hitting their threes, and I think we just did a good job of not panicking, not overreacting, and weathering the storm. We let everything settle down and were able to chip back into the game. I thought Christon and Perkins with their outside shots really hurt us in the first half.
Unfortunately, closing in on the end of the first half, the Stars began to lose their grip on the lead. The change in demeanor from Coach Dan Hughes became obvious, from excitement to frustration. And the fans became uneasy too.
In previous discussions with the team, in training camp and Media Day, it was clear that Jia Perkins and Danielle Robinson were the teammates who would be expected to step up with points, with the loss of Hammon and Young. Into the second half, both players had a combined 6 points.
The Stars went out too hard, too fast, too soon.
As a distance runner, I understand the consequences of this – you burn out with nothing left at the end. And this is what happened last night. The Silver Stars looked good, but need to work on their endurance to the final second.
Ultimately, the Silver Stars lost 79-64.
Post game, Coach Hughes commented on the game:
We gave up too many lay-ups. I think points in the paint were the big story of the game. A lot of it was also dribble penetration…we just didn’t do a good job of containing the basketball. I thought we were very streaky today. I think you could see some potential in what we’re doing and there were some points where we just didn’t play the type of basketball that we’re going to have to play. There were a lot of peaks and valleys in our play. But you have to give them credit. They’re a team that has a lot of poise, they execute well, and as much as we have things to work on, you have to give them credit…they’re just a good basketball team. You saw them execute at key points at a high level and we have to learn from that.
The next game for the team is against the Los Angeles Sparks at home on June 1, scheduled for 7pm.