After a spectacular collegiate career at Notre Dame, Skylar Diggins looked toward a great future in the WNBA. However, after a lackluster rookie year that saw doubt creep up among experts as to whether she could be a viable player in the WNBA, Diggins started down the right path on Saturday night.
It didn't start on Saturday, but you started seeing the improvements in the Tulsa Shock's first preseason game, also against the San Antonio Stars. She scored 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, dishing out eight assists. The second year player is starting to see what she'll need to do to be successful.
"I worked a lot in the offseason to get better," she said. "I'm watching film of last year’s games and just improving on things I need to work on. I’m coming back with a positive attitude."
That's not what we saw last year. We saw poor decision making and just shooting contested shots. This year, the confidence is blooming for Diggins. She attacks the rim and shoots the 3-pointer with confidence, as well. This could be the secret that Tulsa could be looking to build around for the future.
"Last year, I struggled, I definitely struggled," Diggins said "It’s no secret I wasn't happy with the product I put out on the court. Coming in and trying to lead the team from the one spot was definitely a learning curve."
With Tulsa struggling along with Diggins, as she averaged just 8.5 points per game, 33 percent from the floor and 24 percent from behind the arc. There were many defensive faults that caused Diggins to struggle on the court.
"I think she's improved in the offseason," head coach Fred Williams said. "I think the structure of the things we do offensively and defensively have helped her."
It gives the Shock a scoring point guard, which would force defenses to change how they guard Tulsa all together. They will no longer be allowed to be so aggressive in their defending. A more relaxed defense means more open shot opportunities, which in turn lead to more efficient shot attempts.
"I have a strong circle, that’s where it starts for me," she said. "When people want to tell you how good you are, there are people that are honest with me. That’s the root of everything."
While one game that rivals a triple-double is something to be excited about, it doesn't necessarily mean season or career success for Diggins. It does show there is that potential that led the Shock to draft her third overall last season. Now you're going to pair her with another scoring option in Odyssey Sims, there are all these signs of winning.
While she didn't live up to the hype last season, the very popular Diggins has taken a bunch of steps in the right direction to match her off the court popularity and success. It's up to her how far she wants to go. She has shown she has all the tools, but can she mold them into what is needed to be a success on the court is the big question.