I love the bangers and I make no apologies.
I love the girls that do the dirty work on the court. My early faves were Yolanda Griffith and Natalie Williams. Sure they could score, but they rebounded and defended. They set screens the other team felt. They gave out punishment in addition to putting up big numbers.
The next in this line of bruisers was Cheryl Ford.
Being in Connecticut, I had a love-hate relationship with Cheryl since she entered the league in 2003. The Shock of 2002 were not very good; but in 2003 they added Cheryl and Ruth Riley and they ran straight to the title. It killed me, watching my Sun lose and get physically pounded by those Shock teams, but I secretly loved every minute of watching Cheryl Ford play basketball.
Time moves on, the Shock moved to Tulsa, and Cheryl was cored by Tulsa, but no one heard anything about her knees, nor her desire to play for Tulsa, Would she report, or could she report, or would she be like Katie Smith and say no or Deanna Nolan and sit out the season? Finally word came out that Cheryl's knees would not allow her to play, and Tulsa released her.
Still, too many questions were lingering for me, and I kept asking her on twitter if I could have a Dishin' & Swishin' interview until she said yes. I had one of the most fun interviews I've ever had. We joked, we laughed, and she gave me some great insight into her health, the bad girls of Detroit, and playing in Tulsa. I hope you enjoy some of the highlights. Remember the whole interview is archived at http://www.wstrradio.com/dishn-n-swishn.htm
Let the Speculation Begin! Cheryl talked to me about the origin of her knee issues, what was done, where she stands in rehab, and, a startling reply as to her return date.
The 2002 Detroit Shock started the season 0-10, and fired head coach Greg Williams. He was replaced with the man that turned around the franchise. The man I consider the best General Manager, and one of the best coaches ever to enter the WNBA, Bill Laimbeer. Some of the pieces were in place, with Deanna Nolan being drafted in 2001 and Swin Cash in 2002. But 2003 brought Ruth Riley via Miami's folding, and Cheryl Ford with the #3 overall draft pick. All of a sudden, worst to first was not only possible, it got done. Being an Eastern rival of Connecticut, it sure didn't seem fair to get all that talent in one place that fast!
Bill Laimbeer was the original Bad Boy of Detroit Pistons fame. He and his assistant coach Rick Mahorn left nothing on the court when they played, giving max effort all the time. They cut corners and bent the rules when it was necessary and the results were outstanding. He brought the same attitude to Detroit, and the Shock cultivated the Bad Girls image ON the court. Off the court, they were as nice as could be. But between Bill, the Shock's success, and their swagger, it sure led to some great games and a great rivalry with the Connecticut Sun.
A great patron of the women's game passed on in Mr. Davidson, yet there is no crying over spilled milk -- the Detroit Shock are now making things happen and creating a name in Tulsa. I finally got the answer to the nagging question as to what Cheryl's intentions with the Shock were, if physically able, but also got perhaps a look at how the new Shock are putting the past behind them.
So will we see Cheryl Ford on the court this year? Well, did you expect the 2002 Shock to win a title in 2003? Yeah, I didn't either. So I wouldn't bet against Cheryl again this time either. And with her being an unrestricted free agent after having her core designation removed, she could be the missing piece to a team's championship run. Just another little something to make this WNBA season fun to watch!