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The Tulsa Shock Is Dressed Up and Ready to Start a New Union: Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

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The Tulsa Shock and Phoenix Mercury tip of today at 6 p.m. EST. (photo courtesy of Troy Lilttledeer)
The Tulsa Shock and Phoenix Mercury tip of today at 6 p.m. EST. (photo courtesy of Troy Lilttledeer)

For the sake of artistic license, think of the Tulsa Shock as the bride. The team is starting a new union, a new era even, when they take to the court today in Phoenix. So on Friday, the team was just getting dressed for the big day. And you know what happens when brides get dressed, right? They follow all sorts of cheesy, kitschy traditions; and one of which is linked to an Old English rhyme. So without further ado....

 

Something "old"

The old item, representing continuity, was the return of guard Amber Holt to the Shock lineup. She missed nine games and about five weeks with a broken left thumb. Holt played in just her third game of the season after starting out as one of the primary scoring threats for the Shock.

She didn't provide the firepower that was hoped in her first game back, as you could tell she needed at least a game to knock off the rust and get used to playing a full game again. Holt finished with four points and four rebounds on 1-of-9 shooting.

"I know being in shape has something to do with it. I've worked on my own a lot, but playing in games it's hard."

But even with the less than stellar offensive power, Holt's return from injury is a spark to the Shock.

"It felt good coming back and playing with my teammates and they were excited when I came in the locker room this morning. It was like a relief and everything was good," Holt said. "To me it seemed like our energy came up when I came back and that's what we need - energy and play hard every minute of the game, and I think we did that."

 

Something "new"

For the new, offering optimism for the future, was the first game for the newest member of Tulsa roster, Doneeka Lewis.

"She hasn't played basketball for a while, but she's got all the things eventually that we're going to have to have," then head coach Nolan Richardson said. "You've got to take your hat off to a young lady that's - three days of workout and figuring out what we're trying to do and fits in and do the things that we're asking. Give her a couple of weeks, four or five more ballgames and we'll see something pretty special in her."

Lewis started and scored the first points of the game for Tulsa, but then her shooting struggled for stretches. She finished 3-of-13 from the field (1-of-9 from 3-point range) with seven points. But where the the shot was flat and didn't fall as often as she liked, Lewis helped with something the Shock has been lacking in all season. Lewis got a season-high nine assists for a franchise that has had games with nine total assists.

"I want to be able to kind of mix it up and do both," Lewis said. "I didn't shoot the ball particularly well today, but I think those are good shots and I'm going to keep working, and when I'm open I'm going to take those shots and eventually they'll go in."

 

Something "borrowed"

To symbolize borrowed happiness, the stretch will go to borrowed - well really - interim head coach Teresa Edwards.

The post-game presser was all Richardson, but after the game the second-year coach and general manager turned in his whistle to his assistant. Edwards was still a little surprised as she addressed the media for the first time Friday.

"I'm interim, everything is interim," Edwards said before hopping a plane to Phoenix. "Don't want to jump to conclusions about anything sealed tightly here because everything has happened fast. So at this interim role period. GM or coach or whatever you want to title it."

She's already facing tough questions about how her experience qualifies her to be a head coach in this league, but she's answering them head-on. And passionately.

"I don't want to try and validate something you can't, but just being around the game all my life. This is my life - women's basketball," Edwards said. "This is what we do and my heart and soul is to the success of women's pro basketball now because when I played pro overseas, I wanted pro to be over here in the states. I wanted to be near my family, I wanted the American public to embrace us as professional women's basketball players.

"I'm standing in a better, bigger, brighter spotlight to being a part of making that happen and then taking it to a new level. So that's how I embrace it and I see it as a challenge as always and that's how I will approach it."

 

Something "blue"

This is the one that really doesn't fit with the symbol, as blue is supposed to stand for purity, love and fidelity. Rather, blue for the Shock stands for infirm. For this, starting point guard Ivory Latta fits the bill rather unfortunately.

"It's a scary situation as far as I'm concerned ... All they said is that it was a staph infection," Richardson said. "You know you get concerned because you've got other girls and we had that breakout last year. No one around her or her locker has had anything so it might be some isolated incident that's happened and that's the only thing that we can go by.

"With Crossley I remember having that kind of infection, she was gone for a long time; a week in the hospital or more. We're hoping that it doesn't get to that extreme. There's nothing - we know she won't be on this trip, we know that. She's going to be attended by doctors - as we speak now even. So all I can say is that it's going to be a day-to-day situation. We know that it's going to be past a week; could be two weeks, could be three weeks, you just never know."

 

Now all that's missing is a sixpence in your shoe.