There is a sentiment around many in the WNBA that the Tulsa Shock figures to be a bottom dweller in the Western Conference this season.
However on Friday, the Shock ran the San Antonio Stars out of the BOK Center, 82-59 in a game where they never trailed. Sophomore guard Skylar Diggins scored 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, made two of three three pointers, dished eight assists, and grabbed three rebounds. According to the Tulsa World, there were plays where Diggins clearly just dominated San Antonio's defense, including one play when she "circled the defense" and made a layup.
Other Shock players made considerable contributions, including Roneeka Hodges who scored 18 points while shooting 7-of-13 on the floor, and Courtney Paris had a dominant game on the boards, where she grabbed 14 rebounds along with 10 points.
No one for San Antonio, a more veteran team, provided much support. Rookie guard Kayla McBride, the third pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft, scored three points on 1-of-7 shooting. Ouch.
Obviously, this game is the preseason, so it won't count in the standings. The Shock played four of its five starters at least 22 minutes, while no Stars starter played more than 19 minutes. However, the Stars had more players with the team who were ready to play than the Shock, and either way, the result is a bit surprising regardless of which way you look at it.
Going back to Diggins, she entered the 2013-2014 offseason with the most question marks of the "Big Three Rookies" who include Phoenix Mercury center and Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne. If Diggins can continue to perform like she did Friday, then she certainly would be playing at the level that Shock fans hope that she will over the next several years. And by pairing her with rookie guard Odyssey Sims who didn't play Friday, that's going to be a pretty scary backcourt for some time to come.