May 24, 2017
When I first started watching women’s basketball, many years ago at this point, one of the teams that captured my imagination and made the game so exciting was the New York Liberty, especially in the early years of the WNBA.
Those teams were loaded with talent; Teresa Weatherspoon, Crystal Robinson, Sue Wicks, Rebecca Lobo, Kym Hampton, and of course Vickie Johnson.
Johnson was always one of my favorites, as she always seemed to make the big plays and be in the right spots at the right times. She wasn’t a superstar but that’s what made her all the more fun to cheer for.
Fast-forward a decade or so, and after the end of her career as a player and years as an assistant coach VJ as she will always be known to her fans is the head coach of the San Antonio Stars, where she is mentoring one of the youngest teams in the WNBA but also one with some extremely interesting players.
In this, her first year, Johnson still has not been able to coach the starting lineup she anticipated having when selecting her roster. Kayla McBride just returned from playing in Europe, and in fact arrived on Friday, took her physical on Friday, and played Friday night in her first game. Second-year guard Moriah Jefferson still has not played after arriving with knee soreness and getting the flu. Finally, number one draft choice Kelsey Plum played in the first exhibition game before spraining her ankle and missing the first three games of the season too.
Despite dropping those first three games, there has been bright spots for the Stars, and Johnson’s trademark defense, hustle, and intensity on both ends of the court.
Veteran Monique Currie has been nothing short of sensational, leading the team and playing out of position wherever Johnson plays her. Young center Isabelle Harrison has been impressive at times and will continue to improve, while forward Dearica Hamby continues to impress with growth and improvement after recently having a baby. The team’s other first-round draft choice besides Plum, Nia Coffey, is also getting an opportunity to show what she can do.
There is no doubt that a core of Jefferson, Plum, McBride, Harrison, Hamby, and Coffey is worth watching and keeping an eye on as they develop throughout the season.
It is a pleasure to welcome Vickie Johnson back to Dishin & Swishin, for the first time as a head coach. The Stars will play the Dallas Wings, another young and coming team, at 11 am CT on Thursday on WNBA League Pass in a game loaded with anticipation.
Johnson discussed the team’s progress this early in the year, wanting to get her young core together, and what we can expect to see.
Enjoy the podcast, and tune in tomorrow to watch the Stars vs. Wings!