“We’re never picked to do well,” says San Antonio coach and general manager Dan Hughes, and this year is no exception. Not only did the Silver Stars lose their leading scorer and rebounder to injury (Sophia Young, 16.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg), the West now has three of the strongest rosters ever assembled in the same conference.
Continuing FullCourt.com's series of interviews with playoff-bound coaches, we caught up with the first-year Los Angeles head coach Carol Ross who has the Sparks back in the playoffs after missing the postseason last year. They'll take on the San Antonio Silver Stars, whose veteran head coach Dan Hughes shared his views of the upcoming playoffs in a media teleconference Tuesday.
When the Mystics and Silver Stars met Friday at the Verizon Center they could have easily been peering across at each other on the insanely-long and steep escalators that deliver commuters from the street to the platforms in many of the D.C. Metro train stations.
The Silver Stars — headed up — are the WNBA’s hottest team, winners of seven straight and rapidly proving coach and GM Dan Hughes correct in believing his group could do big things once their unconventional perimeter-oriented attack began to jell.
Make a trade here, sign a free agent there, come draft day find value further down the board. This is the annual conundrum of San Antonio’s Head Coach and General Manager Dan Hughes. Having made the playoffs every year since 2006, Hughes always finds ways to add value to the franchise without drafting in lottery position.
After playing a little over two-thirds of the season, San Antonio exploded last week, putting on the type of performance many were waiting for in vain all season. With their 106-89 blow-out victory over Phoenix last Saturday (August 15), the Silver Stars topped the century mark for the first time this season. The watershed victory came on the heels of consecutive losses, one at home and one on the road, to the Sacramento Monarchs and the Phoenix Mercury, respectively, and a stretch that saw the Stars lose five of their last seven.
The Silver Stars' 106 total points tied the franchise record for most points in a game. San Antonio also matched the WNBA first-half scoring record of 61 points set by Seattle on August 4, 2007 -- also against Phoenix.
Perhaps even more impressive -- the Silver Stars achieved a win of this magnitude not over one of the league's bottom feeders, but against the high-flying Phoenix Mercury, who lead the Western Conference with a record of 17-8 and top the league in scoring with an average of 92.58 points (and an average differential of more than plus-three points) per game.