WNBA Tulsa works to solidify roster

Tulsa’s WNBA franchise is set to open its inaugural season at 7 p.m. on May 15 at home against the Minnesota Lynx.
Just who will play remains to be seen.
The 2009 end-of-season roster for the Detroit Shock included players Kara Braxton, Tanae Davis-Cain, Cheryl Ford, Alexis Hornbuckle, Crystal Kelly, Taj McWilliams, Deanna Nolan, Plenette Pierson, Olayinka Sanni, Katie Smith, Nikki Teasley and Shavonte Zellousa. Several players, however, are free agents, and it remains to be seen who will remain with the team.
Coach Nolan Richardson said he is anxious to solidify his team.
“Right now, we are finishing filling out our staff and getting player contracts figured out,” he said.
In the meantime, he said, he and his staff are busy scouting college teams in preparation for the WNBA 2010 draft.
“All we can do right now is compile enough numbers that we can make good decisions come time for the draft,” Richardson said. The draft will be sometime in April.
The experience and talent of the former Detroit Shock players serves as an advantage to the young Tulsa franchise, Richardson said.
“With an expansion team, you pick from the seventh and eighth best players on existing teams, so, in my experience, the first year is usually a monumental failure,” he said. “Tulsa bringing in a team that already has some core players provides a tremendous advantage.”
The team announced last month it will compete in the Western Conference.
The 34-game schedule features 17 home games at the BOK Center, two of which will be televised on ESPN2. The first televised game is May 25 against the Phoenix Mercury, the league’s defending champions. The second is July 13 against the Los Angeles Sparks.

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