By LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON
TULSA — For Sequoyah graduate Angel Goodrich, getting selected in the WNBA draft last month was the easy part.
The next challenge — actually making the team — started Sunday with the beginning of the Tulsa Shock’s training camp at Edison High School.
By May 23, the Shock roster will be trimmed from 18 players to 11. Along with Goodrich and former Notre Dame standout Skylar Diggins, three other rookies were invited to camp: former Colorado forward Brittany Spears, former University of North Carolina guard Italee Lucas and former Tennessee forward and 2011 Tulsa draft pick Vicky Baugh who was cut during last year’s training camp due to injury.
Also among those 18 women are nine players from the team’s 2012 roster and former University of Texas forward Tiffany Jackson-Jones, who had 11 double-doubles for Tulsa during the 2011 season and sat out the 2012 campaign due to pregnancy.
Goodrich is one of eight guards jockeying for a roster spot. Her competition includes Diggins, former WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Candice Wiggins and Riquna Williams, a 2012 WNBA All-Rookie team selection.
“I didn’t expect there to be this many guards here, but it’s a challenge,” she said. “I’m just glad I’m here to experience this opportunity.”
Shock head coach Gary Kloppenburg said the organization invited so many guards to training camp with the mindset of roughly three players per position on the floor.
“We have some open spots,” Kloppenburg said. “That’s why you have camp. You’re always looking to see if a young player can come in and give you something. It’s really competitive and we feel like it’s wide-open at a couple of different spots. There are some opportunities for rookies to come in.”
Goodrich played collegiately at the University of Kansas and averaged 14 points and almost seven assists per game during the 2012-2013 season, leading the Jayhawks to a second consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance. Goodrich was a 2012-2013 first team All Big 12 selection and was the first Cherokee Nation citizen picked in the WNBA draft.
Despite her strong career in Lawrence, Kan., Goodrich said the first day of training camp was very different from preseason drills at the collegiate level.
“I was told that there’d be a lot of stuff thrown at you and that’s exactly what happened,” she said. “There’s a lot of new information. I feel like I need to go and write some things down to remember it all.
“It’s a lot more aggressive here. These are grown women here, so it’s different. That’s the biggest difference right now.”
Training camp runs through May 14 and is closed to the public. The team’s pre-season opener is 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the BOK Center against the Atlanta Dream. The two teams will again face off in the season opener on May 25 in Atlanta.
Shock notebook: Tulsa changes training camp site this season
Due to a floor renovation project at the University of Tulsa’s Reynolds Center, this year’s Shock training camp relocated to Edison High School’s new athletic center, which opened earlier this year. The team plans to resume practices at TU later this year.
Although the organization is not necessarily opposed to taking its workouts on the road again this season, at this time, the Shock does not plan on moving its practices around northeastern Oklahoma like it did last summer. Among the sites that hosted the team during the WNBA’s break for the London Olympics was Sequoyah’s The Place Where They Play.
“I’m not sure if we have any (traveling practices) in the works this year,” coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “We were able to do that because of the schedule. This year, it could be difficult schedule-wise, as ultimately, we want to protect our players and get them ready for games. We’re not adverse to that, but it’s got to work into the schedule.”
Preseason schedule: Thursday’s game against the Dream will be Tulsa’s only preseason game at the BOK Center. The Shock will play at Seattle on May 17 and at Los Angeles on May 19 before tipping off the season in Atlanta. The Shock home opener is scheduled for May 27 against the Washington Mystics.
In the paint: Despite opening camp with only two true centers — former OU All-American Courtney Paris and third-year player Chante Black — Kloppenburg is bullish on his team’s potential low post game with five power forwards on the Shock roster.
“We feel we’re going to have a better inside game, especially with being able to get Tiff (Jackson-Jones) back. Our other bigs have shown a lot of improvement as well,” he said.