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Detroit Shock

Detroit Shock
Detroit Shock logo
Conference Eastern
Founded 1998
History Detroit Shock
Tulsa Shock
Arena The Palace of Auburn Hills
City Auburn Hills, Michigan
Team colors Blue, Red, White
Championships 3 (2003, 2006, 2008)
Conference titles 4 (2003, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Official website

The Detroit Shock was a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. They were the 2003, 2006, and 2008 WNBA champions.

Debuting in 1998, it was one of the league's first expansion franchises. It was also the first WNBA expansion franchise to win a WNBA Championship. The team was the sister team of the Detroit Pistons and from 2002 to the 2009 season was coached by Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer.

On October 20, 2009, it was announced that the Shock would be moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma to play in the new downtown arena, the BOK Center. Former men's college coach Nolan Richardson was named the team's new head coach. The Shock roster and history was retained along with the Shock name, but the team colors were changed to black, red, and gold.


  • Franchise history 1
    • The early years (1998–2002) 1.1
    • From worst to champions (2003) 1.2
    • Return to Mediocrity (2004–2005) 1.3
    • Back to the top (2006–2008) 1.4
    • The final Detroit season (2009) 1.5
    • The end of the Detroit era 1.6
    • Uniforms 1.7
  • Season-by-season records 2
  • Players 3
    • Final roster 3.1
    • Hall of Famers 3.2
    • Retired numbers 3.3
    • Notable players 3.4
  • Coaches and others 4
  • All-Stars 5
  • External links 6
  • References 7

Franchise history

The early years (1998–2002)

The Shock were one of the first WNBA expansion teams and began play in 1998. The Detroit Shock quickly brought in a blend of rookies and veterans. The Shock's first coach was hall of famer Nancy Lieberman. The Shock would start out their inaugural season 0-4, but would put together an amazing expansion season, and finish 17-13, missing out on the postseason by one game.

Detroit Shock logo used from 1998 to 2001

In 1999, the Shock finished 15-17, in a three way tie for the playoffs with the Orlando Miracle and the Charlotte Sting. The Shock and Sting played a one-game playoff, which the Shock would lose 60-54.

In 2000, the Shock would finish with a 14-18 record and would once again end tied for the last seed. This time, the Shock would lose the tiebreaker and not qualify, losing to the Washington Mystics. Lieberman was fired after the season and replaced by Greg Williams.

After the season in the 2001 WNBA Draft, the Shock would draft Deanna Nolan with the #6 pick. She would later develop into the team star. The 2001 Shock would finish the season with a 10-22 record, this time tying three teams for last place in the Eastern Conference.

The 2002 Shock started the season 0-10, at which point Williams was fired and replaced by former Detroit Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer. The team finished the season 9-23, but Laimbeer's ideas influenced the team's front office, who agreed with the new coach's ideas; including bringing over some new players that he felt were necessary for the Shock to become a contender.

From worst to champions (2003)

After massive changes to the roster, Laimbeer predicted before the 2003 season that the Shock would be league champions, and his prediction would unbelievably come true. The Shock would tear up the East in the regular season, posting a 25-9 record and winning the #1 seed by 7 games. In the playoffs, the Shock would defeat the Cleveland Rockers 2-1 for their first playoff series win in franchise history. In the Conference Finals, the Shock swept the Connecticut Sun 2-0 to reach the WNBA Finals. Despite the achievements, the Shock were viewed as huge underdogs to the two time defending champion Los Angeles Sparks, who were looking for a three-peat. The Shock would emerge victorious in the series, winning a thrilling Game Three 83-78. That game would draw the largest crowd ever in WNBA history (22,076 came to watch). Detroit, much like the 1991 Minnesota Twins in baseball, became the first team in WNBA history to make it from last place one season to WNBA champions the very next season.

Return to Mediocrity (2004–2005)

The Shock would stumble after their championship season and play mediocre basketball in the 2004 season. The Shock would post a 17-17 record and qualify for the playoffs as the #3 seed. The Shock would take the series against the New York Liberty the full three games, but would fall in the end 2-1.

The 2005 Shock were much like the 2004 Shock, playing mediocre basketball all season, posting a 16-18 record and make the playoffs as the #4 seed. The Shock would make a quick exit, as the Connecticut Sun would sweep the Shock. 2005 would see the addition of former Piston star Rick Mahorn as an assistant coach to Laimbeer. [2]

Back to the top (2006–2008)

The 2006 Shock came out hungry and poised for a playoff run. The Shock performed well during the regular season, posting a 23-11 record and winning the #2 seed in the playoffs. The Shock went on to make quick work of the Indiana Fever, sweeping them in the first round. In the Conference Finals, the Shock would be matched up against the Sun once again. This time, the Shock emerged victorious from the hard-fought series, winning it 2-1. In the Finals, the Shock faced the defending champion Sacramento Monarchs. The Shock lost game 1, getting handily defeated 95-71 at home. The Shock rallied in game 2 to even up the series 1-1. Going to Sacramento, the Shock were defeated in Game Three 89-69. With their backs against the wall, the Shock dominated the Monarchs in game 4, 72-52, setting up the crucial Game 5 in Detroit. At halftime in game 5, the Shock would find themselves down 44-36. However, in the third quarter, the Shock would outscore the Monarchs 22-9, gaining a 58-53 lead going into the final quarter. The Shock held off the Monarchs in the last quarter and win the game 78-73, and the championship 3 games to 2. They became the first WNBA team to win non-consecutive championships and to win the Finals after being down 2 games to 1. They also were involved in the first WNBA Finals to go 5 games.

In 2007, the Shock sought to defend their title and repeat, something they were not able to do in 2004 after their 2003 Finals victory. The Shock would finish with a WNBA-best 24-10 regular season record, and capture the #1 seed in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. In the first round, the Shock were heavily favored against a New York Liberty team that wasn't predicted to make the post season. But in game 1, the Shock came out flat and were defeated 73-51. In game 2, the Shock trailed most of the game, but a late charge and missed free throws by the Liberty gave the Shock a 76-73 victory and forced a game 3. Game 3 was a battle, as the game went into overtime. In the end, the Shock would emerge the victors 71-70 (OT). In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Shock would face the Indiana Fever, with whom the Shock were bitter rivals. Much like the Liberty series, the Shock were blown out in Game 1 75-65. Once again, the Shock rallied to win games 2 & 3 by the scores of 77-63 and 81-65. In the 2007 WNBA Finals, the Shock faced the Phoenix Mercury, who had dominated the Western Conference all year long. The Shock won Game One 108-100 at home. The Mercury evened the series up in game 2, defeating the Shock 98-70. The series shifted to Phoenix for games 3 & 4. The Shock won a rough Game Three 88-83. With a chance to win the Finals in game 4, the Shock and Mercury battled back and forth all game. When the dust cleared, the Mercury had won 77-76, forcing a final Game 5 in Detroit. But in game 5 at home, the Shock were simply dominated, as they lost the game 108-92. With the loss, the Shock lost the series and became the first team to lose the final game of the Finals at home.

Entering the 2008 post season, the Shock posted a 22-12 regular season record, the best record in the East. In the first round against the Indiana Fever, Detroit handled Indiana in 3 games. In the east finals against the New York Liberty, the Shock would face another 3 games series, but Detroit earned the series victory, moving on to the WNBA Finals against the league best San Antonio Silver Stars. Although the Silver Stars had the best record in the league in 2008, Detroit managed to sweep San Antonio, capturing their 3rd championship in franchise history.

The final Detroit season (2009)

President Obama with Detroit Shock in the White House in July 2009

The Shock were named favorites for 2009, but they had a rough road getting there. However, the Shock bounced back in the second half of 2009 and eventually would place them in the playoffs for the seventh straight year at 18-16. In the first round, the Shock swept the Atlanta Dream to advance to their fourth straight Eastern Conference Final, Once again facing their rival, the Indiana Fever. In the East Finals, the Shock were defeated by the Indiana Fever in three games, missing the Finals for the first time since 2005.

The end of the Detroit era

On October 19, 2009, the Associated Press reported that a Shock official stated that the team would in fact be moving to Tulsa.[1] The decision was officially announced at a press conference in Tulsa on October 20, 2009.[2] [3]


From 2002 to 2009, the Shock's home uniforms were white with the stylized Shock name in red on the front, while road jerseys were blue with the word "Detroit" across the front in red and white. From 1998 to 2001, a more complex color scheme was used (Black, Yellow, Green, Red, Silver, White).

Season-by-season records


Final roster

Hall of Famers

Retired numbers


Notable players

Detroit Shock coaching staff in 2007

Coaches and others

Head Coaches:


External links

  • Detroit Shock Official Website
  • Detroit Shock at


  1. ^ Staff (October 19, 2009). "Detroit Shock moving to Tulsa, source says".  
  2. ^ "WNBA's Shock will relocate to Tulsa". 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  3. ^ "Shock makes move official". ESPN. 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Los Angeles Sparks
WNBA Champions
2003 (First title)
Succeeded by
Seattle Storm
Preceded by
New York Liberty
WNBA Eastern Conference Champions
2003 (First title)
Succeeded by
Connecticut Sun
Preceded by
Sacramento Monarchs
WNBA Champions
2006 (Second title)
Succeeded by
Phoenix Mercury
Preceded by
Phoenix Mercury
WNBA Champions
2008 (Third title)
Succeeded by
Phoenix Mercury
Preceded by
Connecticut Sun
WNBA Eastern Conference Champions
2006 (Second title)
2007 (Third title)
2008 (Fourth title)
Succeeded by
Indiana Fever
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