TULSA — A year ago Angel Goodrich, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, was drafted in the third round of the WNBA draft by the Tulsa Shock franchise. The Shock organization had already drafted Skylar Diggins third overall, but by drafting Angel the Shock knew that she would be a good fit for the style of offense for former Tulsa head coach Gary Kopplenburg.
Goodrich, a standout point guard at the University of Kansas, also had roots to the area where she had led the Sequoyah High Tribal school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma to a record three state championships and came up just short for the fourth championship. She had become a household name not just in the Native American communities in Oklahoma, but a highly touted recruit all across the nation.
After making the final roster cuts for the Tulsa Shock her rookie season, Angel had established her role as the backup for the highly touted Diggins who was projected to be a major contributor to the team in her first year. Fast forward to midway through the season, Goodrich was the one who had established herself as the team’s starting point guard and by the time the season had finished she had started in 16 games and finished the last nine as the starting guard for the Shock. In her rookie season, Goodrich had averaged nearly 22 minutes per game along with three assist and five points a game.
But just as the young rookie was looking to build on her success, the Tulsa Shock made a change in coaching staff and Kopplenburg was gone. The Shock brought in former Atlanta Dream head coach Fred Williams with the hopes of getting Tulsa out of the bottoms of the WNBA rankings. During the offseason, like many WNBA players, Angel traveled overseas to play in one of the many European basketball leagues looking to stay fresh and build on her game, but when she came back a lot of key player personal players had left as well as Shock assistants.
At the start of her second season, it was clear that a rejuvenated Skylar Diggins (who finished this season as the league’s 2nd leading scorer) was running the offense now under the new head coach and current rookie draftee Odyssey Sims was playing just as the Shock had hoped. Although the Shock only finished one game better than last season, they were certainly competitive in a lot more games.
Angel has had to adjust to her new role on the team this season with less playing time but as a professional she has taking it in stride. Recently she told the Tahlequah Daily Press, “I’m just coming in and doing extra,” she said. “I’m coming in and trying to expand my game, trying to get shots up every day. I’m just working on myself and trying to stay focused and ready for when my shot comes. With what little time I get, I have to be able to go in and contribute.”
Even though she isn’t on the court as much, she still has many fans from the Sequoyah and Kansas days that show up to the games and give her support. Angel said, “I see a lot of people that continue to Facebook me, I see them at games, it’s great and I am glad they are still following me and it’s a great honor to me.”
Angel only averaged six minutes a game this season and even less in the stats column from last year, but as in years past she will continue to work hard on her game and get herself back on the court. With her completion of her second season, Angel continues to lead the way for Indian country as she becomes the only Native American athlete to play two seasons in the WNBA.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in NDNSports.com. Used with permission. All rights apply.
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