It’s been a long time coming, but Shanna Zolman will be flinging it from long range once again.
After more than a year away from competitive professional basketball, and missing two full seasons and a large part of another in the past four years with knee injuries, the former Wawasee High School and University of Tennessee standout will look to put up points for the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock while flashing her ever-present smile and upbeat attitude.
“My role is as a scorer,” says Zolman, who last played in 2010 after her latest left anterior cruciate ligament tear wiped out her 2011 season. “I’m known for my shot. I want to give a lift to my team. As an outside threat, I can help spread the floor for our penetraters and post players.”
Will Zolman, who scored 3,085 points in high school (she was Indiana’s Miss Basketball in 2002) and 1,706 more in college, be seen frequently slashing to the basket when the Shock open the 2011 season May 19 against San Antonio?
“That’s not me,” says Zolman. “I’m mainly going to be shooting jumpers in transition.”
At 28 and six years removed from her days of playing for coaching legend Pat Summitt at Tennessee, Zolman is making the transition to veteran.
“I’ve always been one of the younger ones on the team,” says Zolman. “This will be a different role, but an enjoyable one. We are very young. We are changing the way that our team looks. It’s going to be for the better. We have a lot of young, athletic talent.”
A tear in her left ACL required season-ending surgery on Jan. 26, 2011. She missed the entire 2008 season with the same injury. She tore the meniscus in the same leg in 2009, holding her to just 20 games.
Since training camp opened April 29, Zolman has reported no real issues with the knee.
Zolman, then known as Shanna Crossley but since divorced, started 16 of the 30 games she appeared in for the Shock in 2010. In 21.3 minutes per game, she averaged 9.7 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting a team best 42.2 percent from 3-point range.
For more than a year, Zolman was only able to do drills and did not play full-contact basketball while speaking on behalf of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She moved to Seattle last fall to work with the fledgling FCA chapter.
“The Pacific Northwest is one of the most unchurched areas in the nation,” says Zolman. “It’s quite a challenge. We are seeing some progress.”
Zolman said things are also progressing for the Shock under new coach Gary Kloppenburg.
“He’s a big defensive guy,” says Zolman of the former Indiana Fever assistant. “He wants you to get in their face. Offensively, it’s pretty basic. We run a couple of options out of each set.”
Zolman knows fiery coaches, having played for Summitt and former Shock head coach Nolan Richardson.
“(Kloppenburg) is an easy-going kind of guy,” says Zolman. “It’s fun to work with him. There’s no mind games, no drama and no added stress. I’ve never had somebody this laid back. It’s good.”
Who: Shanna Annette Zolman, shooting guard for the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock.
Age: 28 (born Sept. 7, 1983).
High school: Wawasee (Indiana’s Miss Basketball in 2002). She played for father Kem Zolman.
College: Tennessee. She played for Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt and set numerous 3-point and free-throw shooting records. She majored in journalism and electronic media and minored in speech.
Pro: Drafted in 2006 for the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars, she played the 2006, 2007 and 2009 seasons for San Antonio. She missed all of 2008 and much of 2009 with an injury. She was traded to the Tulsa Shock and played in 2010 then missed all of 2011 with an injury.
Faith: She works for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and speaks and makes appearances on behalf of several charitable organizations.