Following a season that saw San Antonio finish with the second worst record in the league at 7-27, the Silver Stars selected Baylor All-American Sophia Young with the fourth pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft.
Young’s selection coincided with an understandable roster turnover that began two months earlier when Head Coach and General Manager Dan Hughes signed nine-year veteran Vickie Johnson as a free agent.
San Antonio nearly doubled its win total in Young’s rookie campaign, as she led the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg), and finished second in steals (1.7). She was also named to the Western Conference All-Star Team, and the WNBA All-Rookie Team.
One year later, San Antonio traded for three-time All-Star guard Becky Hammon, helping to create one of the top scoring duos in the WNBA. Hammon and Young combined to average 35.6 points per game in 2007, and for the next eight years, the pair would be inexorably linked with one another, as well as to the Silver Stars’ success.
Young earned another All-Star nod in 2007, as San Antonio tied the franchise record for wins in a season, going 20-14 and advancing to the Western Conference Finals where they fell to the eventual WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury.
San Antonio made the playoffs for six straight years, peaking in 2008 when the Stars won a league-best 24 games, along with the Western Conference Championship, before falling to the Detroit Shock in the WNBA Finals. Young earned First-Team All-WNBA honors during that championship season, after averaging 17.5 points per game.
In 2009, Young averaged a career-high 18.2 points per game and was named to her third All-Star Team. The Silver Stars advanced to the postseason for the third straight year, but their won-loss record fell to 15-19.
Although the team made the playoffs each year through 2012, and Young continued scoring at a double-digit clip, San Antonio was never quite able to recapture the magic of those 2007-08 squads.
A torn ACL kept Young out of the 2013 season, and she retired following the 2015 campaign at the age of 31 with career averages of 14.3 points and 6.0 rebounds. Young still ranks first in franchise history in points (4,300), rebounds (1,807), steals (477), games played (301) and games started (282).