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Jayda Evans covers college and pro women's basketball. While its her first year on the Washington beat, she has covered the Storm since its inception. She'll offer observations, critiques, occasional off-beat tales and answers to select e-mail inquires. Evans also has written a book on the Storm and women's hoops, called "Game On!"

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June 22, 2007 9:33 AM

Regarding Donovan

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm assistant Shelley Patterson said something interesting while trying to support coach Anne Donovan's reputation this season. Patterson mentioned that the only teams happy with their situations are Indiana (9-2) and Detroit (9-1) and their lineups are full of Olympians and All-Stars. "Until we get that caliber of player, we're all going to be [struggling to establish ourselves.]"

Thing is, the Storm does have that in its starting lineup. Lauren Jackson is an Australian Olympian who recently won gold at the FIBA World Championships. Sue Bird is an American Olympian who won Olympic gold in 2004, playing limited minutes. Iziane Castro Marques is a Brazilian Olympian. Betty Lennox is a one-time All-Star, and center Janell Burse is two days from locking up her first All-Star bid, which will be a fan-voted start.

The bottom line is the team isn't used properly. And It wasn't built right under Donovan, who has proven herself to be a poor director of player personnel outside of getting Lennox and Burse in 2004.

This isn't new, either. Does anyone remember Donovan selecting Kelly Miller over Tamika Catchings, Jackie Stiles, Ruth Riley, Deanna Nolan, Svetlana Abrosimova, and Marie Ferdinand-Harris in the 2001 draft while she was in Charlotte?

Now, Catchings was injured that year and the Sting did need to win immediately, according to folks involved in the organization at the time. And Stiles was a huge bust after her rookie year. But for one season, any one of those players would have been better for that franchise -- perhaps generating enough excitement it might have survived.

Karen Bryant, the Storm's chief operating officer, may believe in Donovan's ability to coach the team, and Donovan could alter her personality enough to mend relationships with the players that made her the first woman to win a WNBA title, but the GM duties have to be taken away if this team is going to be successful. Donovan wastes money scouting and drafting players she doesn't keep or develop. And she appears only willing to sign players that will blindly follow her. So far that path has been downhill.

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