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Women's Hoops Blog

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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May 31, 2008 11:33 AM

Bird named to Olympic team

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm PG Sue Bird was among the first nine players named to the U.S. Olympic squad. Four-time Olympian Lisa Leslie, three-time Olympian Katie Smith, two-time Olympians Diana Taurasi and Tina Thompson, and first-time Olympians Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Folwes, Candace Parker, and Cappie Pondexter were the others named today. The other three remaining spots will be named by July, according to committee chair Renee Brown.

"Thank you to everybody who voted and got me on the team," said Augustus on the teleconference call for the announcement.

Taurasi added: "It's an amazing experience to be at the biggest stage for USA basketball."

Bird is currently practicing, so I'll have more comments from her later.

The Americans have won five of six gold medals, but as USA Basketball president Val Ackerman acknowledged on the teleconference call, this summer will be one of the "fiercest" yet. Australia, led by captain Lauren Jackson, and Russia are the strongest contenders. But you can't overlook China in its home country.

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May 30, 2008 6:03 PM

Silver Stars game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans

STORM WINS: Well this was a breeze. At least it looked that way from my seat. The Storm's week of practice paid off and the Storm collected a 78-57 win. Jackson credited practice in her postgame interview on the court. It was "Girls' Night" at the Key and my guess is a couple of parties are going to pop-off around the city after this victory. Next up is winless Houston on Sunday.

WRIGHT MOVES: G Tanisha Wright has sprung off the bench to really play well for the Storm and keep the lead going. She has eight points on 4-for-6 shooting with three rebounds and two assists. One of her dishes to Jackson put the Storm up 64-44 with 7:45 remaining in the game. The Storm (and crowd) are keeping up the intensity, putting on their best show of the season.

END OF HALF: The Storm played some serious defense and won the rebounding battle 19-13 to be ahead 39-23 at the break. Jackson has 18 points and Swoopes has nine. San Antonio has started to find Wauters underneath the hoop and she has 11 to lead her team. Sue Quigley is the halftime show. Here's wishing the Storm books Camille Bloom and Choklate in the future.

MINI RUN: San Antonio isn't rolling over, not that anyone would expect them to. The Silver Stars just pieced together a 9-0 run on the Storm reserves with Bird leading the point. Seattle called a timeout to talk it over.

HEADED FOR A FIRST: It's the LJ and Swoopes show at the Key and I feel for anyone who decided to show late because of the Storm's past trend of being the league's comeback chicas. The team is up 31-10 and Swoopes is playing like it's 2005, picking off passes and making threes. They've even brought back the "Swoopes there it is" track when she hits a bucket. Jackson is the main force, however, scoring 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field. There's 5:30 remaining before the half and this would be the first time this season that the Storm has led at the break.

TARNISHED STARS: San Antonio is 0-for-15 from the field and has played all but one player available on their roster. Young just hit their first field goal with 31.8 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. This is the second time this season that Seattle has led after the first quarter, doing so against Sacramento on May 20 when Seattle led 15-14.

THERE IT IS: Swoopes scooped up a rebound and took is coast-to-coast for a layin on Wauters. The Belgium doesn't look as solid as she did in her San Antonio debut. Meanwhile, the Storm is looking like the team predicted all offseason. With Swoopes' basket, the Storm is up 16-2 with 3:00 remaining.

HOT START: Griffith just sparked a three-point play to put the Storm up 10-0 at the first timeout with 7:01 remaining in the opening quarter. Yo blocked a Hammon pass and flung the ball ahead to Bird. Bird raced down the court with Wauters tailing her, flicked a no-look pass to a trailing Jackson, who made the layin while being fouled. You didn't see this type of execution in San Antonio last week. For one, Bird was hitting Jackson in the head with the ball on in-bound plays. Guess their rhythm is finally over its jetlag.

FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES: Owner Anne Levinson's past as deputy mayor is a huge perk for the Storm. She brought U.S. Senator Patty Murray to the opener and now King County Executive Ron Sims is seated courtside next to her. City of Seattle councilmember Bruce Harrell is also in attendance with his daughter, but he won tickets through a charity and didn't get the political hook-up.

'DO NO. 4: This may be my own tally, but Swoopes is on hairstyle No. 4, going with a long curly look in a light summer brown. Looks cute in a ponytail, but haven't seen it down, yet.

For those wanting more on the Becky Hammon-Russian saga, tune into ESPN's "Outside The Lines" on June 8 for an entire segment about her decision. Her team is on the KeyArena court now warming up for tonight's game and she's trying to keep the Olympics off her mind but with Team USA set to announce its first nine members during halftime of ABC's broadcast of the Los Angeles-Washington afternoon game on Saturday, it's kind of difficult to keep the focus on the WNBA season.

San Antonio will be playing without C Ruth Riley, who sprained her right ankle in practice earlier this week. Recent arrival Ann Wauters will start in her place. Wauters, who is returning to the league after a two-year absence, played 27 minutes in the Silver Stars' win against the Storm last Saturday. She finished with 10 points and six boards, so Storm PG Sue Bird doesn't think Wauters starting will change much in Seattle's game plan.

"They're definitely different players in that Wauters likes to post-up more and Ruth likes to shoot more," Bird said. "So, the way we would guard pick-and-rolls and cover things would be different. But Ann played a lot the other day, so we got to see her. If anything, she's probably more comfortable now than she was then."

Wauters arrived in San Antonio on May 21 from Belgium due to troubles securing her visa.

One more note from San Antonio, the team is reporting that G Shanna Crossley underwent successful surgery on her torn left ACL on Thursday. She suffered the injury during training camp and is out for the season.

Here are tonight's starters:

F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sheryl Swoopes
G Sue Bird

INACTIVE: Florina Pascalau

F Vickie Johnson
F Sophia Young
C Ann Wauters
G Becky Hammon
G Helen Darling

INACTIVE: None designated since team only has 11 players.

Tonight's officials are Clarke Stevens, Angelica Suffren, and Brenda Pantojai.

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May 30, 2008 1:06 PM

Olympic update

Posted by Jayda Evans

Team USA just announced that it will hold a press conference on Saturday afternoon to announce the American Olympic squad. Storm stars Sue Bird and Swin Cash are expected to be on the final list, but I've heard from other reporters that Cash is uncertain about whether she'll make it.

Bird spoke confidently about the Olympics on Friday during a shoot around and I don't think there's an American alive that believes she won't be on the team. Three-time WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes said a while back that she most likely won't compete again and she's still dealing with her return from back surgery, so her reign as a three-time Olympian is most likely done.

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May 30, 2008 12:31 PM

Storm shootaround: Pascalau wins one

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Storm just wrapped up shoot around and Florina Pascalau won the infamous half-court shot. The contest that wraps up the morning walk-through is actually under new rules, according to coach Brian Agler. Everyone still gets an attempt, but unlike the past, the first to make the basket ends the game.

PG Sue Bird made the shot in Phoenix last week, using an imaginary machine gun to shoot down whatever in the empty arena. But there was a discrepancy with the rest of the team, which thought they could also try.

"They try to change the rules every time," Agler said of C Ashley Robinson and F Shyra Ely haggling with him.

Anyway, most of the talk at today's shoot around was about Silver Stars G Becky Hammon and her decision to play for Russia. Times columnist Steve Kelley will have more on this later in his "Road to Beijing" series, he was here interviewing about the topic and sharing the latest on Sir Ben Kingsley's four wives. But Storm F Lauren Jackson, who is in support of Hammon, was comical about former coach Anne Donovan's traitor comment toward Hammon on last week's broadcast of the Storm-Silver Stars game.

"That's something she would say," Jackson said, adding that Donovan obviously didn't know the business parameters behind the decision before using "such harsh words."

Folks have sent me the various Internet threads on Hammon and I just don't understand the problem.

If Hammon were a Bird -- expected since eighth grade to play for the Olympic team -- and said, "No, I'm playing for Russia," then maybe I understand the frustration. But Hammon, Kelly Miller, Deanna Nolan, and all of the other quality players not being considered by the U.S. for this Olympic team are now free agents, to steal a phrase from Kelley. If they believe they are good enough, they should be able to play elsewhere. Shoot, Americans invented outsourcing and this is the land of the free, isn't it?

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May 30, 2008 8:17 AM

Checking in on San Antonio

Posted by Jayda Evans

San Antonio and Seattle have had a week to prepare for tonight's rematch at KeyArena. The Silver Stars' Sophia Young was selected Player of the Week and the San Antonio press caught up with Helen Darling regarding her improved play this season. Both players gave Seattle fits in the 15-point loss on Saturday, Darling scoring 10 of her final 14 points in the opening quarter.

It's interesting to note that many scribes predict these teams to go deep in the playoffs, but they'll conclude their regular-season series against each other in June, when Seattle travels back to San Antonio. The Storm needs to break their six-game losing streak against the Silver Stars and keep in mind possible playoff positioning after the Olympic break because they won't have a chance against San Antonio then.

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May 29, 2008 1:57 PM

Calling all sporty designers

Posted by Jayda Evans

I read somewhere that the TV show "Project Runway" gets its highest ratings in Seattle, so with the WNBA asking fans to design a shooting shirt to be worn by players, I fully expect the winner to come from the area. Well, at least be in the top five. Here are the details directly from the league:

-- Fans Design Shooting Shirts to be Worn On Court By WNBA Stars --

NEW YORK, May 29, 2008 -- The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and adidas have launched the adidas WNBA i-design contest giving fans a chance to become fashion designers and have a shooting shirt they design be worn on-court by their favorite WNBA stars.

Aspiring designers can log onto and submit their shooting shirt designs for a specific WNBA team or for the 2008 WNBA Finals. Winning design submissions for each of the 14 teams -- as determined by a panel of WNBA and adidas representatives -- will be manufactured by adidas, the Official Outfitter of the WNBA, and worn by each team during that team's Fan Appreciation Night. The winning 2008 WNBA Finals shooting shirt design will be worn by the participating teams during one game of the Finals. Fans going to can also rate and comment on each submitted design.

The winning designer in each market will receive two tickets to attend a WNBA game as well as a special version of their winning shooting shirt autographed by their respective team in addition to an adidas prize pack. The fan whose design is chosen to be worn during the WNBA Finals will receive an all-expense paid trip for two to a Finals game.

For more information, log onto Last day for entries is July 31, 2008.

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May 27, 2008 9:56 AM

TV alert

Posted by Jayda Evans

Don't forget to tune in to "WNBA Tuesday" as Katie Douglas and her home-state Indiana Fever travel to her former Connecticut Sun for a faceoff tonight on ESPN2 (4 p.m. PST). Here's some reading on her and the Sun.

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May 25, 2008 5:35 AM

Off Day

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Storm is traveling back to Seattle today and has the day off. Coach Brian Agler said the team is going to focus on itself in preparation for what will be the "real" season. Once San Antonio comes to town on Friday, Seattle will play five games in nine days, have a three-day break, and then play another four games in six days. The Storm doesn't get another one of those odd, long stretches off until after their road game against Los Angeles on June 24. Their next game is June 29 against Washington at KeyArena.

A couple of observations from the road: It was cool to see Renee Brown, director of basketball operations and player relations, at the Silver Stars game. The league brass does a good job of checking in on players and the different cities to see what's going well or what can be improved.

And second, I have to note that while the increase may be small, slowly the league seems to be taking root in various cities. Winning helps and the Storm did just visit the two teams that were in the Western Conference Finals last season. But in year's past Phoenix and San Antonio would be sprinkled with Sue Bird jerseys. One little boy even asked Bird to marry him a few years back in San Antonio (and I think Bird accepted the ring).

In both stops this weekend, the arenas had solid, wild crowds decked out in the home-team colors. There were 9,000 in attendance at San Antonio. And a few fans behind press row even wore matching silver metallic wigs to the game. Silver Stars forward Sophia Young came over after the win to say "hello" to the regulars, thanking them for their support.

Not that Seattle wasn't represented. Four fans traveled to San Antonio. They were spotted by owner Dawn Trudeau who introduced herself and thanked them for their support.

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May 24, 2008 12:12 PM

Silver Stars game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans

STORM LOSE: The Storm suffered their first loss of the season 87-72 to the Silver Stars. Seattle has lost its past four games in San Antonio. The team heads back to Seattle and will have a mini training camp before playing San Antonio again on Friday at KeyArena.

FRENCH DEBUT: Now Young is out of the game, substituted by Lawson-Wade, who is making her 2008 debut.

THAT'S IT: Agler just swapped in his reserves, calling the game with 1:15 remaining. Here's wishing Hughes would take Young out. She just hit another three-pointer.

HAMMON FOR MVP: Can I start my pitch for Hammon as the 2008 MVP, yet? This Silver Stars team is tough and with Wauters really stateside, they're strong enough to win it all. It's still extremely early, but they're exposing the Storm's faults. I'm reminded that the Storm doesn't play well on national TV, though, and that is true. San Antonio is up 80-66 with 3:10 left in the game.

BYE YO: Griffith just collected her sixth foul and is out of the game. Ely is in the game for her and LJ has moved to the center position. Storm is down 73-63 and radio is talking about "baby steps." Way to keep it positive guys.

NOTEABLES: Forgot to mention that Mrs. Texas and Storm owner Dawn Trudeau are in attendance. Mrs. Texas gave an anti-drug speech at halftime. Apparently her campaign hasn't reached Dallas F/G Josh Howard, who stated earlier that he smokes pot during the NBA offseason.

NOT THIS TIME: It may be too early to call, but I don't think the Storm will pull this one out. Hammon is hitting the threes and LJ has never matched up well against Young and that's the case again today. The Seattle bench is giving the team minimal production and the Silver Stars defense seems like it's really bothering the Storm. Seattle trails 69-57 with 7:39 left in the game.

OUCH: Yeah, Buescher is still a Storm killer, even after knee surgery. She nailed two late three-pointers to help the Silver Stars take a 62-53 lead into the final quarter. She has seven points, three steals, and three boards off the bench. Darling is leading San Antonio with 14 points.

TEXAS HOLD 'EM: The refs just called a technical foul on Hughes because he was griping about a non-call. Jackson missed the FT, but Hughes is still heated and had to be held back by his assistants. There's an officials' timeout and Hughes is talking it over with the crew now. Agler was griping earlier about wanting consistency from the refs.

TIME!: Here we go again. The Silver Stars had to call a timeout because the Storm opened on a 9-0 run and is unbelievable on defense, Swoopes even collected a block on G Vickie Johnson. If they win, I'm not starting these types of blogs until the second half. Maybe it's because Swoopes and Griffith are old and they know they can only play 20 minutes? Anyway, Storm is down 43-37 and has the ball with 7:55 left in the third.

CASH MONEY: Cash has her own personal 9-2 run to help the Storm chip away at the lead. Seattle is making some defensive stops, but Bird and LJ are out of rhythm. Bird passed to LJ when her back was to the PG and San Antonio converted the pickup into another basket. The Storm trails 43-30 at the half, but what else is new? If you're wise, and the Storm stays true to form, you're tuning in now for another Seattle comeback win.

WRIGHT STUFF: Gotta give T some credit for the smooth defensive steal that she passed ahead to Cash for a layin. Cash's past five points have pulled the Storm within 39-26 with 3:43 remaining before the half. Swoopes is vocal today, talking to the players in the huddle during the current timeout.

CHOKING?: It's an entertaining game with two great coaches, but you can't say the Silver Stars are walloping the Storm, even though the score is 34-21. Seattle can't keep a hold of the ball long enough to make a push. And right on cue, Cash just committed another TO for the Storm. The tally is now 13. Hammon converted it into a three-pointer to make the score 37-21 with 5:09 remaining.

STICKING WITH THE BENCH: Agler is sticking with Shyra Ely, Ashley Robinson, Tanisha Wright, Katie Gearlds, and Swoopes to start the second quarter despite the group giving up a 10-0 run. Wright had three turnovers in the quarter. Swoopes is huddling the players for a pep talk now.

BUESCHER BACK: Buescher has checked into the game, wearing a brace on her left knee from the injury suffered last season. It's good to see her back on the court. And she doesn't appear to have missed a stepped. She remains tough on defense and aggressive on offense. She's helped the Silver Stars take a 30-17 lead. San Antonio was facing the Storm reserves with Swoopes being the only starter on the court. Seattle had 10 turnovers in the quarter for 12 San Antonio points.

TOLD YOU SO: OK, San Antonio has just made a push -- a 7-0 run to be exact. Wauters is connecting down low, not hard when Bird at 5-foot-9 is one of the defenders, and Seattle is making small mistakes on offense. The score is 18-11 with 3:24 remaining in the opening quarter.

OFFENSE CLICKING: Afraid to write this because you know what normally happens, but the Storm is off to a solid start. Griffith (0-for-3) and Bird (zero attempts) are the only staters not to connect on a shot, yet, but they are contributing in other ways. I've been waiting for this matchup because it's two veteran teams. Hammon is her usual menace self. She has three assists and just ignited a smooth play where she stole the ball from Griffith on defense, passed ahead and watched as Darling sank a three-pointer. Silver Stars are ahead 13-11 with 4:42 remaining in the opening quarter.

INTERANATIONAL RETURN: Guess who's back in the league? Edwige Lawson-Wade. The former Storm guard arrived in San Antonio on Thursday due to having trouble securing a visa from her native France. Lawson-Wade took a break from the WNBA following the 2006 season to play for the French National Team and to travel with her husband, a former Storm practice player. France didn't qualify for the Olympics so Lawson-Wade was picked up by San Antonio. But prior to returning stateside, Lawson-Wade's team was the one that lost to Bird and LJ for the Russian championship. "I told her that I think she's going to have the best summer that she's ever had," said Lawson-Wade of Bird. "Because this season in Europe she looked really good, sharp and was scoring a lot. Lauren, of course, was the man, like always." The Silver Stars are also welcoming back Belgium center Ann Wauters, who wanted to return to the league to play for coach Dan Hughes.

Tonight's game marks the return of coach Brian Agler to San Antonio and he made the rounds catching up with his former players and fellow coaches. Silver Stars G Becky Hammon said she was really upset at his move, making sure she was one of the first to leave a congratulatory message when he was hired in Seattle.

"He was my rebounder," Hammon said. "Everyday he'd work with me and my shooting and was really consistent with me. I appreciated that, so for personal reasons, I was sad to see him go. But I'm very happy for him. That's where he should be."

Agler has said repeatedly that he'd like Bird to play like Hammon, being more aggressive with the ball and scoring more.

"He just gave us the green light to play and be ourselves," Hammon said. "Trust our instincts and build trust with each other. Go play basketball and I loved being in that kind of system and that kind of atmosphere."

Here are today's starters

F Lauren Jackson
F Swin Cash
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sue Bird
G Sheryl Swoopes

F Sophia Young
F Vickie Johnson
C Ruth Riley
G Becky Hammon
G Helen Darling

Today's officials are Scott Twardski, Kurt Walker, and Angelica Suffren.

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May 23, 2008 10:16 AM

A tale for the Aussies

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm C Yolanda Griffith was funny after her team's third consecutive comeback win on Thursday. Reporters were asking Sue Bird about some missed three-pointers (eight to be exact) and a rare critical missed free throw late in the fourth quarter when Griffith, whose locker was next to Bird's, butted in -- "Quit talking about free throws!"

Griffith would be sensitive after the air balls she flung in true grandma fashion with 8:12 remaining in the game. Griffith missed both, badly, moving F Lauren Jackson to crack a smile and walk over to Griffith whispering, "Bend your knees! Bend your knees!"

"It's a commercial in Australia," Jackson said. "It plays over and over and over again, which makes it funny. But no one here has seen it. If Penny Taylor was here, she would know and would have laughed. I had a bit of a chuckle."

Taylor and fellow Mercury teammate Belinda Snell remained with their Australian national team to train for the upcoming Beijing Games. Jackson is the biggest name to return to the WNBA while Indiana guard Tully Bevilaqua is also playing in the league, hoping again for a spot on the Aussie Olympic squad.

"One of my main reasons in coming back this year is that I think the best preparation for the Olympics is to be playing against these players," said Jackson of her decision. "I have a lot more chance to be my best if I'm playing in this league. I'm definitely going to go balls-out and do what I can [to help the Storm win.]"

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May 22, 2008 5:50 PM

Mercury game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans

STORM WINS: Whew! Yet another close one, but the Storm pulled it out -- again. Don't tune in until halftime on Saturday because I have a sneaky feeling they'll do this against San Antonio, too. LJ refused to admit anything is really wrong with their starts, just that the team is trying to get the offense going. "I don't think it's anything to worry about because we're still able to put up those kind of numbers in the second half," she said. The Storm outscored the Mercury 50-31 after the break to win 87-83. It's the first time ever that the Storm has opened a season at 3-0.

SWEET BIRD: Folks are on their feet, but Bird has shut the place up by making a jay to put the Storm ahead by one. LJ added to that, making two free throws for a 84-81 lead with 22.3 seconds remaining. This would be the biggest comeback of the season if it holds.

THE WRIGHT EFFECT: Don't know if Wright's camp checks out this blog, but a couple of y'all should be full from eating your words. It's not pulling out a Storm win, but Wright has four points and two assists with zero turnovers in 10 minutes off the bench.

STRINGER IN THE HOUSE: Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer is seated courtside, just a few people down from Diaw. I'd rather write about her than the two awful airballs Griffith just tossed toward the net. Or was she aiming for the base of the hoop? Couldn't tell. Storm is down 72-64 with 7:27 remaining in the game.

WHERE'S THE T?: Heard that the officials weren't going to take much mess from the players this season, but LJ just went right in Gulbeyan's face and shouted "You guys are terrible!" She wanted a call on Willingham pushing and was upset at missing a three-pointer that would have put the team down by three. The Storm did get the ball and an additional three seconds on the clock for an inadvertent whistle. (Thanks to VanDerveer for explaining that one to me because I was a little lost -- along with the refs.)

RUN IN PROGRESS: The Storm is all about second-half comebacks. They haven't taken complete control of the game, but hot shooting from KG and a surge by LJ mixed with some bad misses by Phoenix has helped the Storm pull within 65-59. Seattle could have tied this game if it weren't for some missed shots at the hoop by Ashley Robinson and a block on Cash by Taurasi.

GRIFFITH DOWN: Griffith was popped in the face and laid on the court wailing. Then she jumped back up and is going to stay in the game. Guess it can get started now. Storm is down 58-46.

CHELLE IN PHOENIX: Former Storm F Chelle Thompson is at the game. She's about to give an interview to radio now. Thompson is living in Phoenix and said she'll be in Seattle soon for a visit. The Storm is down 52-37 at the half and just returned from the locker room.

PILATES ANYONE?: Gotta ask Taurasi if Pilates is part of her offseason routine. The woman looked like she was falling out of bounds, but bent back like the Matrix and saved the ball to her own teammate -- all underneath the Storm basket. Later she made a three-pointer at the top of the key to give her team a 44-24 lead, capping a 20-2 run. Yes, 20-2. Good thing it's the opening half and the Storm only shows up for the second.

GONE COLD: All of those good vibes are gone for the Storm. The Mercury has opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run and the Storm hasn't scored a FG since the 1:45 mark of the opening quarter. The team's shooting percentage has dropped to 37.0 and the players are getting frustrated at the lack of fouls called. Sound familiar? Agler is bringing Kelly Santos in for some muscle inside.

GETTING CLOSER: The Storm isn't clicking on all cylinders, but looks a lot better. Maybe they'll play three solid quarters tonight instead of two. It's a slow progress. The team is down 24-22 at the end of the first quarter.

WRIGHT OUT: At SG, Wright looked good for the brief stint she was on the court. She had an assist to Cash and played well on defense, her specialty. Swoopes checked back in the game for her. The Storm overall is shooting better than in their past two games, a 55.6 percent showing so far. Phoenix is also hot, though, at 56.3 percent.

WRIGHT CHECKS IN: Here we go with Wright, she's playing SG.

PLAYING SOME D: The Storm looks good on the defensive end, really aggressive and forcing the turnovers. On offense, LJ still can't get a three-pointer to fall, but Cash is starting off strong by driving to the hoop for buckets. Taurasi had the sweetest pass of the night, thus far, though. She wrapped one around Jackson out to Tangela Smith on the wing for a jumper. The score is 10-9 Phoenix with 4:47 remaining in the opening quarter.

SUNS IN THE HOUSE: Suns F/C Boris Diaw is seated courtside. The crowd is sparse, but the Mercury is off to a good start. They've made both of their opening three-point attempts and are ahead 6-2.

LINE PLEASE: The woman singing the National Anthem forgot the lines and had to be helped out by the crowd. She had a pretty voice, though, hitting the "free" part nicely.

LONG NIGHT AHEAD: We haven't even tipped off and already this fan behind the media is going nuts, cheering the Mercury on. "That's it, that's it!" is what he's saying over and over. And screaming "Yes!" for made layups -- during warmups. Wait until it counts, buddy. At least it's not ThunderStix, y'all know how I feel about those things.

MORE ON VANDERVEER: Former Storm assistant Heidi VanDerveer is here tonight. And it's not because she's a super fan. She's doing some scouting work for the Washington Mystics. When she attended the Storm's game against Sacramento, she was scouting for New York and she'll be scouting again for the Liberty when the Storm plays at San Antonio on Saturday. "Just keeping myself entertained," she said of the offseason work before her head coaching season at Occidental College gets started. Storm owner Anne Levinson is here, too. UPDATE: Dawn Trudeau and Lisa Brummel are here, also. The trio is seated right behind the Storm bench.

OK, whoever sent the rain out of jealousy of my basking in the sun on Wednesday, thanks. Forget about it ruining my plans, I just feel for the dude washing Cappie Pondexter's SUV in the U.S. Airways Arena garage during shootaround. He put in extra work, making the shoes (tires for all of you old-school types) pop and the paint shine so well, I could do a hair check from 10-feet away. Then she had to roll out into a pseudo monsoon. Bummer.

"It was you guys that brought the rain," Diana Taurasi said. "It sucks."

Yeah, a Storm is rolling through.

Phoenix is warming up as a unit and Lauren Jackson is doing some shooting with assistant coach Shelly Patterson, the three-pointers still aren't falling with consistency, however. Allie Quigley, who the Storm drafted in the second round and cut during training camp, is with Phoenix and coach Corey Gaines had nothing but positive things to say about her. More on her landing in the desert in tomorrow's notebook.

Everyone expected to play in both camps is healthy, especially Taurasi, who had to be taken to the emergency room prior to the Mercury's debut last Saturday. Storm F Sheryl Swoopes is fine after rolling her left ankle and is expected to start along with Swin Cash.

Here are tonight's starters

F Lauren Jackson
F Swin Cash
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sue Bird
G Sheryl Swoopes

INACTIVE: C Florina Pascalau

F Diana Taurasi
F Le'Coe Willingham
C Tangela Smith
G Kelly Miller
G Cappie Pondexter

INACTIVE: F/C Brooke Smith and F/C LaToya Pringle

Tonight's officials are Tony Dawkins, Felicia Grinter, and Roy Gulbeyan.

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May 22, 2008 1:49 PM

Mailbag: Is Wright so wrong?

Posted by Jayda Evans

Read a long post following the Storm's win against Sacramento basically wondering why G Tanisha Wright is ever let off the bench. The poster, Ice, pointed to Wright's final stat line of three fouls and three turnovers in nine minutes, starting in place of F Swin Cash. Cash was pulled from the lineup because she was unable to prepare with the team due to attending a funeral in Pennsylvania.

Shootaround just concluded and I saw coach Brian Agler offering some words of encouragement to Wright before the team boarded their bus back to the hotel. He defended Wright's play following the game, noting that the entire team had trouble against Sacramento's defense in the opening half and I'd have to say the same. If we're going to get after Wright, shouldn't we point out that Sue Bird had four turnovers and Lauren Jackson had three? (They did finish with 17 points apiece, playing more minutes and staying out of foul trouble, however.)

All of the players deserve a clean slate this season since they're under new coaching in Agler. At least that's how I'm approaching it. True, I'm not a fan of Wright playing PG, but as she said, former coach Anne Donovan pushed her into that role and it has helped broaden her game. Rookie Kimberly Beck and Bird have years of experience in decision making with the ball. Wright basically has had three, one under a totally different system.

Wright is still a quality defender and her mental toughness is something to be envied. Think she doesn't know y'all can't stand her at the point? To play through that when you know your "home" crowd is cringing when you have the ball takes guts.

One thing I don't know where Ice is coming from is Wright's lack of "visible chemistry on or off the court with her teammates." That's just not true. Wright is BFF with Shyra Ely and Ashley Robinson, calling on them for their thoughts on Agler being the new coach. They text'd each other often during the offseason and hang out on the road together. Bird even visited Wright last year in Israel.

I say give Wright time, but what's your opinion?

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May 22, 2008 10:23 AM

Doris Burke returns to WNBA

Posted by Jayda Evans

Perhaps you've seen the positive write-ups about broadcaster Doris Burke regarding her work with the NBA playoffs. Well, folks in the WNBA long knew she had an eye for the game -- no matter if it's men or women playing. She'll be back on the WNBA sideline on Saturday, calling the Storm's game against San Antonio on ABC. Here's the release:

The San Antonio Silver Stars and Becky Hammon will host the Seattle Storm and Sue Bird Saturday, May 24, at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. Terry Gannon and Doris Burke will call the action with reporter Rebecca Lobo. The ESPN2 WNBA Tuesday schedule will feature the Indiana Fever vs. the undefeated Connecticut Sun (2-0) at 7 p.m. Burke will provide commentary with Pam Ward and Lobo.

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May 21, 2008 12:22 PM

A different view of Storm's win against Sacramento

Posted by Jayda Evans

Forgot to share that Times photographer Rod Mar blogs after his shoots. He covered opening night and the win against Sacramento on Tuesday, so check out his site for the perspective from the camera lens. You'll also get to see some photos that didn't make the paper and know what type of camera/lens he used to get the shot, cool stuff.

Despite its horrible opening half, the Storm did convert another male fan. Mike Seely works for Seattle Weekly and he's that typical dude the WNBA craves. I love his work from the Supes beat and if the Storm can manage to play as it has in the second half of both games this season -- outscoring opponents 88-54 -- he just might come back.

I made it to Phoenix this afternoon, it's blistering hot and sunny, jealous? Oh, and I'm writing this poolside. OK, I can see the pool from my room, but after all the computer troubles I've had, I wouldn't dare take this thing near water. Anyway, it's interesting to note that the Mercury isn't practicing today.

The defending champions suffered their second consecutive loss on Tuesday, Diana Taurasi is at her home arena shooting hoops, trying to figure out how to get over their mini hump.

I hear the Storm is getting ready to board their plane for Phoenix. They had an extremely light practice this morning, not doing too much, but Sheryl Swoopes did participate after rolling her ankle late in the game on Tuesday. She's expected to play against the Mercury.

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May 20, 2008 6:23 PM

Monarchs game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans

STORM WINS: Unlike the Sonics, the Storm has chosen the fourth quarter to click and finally play. The Supes choose that time to lose most of its games. But those were young players and the Storm are vets that should know how to get off to a good start. Still, a win is a win. The undefeated Storm heads to Phoenix tomorrow.

SWOOPES OUT: Swoopes tweaked her ankle and was replaced by Wright. Williams-Strong is holding ice to her neck. Storm leads 66-60. UPDATE: Swoopes wanted to reenter the game after tweaking her left ankle, but Agler decided to hold her out. She was in the training room getting treatment, but it's not supposed to be a serious injury. Doctors are still determining whether X-Rays need to be taken.

WILLIAMS-STRONG DOWN: Williams-Strong is on the court after colliding with Jackson. She walked to the bench on her own, but the Monarchs trainer is holding a towel under her neck and not allowing her to move her head.

KG 4 THREE: No, this is not a glitch. KG is hitting threes like Shaq does tip-jams - easily. The second-year guard has three in the fourth quarter to help the Storm build a 56-49 lead. Nothing feels safe though. Lawson, Powell, and Kim Smith can shoot deep for Sacramento and they play better defense. We'll see if the Storm can ride this wave to a win.

KG 4 THREE: Katie Gearlds started the fourth quarter and hit a three-pointer. Couple that with an old-school three-point play by Cash and the Storm has pulled within 47-45. Griffith tied the game at 47 points apiece. KeyArena is on its feet again.

END OF THREE: The Storm isn't getting any calls and the fans are letting the refs hear it. KeyArena isn't nice to refs, anyway, but some of the calls really are questionable. Too bad Dee Kantner isn't here to witness this. Seattle is struggling, regardless, with defensive assignments and to find an offense. They trail 45-39 heading into the final 10 minutes of play. The Monarchs look good. And they sometimes have three rookies on the court at once.

GOING DEEP: Agler has had it, apparently. He went deep on his roster, bringing in rookie Kimberly Beck and Kelly Santos. The change, moving Bird to SG, worked briefly. Jackson got a bucket and Cash picked up a steal. The Storm is still down 34-21 with 2:20 before the half.

TALK IT OVER: The Storm is getting pounded by a 13-0 run. The Monarchs are hitting from the outside and inside. Powell is the real pill. She's playing the power forward role a little this year and even though she's a natural wing, her ability to bang inside and still swoop outside for a money three-pointer is going to cause major problems this season for opponents. Jackson and Cash have guarded her, well, lets just say they've tried to guard her. Powell is just 2-for-5, both baskets coming during the run to put the Monarchs ahead 29-17.

GET A REBOUND?: The Storm is getting outrebounded 16-6. It hasn't hurt them too much, they only trail 18-15. But Seattle certainly can't keep this up and expect to win. LJ is ineffective again, going 1-for-3 from the field. Agler said prior to the game that she is probably still trying to get her legs after arriving from Russia last week and learning a new system. Jackson even commented that it was going to take her a minute to adjust to all of the changes. She also said it takes a lot to come down from the "high of winning a championship." She won the Russian Superleague title earlier this month and a EuroLeague title, being named the Finals MVP.

PERFECT SHOOTING: Bird is 3-for-3 and despite two costly turnovers, she's keeping a head on the Storm. Reserve C Ashley Robinson is providing some nice defense, getting a tip block. And Griffith must have told her new teammates something, because they've been able to run their offense against Sacramento's noted D and aren't showing signs of frustration. That wasn't the case in the past. Then again, it was Griffith that most of the Storm players were frustrated with. Storm is ahead 15-14 headed into the second quarter.

HOT SHOOTING: Lawson is keeping the Monarchs in the game. She's 3-for-4 from the field, making two three-pointers. The Storm is ahead 11-10 with 3:47 remaining in the opening quarter.

MISMATCH: Wright, at 5-foot-11, was just playing defense against Williams-Strong, who's 6-5. The Monarchs couldn't capitalize on the mismatch inside, but Lawson did hit a three on the possession. Wright was replaced by Cash at the 7:35 mark, collecting two fouls to open the game. One was a shoddy call, however.

AUSSIE VISIT: Jackson's mother Maree, is seated courtside with CEO Karen Bryant and owner Anne Levinson.

WELCOME BACK: Former Storm assistant Heidi VanDerveer is in town for the game. She left following the 2007 season to become the associate head coach at San Diego State University and is currently the head coach at Occidental College. And speaking of the whereabouts of former Stormies, congrats to Semeka Randall for becoming the Ohio University coach and being inducted into their Hall of Fame. Now I'm really happy I kept my Randall lunchbox.

LINEUP CHANGE: G Tanisha Wright is going to start in place of F Swin Cash tonight. Coach Brian Agler is making the change because Cash was unable to participate in Monday's practice due to attending a funeral in Pennsylvania. She returned this afternoon. Agler said the swap shouldn't alter the Storm's game plan much because the system allows for interchangeable parts. Cash was surprised when told she wouldn't be starting shortly before media availability. "Either way, it doesn't matter to me," said Cash, who had 13 points and eight boards in the opener. "At the end of the day, my job is to do whatever I can once I get out there on the floor."

Things are lively in the Storm locker room. The players are watching the Detroit-Celtics playoff game while they stretch and get ready for the game. G Sue Bird is really into the game, however, squirming at every Ray Allen miss. "I want him to play well," she said of her fellow Connecticut alum. Allen is currently 3-for-7 from the field, helping to tie the game at 32 points apiece.

ESPN2 is in the house, returning former WNBA center Rebecca Lobo to the sideline. Lobo is pregnant - again! "I can't go two WNBA seasons without being pregnant," she joked. She already has two children and will miss the postseason to give birth to her third.

Here are tonight's starters

F Tanisha Wright
F Lauren Jackson
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sheryl Swoopes
G Sue Bird

F Nicole Powell
F Rebekkah Brunson
C Adrian Williams-Strong
G Kara Lawson
G Ticha Penischeiro

The officials are Sue Bauch, Daryl Humphrey, and Shelley Nakasone.

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May 19, 2008 2:53 PM

Cash misses practice

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm forward Swin Cash missed practice today to attend a funeral in Philadelphia with her fiance. Close friend and Storm teammate Sue Bird said, "She's fine," handling the situation well. No other details were provided.

Coach Brian Agler expects Cash to return tonight and be in the starting lineup on Tuesday.

Sacramento just arrived and former Monarchs center Yolanda Griffith was ecstatic, giving hugs to Nicole Powell and Jenny Boucek among others. Agler said the challenge will be keeping Griffith organized as everyone tugs at her to reflect on her Sacramento days.

But Agler has experience dealing with star players facing their former teams from three seasons as an assistant coach in San Antonio. Last season alone, he experienced the "returns" of Erin Buescher, who went back to Sacramento; Becky Hammon, who went back to New York; and Ruth Riley, who went back to Detroit.

"You sort of have to manage their time because everybody wants to talk to them," Agler said. "You don't want to take away from that, but sort of have to keep them organized. I don't think it'll be so bad tomorrow, but when we go back down there [to Sacramento], it could get to a higher level."

The Monarchs, playing without veteran posts Griffith and DeMya Walker, who was waived after suffering a second knee injury, defeated San Antonio in their season opener. Bird commented that while the team appears to have the same defensive intensity, they've picked up an offense under Boucek, their second-year coach.

"This is no knock because they won a championship, but their offense [before] was something they never really relied on at all," said Bird, whose team is 9-18 all-time against the Monarchs. "You'd scout them and there was nothing to scout because they didn't have an offense."

Boucek has implement a small-ball system that works well for the shooters on the Monarchs roster.

"Offensively, I'm impressed with how they attack," Agler said. "They just keep coming at you. They're going to be a tough team."

Ah, they already have been, reaching the Western Conference Finals five times, the WNBA Finals twice, winning the title in 2005 when Griffith was selected the series MVP.

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May 19, 2008 1:31 PM

When gossip hits home

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm forward Sheryl Swoopes has nothing good to say about Internet chat sites and gossip blogs. I can see why after receiving an e-mail with this link this morning. Someone somewhere is always dogging Swoopes for her supposed attitude or play and now they can't get the facts of her personal relationship right.

The site dropped in a photo of me as Alisa Scott, Swoopes' longtime partner. I was joking about it in the media lounge outside the practice doors when Scott walked through. We showed her the mix-up and she said she had already seen it. "It pisses me off," she said. Yikes!

We've both tried to contact the site to remove the photo but haven't been able to reach anyone. So, for the record, that's not Alisa Scott. But this is.

Scott isn't the only family member watching practice today. Candace Griffith, the 17-year-old daughter of new Storm center Yolanda, is also in town for the summer. She has attended the majority of her mother's games, sitting right behind the Sacramento bench the past nine seasons. The Storm faces the Monarchs on Tuesday, tipping off ESPN2's "WNBA Tuesday" lineup where a different game is featured every Tuesday night.

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May 18, 2008 12:29 PM

More on Candace Parker vs. Oscar Robertson

Posted by Jayda Evans

I decided to check out what NBA legend Oscar Robertson had to say about his rookie triple-double debut on Oct. 20, 1960 for the Cincinnati Royals, and some of the similarities to Candace Parker are freaky. Parker missed a triple-double by two assists on Saturday night in her debut for the Los Angeles Sparks. In Robertson's book "The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game," he writes how that year the Minnesota Lakers moved to Los Angeles. Parker is the No. 1 overall draft pick to the Sparks. The Lakers had a spry rookie of their own in Jerry West, whose team lost to the Royals as Robertson made history.

Robertson also writes about the fanfare for his debut because of his college accomplishments, drawing more than 8,000 people to the game. The largest in Royals' history. The Phoenix Mercury nearly had 14,000 at the home opener against the Sparks, partly because of Parker, who had her own cheering section shouting "CP3!," and for the Mercury receiving their 2007 championship rings on national TV.

Robertson finished with 21 points, 12 boards, and 10 assists. "(The Cincinnati) Enquirer called it 'perhaps the finest performance in four seasons, as (Royals) rang up more points than any one Cincinnati team in history.' Of me, a columnist said: 'His superb faking and general generalship thrilled the fans, and there is no doubt he will be one of the greatest,'" wrote Robertson in his book.

The same was said about Parker across the WNBA. She set a league rookie record for most points scored in a debut, finishing with 34, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. Los Angeles Times columnist Kurt Streeter wonders if the media will run out of superlatives and everyone in the Storm and Chicago Sky camps were impressed, watching the debut on ABC.

"Candace Parker is definitely beyond anything I've ever seen in my life," said two-time MVP Lauren Jackson. "She's the real deal and I'm just glad I'm around to see it. The way that she held herself out there and hitting the big shots. Candace Parker is the L.A. Sparks. If they win the championship this year, it's going to be because of her. She was impressive, dude."

Parker was worried about tossing up airballs, but was able to ease into the game because of veterans like Lisa Leslie. And, as West said of Robertson, Parker never really acted like a rookie.

"My on-court adjustment process went fairly easily, I think," wrote Robertson of his first NBA season. "The game was faster, the players stronger, but nothing overwhelmed me. The pro game involved a lot, processing the different things you had to do, while at the same time being able to make decisions and react."

We'll see if Parker can continue this type of play, however. Let's not forget that Robertson nearly averaged a triple-double that year in 30.5 points, 10.1 boards, and 9.7 assists.

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May 17, 2008 7:08 PM

Sky game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans

STORM WINS: It was rough, but the Storm won 67-61. They're off tomorrow and will prepare for Sacramento and a national TV game on Tuesday. The Key is still packed, carrying on the tradition of wanting to hear the women speak after the game. In a twist, the owners joined the Storm in the post-game huddle and Times photographer Rod Mar told me Sheryl Swoopes told the women, "We want to thank you guys for keeping us here."

BECK CHECKS IN: Cash is the only starter on the court as rookie Kimberly Beck and Brazilian Kelly Santos have checked in. Romanian Florina Pascalau was on the inactive list tonight.

FOWLES OUT: Fowles wasn't pleased at the call and just fouled out with 4:41 remaining. She played 16 minutes and didn't even get a whiff at a dunk.

FOWLES FOULS: In case you're wondering, No. 2 overall draft pick Sylvia Fowles is a non-factor due to five personal fouls. The rookie has six points and seven boards. The Storm is ahead 64-48 -- starting the quarter on a 11-1 run -- with 5:58 remaining in the game and the scoreboards just started working. Guess everything is a little late to arrive tonight.

SWEET SWOOPES: The real Swoopes, I mean the money player circa 2005, has just arrived. She caused Sky C/F Chasity Melvin to look stupid, dribbling without the ball because Swoopes had stolen it and passed ahead to Bird for a layin with 58.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Then Swoopes grabbed a rebound and put it in for a layin, drawing a foul, giving the Storm a 54-47 lead heading into the final 10 minutes. Folks are on their feet and it's super loud in the Key. Police officers are wearing earplugs.

BREAKTHROUGH: Shyra Ely made a layin to tie the score at 38 points apiece. This is the team you expected, but knew it would take time to evolve. The ball is moving better and the Storm is getting aggressive on defense. Just to be clear, though, the Sky is no joke. Agler said prior to the game that he expects the third-year expansion team to be in the playoffs and I completely agree.

GOOD D: LJ deflected a bad Dupree pass, which Cash collected as a steal. The defensive play eventually was converted into Jackson's second bucket of the game, putting the Storm behind 38-31 with 8:03 remaining in the third quarter. Add a three-pointer to the list. Score is now 38-36 and Seattle seems to have revived itself.

AT THE HALF: Orender spoke to the media, but nothing earth shattering there. The Storm is down 35-29 at the break. Nickles declined to speak with the media, just wanting to "be a fan" with his family, a PR rep said.

MAILBAG: Was asked about the defense and LJ's defense of that title isn't going so swell, either. The Storm is getting outscored 14-4 in the paint and 6-1 in second-chance points. Attempts at blocks just end up in made baskets for the Sky and Chicago is in the midst of a 10-2 run to take a 35-29 lead with seconds remaining in the half.

OFFICIAL VISITS: WNBA President Donna Orender is seated courtside with U.S. Senator Patty Murray. I'm told Seattle Mayor Greg Nickles is also in attendance, but I haven't spotted him, yet.

OFFENSE?: OK, we heard all training camp that offense wasn't going to be a problem, but we've got a problem. The Storm is shooting 32.1 percent from the field after Katie Gearlds hit a three-pointer to inch the Storm closer at 24-23. Jackson is 1-for-10. Guess this is what happens when the team only gets three days to train together. Yet, Phoenix didn't have a problem today.

SWEET PASS: Cash is really doing some work inside. She's only grabbed two boards, but is helping to at least create attempts for Seattle. She just had a smooth bounce pass around her Chicago defender to Griffith in the paint for a layin. The score is 20-18 with 8:24 remaining before halftime.

END OF FIRST: The Storm is down 18-16 after one quarter of play. The Storm could be ahead if it could hit a free throw, they have missed three of their six attempts. Chicago is a perfect 6-for-6 from the line. The Sky is also shooting 40 percent compared to the Storm's 28.6 percent.

FROZEN AUSSIE: Reigning MVP Lauren Jackson isn't off to one of her better starts. She's 1-for-6 from the field with 2:18 remaining in the opening quarter. Agler has only gone to his bench twice, playing A-Rob and Wright. Bird is leading with five points and the Sky is ahead 14-13.

HEY REF: Chatted with Dee Kantner, supervisor of officials, and you can put her down as another member of the blogger society. "We're trying to humanize the officials," she said. "We're not the enemy. I've never blogged before, but it will be a day-in-the-life of a WNBA official." You can checkout her first entry here. There are six new officials this season due to some injuries and Bob Trammel retired. One thing Kantner said the refs will be focusing on this season is sportsmanship. While the players aren't complete potty-mouths (yeah, we know what you said today Cappie Pondexter), Kantner said the complaining has gotten a little out of hand, especially with more mics that pick-up the sound. "That's not good for our league," she said.

A little late to start this, opening night glitches. Anyway, sorry you missed this one if you didn't make it to KeyArena. The place is sold out and rocking and the team busted out with a new system in team intros, placing a platform trimmed with a black curtain at center court and have the Storm emerge with smoking rising. In a word, awesome.

Some pregame notes are that Storm coach Brian Agler wants to limit the play of vets Sheryl Swoopes and Yolanda Griffith, which was expected. But he said that will depend on the play of C Ashley Robinson for Griffith. Tanisha Wright will see time at the point, but Agler does plan to play third-round draft pick Kimberly Beck.

Here are the starting lineups:

F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sheryl Swoopes
G Sue Bird

F Candice Dupree
F Dominque Canty
C Sylvia Fowles
G Armintie Price
G Jia Perkins

Tonight's officials are Clarke Stevens, Amy Bonner, and Penny Davis.

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May 17, 2008 12:32 PM

Alicia Keys promotes WNBA

Posted by Jayda Evans

Just saw the Alicia Keys promo for the WNBA and it's so cool. It'll be aired before all nationally televised games, so if you missed it today for the Los Angeles-Phoenix tipoff, I suggest you tune in once to see it.

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May 17, 2008 7:32 AM

Nike drops Gearlds

Posted by Jayda Evans

You won't see Storm F/G Katie Gearlds sporting the Nike swoosh tonight at the team's opener against Chicago. In some Candace Parker aftershock, KG said Nike dropped her endorsement deal (among others) to offer Parker a deal that would be competitive with other companies itching to have the star. But Parker opted for a reported multiyear, multi-million dollar deal with Adidas, which also sponsors the WNBA.

"It's too late [to get picked back up]," said KG, whose teammates Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson remain Nike reps. "They [Nike] said maybe in the future."

Seems KG's home state team, the Indiana Fever, may be in jeopardy of being dropped, too. While ownership didn't threaten to sell, they do want to see progress that the Fever hasn't shown.

Indiana entered the league with the Storm in 2000. The sister franchises were part of four to enter that season when the league was at its height with 16 teams. Two of those expansion teams, Portland and Miami, have since folded and the Storm was bought by independent owners.

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May 16, 2008 5:53 PM

Mailbag: Opener won't be televised

Posted by Jayda Evans

Joseph of Shoreline asked if the Storm opener on Saturday would be televised (and a couple of others have been asking about a TV announcement) and the answer is no, the debut against Chicago will not be televised. The Storm also isn't prepared to release any information about whether it will have a local deal at all.

The opener not being aired isn't a slight. Last season's wasn't, either. But the team didn't have a problem securing a TV deal because it was always part of the Sonics' Fox Sports Northwest deal in the past. Now under new ownership, the Storm has to get its own deal and I know in the past the cost was around $35,000 per game.

Fans can check the WNBA's site to see when Storm games will be aired there via a broadband pass. And there are still the national games and radio broadcasts. Plus, I'll be streaming a live game thread.

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May 16, 2008 12:23 PM

Live from training camp: Dunk this!

Posted by Jayda Evans

Checked in on that other rookie who will be making her WNBA debut at KeyArena on Saturday and I'm so excited to share that Sylvia Fowles, the No. 2 overall draft pick from LSU, plans to dunk -- often -- this season. Fowles, a 6-foot-6 center, said she may even throw one down at the Key. And for all of you who think it'll be some weak tip-jam stuff like Lisa Leslie or even that one by Candace Parker, checkout this clip of Fowles dunking for a Chicago Sky commercial.

"It's a second-nature thing for me to dunk," said Fowles, who dunked in college. "Nobody taught me how to dunk. But now I have [assistant] coach Mike [Mitchell] on my hands and just to have the opportunity to work with him, I can see the difference."

Sweet! But if that goodie doesn't come Saturday, know that the Storm plans to give the first 10,000 fans a commemorative program and the first 5,000 will also receive a Storm schedule magnet. The team is expected to have more than 13,000 people for opening night, opening up three sections on two sides of the upper deck.

We haven't been let into practice, which is being held at the Key while the Sonics summer league tryouts (saw Washington alum Will Conroy giving interviews) at the training facility. The deadline for final rosters has already passed, and I've only spotted Florina Pascalau, Kimberly Beck, and Kelly Santos on the court. I'm told we'll have an official release soon.

Before we get started, wanted to let you know this will be the final "Live from training camp" edition because training camp is over today and if you think a sistah is doing this all season from practice you're nuts (smile). There will be a new feature in live threads for games I cover.

BARNES IS BACK: Former Storm forward Adia Barnes, who is the team's color analyst, has arrived from Italy and is watching practice with us. She's quickly catching up on all the players, knowing Pascalau from play overseas. Barnes is wondering how the Romanian will adjust to the league but still likes her game.

SANTOS ON THE RUN: Santos just made a nice layin in transition off a steal she collected from a Yolanda Griffith pass. Us media types were commenting that often big posts aren't motivated in this league, but Santos is an aggressive hard worker, so look for her to make an impact.

IT'S OFFICIAL: The Storm cut G Doneeka Lewis. For those keeping track, the media guide was off by two. Three if you count Pascalau, but who knew that? (Aside from the coaching staff) For the record, too, G Tanisha Wright was born in Brooklyn. But everywhere West Mifflin, PA is listed and she just found out. All her family is from Brooklyn, however, and I guess they want to be properly represented.

THAT'S A WRAP: The Storm has wrapped up a long, approxiaxmate three-hour practice. Next up? The regular season. G Sue Bird said things are coming along smoothly and she's excited about the season. She wants to get off to a good start, but noted that it is a long season.

CROSSLEY EFFECT: Storm coach Brian Agler was upset at the news G Shanna Crossley would be out the entire season due to tearing her left ACL. Crossley was the San Antonio Silver Star's third, active, leading scorer as a reserve. "I haven't see their final roster yet, but she could just shoot the basketball," Agler said. "They're well-enough coached and have enough depth that they'll absorb it. But from from the standpoint of having somebody like that, who could help them in terms of their depth...they'll absorb it and do well."

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May 15, 2008 10:05 AM

Storm cuts Washington standout Kristen O'Neill

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm coach Brian Agler liked Washington standout Kristen O'Neill's work-ethic, but she ultimately didn't fit into his system. He announced her being cut this morning. The roster now stands at 13 players with one more cut expected to keep the Storm under their $772,000 max salary cap. Here's the release:


SEATTLE, May 15, 2008 -- The Seattle Storm announced today that guard Kristen O'Neill has been waived from the team. The roster now stands at 13 players.

O'Neill, a 2006 graduate from the University of Washington, averaged 2.5 points and 1.0 rebounds in two pre-season games for the Storm earlier this year.

"It's always great to have a local player in Storm training camp," Storm CEO Karen Bryant said. "I know a lot of fans were rooting for Kristen. We were all very impressed by her and have expressed a desire to keep her involved in the Storm organization this summer."

"Making some of the final cuts is always difficult, but letting Kristen go was an incredibly tough decision," Storm Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel Brian Agler said. "Kristen is very competitive. She is a great defender, shoots the ball well and her work ethic is unmatched. I've encouraged her to continue to work hard and to stay prepared to capitalize if the opportunity arises."

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May 14, 2008 8:30 PM

Storm cuts Hodges

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Storm cut Roneeka Hodges tonight. Hodges, a 5-foot-11 shooting guard, played the past three seasons in Houston with F Sheryl Swoopes, averaging 4.3 points in 13.8 minutes.

A graduate of Florida State, Hodges is the twin of G Doneeka Lewis, who is still vying for a roster spot. They played together briefly at LSU and hoped to play in the pros together. Lewis was in Italy playing when Hodges called her to tell her about her impending trade.

"She called me in the middle of the night," said Lewis, who's sister was traded to Seattle, along with the fourth pick in the draft, from the expansion Atlanta in exchange for Iziane Castro Marques and the eighth overall pick. The Storm later traded the fourth pick [Alexis Hornbuckle] to Detroit for Swin Cash.

"Actually she called me the day before and was trying to figure out what's going, she was going to Atlanta," said Lewis of Hodges not being protected by the Comets in the expansion draft. "Then she [Roneeka] said, 'I'm going to be traded.' We was trying to figure out 'which team, which team?' We were so off. We never thought Seattle and bam, it was like that. I just stood there like, 'you're joking!' I had to read it on the Internet to believe."

Both were realistic about the challenge in both making the team, although they play different positions. Lewis is a natural PG. But coach Brian Agler runs a system the easily fits three natural PGs.

"I don't see us as competing against each other," said Hodges earlier in camp.

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May 14, 2008 5:09 PM

Want fries with that Storm?

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm players will take over the McDonald's in the shadow of the Space Needle on Thursday, helping the fast food chain promote its new Southern-style meals. The promo is part of McDonald's extended partnership with the WNBA and will include players wearing the golden arches logo on their jersey for opening day on Saturday and the May 20 matchup against Sacramento.

F Sheryl Swoopes is elated. One of her jobs in high school was working at McDonald's. She did everything from "dropping" the fries to working the drive-thru for about $4 an hour. She gave her entire paycheck to her mother to help with bills around the house. Mom always gave a few back for Swoopes to "waste."

"I loved my McDonald's job," she said. "I've always loved McDonald's, but I also worked at KFC and the public library.

"I remember I was so worried that I was going to cook the fries too long, not understanding they're on a timer so, when the timer goes off, you pick the fries up. And I just took the salt and poured it because I love salty fries. Tomorrow I've got to remember it's not about me, not everybody likes salt. I'll just do a little bit and be done."

Plans are still in the works, but organizers are trying to work it so Swoopes handles the drive-thru again. More details below.


Enjoy a Free Southwest Style Chicken Sandwich during National Consumer Sampling Day

What: McDonald's is practicing a little Southern-style hospitality during a national consumer sampling day on May 15, giving customers a chance to enjoy a free Southern Style Chicken Biscuit from 7:00 a.m. -- 10:30 a.m., or a Southern Style Chicken Sandwich beginning after breakfast hours until 7:00 p.m., with the purchase of any medium or large beverage.

McDonald's is working with the WNBA nationally to introduce the new southwest style chicken sandwich. To kick off the 2008 season, Seattle Storm superstars Yolanda Griffith, Sheryl Swoopes, Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Katie Gearlds will be at the Seattle Center McDonald's this Thursday signing autographs, hanging out with customers and even working the drive thru window!

When: Thursday, May 15 4:30 p.m. -- 5:30 p.m.

Where: McDonald's and 222 5th Avenue N; Seattle, WA 98109

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May 14, 2008 3:18 PM

Live from training camp: LJ returns to Seattle

Posted by Jayda Evans

Spotted Lauren Jackson's Jeep in the parking lot and her on the court, so the Storm is officially complete. Jackson arrived on Tuesday evening, according to coach Brian Agler, and passed a physcial this morning to be able to practice this afternoon. Agler specifically pushed the session back for Jackson.

We haven't been let in, so I'll continue with parking lot observations. In past years, the lot was loaded with bad rentals. Another payoff for playing overseas is getting a nice ride. Sue Bird drives a Range Rover, Shyra Ely is hopeful to ship her Yukon Denali to Seattle, and Yolanda Griffith sports a convertible Benz.

And one last observation before we go in, my guess is that Jackson is the most popular media draw. There are three cameras and three papers for her arrival today. Bird drew a big crowd, but only two TV stations.

STORMS SIGNS ROMANIAN: The Storm signed C Florina Pascalau today. The roster is back at 15 players with the need to trim to a maximum 13, including two inactive, by Friday afternoon. I'll have more on why Pascalau, who's 6-foot-4, was added in tomorrow's newspaper. As for now, Agler did mention having difficulty communicating with post Kelly Santos during games, but liked her play. With C Janell Burse (foot) being out for the season, it's understandable that Agler would want to find solid backup inside since Griffith isn't going to be able to give 35 minutes a night and C Ashley Robinson is still developing her game.

LEWIS A LOCK?: Agler has the black team huddled up and it looks like the apparent first-teamers. Among the group is Doneeka Lewis, who was picked up by the Storm last July. On the court now is the anticipated starting lineup up in Jackson, Swin Cash, Sheryl Swoopes, Sue Bird, and Griffith. Jackson just made a smooth play on defense to get the ball, but was blocked by one of the male players when driving to the hoop on offense. (Tanisha Wright is also in black, everyone else, including Pascalau, is in white)

MOVING BETTER: Agler is running a three-guard lineup with Bird, Wright, and Lewis and it looks good. Lot of movement with Griffith and Robinson anchoring the inside. Agler is on the court giving pointers and showing players where the need to be. Jackson is seated on the sideline.

OWNERS IN THE HOUSE: Force 10 Hoops chairwoman Anne Levinson and member Ginny Gilder are seated among the media baseline. They joked that they can't hide from all of the cameras here. Storm CEO Karen Bryant is also looking on.

NICE D: Katie Gearlds, yes, Katie Gearlds just caused one of the male practice players to show a lot of frustration because of her defense. In transition she shadowed him and forced a travel.

BREAKING IT DOWN: The expected starting unit is walking through an in-bounds play. Jackson just teased to Bird that she needs to "practice" the play. On the other end of the court, new assistant coach Nancy Darsch is running through the play with Kimberly Beck, Kelly Santos, Kristen O'Neill, Roneeka Hodges, Shyra Ely, KG, and Pascalau.

WRAPPING UP: That's a wrap for practice and Jackson looks as if she wants to get the media part over, but she's greeting the owners and gave a big huge to KB first. It's her first time meeting part of the group. Bird also walked over and said "Hello." The others have met the owners at various events throughout training camp.

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May 14, 2008 8:22 AM

Are WNBA GMs nuts?

Posted by Jayda Evans

I'm in the midst of pulling together our Storm preview, which should be in Friday's paper (pray for me). But you know I couldn't let this season's GM survey slide by and not have a comment.

Los Angeles as the 2008 champs? With 46 percent of the vote? Are you kidding me?

Don't you dare bring up how Sheryl Swoopes returned from pregnancy and helped lead Houston to a title as defense for how Lisa Leslie can do the same. First, Swoopes was 26 when she became the poster-woman for springing back after giving birth. Leslie is 35! And did anyone watch her during the friendlies in China? I've never been a Leslie promoter, I do work in Seattle, but I've always respected her game and it's not there yet.

Plus, all this hype for Candace Parker when she's playing year-round for basically the first time on a shoulder that's been dislocated twice is crazy. Not particularly worried about that because I've seen the rookie over-hype before in Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Chamique Holdsclaw, and Seimone Augustus. All were No. 1 overall draft picks. All had to fall in line, learn the ropes and in the case of Bird and Taurasi, scrap to win their first "expected" title.

Which brings me to what is really bothersome. The total dis of Phoenix. Yes, Penny Taylor opting to train with her national team for the Olympics hurts, but not enough for the Mercury not to be heavily favored this summer. Even the loss of coach Paul Westhead to the Sonics shouldn't be a factor since Corey Gaines was groomed to take over and -- hello -- played and worked with Westhead. Gaines was the player's pick to take the position, according to general manager Ann Meyers Drysdale. And everybody has players arriving late to camp, so you can't knock Finals MVP Cappie Pondexter and Kelly Miller's anticipated Thursday arrival from overseas play as a reason to not believe they'll repeat.

Since predictions won't be part of our preview package, I'll go ahead and state that I think the championship goes East with San Antonio being a strong contender in the West. But I wouldn't snub Phoenix. LA and Seattle would have to come in after that.

Of course all this confusion was dampened when I got some insider information that said the GMs, crunched for time to kick-off a pivotal season, didn't really do all of the voting. Apparently some was delegated to employees. But they should know better, too.

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May 13, 2008 4:22 PM

Kennedy cut

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Storm cut rookie Daphanie Kennedy today. This is somber news because the kid can play and has a fighter's mentality, plus she reminded me of Betty Lennox. The league could use more flashy players like her that can create their own shot. But Kennedy wasn't versatile and that's a downside in the WNBA. The Storm has enough scorers and needs a solid back-up PG along with a versatile player that can be thrown in anywhere.

Kennedy, like Allie Quigley, could pop up elsewhere this season and make an impact at her more comfortable SG role. She should definitely be back next season after hopefully playing overseas.

Washington standout Kristen O'Neill, Roneeka Hodges, Doneeka Lewis, and Kimberly Beck are still alive in the fight to make the roster. My prediction still stands, I'd keep Kelly Santos, Beck, and O'Neill. I'd sneak in Lewis, if possible, but the numbers don't fit. Hodges is playing well in training camp, but she lacks versatility, too.

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May 13, 2008 12:40 PM

Live from training camp: Bird on the court

Posted by Jayda Evans

We haven't been allowed in, but I spotted PG Sue Bird in the house. Us media types were talking of the brutal turnaround she had from Moscow to Seattle, especially after the high of winning a championship on Saturday. But -- as usual -- she seems unfazed.

Two-time MVP Lauren Jackson, who arrived on Monday, is not here. Jackson is in Seattle, but resting at home. She's said before that she loves to sleep on rainy days and Seattle served up a perfect one for her today. I'll have more when the doors officially open.

JACKSON UPDATE: My bad. Got some bad info and it turns out that Jackson is actually in London, en route to Seattle. She'll arrive late tonight and is expected to participate in the Storm's late afternoon practice on Wednesday.

POINT WRIGHT: G Tanisha Wright is at the point, again, with the Black Team. Coach Brian Agler said he likes her more at SG, but apparently Wright is showing signs of improvement from last season at the point.

CUTS?: The Storm doesn't have to make any cuts with Bird and Jackson's arrival since the training camp roster is at the required 15 players. But Agler left this option open. Since the team makes it debut on Saturday, I'd guess he'd make a decision on Wednesday to make final preps and settle on roles.

SWAPPING POINTS: OK, now Kristen O'Neill is trying her hand at the point for the White Team. She's lined up with C Ashley Robinson, F Kelly Santos, G Roneeka Hodges, and F Katie Gearlds. I like O'Neill to make the final roster for the oppisite reason Chandi Jones was cut. Talked to Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer this morning and we talked about the need of a killer, grind it out mentality that you need in order to make it in the WNBA. Or as a pro in general. Jones didn't appear to have it and Laimbeer said that was one of the reason's she was traded and then cut by Washington. O'Neill, while looking sweet, has that drive. KG teased her the other day about when she was going to get off the court and Agler said, with his back turned to O'Neill while shooting that same day, that he didn't even need to turn around to know that it was her.

AH OFFENSE: Bird, Swoopes, Shyra Ely, Griffith, and Cash were just running a play together and Bird is making things flow against the men. There's crisp passing and made shots. Hopefully this carries over.

FYI: Former Storm rookie Allie Quigley was signed by Phoenix on Monday and G Betty Lennox has reported to Atlanta's training camp.

THAT"S A WRAP: Practice ended on a made three-pointer by Roneeka Hodges. Bird didn't look too shabby. We'll see how things really look with the final component in Jackson on Wednesday.

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May 13, 2008 10:11 AM

Presidential visit

Posted by Jayda Evans

Known around her NYC office as the original energizer bunny, WNBA president Donna Orender is expected to be at KeyArena on Saturday to help unveil the new era in Storm basketball. I'm writing "expected" because she's going on another of those whirlwind tours where you're amazed she can make the all the connecting flights and still know her and most of the players' names.

"I don't know how she does it," one employee commented recently.

Tip-off weekend begins with Orender in Phoenix so she can give the champs their rings during their afternoon opener on ABC. She'll leave around halftime to be in Seattle for the Storm's evening opener. Then she'll take a red-eye to NYC and trek to Madison Square Garden for New York's 2008 debut.

All of that after already spending this past week traveling and smoothing feathers over the McDonald's logo debate. The campaign, by the way, will include the fast food chain's logo on the court, sideline ads, chair backs and on hoop padding at the Key on May 20 when the Storm hosts the Monarchs. It's part of the promotional deal for nationally televised games.

The onslaught ends nationally June 6.

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May 12, 2008 5:25 PM

Storm players to serve java

Posted by Jayda Evans

If you've ever dreamed of Swin Cash handing you your morning coffee, Tuesday's event is for you. Cash and teammates will be scattered around town serving folks their favorite cup of Joe. Here's more details:

WHO: Seattle Storm players Shyra Ely, Swin Cash, Katie Gearlds, Ashley Robinson, Kristen O'Neill and Tanisha Wright

WHAT: Storm players will greet customers and pass out orders at local Starbucks.

WHERE: Cash & Gearlds at Westlake Center Kiosk on 400 Pine St.
Wright & O'Neill at University Village on 4634 26th Ave. N.E.
Robinson & Ely at Upper Queen Anne on 2135 Queen Anne Ave. N.

WHEN: All appearances will be Tuesday, May 13, 8:30 -- 9:30 a.m.

The Seattle Storm will lend a hand to Starbucks partners on Tuesday when players Shyra Ely, Swin Cash, Katie Gearlds, Ashley Robinson, Kristen O'Neill and Tanisha Wright visit three local Seattle Starbucks. Players will help distribute orders and greet customers.

Cash and Gearlds will be at the Westlake Center Kiosk Starbucks. O'Neill and Wright will make an appearance at the University Village Starbucks while Robinson and Ely visit the Upper Queen Anne Starbucks location. All visits will run from 8:30a.m. to 9:30a.m.

Storm Opening Night is this Saturday, May 17, against the Chicago Sky. Tip off is at 7 p.m. Season tickets and packages for the Storm are on sale at or by calling (206) 217-WNBA..

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May 12, 2008 7:36 AM

New WNBA uniforms?

Posted by Jayda Evans

Seems McDonald's is jumping into the mix, putting its logo on all 14 WNBA team's jerseys during what will be called "WNBA Tipoff Presented by McDonald's." The women will help the fast food chain launch its new Southern-style chicken breakfast sandwich during the opening week of the regular season.

Players sporting logos is nothing new; overseas they are laced in them. But it's a growing trend in America, starting with MLS soccer. And McDonald's isn't new to pro hoops, hosting events with the Indiana Fever and for the 2007 NBA celebrity All-Star game. Guess it's a good sign that a major company sees a value in marketing in the WNBA. Or a cheap way to get some marketing out of rookie Candace Parker without paying her the mega bucks.

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May 11, 2008 12:43 PM

Happy Mother's Day

Posted by Jayda Evans

Here's to all of the WNBA mothers and a special shout out to my mother. The Storm finally has two mothers on its roster in Sheryl Swoopes and Yolanda Griffith while CEO Karen Bryant is celebrating her first, giving birth to a girl in April.

For your reading pleasure, here are two articles about athlete mommies.

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May 10, 2008 6:05 PM

Indiana game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans

STORM WINS: Dunn pulled her classic timeout calling the final 30 seconds with her team having little chance to win, but hey, you've got to work on late-game execution some time right? Anyway, the Storm won its final exhibition game 75-64.

HOLDING ON: Slowly, the Storm is gaining confidence. A 13-2 run midway through the fourth quarter gave the team a 63-54 lead and now the score is 65-59 with 2:35 remaining in the game.

KENNEDY IN: Rookie Daphanie Kennedy is the last player on the roster to check into the game. The Storm is ahead 59-52 after back-to-back three-pointers by Gearlds and a driving layin by Kennedy that drew a foul. There's 7:25 reamining in the game and the Storm has their largest lead at seven.

HODGES CHECKS IN: If anything can be read from Agler's rotation, it's not looking good for Roneeka Hodges. He said he wanted to play the players who would see time during the season and make final evaluations. As a fifth-year player, Hodges is expensive when accounting the salary cap and she is just checking in with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Storm is ahead 46-45 with 2:02 on the clock. (FYI, Hodges is playing on the wing with twin Lewis.)

FINALLY EXECUTING: The score is still tied (44), but the Storm starters are executing 60 percent better than they did in the opening half. Ely has two blocks in the quarter while Cash and Griffith are doing some dirty work underneath the hoop. Seattle still needs better defense on White, who nailed a three-pointer in Swoopes' face.

THE ZONE: The Storm switched to a zone defense -- partly to slow White, who has eight points. The players are executing it well with Wright picking up a steal and the team forcing Indiana into a shot clock violation. It's halftime and the teams are tied at 33 points apiece.

EXTRA SMALL: Agler said he'd try different lineups and he wasn't joking. G Doneeka Lewis is leading the point with F Cash, F O'Neill, F Swoopes, and F Shyra Ely. Ely and Cash were sharing the center position. On a substitution, Agler put Griffith and Brazilian Kelly Santos in.

NICE DISH: On the scramble, A-Rob found O'Neill for an open 20-footer with 0.4 remaining in the quarter. The shot brought the crowd to its feet and put the Storm ahead 19-18. The crowd, by the way, is solid for an exhibition matchup. Probably about 3,500. There's a Mariners game across town, but the weather isn't a factor.

O'NEILL CHECKS IN: Washington standout Kristen O'Neill just checked in for Katie Gearlds. Gearlds got the crowd pumped with a three-pointer. The Storm leads 17-13 with 1:03 remaining in the opening quarter.

GRIFFITH HITS THE DECK: So, Griffith just took her first tumble, scoring a picturesque layin that drew a foul. Here's hoping that ignites this game because the crowd is lifeless and the Storm has five bad turnovers -- you know, pass to officials or invisible teammates. It looks like the team's first exhibition game instead of the third. But majority of the players did just arrive. The Storm is tied at 11 points apiece with the Fever.

CASH-ING IN: The Storm is down 7-6, but Cash has the mid-range jumper down, making 2 of 3. The Storm is missing its shots underneath and is a little sloppy. Agler has already made two substitutions, playing rookie PG Kimberly Beck for Wright and C Ashley Robinson for Griffith. Agler brought Wright back in for Swoopes. There's 4:49 remaining in the opening quarter.

THE OTHER JACKSON: Washington coach Tia Jackson is sitting baseline with Storm CEO Karen Bryant and former Storm F Jamie Redd, a Washington alum. A few seats down are the four new owners that comprise Force 10 Hoops LLC.

STANDING O: Dunn was just given a standing ovation by the KeyArena crowd and wished a happy birthday by the public address announcer during player introductions.

BIRD AND JACKSON'S RETURN: Agler said co-captains Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson should participate in Tuesday's practice. Bird is expected to arrive in Seattle from Russia late Sunday while Jackson is expected on Monday. Jackson is the only question mark to practice because she needs to pass a physical first. The duo should have four days of practice under the new system with new teammates before Saturday's season opener.

SWOOPES TO START?: F Sheryl Swoopes participated in shootaround this morning and said she's fine to start tonight. The final lineup hasn't been handed out, but coach Biran Agler said the final decision would be up to Swoopes. She called the sprained ankle, suffered in Thursday's practice, "sore." Swoopes did make an appearance at the GSBA Scholarship Awards Dinner gala on Friday, looking stunning, I'm told, in a white vest with slimming black pants. She was a presenter at the event that provides business opportunity for the queer community and those that support it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Indiana coach Lin Dunn is a little bummed an old tradition has been broken. Back in the day she celebrated her birthday, which is today, with Storm forward Lauren Jackson, who turns 27 on Sunday. But with Jackson in Russia, that won't be the case today. Dunn said she's, "not seeing any starters," when she looks out at her team. Tully Bevilaqua stayed in Indiana with Tamika Catchings due an extensive amount of travel the past month. Catchings, while on pace to return from foot injuries, will miss at least five games this season due to rehab. Dunn signed C Kristen Newlin today to fill out the roster. She also hired former Storm assistant Gary Kloppenburg, who was previously with the Charlotte Bobcats. So, it's a reunion all around.

Here are tonight's starters

F Shyra Ely
F Swin Cash
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sheryl Swoopes
G Tanisha Wright

F Alison Bales
F Allison Feaster
C Kasha Terry
G Tan White
G Laine Selwyn

The officials are Scott Twardoski, Maj Forberg, and Penny Davis.

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May 10, 2008 2:33 PM

Bird, Jackson back-to-back Russian champs

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm co-captains Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird should be returning to Seattle soon, winning the decisive Game 4 of their Russian SuperLeague championship series 101-63 to collect their second consecutive title. Jackson had 30 points in the blowout that was decided at the half. Bird had 13 and four assists, playing a team-high 30 minutes.

Their wrapping up so quickly means the duo can have a week of practice with the Storm before next Saturday's season opener against Chicago at KeyArena. Seattle plays its final exhibition game tonight against Indiana at the Key.

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May 9, 2008 3:27 PM

A light Fever

Posted by Jayda Evans

If you're planning to see Tamika Catchings or Tully Bevilaqua on Saturday when Indiana plays Seattle at KeyArena, I hope you brought a picture of both because they won't be in the building. In fact, neither will crowd favorites Katie Douglas or Tammy Sutton-Brown. They are still playing overseas while Catchings isn't expected on the court until mid-season due to continued rehabilitation of injuries to both feet - a torn Achilles suffered during last season's playoffs.

Fans will be able to see rising center Alison Bales and energetic scorer Tan White. Veteran Allison Feaster also practice today in Seattle, but it's just her second session with the team. Basically, according to their public relations spokesman, the Fever will take the court with 10 players and only three were on the roster last season. Oodles of fun for first-year coach Lin Dunn, the Storm inaugural coach from 2000-02.

Indiana is 0-2 in exhibition play like Seattle, losing to Chicago 81-71 and Minnesota 78-64.

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May 9, 2008 1:43 PM

Swoopes out

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm F Sheryl Swoopes missed practice today due to her sprained left ankle. Swoopes suffered the injury in the final drill of Thursday's session. Storm coach Brian Agler expected her back today, but Swoopes instead rode a stationary bike throughout the practice. She is listed as day-to-day for Saturday's exhibition finale against Indiana at KeyArena.

Meanwhile co-captains Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson may be a step closer to returning, taking a 2-1 lead in thier Russian SuperLeague championship series today. The decisive Game 4 is Saturday.

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May 9, 2008 10:08 AM

Doma speaks

Posted by Jayda Evans

F Natalie Doma sounded optimistic in an interview with the Idaho State Journal regarding her being cut on Thursday.

"I'm just taking this experience and moving on with it," she said. "The coaches were all very positive about releasing me. They had good things to say. It's just kind of what happened, and I have a bright future ahead of me."

Doma plans to play in France beginning Sept. 30 and she'll also try out for the Canadian national team, being a native of Victoria, B.C. Those experiences coupled with confidence should make the free agent ready for the WNBA next season.

"It challenged me, and I stepped up the challenge some of the time," the Idaho State grad told the newspaper. "This level is definitely a step above the college level and being able to be here for a few weeks will help me. It was probably one of the hardest things I had to do. I'm used to being in class. [But] They were very positive, and they just wished me the best of luck.

"The future's bright, that's what I'm hearing a lot."

Doma, like most who glance over the Storm roster, was star struck by the names of All-Stars and all-decade players. And that's before co-captains Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson had a chance to arrive.

"It's like the dream team, and I feel very honored to be able to play with these players and have met them," Doma said.

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May 8, 2008 3:02 PM

Storm cuts two rookies

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm coach Brian Agler announced that rookie G Allie Quigley and F/C Natalie Doma were cut following practice.

Quigley started training camp strong, making her outside shot and performing well on defense. But her stock dropped and Agler, who's also director of player personnel, made note of it. He pointed to her poor showing in Chicago, were the Illinois native played college hoops at DePaul. Quigley was 0-for-6 in 19 minutes, playing before friends and family. Agler said the miserable night may have led to a loss in confidence for Quigley.

Doma, who didn't get many reps in the media viewing portition of practice, was a step behind and needs a season overseas before breaking into the W. She does have a contract to play in France this fall and Agler mentioned that Quigley also has some opportunities lined up overseas.

G Tanisha Wright's presence made Agler make the cuts. But the coach said he believes they can make an impact elsewhere -- possibly this season for Quigley. We'll have more on this and Wright's arrival in Friday's newspaper.

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May 8, 2008 1:08 PM

Live from training camp: Tanisha Wright arrives

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Storm is at KeyArena today, handling a special "Media Day" for the late arrivals to camp and getting acquainted with the home court. Media hasn't been allowed in, yet, but just saw a flash of G Tanisha Wright. She arrived for practice today after being delayed payment in Israel.

WRIGHT POINT: Wright is running the point with Doneeka Lewis, Katie Gearlds, Shyra Ely, Yolanda Griffith. On the second-team, rookie Kimberly Beck is running the point with Daphanie Kennedy, Roneeka Hodges, Kelly Santos, and Ashley Robinson. Rather small lineups, but coach Brian Agler appears to be looking at versatility in players along with executing his system. Wright appears agile and vocal already.

DOMA RETURNS: Rookie Natalie Doma is back on the practice floor after wrapping up school work at Idaho State. She's currently on the sideline cheering on teammates with Allie Quigley and Kristen O'Neill.

WATER BREAK: Players are grabbing some water. They had the day off on Wednesday, but that wasn't because they didn't need to practice. Agler said it was because they were tired and he continues to work the Storm hard. The only players receiving an excuse to rest at times are vets Sheryl Swoopes and Griffith.

NEW PLAY: Agler is implementing another play, having the men play shadow defense. Lewis is at the point with Swoopes and Cash on the wings and Ely and Griffith inside.

WAITING ON A DEAL: CEO Karen Bryant is at practice, giving interviews and looking on at the progress on the floor. She said the Storm still isn't prepared to make an announcement regarding a television contract for this season. Bryant said it's just normal negotiations and trying to figure things out within the organization. Something should be announced "ASAP," she said. The Storm was negotiating between FSN -- last season's carrier -- and another undisclosed station.

YO DOWN AND UP: We may have to revive the line "A Storm game doesn't start until Tully hits the floor," only we need to sub in Griffith's name. We've watched about 20 minutes of practice so far and she's gone down three times. Once for a minute that would have made a scribe worry, but it's Yo that we're talking about.

STACK 'EM: The Storm is working in-bound plays under the hoop.

SWOOPES ROLLS ANKLE: Swoopes went down at the end of practice with a rolled left ankle. Agler said later that he expects her to return for Friday's practice. This is the second injury she's suffered during training camp. Swoopes is still coming back from back surgery last fall and Agler hopes to play her 20 minutes on Saturday against Indiana to help get her conditioned for the season.

FINAL HUDDLE: Practice is over, finishing with a big huddle. The players gave a big "hoot" to community relations director Rick DuPree, who's sporting a black velvet hat with a smart gray sports coat -- suave.

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May 7, 2008 8:12 AM

Roster decided?

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Storm is off today, but they gave the media a treat before leaving practice on Tuesday -- the coveted media guide. There will be more on this league-wide later, but it was real interesting to flip to page 156 and see a 12-player roster staring back. Seems the roster is set with SG Roneeka Hodges, PG Doneeka Lewis, and G Tanisha Wright pictured with the expected players to be on the roster in G/F Katie Gearlds, trade pick-up Swin Cash, F Shyra Ely, etc.

In past years, the team has waited until the last moment to submit player pages, only included returning Storm players, or featured everyone at camp. The Storm's public relations staff told reporters it was a "best-guess estimate." And draft picks Kimberly Beck and Allie Quigley are featured on page 54.

Their exclusion on page 156 is not that surprising given that Hodges and Lewis have the experience to look better than the rookies in camp. From Day 1, you got the sense that the rookies were there to fill space because so many of the Storm's key players were and still are overseas playing. Plus, you never know what you may find -- like whoever picks up some of the rookies, if cut - will probably find a gem.

While coach Brian Agler has highlighted a few of the newcomers when asked, the most impressive in camp has been Ely, who was coached by Agler in San Antonino. Her mood changed the day he was hired in January and you can tell she's worked hard this past offseason to return in better form. It's a good thing with Janell Burse not returning. Although I don't think it's a good season-long strategy because Ely is undersized at 6-foot-2, she's going to have to help inside. F Lauren Jackson may also be shifted to center to add to the rotation inside. And hopefully vet Yolanda Griffith stays healthy for a season-long start. The Storm could also still pick-up a player off the waiver wire.

Like last season, if the media guide is offered for purchase and you're into stats, I'd say buy it. It's full of classic, colorful photos and interesting facts. It'll just be interesting to see if PR is correct on its final roster pick.

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May 6, 2008 4:59 PM

Storm makes Burse announcement official

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Storm released that center Janell Burse will indeed not return for the 2008 season. The press release is below. In an interview with the Times, Burse said this afternoon that she's going to have her left foot re-examined by Tulane doctors, where she played college hoops. They may opt to put a pin in the foot to correct the Jones fracture. Burse said she's managed the shoulder enough to be able to play on it, "it's really about the foot," she said.

On a lighter note, Burse was gushy when asked about her reaction to Yolanda Griffith giving up the No. 33 jersey number. "That was really sweet," Burse said. "I was joking with T [Tanisha Wright] though that she [Griffith] could have had it for $1,000."

Burse is staying in Houston with her family and hopes to attend a Storm-Comets game this summer.


6-5 center and WNBA record-holder to return in 2009

SEATTLE, Monday, May 5, 2008 -- Seattle Storm center Janell Burse will miss the entire 2008 season, team officials announced today.

"We will definitely miss Janell but respect her decision to sit out this season," Storm head coach Brian Agler said. "I am looking forward to coaching her next season."

Burse averaged 8.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game during the 2007 season. She set a WNBA record for rebounds in a half with 16 in the first half, and rebounds in a quarter with 10 against the Phoenix Mercury on May 23, 2007. The 2006 runner-up for the WNBA's Most Improved Player award has averaged 8.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game over four seasons with the Storm.

"We are disappointed but support Janell's decision," Storm CEO Karen Bryant said. "We wish her the best this season and look forward to seeing her back in Seattle in 2009."

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May 6, 2008 1:47 PM

Live from training camp: playing live

Posted by Jayda Evans

The doors are open to media and Storm coach Brian Agler could use a little work on his jump ball toss. He had to throw it twice but the team is under way with another scrimmage against the men. Doneeka Lewis is running the points with Sheryl Swoopes and Swin Cash on the wings. Shyra Ely and Ashley Robinson are working inside.

SLOPPY PLAY: Agler has already stopped play because of careless play by the black team (above players). He's getting after Swoopes again for not competing if she misses shots and stopped play when A-Rob made a mistake on her offensive assignment. The glitches among the vets are why there should be concern about the Storm's quest for a title.

PETRO LOOKING ON: Sonics C Johan Petro is sitting atop a table by the Sonics' court watching practice. He's a regular at games, normally attending with fellow Frenchman Mickael Gelabale. Gelabale is in France undergoing surgery this offseason.

NO MORE THREES: Agler is harping on the perimeter defense. The men are able to work the ball outside and nail threes. The Storm is now working a zone defense. PG Kimberly Beck, SF Katie Gearlds, Swoopes, A-Rob, and PF Kelly Santos are on the court now.

NICE DISH: Beck had a nice assist to Santos. Beck has really made an impression, but Lewis is the stronger, more experienced player. It'll be interesting to see how Tanisha Wright affects the battle for backup PG. I'm, also still partial to undrafted rookie Daphanie Kennedy and wonder if C Janell Burse's decision not to return will help keep a few of the rookies.

SHOOTING: The team is shooting free throws now. They haven't dismissed the men, so they'll probably come back to play another scrimmage. Gearlds is paried with Kristen O'Neill. These two could really push each other to improve, if retained on the final roster.

WRAPPING UP: It appeared to be a grueling practice on a dreary day in Seattle. Agler was not upbeat, harping throughout the small portion media viewed. The players look spent but I believe they're taking Tuesday off. It was an approximate 3-hour session, ended by Yolanda Griffith's "Storm" chant. Griffith only participated in parts of practice due to nagging knee pain. Agler joked that he wanted to watch the "wear the tread out on the tires" in reference to Griffith, who at 38 is still diving on the floor for loose balls in practice. Yes, practice.

NO DOMA: Rookie Natalie Doma didn't attend practice. She's studying for a college final that she'll have to take on Wednesday. Agler said she has contract to play in France in the fall and emphasized that her education is also important because the post was struggling to balance both school work and training camp.

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May 6, 2008 12:42 PM

Burse writes about decision not to return

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm C Janell Burse arrived in Houston late on Monday too groggy to talk. She did send an e-mail explaining her decision not to return this season and we'll have more on the scramble it places the Storm in in tomorrow's newspaper. For now, here's Burse's side of the story:

About my decision not to play this summer. It was definitely something that I struggled with. It was by far the toughest decision I ever had to make. I thought about my teammates the most, and the great opportunity to win another championship with the roster we have. Also the privilege to play with such decorated players whom I've always looked up to and respected in this league. When I initially signed the contract, I felt like I had enough juice in the tank to make it through the summer, but after our semifinals and finals in the Czech Republic my body started to tell me it really needed more time to rest. Seven years of playing year round basketball has taken a toll on my body. I want to enjoy the rest of my career, not continually play with nagging over use injuries, pushing myself past the point of exhaustion. I didn't want to come into the season feeling the way I did, not having 100% of myself to give. I didn't think it would be fair to the team or myself. I truly hope that everyone can respect and understand my decision.

Meanwhile, Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird evened their championship series in Russia and G Tanisha Wright is expected back on Thursday.

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May 6, 2008 10:44 AM

Women's sports museum unveiling

Posted by Jayda Evans

Can Billie Jean King do any more for women's sports? I would have thought no, but then this news release popped in the e-mail in-box. Apparently she's in the works to unveil the Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center -- the first museum dedicated solely to female athletes. Doors open Wednesday in Manhattan. Here's the release and you can find more info here at the Women's Sports Foundation Web site.

On the WNBA tip, the center features a timeline and the WNBA's inaugural season in 1997 is listed along with when Shelia Johnson bought the Washington Mystics to become the first woman owner in the league in 2005. Mystics G Alana Beard is highlighted along the athletes' wall, but why she was selected over the W's other players is unknown.


Women's Sports Foundation announces opening of Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center -- world's only museum exhibit and hall of fame dedicated to all women's sports

NEW YORK, N.Y., (May 6, 2008) -- Part of the mission of the Women's Sports Foundation is to seek recognition for the groundbreaking accomplishments and record-making feats of female athletes. On May 7, 2008, the Women's Sports Foundation, in partnership with the Sports Museum of America, will open the doors to the long-awaited home it has created for women's sports history and the women making it.

The Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center is the first museum exhibit and hall of fame dedicated exclusively to female athletes. Named for the founder of the Women's Sports Foundation, the Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center, located within the Sports Museum of America, allows visitors easy access to women's sports history through an interactive, multimedia sports experience.

"All of us at the Women's Sports Foundation are honored to be part of this exciting project. Our wing in the Sports Museum of America will be the only museum exhibit and hall of fame dedicated exclusively to all female athletes. I am grateful to be included in a museum exhibit that recognizes both female and male athletes from a wide range of sports and all walks of life," said Women's Sports Foundation founder Billie Jean King, whose memorabilia from throughout her tennis career is featured in the museum. Other artifacts in the museum include Venus and Serena Williams' tennis apparel, Lyn St. James', Janet Guthrie's and Danica Patrick's Indy 500 racing helmets and Babe Didrikson's athletic paraphernalia from her golf, track, basketball and baseball careers.

In June, the Women's Sports Foundation will celebrate the triumph of creating this museum space by giving the 130 members of its International Women's Sports Hall of Fame a housewarming party. On June 9, the 2008 class will be inducted into the hall of fame, giving the greatest contemporary and historical figures in women's sports a chance to celebrate them and their new home. The Women's Sports Foundation started the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 and has been the keeper of the compelling legacies of world-class female athletes ever since.

Billie Jean King and Sheila Johnson will host this year's ceremony, inducting the 2008 Hall of Fame class, who are equally as accomplished, fascinating and inspiring as their predecessors.

Shannon Miller gained notoriety when she became the first American gymnast to win an individual gold medal on the balance beam, in 1996, and continued in the sport to become the most decorated American gymnast, earning seven Olympic medals.

Algerian track star Hassiba Boulmerka is the first African woman to win a world championship title in long-distance running despite controversy and criticism throughout her career. Because Boulmerka competed in shorts baring her legs, she drew ire from fundamentalist Islamic groups and later admiration from Algerian women when she became the most decorated female runner in the 1,500m category.

Hisako "Chako" Higuchi was the first Japanese player to win a major championship on the LPGA Tour and a charter member of the Japan Ladies Professional Golf Association (JLPGA). In 1977, she won the LPGA Championship, a victory that prompted a ticker-tape parade in Tokyo. To this day, Higuchi is the only Japanese player, male or female, to capture a major championship title on either the LPGA or PGA Tours.

This year's induction of Sue Enquist, one of the most notable coaches in softball, is particularly timely, as 2008 is the last year that softball will make an appearance in the Olympic Games. Softball stars Christie Ambrosi, Jennifer Brundage, Sheila Cornell Douty, Lisa Fernandez, Stacey Nuveman, Dot Richardson and Amanda Freed were all coached by Enquist during their UCLA careers.

More information on the Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center and the June 9 Hall of Fame induction ceremony is available at

The Women's Sports Foundation -- the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports -- advocates for equality, educates the public, conducts research and offers grants to promote sports and physical activity for girls and women. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, the Women's Sports Foundation builds on her legacy as a champion athlete, advocate of social justice and agent of change. We strive for gender equity and fight discrimination in sports. Our work shapes public attitude about women's sports and athletes, builds capacities for organizations that get girls active, provides equal opportunities for girls and women, and supports physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles. The Women's Sports Foundation is recognized worldwide for its leadership, vision, strength, expertise and influence.

For more information, please call the Women's Sports Foundation at 800.227.3988 or visit

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May 6, 2008 7:37 AM

Eastern Conference view

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Washington Mystics defeated Sacramento in an exhibition, barnstorming game in Tampa, Fla., on Monday. As the regular season draws closer, I decided to check in with "The Heard" rounder, Ned Griffin of The New London (Conn.) Day about how the Eastern Conference is shaping up.

"The Heard" is what they call the pack of about 12 news outlets in Connecticut that cover the Sun and some spread themselves around to cover the New York Liberty and Mystics.

Anyway, looks like Detroit is the pick until knocked off, although they lost depth and Deana Nolan and Cheryl Ford are dealing with injuries. We both agree Indiana will disappoint because Tamika Catchings just got off crutches and probably won't be back at full strength until July. She's also focusing on the Olympics. But Katie Douglas' return to her native state makes things interesting. The Sun looks "intriguing" and former Storm forward Barbara Turner has impressed the coaching staff with her forceful style. She still trying to prove she's worthy to play in the league.

But we both like San Antonio in 2008. Of course that might change when we get to see a real game.

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May 5, 2008 7:13 AM

Burse update: Center expected to miss part of season

Posted by Jayda Evans

Janell Burse is the latest player to fall to injury overseas and miss their WNBA campaign. According to her agent, Boris Lelchitski, Burse is returning to Houston from Prague on Tuesday and will not immediately join the Storm because of her shoulder and Jones fracture in her foot. Lelchitski said the center has been "debating about taking some time off and this is the time [she's] going to do it."

"She got hurt again," said Lelchitski of what happened between the Storm announcing Burse's signing on April 13 and then alluding to her not returning on Sunday. "If this season is possible for her to come back, that we'll probably know in a week to 10 days. I don't have an exact date. Janell will have to make it depending on her condition plus it's also going to be an issue with the team -- if they would want her to come back."

Burse has played in Prague the past three seasons. But she's had nagging injuries for about five seasons, most notably a partial tear in her left shoulder suffered in 2006 and undergoing left wrist surgery in 2007. While playing in Czech Republic, Burse discovered a stress (Jones) fracture in her foot in December 2006.

Burse, Seattle's starting center in 2007, wore a cast for the foot injury but only rehabilitated the shoulder, opting not to have surgery, which Lelchitski said "takes more than that" to really correct the injury. Whether Burse now has surgery remains in question.

Although signed, Burse will not count against the Storm's salary cap. Players have to pass a physical in order to sign their actual contract.

There were also cap issues with Burse returning anyway, but now the Storm will have more money to find a replacement post for Seattle. The team is already trying out Brazilian F Kelly Santos and C Ashley Robinson. Coach Brian Agler likes to play "tweener" type small/power forwards inside, using their three-point shooting to stretch the defenses out. Agler will also rely on Yolanda Griffith, but she's recovering from injuries and in the twilight of her career.

"The truth and reality is that unfortunately all of the players have to go overseas to make their living," Lelchitski said. "This makes a non-stop season and Janell has been doing that for quiet a while. It's kind of hard to do this, especially when you have injuries following you. At some time players decide this is the time to take a break and this is her turn. She felt like she was not able to give to the team what they expected her to do."

Lelchitski said the team is understanding of Burse's situation. At practice on Sunday Agler, who cored Burse to prevent her from negotiating with other teams as an unrestricted free agent, appeared upset at Burse's situation.

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May 4, 2008 1:17 PM

Live from training camp: "Fan Fest" open practice

Posted by Jayda Evans

It's absolutely gorgeous outside in Seattle, slowly creeping toward 70 degrees. One of those days that the Storm has to battle all summer as far as pulling people into KeyArena after they've been chilling by the water or on a hiking trail all day, soaking in the longer days. Since it's a new regime around here, I'm expecting fan fest to be pretty well attended. We'll see. Either way, the team is already on the court for the "real" practice. Fans will be able to watch the latter part of the session when allowed into the facility at 2 p.m.

SWOOPES PRACTICING: F Sheryl Swoopes is on the court with the team. She suffered a strained neck against Sacramento on Friday. A X-ray taken Saturday was negative and she appeared fine. She's being watched by her partner and son, who are again in town for the weekend.

SLICK HUSTLE: Not sure if I've seen Sonics legend Slick Watts move as quick as he did today to park his Benz and get down to the practice court to watch the Storm. "I've got to see this," he said while walking down the ramp. Watts joked that he was going to be like Kevin Durant in that commercial where the ROY changes all of those jersey tops. Watts was layering his t-shirts, trying to find one long enough to cover the Sonics emblem on his pant leg.

FIVE-ON-FIVE: The Storm is playing full-court five-on-five without the men right now. Swoopes isn't on the court now. The men are relaxed around the courtside seats waiting. Storm coach Brian Agler is still hammering in defense - a good thing. The Storm still looks a little shaky from the end that I can see. Understandable since players like Swin Cash and Kelly Santos just arrived. The team hired officials for today's session, so fans may see a live scrimmage later.

MEN ON COURT: The male practice players are scrimmaging with the team. Jimmy Quigg suffered the first bloody nose of the season. In the past the men have suffered lost teeth and broken noses - most at the hand (elbow?) of F Lauren Jackson. But it was Ashley Robinson who made the first player-on-player hit. She banged G Kimberly Beck's chin, reopening a gash she originally suffered against Rutgers during George Washington's NCAA tourney run. Beck had to be re-stitched and wear a bandage.

SIT HERE: The Storm has white slips on some of the lower-bowl seats at KeyArena. Each is tagged with the cost of what it would be to own that location for 18 regular-season games and get playoff seating priority. One that I checked out behind the south end hoop where media sits would cost $828 for two. Only condition is that you can't use those Thunderstix while seated there, they give me a headache (this is a joke of course).

FANS SPILLING IN: Fans have been allowed into the facility. They're being kept to a designated area and its a modest stream of people so far. The team is wrapping up its scrimmage and will add four officials to the mix soon.

GIMMIE THE MIC: Agler is wearing a mic and talking to the team in a huddle. G Daphanie Kennedy is drawing applause with her shot but local product F Kristen O'Neill isn't looking to good. Second-round draft pick Allie Quigley's camp stock is also dropping due to her defense. Returnees A-Rob and F Shyra Ely are looking good, grabing rebounds and playing D like Agler wants. The team is playing against the men again.

GAME ON: The Storm is playing five-on-five, again. This time with officials. Beck, Quigley, KG, Ely and Santos are the black team while the twins (Roneeka Hodges and Doneeka Lewis), O'Neill, Natalie Doma, and A-Rob are the white squad. The green team (men) is being used sparingly and Kennedy is making subs for the black team. Vets Swoopes and Yolanda Griffith have been chatting on the sideline.

MAILBAG: A reader asked how Doma is looking and she's really fighting out there. She's on the court now and I like her aggressive nature under the hoop. She needs more reps and will probably have to play overseas for a year before breaking into the W. This training camp is about her making a name for herself for other teams, which she's doing a great job of.

THANKS GUYS: The Storm just thanked the men for practicing with them, a ritual every year. The players are grabbing a quick drink of water, getting iced, and then Swoopes, the only player requested, will do a brief media session before talking to the fans. It's a smaller crowd than last year's open session at the Key (different than the Green Lake Fan Fest) and I'm guessing the sun after yesterday's rainy, dark day is to blame. But assistant coach Shelley Patterson was impressed, later telling the crowd that more people attended this practice than the exhibition game in Chicago.

OLD TROT: The players are being introduced to the crowd and Cash and Yo are a trip. Cash ran the edge of the court to slap hands with cheering fans. Not to be out done, Yo did the same, waving giddily, but teased that she was winded afterward. Swoopes got the only standing ovation as she trotted around and up into the stands.

BURSE NOT RETURNING?: Just spoke with Agler and word doesn't look good for C Janell Burse's return. She was out with an undisclosed injury in Prague and Agler said he'd have an announcement in the next few days about her status. While budding on the court, Burse has had numerous shoulder and wrist injuries the past two years, choosing not to have surgery to rectify her shoulder but having successful wrist surgery in August.

MONEY ISSUES: G Tanisha Wright isn't returning from play in Israel anytime soon. She's having trouble getting her final paycheck from her team despite the fact that the team lost in its best-of-five championship series. Agler originally expected her back by Tuesday, but it looks like the end of the week.

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May 4, 2008 10:55 AM

WNBA and Makeup: What's your opinion?

Posted by Jayda Evans

There's a really good article in The Chicago Tribune about WNBA rookie orientation where the players are taught how to apply makeup among other important facets of becoming a pro baller. It's not new to this class. Former Storm F Adia Barnes spoke of attending a similar course when she was a rookie in 1998. Yet, it is interesting to witness the evolution of femininity in the league. Did anyone else notice how many dresses made an appearance on Draft Day?

The NBA teaches its rookies how to deal with groupies and manage their money, so stereotypes are presented on both sides. But I'm curious how the idea of teaching women athletes how to tweak their image to appeal to media strikes you.

Storm C Yolanda Griffith gave Seattle props a while back, saying we "got it" from the beginning, talking about the WNBA in general and the city's support. We didn't need to see Edna Campbell or Kamila Vodichkova in a dress to appreciate their game. But is that still the case? Does anyone like the fact that the league continues to put a strong emphasis on feminine side of these athletes?

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May 3, 2008 7:12 PM

Swoopes injures neck

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm F Sheryl Swoopes is listed as day-to-day after injuring her neck in the opening quarter of Friday's exhibition loss to Sacramento. Swoopes, already returning from back surgery, told a spokesman that an Monarchs player was driving the lane and crashed into Swoopes, causing her to hit the floor. She had to be helped off the court by the athletic trainer's staff and did not return.

Seattle is hosting its annual meet-and-greet with fans on Sunday at KeyArena and Swoopes will attend, but whether the crowd gets to see her practice depends on how she feels. An X-ray taken today in Seattle showed a strained neck and no major damage.

While Swoopes may not be on the court, G Roneeka Hodges and F Kelly Santos will. They joined the team along with F Swin Cash in Sacramento after overseas commitments. G Tanisha Wright is not expected until later this week.

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May 2, 2008 5:53 PM

Davis and Rush cut

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Storm announced today that guard Dee Davis and forward Leah Rush have been waived from the team. The roster now stands at 18 players, including four players that are currently overseas.

Davis was being looked at to fill the backup PG position while Rush could rotate on the wing. While Davis showed signs of promise in practice, teammate Daphanie Kennedy appeared a better option. Rush didn't get many reps, but was a step behind the other wings.

We'll have more on the cuts in tomorrow's newspaper.

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May 2, 2008 12:35 PM

Checking in on Sacramento

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Storm plays their final road exhibition game against Sacramento tonight. The Monarchs will be without DeMya Walker, who re-injured her knee while playing overseas in Russia. Walker played on the same team as former Storm guard Betty Lennox, who described the ordeal as horrific. Lennox, already feeling soreness in her knees, even contemplated not playing anymore out of fear of suffering a similar injury. Lennox is undecided about her return home to join the Atlanta training camp.

Play is more physical overseas, but Walker also was rehabilitating to make a return. She's the second player to suffer a setback during training camp. Minnesota announced it would be without PG Lindsey Harding indefinitely.

The injuries and announcement that Aussie F Penny Taylor will not be returning to help Phoenix defend its championship until after the Olympic break appears to put the Storm in good position early. Not that Cappie Pondexter and Diana Taurasi are slouches, but, without having seeing a game, San Antonio looks to be the strongest contender out West to advance to the Finals. But, again, it's so early I hate to even write that sentence.

And FYI, checked to be sure Lauren Jackson didn't change her mind about returning before the Olympic break. The Storm says still she will only miss a total of five games to fulfill her Olympics obligations.

As for the exhibition game, here's a look inside the Monarchs camp. They're of course making a big deal about Storm C Yolanda Griffith's return. The team is really in need inside now without Walker and Griffith gone. Perhaps Storm C Janell Burse should have swapped places and started in Sacramento instead of battling for the slot in Seattle?

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May 1, 2008 3:34 PM

Wright headed to Seattle; Cash in Sacramento

Posted by Jayda Evans

Storm G Tanisha Wright's Israeli team lost its best-of-five championship series today. Here are the stats. Wright was selected MVP of the league and has improved her on-court leadership skills. She had 16 points and six boards in Game 4, but no assists.

Wright should report to Storm camp by next week. The team plays at Sacramento on Friday and needs to have a better showing than it did in the loss to Chicago. Coach Brian Agler ran different combinations in the second half and didn't care about winning, but the Storm could have executed better.

Wright, selected 12th overall in the 2005 draft, is natural shooting guard and candidate to backup PG Sue Bird.

Meanwhile F Swin Cash is in Sacramento with the team, which is currently practicing. She had her bruised knee evaluated by her own doctors in Miami after playing with the National Team in China, but the injury was nothing major, according to Agler.

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May 1, 2008 12:55 PM

WNBA at the newstands

Posted by Jayda Evans

Haven't made it through my uncorrected proof of Lisa Leslie's book "Don't Let the Lipstick Fool You -- The Making Of A Champion," but you know I skipped ahead. Right there on page 275 Leslie dedicates a whole paragraph to the irony of her naming her daughter Lauren Jolie, which can be easily shortened to "LJ" -- Leslie's biggest rival's nickname in Storm forward Lauren Jackson.

The funny part is that Leslie ends the paragraph with the line, "I did not think about Lauren Jackson enough to even consider it." Then why put it in the book?

Anyway, the WNBA is represented in a lot of different places. The most copy that I found is in April's Vogue where Sparks owner Carla Christofferson is featured. The story is part of the shape issue so she's photographed in a body-hugging pale pink dress while holding both of the franchise's championship trophies. I've held the Storm's trophy and that sucker weighs at least 15 pounds and I was told that during Christofferson's shoot, she was asked to hold the position for what seemed like 40 minutes. Now, she's a former Miss North Dakota who remained fit, but even Christofferson had to break her smiling ways and say "I'm done" when her arms started to shake.

FYI, that's her home in the background with Weimaraner Max and Boglen terrier Bailey.

In Essence's May issue, Storm forward Swin Cash was honored as one of the mags "Bold & Beautiful," an annual tribute to strength, courage and wisdom of inspiring black women. Photographed in a gorgeous scarlet dress, Cash is dubbed "The Advocate" for raising $20,000 toward the Catherine Ferguson Academy, an alternative education facility for pregnant girls and young mothers. Cash's mother had her when she was a senior in high school.

Side note: Cash's New York City photo shoot was eight days before she was traded to the Storm.

In Slam magazine's June issue, former WNBA star Adrienne Goodson returns with a feature on Phoenix guard Cappie Pondexter, the 2007 Finals MVP. Pondexter deserves more ink and Goody's story is solid. There's also a cool pic of Pondexter on a motorcycle while playing overseas in Istanbul.

The final nugget I could find was a disappointing "baby's mama" reference to Houston forward Tina Thompson in Sister 2 Sister's May issue. The mag glorifies the acts of her son's father, Cleveland guard Damon Jones, but doesn't point out that Thompson is raising the child full-time.

Currently she's overseas playing on the same team as Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird, and Diana Taurasi. Their SuperLeague best-of-five Finals series begins Monday.

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May 1, 2008 7:57 AM

Mailbag: No exhibition TV

Posted by Jayda Evans

Denise of Belltown wrote in about how excited she was about the possibility of the Storm's exhibition game against Sacramento being aired on ESPN2 on Friday. But that's not the case.

It was incorrectly listed as such in the Storm's preseason guide and I removed the item from the blog, yet apparently not quick enough. ESPN2 will actually be airing Game 6 of the Washington-Cleveland first-round playoff series on Friday. But Sacramento will have a radio broadcast and it can be heard via

ESPN2 will broadcast the May 20 Storm game at KeyArena at 7:30 p.m.

As for Storm broadcasts, the team is planning to carry a radio broadcast of the May 10 exhibition finale against Indiana at KeyArena. There's some question whether color analyst Adia Barnes will return in time. She's playing in Italy and the series finale could run until May 9. Forgive her if she's a little loopy while sharing tales about the players and league.

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