(2nd in West)
(2nd overall, 2nd in West)
2264 (7th overall, 5th
+5.1 (1st overall, 1st in West)
Winners & Honorees
Sue Bird, First Team
Lauren Jackson, First Team
Rd. 2 - 19, Trina Frierson
out of five years
2004, Won WNBA Title
What Went Right?
When this question was
posed to Anne Donovan, coach of the 2004 WNBA Champions, she backtracked all the
way back to this time last year, when the team made two moves that were critical
to their success a year ago.
The first was the acquisition of Betty Lennox
in the 2004 Dispersal Draft.
Weeks later, the Storm traded the sixth overall pick in the WNBA Draft to Minnesota,
receiving forward Sheri Sam
and center Janell Burse
In Lennox and
Sam, the Storm landed two former All-Stars who could step right into the starting
lineup to fortify the wing positions. In Burse, the Storm got a 6-5 prospect to
back up center Kamila Vodichkova and provide much-needed depth in the middle.
With an improved supporting cast to complement All-WNBA First Teamers Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird, the Storm finished with the second-best record in the league,
After sweeping Minnesota and outlasting Sacramento to win the West,
the Storm beat Connecticut in the Finals to give Seattle its first championship
of any kind since 1979. Donovan became the first female coach to win a WNBA title,
leading the Storm to a 74-60 win in Game Three in front of a packed house of more
than 17,000 in Seattle's Key Arena. The Storm finished 19-3 at home, including
5-0 in the playoffs.
Lennox, only the sixth pick in Dispersal Draft months
earlier, averaged 22.3 ppg against Connecticut, earning Finals MVP honors.
What Went Wrong?
Six new players suited up for Seattle last season. Naturally, Donovan's biggest
concern was how the chemistry would develop. Lennox and Sam alleviated many of
her concerns with their willingness to accept lesser roles than they enjoyed as
Lennox and Sam were also critical components in the transition
of the team's image from "one of the nicest teams" in the WNBA, says
Donovan, to an edgier group that played with a sense of urgency.
said the urgency was a necessary ingredient from day one, because she knew the
post-Olympic stretch of the schedule might prove difficult for her two best players,
Olympians Bird and Jackson. Sure enough, Seattle's 17-8 stretch prior to the break
enabled them to endure a 3-6 finish without dropping out of the race.
2004 Starting Lineup
G- Sue Bird
F- Sheri Sam
F- Lauren Jackson
C- Kamila Vodichkova
Ahead To 2005:
Seattle's success has made its players attractive on the free agent market.
Vodichkova (Phoenix), Sam (Charlotte) and reserve guard Tully Bevilaqua (Indiana)
have all moved on. With three of the team's top seven players gone, the obvious
question is who steps up in Seattle?
Enter Suzy Batkovic, Seattle's second
round pick in 2003. A 6-4 center, Jackson's teammate on the Australian National
Team, Batkovic signed on March 15 to offset the loss of Vodichkova. Donovan calls
her "one of the most dominant centers in the world." She is averaging
11.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in the Euroleague this season.
import, guard Jessica Bibby, averaged 13.9 ppg for the WNBL champion Dandenong
Rangers in 2004-05. She and veteran guard Adrienne Johnson, who last played in
the WNBA in 2003 with Connecticut, were signed as free agents on March 3. Can
either player make a big impact? Can the 12th pick in the draft net a difference-maker?
the Detroit Shock found out in 2004, the league champion wears a target on its
back every night. Will the Storm suffer a similar setback? With a tandem of Bird,
24, and Jackson, 23, in the lineup every night, it's hard to imagine the Storm
not being back in contention for the next several years.