2004 in Review: Alicia Thompson
Waived just prior to the end of training camp in 2003 by the Indiana Fever, Alicia Thompson sat the WNBA's season out, her future in jeopardy. After playing in the NWBL, however, Thompson heard from an old friend - Storm Coach Anne Donovan, who coached Thompson's best season in 2000 with the Indiana Fever. (Thompson averaged 10.0 points and 5.1 rebounds that year, her only season as a regular starter.)
"I said if I come back to the league, Coach Donovan would be the coach that I wanted to play for," Thompson later said, so she jumped at the opportunity to sign with the Storm as a free agent last February. A roster spot wasn't guaranteed, but Thompson beat out other contenders to secure a spot as a backup forward.
A poorly-timed ankle injury sidelined Thompson for the season's first two games and kept her from challenging for minutes early in the season. Though she played in eight games through the end of June, she played less than 10 minutes in each.
2004 Alicia Thompson Photo Gallery
2004 in Review Archive
Storm Signs Thompson
Newcomers Fight for Roster Spots
Storm Re-Signs Thompson
Thompson came back from the Storm's August break strong, and was scheduled to replace Sheri Sam as the starter at small forward before suffering back spasms in practice the day before the Storm re-took the court on Sep. 1. Back to full strength, Thompson did start on Sep. 3 at Los Angeles, scoring eight points and handing out a season-high five assists. She started the Storm's next game before returning to a reserve role, but had season highs of nine points and four rebounds off the bench at Connecticut on Sep. 12.
It was during the playoffs - particularly at KeyArena - that Thompson truly shined. She scored 10 points in 13 minutes of action in the Storm's clinching Game 2 victory over Minnesota. During Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, Thompson dropped a pair of three-pointers in nine minutes, and her seven consecutive points during the second half of Game 3 of that series sparked a 20-0 Seattle run that sent the Storm on to the WNBA Finals. When the Storm again returned to Seattle for Game 2 of the Finals, Thompson responded, scoring eight points and hitting a pair of three-pointers.
At 4.9 points per game, Thompson led all Storm reserves in playoff scoring, and she canned six of her 12 attempts from three-point range during the postseason. After that performance, Thompson was a priority to bring back as a restricted free agent, and she came to terms with the Storm on a new deal on Feb. 23. With Sam departed to Charlotte, Thompson will be in the mix to start at small forward next season, and if she duplicates her playoff performance over the course of a full season, she'll certainly be a starter.
- Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com