2012 in Review: Alysha Clark
Kevin Pelton, StormBasketball.com | Nov. 20, 2012
After two years of ending up as the last cut by the San Antonio Silver Stars, Alysha Clark decided to try her luck with a new team in 2012, accepting an invitation to attend the Storm's training camp. While Clark didn't fill a pressing need for the Storm, her hustle and consistent play during practices helped earn her the 11th and final spot on the Storm's roster to start the regular season.
At first, Clark was guaranteed nothing, since the Storm would need to clear a roster spot in late June to make room for the arrival of Svetlana Abrosimova. While she was happy to get the opportunity to play in the WNBA, Clark also recognized she had more work to do. That mostly came in practice during the season's few months, when Clark's game action was sparing. She made her WNBA debut on June 1 against Tulsa and scored her first career point at the free throw line. Clark had two points and three rebounds in five minutes in the Storm's next outing at Minnesota, but those would be her longest stints during June.
With Clark showing promise on the practice court and teammate Victoria Dunlap limited due to concussions, the Storm decided to move forward with Clark as the 11th player on the roster after adding Abrosimova. Before the Olympic Break, a series of injuries in the frontcourt would give Clark the minutes to show her wares in game action. All season long, Clark worked on making the transition from post player at Middle Tennessee State (where she led Division I in scoring as a senior) to WNBA wing. However, the Storm's limited post depth forced Clark to play up front against bigger opponents, and she thrived in that role.
In a series of four games leading up to the break, Clark set or tied her career high for scoring each time. She had five points and three rebounds on July 7 at Los Angeles, then followed up with five points and four boards the next night against Phoenix. Her seven points on July 11 against Atlanta were a new high-water mark until she broke it again in the Storm's win at Phoenix on July 13 to close out the first half of the season. Clark played a key role off the bench, scoring nine points and pulling down eight rebounds in 26 minutes.
"She's just energized when she plays," said Storm Head Coach Brian Agler. "She's helped us win a couple of games here of late. She competes very hard, she does a lot of the dirty work, she gets a lot of loose balls, she rebounds in crowds ... she makes things happen. She's been very productive for us."
After continuing to develop her game during the WNBA's month-long break, Clark saw more extended minutes during the first three games the team played in August. She scored eight points against Phoenix on Aug. 16, and had five points and six rebounds on Aug. 21 vs. Minnesota. When Lauren Jackson returned to the lineup the following game, Clark was bumped out of the rotation, though she continued to see spot minutes before injuries struck again after the Storm clinched a playoff berth. Twice, Clark scored seven points on Sept. 12 at Indiana and Sept. 18 vs. Chicago.
Because of her limited minutes, Clark's per-game statistics don't reflect how effective Clark was when she was on the floor during her rookie season. She averaged 13.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per 40 minutes, shooting 54.7 percent from the field and making nine of her 20 attempts from three-point range. Proving she can be a threat from the perimeter will be an important factor as Clark works to expand her game as a small forward and maintain a spot on the Storm's roster.
While Clark is not under contract for 2013, she's a reserved player, meaning the Storm has exclusive negotiating rights to bring her back. Clark is spending her third offseason playing in Israel and is back with Herbalife Ramat Hasharon after averaging 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds last year in league play.
- Made her WNBA debut and scored her first career point on June 1 against Tulsa.
- Posted career highs of nine points and eight rebounds during the Storm's win at Phoenix on July 13.
- Made two three-pointers to account for six of her seven points on Sept. 18 vs. Chicago.
- Ranked sixth in the WNBA among players with at least 50 shot attempts in field-goal percentage (.547).
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