August No Break For Lennox

Yesterday on this site, Seattle Storm guard Betty Lennox was quoted as saying of her break as the Storm took two weeks off for the Olympics, “Short, for me.” Lennox wasn’t complaining about the length; instead, she was merely noting the work ethic for which she has already become legendary in Seattle.

While many of her WNBA peers were relaxing, Lennox was still working hard during the August break.
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty
“I took two days off and I went to Ocean Shores, and that was about it,” Lennox explained Wednesday when the Storm returned to practice in preparation for the final month of the season.

Road trips aside, Lennox has now been in Seattle approximately five months since arriving to work out and participate in the “Stormin’ the Sound” community initiative more than a month before the start of training camp. For all that time, however, the only location in the Seattle community Lennox has really gotten to know is the inside of The Furtado Center.

“A lot of people ask me, ‘Betty, have you seen a little bit more of Seattle?’ No,” she said emphatically. “I think right now is not a time for me to see Seattle. I may come back up here for a little vacation and see Seattle. But right now, me, I know the season is still here and we’re still in season, so I’m still focused on this season and trying to do what’s best for Betty to stay in shape and do what I can to help the team.”

In fact, besides the brief vacation, the only thing that could keep Lennox out of The Furtado Center was a court resurfacing that took place during one of the rare periods in 2004 when neither the NBA’s Sonics nor the Storm are in season. Her court taken away from her, Lennox had to look elsewhere to work on her game.

“I think I saw a little bit outside of The Furtado Center - other gyms I played in, in Renton, in Greenlake, places like that, just because The Furtado Center was closed during the break because they were re-doing the floor,” Lennox explained. “I had an opportunity to see other gyms, so that’s kind of good.”

The Seattle Tourism Board would be disappointed, but the Storm is perfectly happy if Lennox never visits the Space Needle or the Pike Place Market, so long as she keeps producing as she did over the first two-plus months of the season. Despite battling a broken nose which forced her to miss two games - and sent her into a subsequent shooting slump that saw her shooting percentage fall from 51.3% the game the nose was broken to its current 43.2% - Lennox is a strong candidate for this season's Most Improved Player award.

As compared to her 2003 performance in Cleveland, Lennox is grabbing nearly twice as many rebounds, scoring 47.4% more points and shooting 6% better from the field. She remains the league’s best rebounding guard by a full rebound per game over Connecticut’s Katie Douglas.

And, after getting away from the pounding she takes on a nightly basis in the WNBA as a 5-8 player who loves to drive the lane and rebound in traffic, Lennox should be healthy for the stretch run.

“The rest for my nose was good,” Lennox noted. “Good for my whole body. I wouldn’t say that my body got a complete break, but it got a break from the pounding. I think I was smart on that behalf to take time off. I got back in the weight room, got stronger. I’m feeling good, my nose is feeling good.”

Lennox is feeling good enough that she plans to play overseas this off-season, instead of working as a plant manager for General Motors in Kansas City, which she did last winter before coming to Seattle.

“I wanted to establish a life outside of basketball,” Lennox told the Seattle Times earlier this year about that decision. “My playing years are winding down, so I'm planning for my future.”

With her career revitalized and potentially a long-term home in Seattle after her last two franchises, Cleveland and Miami, folded, Lennox is ready to devote her off-season to basketball once again.

“I think it’s going to be a whole lot better, because actually holding down a 9-to-5 job and trying to get some training in was more difficult than anything,” Lennox explained. “I think it’s going to be easier for me to stay around basketball, still be in basketball shape, and come back in better shape than I was last season. It was really hard – a lot of people don’t know how hard it is until they experience it. I would go to work at 4:00 in the morning, get off at 2:30 and train from 3-5, or 3-6. Next thing you know, it was time for me to go back to bed. It was a routine that was just killing my body.”

  • For the second straight day, the Storm had a spirited three-hour practice that focused largely on the defensive end of the court. Assistant coach Jenny Boucek, who is running practices with fellow assistant Jessie Kenlaw, was pleased with her team’s energy level.

    “We had a really good, hard, three-hour practice today with high intensity the whole time and not a lot of breakdowns where we slowed the intensity, and they went three hours hard,” Boucek said. “I was actually surprised they could sustain that level of intensity for three hours.”

  • Backup center Janell Burse underwent an MRI today that revealed she also has a strained right quad, related to the hip bursitis that kept her out of the Storm’s last five games before the August break. Burse was able to participate in shooting drills after practice, but the team continues to take it slow with her rehab.

    “(September 1, the Storm’s return to action against Sacramento at KeyArena) is my timetable, personally,” Burse said. “Other people are saying it might be a little longer before I can do a whole, whole lot as far as playing, sprinting, running, jumping, everything.”