Storm Tracker (May 9-15)

Bird - 11.5
McCulley - 8.0
Jackson – 6.0
Thomas – 4.5
Burras/Lassiter - 4.0
Burras - 8.0
Thomas - 6.0
Barnes - 5.5
Bird - 3.5
Edwards - 3.5
Bird - 3.0
Barnes - 2.5
Brondello - 1.5

May 9-15
Record for the week: 0-2
Overall Record: 0-2 preseason
Standing: 6th, Western Conference

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Sacramento 34 39 73
at Storm 32 32 64
Playing at the Tacoma Dome, the Storm started the game quickly on an 9-5 run, but found themselves down double-digits in the first half after Sacramento answered with a 16-2 run. By halftime, Seattle had almost caught the Monarchs thanks to surprising offense from Danielle McCulley, who finished tied for the team-high with 10 points. The Storm still trailed by just three points with less than eight minutes to play, but Sacramento pulled away with Ruthie Bolton, who finished with a team-high 17 points off the bench, leading the way. Sue Bird was the only other Storm player in double-figures, also scoring 10 points. Alisa Burras grabbed seven rebounds, with Adia Barnes collecting six boards and handed out a Storm-high four assists. Sacramento largely won the game at the free-throw line, shooting 29 free throws to the Storm’s four. Lauren Jackson sat the game out, still recovering from a stress fracture in her right shin.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Storm 22 26 48
at Sacramento 32 32 64
Because the Sacramento Kings were using ARCO Arena on Thursday to play game 6 of their series with the Dallas Mavericks, the Storm’s preseason rematch with the Monarchs was bumped up a day to Wednesday. Unfortunately, the Storm’s offense missed the change. As a team, Seattle shot 15-61, 24.6%, and was never really in a 64-48 defeat. Burras shot 1-10, Stacey Thomas 1-8 and Sandy Brondello 0-6. Bird was the brightest spot offensively, scoring 13 points. The Storm did take advantage of its misfires with 17 offensive rebounds, outrebounding the Monarchs 39-37 overall. Burras grabbed nine boards and blocked five shots, while Thomas hauled in eight boards and three steals. Yolanda Griffith posted a double-double for Sacramento with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Player of the Week

F Danielle McCulley
8.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 7-10 shooting

After spending the final 27 games of last season on the injured list with patellar tendinitis, McCulley was not expected to play a major role this year – especially after the Storm added to its frontcourt depth by selecting Burras in the Dispersal Draft. A revitalized McCulley, however, has taken advantage of the opportunity provided by Jackson’s and Kamila Vodichkova’s late arrivals, to display the talent that made her the first pick in the final ABL Draft. The Storm’s second-leading scorer over the two preseason games, McCulley could play a key role for Coach Anne Donovan this season – just as she did three seasons ago in Indiana.

Weekly Happenings

Bird was the Storm’s leading scorer in both exhibitions.
Barry Gossage/WNBAE/Getty
How Important is Preseason?
Part of the reason for the Storm’s two preseason losses to Sacramento may be explained by the preseason attitude of Donovan. “We haven't really thought about Sacramento a lot,” Donovan said last week. “We're making sure that we're doing the things we need to do to stay on track for May 22.” A pair of the Storm’s preseason starters, Bird and Burras, played heavily in both exhibition games. The rest of the lineup, however, turned over frequently as Donovan got all of her healthy players into both games. Jackson played sparingly, sitting out the Storm’s exhibition opener and playing just 13 minutes in Sacramento because of foul trouble. Vodichkova, the Storm’s starting center last season, missed both games as she remained overseas. Preseason has been, as Donovan noted beforehand, a learning experience for a team that has turned over more than a third of its roster and has an entirely new coaching staff. Though Donovan will continue fully implementing her system into the season, the Storm should be ready to go next Thursday when the games start counting in the standings.

With Barnes starting both exhibition games at small forward, the Storm’s starting lineup – at least for now – seems to be set with Bird and Brondello in the backcourt, Barnes and Jackson at forwards, and Burras in the middle. Vodichkova could unseat the fourth B, Burras, in the starting lineup before long. Donovan’s exhibition rotation didn’t tip off much of her regular-season strategy, but is still worth considering. Tully Bevilaqua, who played 14 minutes at Sacramento, seems to have locked up the backup point guard role. McCulley, who played 24 minutes at Sacramento to Simone Edwards’ 12, is probably the fourth frontcourt player heading into the season. Which player or two backs up the wing positions is more confusing. Thomas and Kate Starbird played 24 minutes apiece between the two games, with Amanda Lassiter playing 16. One of those three will likely be out of the rotation by opening night.

At Full Strength
With Vodichkova returning from the Czech Republic and completing her physical today, the Storm’s roster stands at a full 15 without any significant injuries. Donovan must reduce the roster to 11 active players and as many as two on the injured list by next Wednesday, a day before the Storm opens the season at Houston.

The Week Ahead

Thu, May 22 Houston Comets 5:30 p.m. Compaq Center 950 KJR AM

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