Adjusting to a New Role
Posted on May 31, 2007
Hello Storm pals!
The first road game was this past weekend from Seattle to San Antonio, Texas to play the new and improved Silver Stars. It has been a couple of years since I played in the WNBA and I quickly forgot what it was like to travel commercial with a team. This weekend was a great reminder for me. It took Alan and I 12 hours to get from Seattle to San Antonio. Itís only the beginning and boy, do I miss those Russian League charter flights already.
Adjusting to a new role
It is so different rejoining the Storm organization as a broadcaster. Sitting at practice watching the girls compete is strange. So is listening to Coach Donavan break things down and teach. As a player, you donít realize or appreciate the knowledge, skills and preparation that WNBA coaches and in particular the Storm coaches have. It is taken for granted. When you step outside of the circle, then you see a whole lot of things in a different light. The coaching, teaching and organization overseas is far different. There is absolutely no comparison.
I never thought that I would feel like a rookie nine years into my professional career as a basketball player. Itís funny that I played with the core group of the ladies on the Storm team, have been coached by a handful of coaches around the WNBA and have played against most of the women in this league! That surely ages me! The conclusion is that I have been around for a while! I am a rookie adjusting to a new role, but the competitive nature in me is going to do what it takes to conquer this quest and hopefully age in this career as well!
Posted on May 4, 2007
Hey Storm Fans!
Things are wrapping up here in Russia - there is now less than a week left! We cannot wait to rejoin you in Seattle for another summer filled with EXCITEMENT in Key Arena!!
This is the battle for the GOLD! The winner of this series is the Russian Championship! Spartak, Sue's and Lauren's team, is tied with Samara 1-1. Samara has home-court advantage in the best-of-five series. In the last meeting Samara's star post player, Ann Wauters, suffered a sprained ankle. Now DeMya Walker and Maria Stepanova will have to step up. Key matchups for this game inside are Maria Stepanova vs. Lauren Jackson and DeMya Walker vs. Tina Thompson.
There will also be a battle on the perimeter with Amaya Valdemoro (a former Comets player who has long starred overseas) vs. Diana Taurasi and former Storm teammates Edwige Lawson-Wade vs. Sue Bird.
UMMC Ekaterinburg vs. Dynamo Moscow in pursuit of the Bronze!
We are competing for the third and fourth positions. The series is also best-of-five and we are tied 1-1. Rebekkah Brunson is still jumping out of the gym and grabbing phenomenal rebounds! Yesterday Dynamo defeated us on a buzzer three-pointer. Losing by one point in the playoffs is tough! Next game is Sunday in Ekaterinburg - payback time!!
Unfortunately, we will be playing without one of our best players, Suzy Batkovic. In the first game of this series she was alone on a wide-open backdoor cut and landed on her ankle awkwardly. Suzy will be out for the rest of this season and has to have surgery to repair torn ligaments in her ankle. This is a huge loss for us. We will miss her not only because she is a great player but because she is a great teammate!!
Wish us luck!!
Update From Russia
Posted on April 27, 2007
Hello again Storm pals, here is an update! Remember in the last blog I said that there may be some "home cookin'" going on? Let's put it this way ... the team (Samara) that smashed us at their home in Game 1 came to our place yesterday and got stomped by 20 points. I have to admit some of the calls were phantom fouls, but overall it was pretty even. Not that I'm biased or anything!!:)
Game 3 will be played in Samara on Sunday. The winner of this game will compete for the Russian title. The loser will play for third or fourth position. Keep your fingers crossed.
DeMya Walker is great shape after giving birth less than a year ago. She is playing good basketball. Her outside game has improved. In the last two games, she has made two three-pointers.
Kristen Haynie decided to leave her team in Russia to go to earn her spot in the WNBA. In Samara, she was playing limited minutes behind former Storm point guard Edwige Lawson-Wade.
Edwige is doing a great job of running her team. She is playing very smart basketball. In the past, people questioned her shooting capability. All is takes is a little bit of confidence because she is hitting her threes and knocking down pull-up jumpers.
Ann Wauters, late of the New York Liberty. Ann is a solid post player who has a lot of moves and I love the fact that she is great with both hands inside. Not only can she score with her back to the basket, but she can also face up and hit shots consistently. She is known as one of the best post players in Europe. We have had a difficult time guarding her one-on-one in the post in this playoff series.
Maria Stepanova, formerly of the Phoenix Mercury. She was crowned the 2006-07 Euroleague MVP. This honor is for the best post player in Europe. Maria is 6-7, so she makes it difficult to take easy shots in the lane. Maria has good hands and is a very good shooter. In this series, Maria has had a hard time with Cheryl Ford's banging but when she has an open shot or someone on her back, she is finishing.
Suzy Batkovic is draining threes all over the court and making some amazing one-handed lefty shots.
Cheryl Ford is overpowering everyone who gets in her way. It is a riot to see the faces of Samara's post players and watch them complain to the refs about Cheryl's elbows almost every time she scores.
Lindsey Whalen is slicing and dicing her way through the lane throwing fancy passes and stepping out and knocking down some threes.
Next, Game 3 in Samara on Sunday.
Can't Wait for Home Cooking!
Posted on April 25, 2007
Hello Storm fans! Sorry I left everyone hanging, but we I have been really busy in the middle of the Russian League Playoffs. All of the Russian teams are in the second round of the playoffs. My team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, is playing Game 2 tomorrow and it is ďdo or dieĒ for us! If we lose, we can no longer compete for the championship. We could only play for third place. The good thing about tomorrow is we are playing at HOME. In Russian basketball, playing at home is a HUGE advantage! There will be some ďhome cookin'Ē going on in Ekaterinburg tomorrow night!! I will be sure to update you soon. ...
LJ and Sue fighting for another Championship together
Whatís new with Sue Bird? Where should I start? This off-season, she got an Israeli passport. This enables her to play as a foreigner instead of as an American overseas. It is a huge advantage while playing in Europe because there is a limit on the amount of non-Europeans that can compete on each team. Then, she went to Russia and immediately helped her team win a Euroleague Championship by doing all of the things that she does best and controlling her team like always. Now she is alongside her favorite post player, LJ. This is a dangerous combo. They are playing together again and fighting for another Championship. How perfect, the two Storm stars playing together preparing for the 2007 WNBA season.
Both Sue and LJ are playing great basketball! They are both in phenomenal shape and most definitely ready for the upcoming WNBA season. LJ must have done a lot of running in Korea because she came to Russia as a LEAN, MEAN FIGHTING MACHINE!! Does she ever miss a beat? Ummmm ... NO! LJ has played two games with Spartak and is averaging 21.5 points and 6.5 boards in 23 minutes. Remember, this is no average European team. This team has Ticha Penicheiro, Diana Taurasi, Tina Thompson and Tamika Whitmore, just to name a few. I would say her play is pretty impressive on this team.
Donít Worry, Rookies - We Have All Been There!!!
Iím sure that all of you are glad that the first few training camp days are over! They have to be the scariest days ever. Full rosters, people getting cut daily and two-a-days, those awful two-a-days! I will never forget the anticipation of that FIRST DAY! Wow, was that scary! We all have been there Ö every last one of us!!
Adia talking to Tully Bevilaqua, a member of the 2004 Storm Championship team, 2006 WNBA All-Defense First Team pick and the starting point guard for the Indiana Fever.
Adia: Tully, I know it was a LONG time ago, but how nervous were you before your first day of camp? Can you remember??
Tully: lol It wasnít that long ago! My first camp was in Cleveland. I had four hours to pack and get on a plane and get to Cleveland, Ohio from Australia. Camp had already begun and I was going to camp late. I didnít know anyone; I was jet-lagged and nervous! It was scary ... I remember after day three of camp I could not walk, I was in pain!!!
Word of wisdom to the rookies?
Sometimes you only get one shot at the WNBA. Donít hold anything back! Play to your strengths and donít hold anything back. Play your game. Know that the coaches picked you for a certain reason and thatís why you're there.
Adia chatting with her Russian teammate and WNBA All-Star Cheryl Ford.
Adia: Tell me about how you felt before your first day of camp.
Cheryl: Could not sleep, restless, I just wanted to get the first day of camp over with. There is one thing that I will never forget. My coach said to me, ďCheryl, donít worry - it is not that badĒ.
How was the competition different from college?
It was a lot more physical. Everyone was more athletic and more experienced.
Words of advice to the rookies?
Have a positive attitude, work hard, be coachable, and go handle business! Do what got you there; thatís all I did.
Adia picking the brain of Russian teammate, WNBA All-Star and starting PG of the Sun, Lindsay Whalen.
Adia: First of all, since I know that you are on your computer all of the time over here, how often are you checking in on your Connecticut Sun team?
Lindsey: Almost every day to see what is going on in Connecticut and also WNBA.com to keep up on everything. I closely followed the college draft. I am really excited about my new teammates. We have some great additions with draftees, free agents and some trades. Iím really excited.
What were your feelings before the first day of camp?
Very, very nervous! I could hardly eat a thing. I had no expectations, I didnít know what to expect.
Tell me about your first few days, what was it like?
I remember the first few nights Ö I was away from all of the other rookies. The rookies were all together in a hotel and I was 30 minutes away from the facility in an apartment by MYSELF! I had no cable, no Internet, only a cell phone. Alone in a new environment. I remember one of the things that made it easier was how good the Timberwolves were doing that year. That got me through because it gave me something to look forward to. At least until the other rookies came and moved into the team apartments. Lol.
Advice for rookies?
Always give 100%, do what you do best. If you are a defender, then defend well in camp. If youíre a shooter, then hit shots. Do what got you there. Stand out and do what you do well.
Now it is time for me to get some rest for tomorrowís big game. I know that a lot of Storm fans love Monarchs players, so I will be sure to tell De Maya Walker hello from all of you. Talk to you soon.
Ready to Come Home
Posted on April 12, 2007
Hello from Russia, Storm Fans.
The season is winding down in Russia and all of the foreigners are anxious to go back to the States. The Russian season starts in October and finishes in the middle of May. It is a long, cold season. We are approaching the final stretch; playoffs begin Saturday. The typical locker-room talk at this point in the season is the discrepancy in the amount of days left ("We have 29 days left." "No, wait, if we go to Game 3 in the semifinals, this is when we go home." "No, because if we play in the championship and win in this many games this could be the date," etc., etc.).
Everyone is extremely excited to go home or back to their WNBA cities, but not too sad about missing those grueling two-a-day practices in training camp! The top eight teams in Russia will play well into May. When these players return, it will be the last week of camp and the middle of exhibition games. Veteran players love that! :)
At this point in the season we can't help but to tease ourselves by talking at some point in the day about what we are going to eat as soon as we get home and what sounds DELICIOUS now!! Usually someone craves PF Chang's, Benihana, Cheesecake Factory and Mexican food. Oh and junk food!! This is when our voices get louder - hot tamales, butterfingers (one of Cheryl Ford's favorites and my own) and Lindsay Whalen constantly craves Sun Chips - not any kind, some new salsa-flavored ones!!! If you could only see these conversations ... all of our eyes light up like kids in a candy store! Then the conversation ends with an AWWWWWWW as we rub our stomachs and sigh with disappointment.
A few interesting things from Russia:
1. What city in Russia are Adia Barnes, Cheryl Ford, Lindsey Whalen and Suzy Batkovic playing in?
Ekaterinburg, Russia, located in the Ural Region of Russia. One half of the city is in Europe and the other half is in Asia. We all live in the Asia half!
2. Favorite Russian Food?
Borscht. It is beet soup and it is tasty!! It has to have sour cream on it to make it perfect!
3. Favorite Russian Dessert?
Syrniki with Sgushenka. Sounds scary, but it is GREAT!!
4. One of my favorite Russian words.
Zdrastvuytye, or "hello". This took me forever to learn, so now I say it all of the time. My second favorite is da, or "yes," because whenever I don't understand I just smile and say da, da. It works every time!!
5. What was the COLDEST day in Russia?
-35C, it was a whole new meaning of cold. As soon as you stepped foot outside you felt like your face was going to completely freeze off. This is when Cheryl and I looked like complete FOREIGNERS! We had huge boots, two pairs of pants, black ski masks with our eyes barely peeking out and oversized snow gloves. And we were wondering, why is everyone staring??? No one in the Ural Region had on back ski masks in public except us. It was a sight to see!
Until next time, da svidaniya, "Goodbye."
Hello From Russia
Posted on April 1, 2007
Hello Storm Fans!
Words can't describe how excited I am to be rejoining the Storm family. I love the dedicated fans, the community and the organization! I said it as a player and I will say it again: "Seattle has the BEST fans in the WNBA!" We are going to have a blast in Key Arena this summer!!
Returning home as a rookie to be the Storm's color analyst in 2007 is a dream come true. As a player, you dread your first season as a rookie. You feel like there is a big bullseye on your back that says INEXPERIENCED. I never thought that I would say I'm excited to be a rookie and even more excited to enter the next phase in my career.
I can't wait to team up with Alan Horton as a member of the "A Team". By the way, I can't take credit for the name, David Locke gave it to us! :)
Alan is extremely talented, knowledgeable and loves and appreciates women's basketball. We make a greAt team!
So, I hope you tune in to us this season, catch us at events in the community and support the Storm in the city we love to play in, SEATTLE!