Training Camp Notebook - May 17
Edwards played well enough against Phoenix to make the Storm's final roster.
For the most part, the moves went as expected. Donovan had all but said before Sunday night's preseason finale against Phoenix that Tully Bevilaqua and Michelle Greco had made the team as her backup guards. If there was a surprise, it was that the Storm was able to find room under the salary cap to keep veteran center Simone Edwards on the roster. In the end, the intangibles provided by one of the two inaugural members of the Storm were simply too valuable.
"Simone changes our team, Simone coming in and already being reminded of the things that Simone does for this team," Donovan explained. "We had to get creative with the salary cap; that was and will remain a concern for us. But just seeing how much she adds to this team, in terms of basketball, but (also) off-the-court chemistry, enthusiasm, energy, all those things."
Edwards said when she arrived in Seattle last week that she wasn't worried about the cuts, preferring to let events take their course. Still, she admitted today that she was pleased to remain with the Storm.
"I'm just glad to be here," Edwards said. "I'm always happy to be here. I'm glad that, in the end, I'm on the team. That's something to be thankful for. I'm thankful to Coach, thankful to God, to the fans and their support, whatever, but I'm just glad to be here. Now I just have to go out and make the best of it again."
In the backcourt, Greco outlasted several competitors, most recently Williams, signed last Tuesday as a free agent, with her steady preseason performance. Greco was not spectacular, but she played hard, brought energy, and generally avoided making mistakes. As a result, she's earned her way not only into a roster spot, but also a position in the rotation behind starting shooting guard Betty Lennox.
"Her energy, her defensive presence; she's a great defensive player, a big spark for us," Donovan said when asked what Greco had shown during the preseason. "And offensively, she can score. Michelle's not one that's going to make a lot of mistakes, so backing up Betty at the two spot, I feel very good about a consistent person coming in there and playing some limited minutes."
"I feel really good," Greco said after making her first WNBA roster. "It's a great opportunity to play on a team like this with so many great players, and just to be able to play in the WNBA for the first time. It's just a great feeling."
As for practice itself, Donovan was pleased that her team showed no sign of letting up in its preseason preparation even after earning its first preseason victory at KeyArena on Sunday night against the Phoenix Mercury.
According to Donovan, the tone of practice was, "Serious. I think everybody understands that although we won a game last night, we still have a lot of improvements to go. So serious. I think players came in a little bit fatigued, but worked hard to get through it."
In addition to working to develop on-court chemistry, particularly at the offensive end of the court, the Storm continued to work on playing 40 minutes of strong, pressure defense. After last night's game, Donovan was concerned that the Storm's defense had let up near the end of the game after the team had built a big lead. Changing that requires more defensive drills and constant reminders to keep the Storm's defensive energy from slipping.
The Storm did get some bad news during practice, as forward Alicia Thompson rolled an ankle and was using crutches to get around after the practice concluded. Donovan said that the severity of the injury was not yet known, but that Thompson would be "day-to-day for sure".