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The Seattle Storm made some bold moves in the offseason trading team stars Swin Cash and Le’Coe Willingham in exchange for the second pick in this year’s draft. And it looks like the move to infuse some youthful energy into the team is already paying off.
The Storm picked Tennessee's Shekinna Stricklen as the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 draft and in her first game of action with the Storm, she racked up a team-high 15 points during a preseason win against the Los Angeles Sparks.
In terms of veteran presence, WNBA legend Katie Smith returns for another year of action for the Storm this season. But this year, she’ll play alongside Tina Thompson, a fellow WNBA legend the Storm picked up from the Sparks.
Smith said a powerhouse lineup like the Storm’s could give the front-running Minnesota Lynx something to be fearful of come Playoff season.
“The West is pretty stacked,” Smith said. “It's going to be a challenge every single night (for Minnesota), and it's going to be a battle for those four playoff spots when it comes down to the end of the season.”
One of the biggest obstacles the team must overcome this season is playing without one of the league's top players in Lauren Jackson. The three-time league MVP will be representing Australia in the 2012 Olympics and she will not return to the team until after the summer games.
While it's an inconvenience, the Storm are not the only team that'll be losing star players for Olympic play. The team has brought in some powerhouse pieces to fill Jackson's void so that will leave so overall the Storm are in solid shape to tip off the season. Coach Brian Agler lead the team to a championship in 2010, so if there’s anyone that can give the Minnesota Lynx a run for their money, it might very well be the Storm.
The Storm’s trades in the offseason dismantled a strong chemistry the team had built playing several seasons together. Thompson has the potential to be a difference maker in bringing that chemistry back.
She’s an eight-time All-Star, two-time U.S. Gold Medalist and won four WNBA championships with the former Houston Comets. Oh yeah, and then there’s that teeny tiny accomplishment of being the greatest WNBA scorer of all time with more than 6,700 career points.
She’s had the chance to play with many of her new Storm teammates already in All-Star and Olympic play, so with her talents and wisdom she’ll be crucial in reviving the team’s championship chemistry.
– Aman Ali, WNBA.com