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2004 in Review: Tully Bevilaqua


Otto Greule Jr./NBAE/Getty
BEVILAQUA'S STATISTICS
2004 PLAYOFFS
2.3 PPG 2.8
0.8 RPG 2.0
0.9 APG 1.4
1.1 SPG 1.0
0.1 BPG 0.
10.5 MPG 13.9
.400 FG% .471

Storm Coach Anne Donovan on Tully Bevilaqua:

"What a spark! Every team, every coach, every fan looks for a spark coming off your bench that can pick up the momentum or give the starters a boost or get the crowd into it, and Tully does all those things and then some. The end of the season and playoff season for Tully was so important for the Storm. We played well when Tully played well."

2004 Season:
When the Seattle Storm opened 2004 training camp in late April, the role of backup point guard behind Sue Bird was open for competition. "Point guard, we've definitely got some issues there that we're still trying to work out," Donovan said on Media Day. By the end of the season, Donovan was singing a very different tune. Bevilaqua had something of a down 2003, arriving in Seattle midway through camp and struggling to find her role as one of two backup guards, along with Rita Williams. 2004 was a different story. After spending her off-season in Australia, Bevilaqua reported to camp in great shape and ready to go, and the backup point guard battle was over before it could even get started.

Secure in her role, Bevilaqua had an outstanding season. Most notably, her shooting, streaky during 2003, returned to form. Bevilaqua hit 11 of her 26 three-pointers, a 42.3% clip which would have ranked her seventh in the WNBA if she attempted enough threes to qualify.

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  • There was never any doubt about the energy Bevilaqua provides or her defensive ability. The Australian veteran has inspired nicknames like "Terrier" and "Pitbull" throughout her career, and 2004 was no exception. Bevilaqua's 4.3 steals per 40 minutes were far and away the best mark in the league. In fact, only one other qualifying player - San Antonio rookie Toccara Williams, a young Bevilaqua on defense - averaged even three steals per 40 minutes (3.4). Bevilaqua also topped the WNBA in steals per turnover (1.46). There are no official statistics available on the jump balls Bevilaqua forces or the charges she takes, but she surely would rank amongst WNBA leaders.

    The other effective statistical marker of Bevilaqua's value to the Storm is her plus-minus rating. Again, the data is not available for 2004, but in 2003, Bevilaqua actually had the team's best net rating on a per-minute basis. Being able to keep a game even - or even add to a lead or cut into a deficit - without Olympian Sue Bird on the court is a tremendous luxury for Donovan.

    Bevilaqua was at her best following the WNBA's August break for the Olympics. Playing extended minutes in September as the Storm dealt with injuries, Bevilaqua averaged 3.6 points during the month and shot 10-for-18 from the field, 6-for-9 from three-point range. During the playoffs, Bevilaqua stepped in and stepped up during Game 2 of the Storm's series with Minnesota when Bird broke her nose early in the game. Bevilaqua played 27 minutes, posting nine points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals without committing a turnover as the Storm closed the series.

    There was some concern after the Storm won the WNBA Championship that Bevilaqua might go out on top and ride into the sunset, but, barring a change of mind, that's not her plan. "I definitely feel like I still have a bit to give," Bevilaqua told storm.wnba.com after the season. "I'm not sure I'm ready to finish my career here."
    - Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com

    2004 Highlights:

  • Led the WNBA in steals per 40 minutes (4.3) and steals per turnover (1.46)
  • Shot career-high 42.3% from three-point range
  • Had nine points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals in 27 turnover-free minutes in Game 2 of playoffs series with Minnesota

    storm.wnba.com Player of the Week:
    July 26-31

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