2010 in Review: Svetlana Abrosimova
Kevin Pelton, stormbasketball.com | November 19, 2010
A fixture with the Minnesota Lynx for years, Svetlana Abrosimova spent the better part of two years out of the WNBA. She played briefly with the Connecticut Sun after winning a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics, then sat out 2009 entirely to take a mental and physical break.
By the spring of 2010, Abrosimova knew she wanted back in the league. She also knew her next destination would have to be the right one. She wanted the opportunity to pursue an elusive WNBA championship, as well as the chance to play somewhere she felt comfortable. The Seattle Storm offered Abrosimova a familiar head coach (Brian Agler had drafted her in Minnesota) and teammates (she played with Sue Bird and Swin Cash at Connecticut). Just before training camp, the Storm signed Abrosimova as a free agent.
While Abrosimova arrived to camp late after helping lead UMMC Ekaterinburg to the Russian Superleague title over Spartak Moscow Region (and Bird), she quickly settled into a spot in the rotation and made her impact felt immediately. Abrosimova's aggressive style of play helped the Storm maintain its level of play when bringing her off the bench behind any of the team's three perimeter starters.
The first sign of what Abrosimova would ultimately bring the team came on May 22 at Phoenix. Abrosimova had seven points, five assists and four rebounds during the Storm's overtime victory. She would establish that as a consistent level of play during the month of June, scoring at least seven points in eight of the team's 10 games and contributing in other categories as well.
Abrosimova's importance came to the forefront when Bird was sidelined by back spasms late in June. Tanisha Wright slid over to the point and Abrosimova stepped in for Wright. At Tulsa, when Bird had to leave in the early going, Abrosimova keyed a comeback with five three-pointers in eight attempts en route to a season-high 21 points. She followed it up with 11 points vs. San Antonio as the Storm won with Bird in street clothes.
The aggressive defense favored by Shock Head Coach Nolan Richardson translated into open three-point attempts for shooters like Abrosimova, who had many of her best performances of the year against Tulsa. She had 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting in a win at KeyArena on July 25, then led the Storm's 111-65 rout of the Shock by scoring 20 points and handing out eight assists.
The leadership and veteran presence provided by Abrosimova helped the Storm bench. She eased the transition of fellow European Jana Veselá to the WNBA and regularly stayed after practice to play 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 with younger reserves. When the bench got extended minutes late in the season with home-court advantage already secured, Abrosimova was a steadying force. She had 19 points and six assists in a loss at Connecticut.
During the playoffs, Abrosimova played a pivotal role in the Storm's Game 1 victory over Phoenix. She scored 16 points in 21 minutes, knocking down three shots behind the arc, in an 82-74 victory. With the Storm's WNBA Finals sweep of the Atlanta Dream, Abrosimova became the first Russian player to win either an NBA or a WNBA championship. Without her contributions, that would not have been possible. Abrosimova, Veselá and Le'coe Willingham turned the Storm's second unit into a strength that helped the team overcome injuries and get starters needed rest.
Abrosimova ended up averaging more points (7.6), assists (2.0) and steals (1.2) and as many rebounds (3.1) as any of the team's reserves had in 2009. She also supplied valuable shooting, ranking third on the team with 38 three-pointers.
- Scored a season-high 21 points at Tulsa on June 27.
- Handed out a season-high eight assists in addition to scoring 20 points vs. Tulsa on Aug. 7.
- Became the 52nd player in league history to grab 1,000 career rebounds on Aug. 10 at Atlanta. Lauren Jackson was the only previous player to do so with the Storm.
- One of four Storm players to see action in all 34 games.
What was your favorite Svetlana Abrosimova memory during the 2010 season? Share your answer in the comments.Comments blog comments powered by Disqus