Notebook: Gortman Feels Better, Practices
After missing the Seattle Storm's first two days of practice during 2006 training camp because she was slowed by the stomach flu, invitee Shaunzinski Gortman was healthy enough to return to the practice court Wednesday. Gortman played extensively at the point in addition to the wing positions, where she played during her first two WNBA stops with Minnesota and Washington.
"I really like the things she brings to the table," said Storm Coach Anne Donovan. "I like her length, I like her athleticism and her versatility. The first impression is what I had hoped for. Now we see if she can settle in a little bit and help us even more."
"I played a lot of one in college," she said. "I kind of got away from it as I got to the WNBA. Coming back to it, it's something that I've got to get used to, but at the same time it's something that I enjoy."
"She's not a natural point guard, so I thought for today for her first day she did fairly well," added Donovan.
Gortman handled the ball effectively and hit a key 3-pointer in transition as the Storm worked against its male practice squad. She should be even better as she gains more strength and gets healthier.
"I don't think she was 100%," said Donovan. "She's a trooper, she's fighting through it."
"I had a lot more energy today than I did yesterday," Gortman said. "I still got tired at the end, but I guess as the days go by I'll be getting more strength. I was pretty proud of myself today, after I couldn't go at all to almost completing a full practice, that was pretty good for me."
After teaching was the primary focus of the Storm's first three practices, they were able to move forward and be more productive in terms of live action this morning. Though starters Janell Burse and Lauren Jackson sat out of practice once again, play was noticeably less sloppy on both ends of the court.
"We really did not teach a whole lot," said Donovan. "We reviewed what we've already taught. It feels like we've been here a week already. Yesterday was a long day in terms of teaching and stopping. Today we were able to really sit back and see if they could pick it up."
During the portion of practice open to the media, rookie forward Barbara Turner stood out. Turner drilled a pair of 20-footers and closed practice with an excellent post-up in transition where she sealed her defender and finished through contact for a potential three-point play. Turner unofficially led all scorers during the controlled scrimmage against the practice squad with 13 points.
"She was one that really stepped up, Betty (Lennox) as well, today," Donovan said. "Barbara's aggressive, so she's going to make her own opportunity, which is what you need in this league a lot of times."
Bird Flies Again
Storm point guard Sue Bird did not play in her Dynamo Moscow squad's 71-68 victory over Spartak yesterday, fueling speculation that she might be injured. That was news to Donovan.
"We communicate with Sue and she hasn't said that," Donovan said, "so I'd be surprised if that was the case."
Bird returned to action in today's Game 2 of the best-of-five series, scoring three points in 19 minutes as Dynamo cruised to a 77-61 victory. Game 3 is scheduled for Sunday, and a Dynamo victory would bring Bird back to Seattle early next week. A possible Game 4 is scheduled for next Monday, but if the series goes five games, it would not conclude until May 5.
The Storm also got good news about Tiffani Johnson, whose finals series is scheduled to end next Monday. She should be in Seattle shortly thereafter.
"It won't just be to have 12," she said. "Coming into this camp, I thought for sure I'd have 12. I'm not so sure now. We'll see how it goes."