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Notebook: Rookies Stand Out Early in Camp

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Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com | April 22, 2008
It took only the first couple of practices for some of the Seattle Storm's rookies to stand out early in 2008 training camp. During Tuesday morning's session, four rookies - guards Daphanie Kennedy and Brandie Hoskins, forward Leah Rush and center Natalie Doma - were teamed on the gold squad as the 12 players into camp split into three groups of four. The gold team enjoyed a solid run of success as the Storm worked in the half court starting with a specific set and flowing into live action.

Kennedy and Rush were two of the players who caught the eye of Storm veteran Sheryl Swoopes.


"Leah's been really focused the last two days. She's been working real hard."
Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE/Getty Images
"There's something about (Kennedy) that I like," said Swoopes. "She's very hard-nosed, comes out here once we start playing and it doesn't matter who she's guarding, what she's doing offense or defense - she plays hard. I would probably also say Leah Rush. She stood out to me probably more so yesterday than today."

"Leah's been really focused the last two days," added center Yolanda Griffith. "She's been working real hard. When you tell her some of the things she's doing wrong, she corrects it right there. Kim (Beck)'s been really aggressive, running the team with no turnovers."

In addition to Kennedy, Storm Head Coach Brian Agler has been impressed by the shooting touch of rookie guard Allie Quigley, the team's second-round pick in the recent WNBA Draft.

"Allie Quigley has practiced well the last two days," he said. "She hit some shots, she's quick, she's active."

Quigley played alongside Griffith and Swoopes as well as second-year point guard Dee Davis. Getting Quigley some action at point guard is on Agler's mind, though several players in camp, including both Kennedy and Beck, also play the point.

"We'll probably give Allie some more looks at the point and probably look at Daphanie a little bit there too along with Kimberly and Dee," Agler said. "We're just sort of open-minded there right now."

Storm Will Keep 11

While the battle for roster spots has yet to take shape, especially with nine Storm players still overseas, the competition will be fierce for a limited number of spots. Agler confirmed after Tuesday's practice that the team will have room to keep only 11 players on its final roster while staying under the WNBA's salary cap.

"We have a lot of flexibility because we have a lot of combinations we can work with," he explained, "but every combination does not work, so there are some scenarios we've got to work through."

The Storm will be limited in the number of veteran players it can keep on the bench because the WNBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement mandates a higher minimum salary for players with at least three years of WNBA experience and no longer on their rookie contracts (guards Roneeka Hodges and Tanisha Wright are in their fourth year, but remain on their rookie deals).

Agler anticipates making some moves to pare the roster before the Storm takes to the road to play its preseason opener in Chicago next Wednesday, "just because we're going to be adding people. We want to make sure that the people that we give that look to in Chicago are people we feel like have a chance to make the team."

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After Tuesday's practice, Head Coach Brian Agler as well as Sheryl Swoopes spoke to the media.
Agler on Santos

For the first time, Agler was asked Tuesday about camp invitee Kelly Santos, a Brazilian post player who spent time with the Detroit Shock in 2001 and 2002 and has been playing overseas since then.

"She's got some experience in the league; she's a veteran player," Agler said. "She's played well in Europe and she's a post player. We just want to take a look at a variety of post players that way. Her salary, she can be in that mix and help create some flexibility for us."

Santos is currently wrapping up her season in Spain with Extremadura Dato. In 20 games in the Spanish Liga Femenina, Santos has averaged 15.0 points and 8.1 rebounds, shooting 49.1% from the field. She'll wrap up play Saturday and the Storm hopes to have her in camp not long thereafter.

"We just found out today that she's been approved with her Visa," said Agler, "so they're working on getting her a direct flight over when her season is over."

  • Long-time local high-school coach Karen Blair, who coached Storm rookie Kristen O'Neill at Meadowdale High School, attended practice and talked with O'Neill afterwards. Blair and O'Neill teamed up to win the 2000 Class 3A state title.