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Storm Offseason Plans

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Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com | September 26, 2008
With the conclusion of the Seattle Storm's season, players will once again disperse to all corners of the globe for offseasons in name only. While international competition is not a factor with the Olympics in the books, 11 of the Storm's 13 players plan to spend their winters playing in Europe. Storm.wnba.com will have complete coverage of your favorite players throughout the long offseason.

GUARD KIMBERLY BECK


Team: TBD
Beck knows she wants to play overseas but has yet to decide on a team, something she expects to get done within the next couple of weeks. "Get some more experience under my belt, get some more playing time overseas and see where that takes me," she said. After limited playing time during her rookie season, overseas experience could be invaluable for Beck going into her second year.

GUARD SUE BIRD


Team: Spartak Moscow Region
Over the next couple of weeks, Bird will get back to the East Coast to attend a wedding and see her family. Then she'll leave for Russia from Seattle on Oct. 10, in time for the start of Euroleague play six days later on her birthday. That's earlier then Bird has started her season overseas in the past. "We made a deal with our owner that we'd be there for the start of (Euroleague)," Bird explained.

FORWARD SWIN CASH


Team: USK Praha
During recent offseasons, Cash has focused on studio work for ESPN and training in Miami. However, she has signed this year to play with USK Praha alongside Connecticut's Lindsay Whalen. "I can train here and I can go play with the guys," Cash said. "In Miami, I played pickup, Chafie (Fields) and I and played with Ruth (Riley) sometimes when she was down there. But to get overseas and to get that high-level competition was what I really wanted to do to get me back to that level that I know I'm able to play at in this league consistently. That was the biggest reason why I wanted to go over there." Cash's timetable to play in Europe will depend on what decision she makes with regards to her back.

FORWARD SHYRA ELY


Team: K.V. Imperial AEL
Ely is headed to Cyprus to play for traditional power K.V. Imperial AEL. "It's a EuroCup team, so it will be great to get some exposure for my future," she said. She expects to play both forward spots for Imperial. The national league has a relatively short season, which should allow Ely a break and some time to train next spring prior to training camp.

FORWARD KATIE GEARLDS


Team: Athinaikos
After splitting last season between Slovakia and Greece, Gearlds is headed back to Athens to rejoin the Athinaikos squad she played for from February onward. "I love my team, I love the city and a lot of people want to come visit," explained Gearlds. It's good to be in a big city like that and it's very much Americanized. Everyone speaks English, so I can get by pretty easily." She'd like to improve her conditioning and nutrition going into her third WNBA season.

CENTER YOLANDA GRIFFITH


Team: TBD
Last winter, Griffith stayed in her home of Sacramento to rehab after thumb surgery. Now she's headed back overseas, though she's yet to decide where. "My agents are in negotiations right now with two different teams," she said.

FORWARD LAUREN JACKSON


Team: Spartak Moscow Region
For a couple more days, Jackson will rehab her ankle in Seattle before getting to spend a couple of weeks at home in Australia. She'll head to Moscow to join Bird and her other teammates on Oct. 13 and hopes to be back on the court for the start of Euroleague play, which would be seven weeks out from surgery on her right ankle.

FORWARD CAMILLE LITTLE


Team: Panküp TED Kayseri Koleji
For her first overseas experience, Little will play in Turkey. "I didn't go overseas last year, so this is all kind of new for me," she said. "Hopefully I can go over there and do some damage and come back ready for next year." She felt the offer was a solid one for a second-year WNBA player with no overseas track record. Little will be playing with Washington sharpshooter Laurie Koehn.

GUARD KRISTEN O'NEILL


Team: University of Limerick Aughinish
Having spent the season playing for her hometown team, O'Neill plans to use the next couple of weeks to do some traveling before returning to Ireland, where she finished last season after playing in Spain the previous season-plus.

CENTER ASHLEY ROBINSON


Plans: Broadcasting Intern, Dallas Mavericks
Robinson is heading home to Texas for what she terms her first real job outside of basketball, working as an intern with the Dallas Mavericks in the broadcasting department. "I think I'm going to learn a lot about the production side of gamedays and they said I could get in front of my camera sometimes," explained Robinson. "I'm going to work my way in front of that camera." She'd like to do sideline reporting in the future. Robinson might go overseas in January at the end of her internship, but was noncommittal.

CENTER KELLY SANTOS


Team: Cadí La Seu D'Urgell
For the second straight year, Santos will play in the Spanish Lega Feminina. She's changed teams and is now playing for La Seu D'Urgell, located in the north of Spain near Andorra. Along with former WNBA forward Kendra Wecker, Santos will be playing with a pair of other Brazilians she knows from international play. "I like to play with Brazilians," she said. "We are a community."

GUARD SHERYL SWOOPES


Plans: "Full-time mom"
Swoopes has moved her family, including son Jordan, to the Seattle area. He's already started classes at a local elementary school and Swoopes is looking forward to doting on him. "My son's in school, so now it's time for me to go and be a full-time mom," she said. Beyond that, she's talked about some coaching opportunities and hopes to represent the Storm in the community throughout the offseason.

GUARD TANISHA WRIGHT


Team: Tarbes Gespe Bigorre Élite
Two seasons in Israel were very productive for Wright, her league's MVP a year ago. Now it's time for a change, with Wright signing in France. "That's going to be really tough," said Wright. "I just think it's another opportunity, a chance to go to another country and experience something different. I can always go back to Israel, I think like." Liz Moeggenberg (nee Shimek) will be one of Wright's teammates for the team, which competes in the EuroCup.