Despite a promising training camp, the Storm were forced to cut Lindsay Taylor today leaving the roster at 11 players and under the 2006 salary cap with two veterans as the last posts off the bench. Donovan had hoped to keep Taylor and one of the veteran choices among Simone Edwards and Tiffani Johnson in order to leave cap room for another player, perhaps a guard off the waiver wire or another non-veteran post to develop. Unfortunately Taylor performance on the floor during two exhibition games was bookended by trouble with injury and AD seems to have decided not to risk another injury to her post lineup with leading posts Janell Burse, Wendy Palmer and Lauren Jackson all nursing injuries. Jackson and Palmer are likely to play for the start of the season, though at less than 100%, with Janell Burse out indefinitely while nursing a torn labrum.
The choice between the promise of a more fit and athletic Tiffani Johnson with her talent and championship veteran experience and the hard work and championship veteran experience of Storm original Simone Edwards was likely to be a difficult one to make. Johnson may arguably be the more talented basketball player of the pair, she started at center for the WNBA champion Houston Comets in 2000. She arrived late to camp, and has struggled to pick up the team's offense and defensive schemes. Donovan wanted to see her dive right in, but reports have indicated that Johnson is a more cerebral player who needs time to internalize the schemes before she executes with confidence. Edwards on the other hand has played for the Storm since they formed in 2000 and was a limited bench player for the WNBA championship Storm in 2004. She is very comfortable in the Storm's schemes at both ends of the floor and knows the players and their tendencies. She really seemed to embrace her role in the 2005 season and proved quite effective stepping in whenever called upon. Donovan has always shown a marked preference for veteran players, and has apparently decided to take the risk of an 11 player roster over the risk of having another injured post with limited experience on a 12 player roster.
The recent coverage from Jayda Evans at the Seattle Times, David Locke on his Storm Blog and the continued great work by Kevin Pelton including the weekly Stormcast with Locke has made this one of the best covered Storm preseason's I can remember. Be sure to let these people know you are reading, listening and enjoying so the people in charge let them keep it going.