Saturday, May 27, 2006

All-Star Game

Ok. I am trying not to get too excited or count my chickens before they hatch, but it looks like I am getting a trip to the All Star game in NYC this summer. I was talking to one of my New York counterparts to see if he needed me to visit any of his accounts this summer and he said he did. We were looking at early to mid July and now it is set for the week of the ASG. Once we lock down tickets I am there. Get voting as soon as it opens so I have some Storm players to cheer on.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Storm @ Mercury 5/25

Ah. That feels much better. With Janell Burse's return to the starting lineup the Seattle Storm returned to form with a 94-81 victory over the Phoenix Mercury. The Storm simply dominated the Mercury on the inside with solid post play from their triumverate of Lauren Jackson (career high 35 points, 9 rebounds), Janell Burse (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Wendy Palmer (10 points, 7 rebounds). The Storm rediscovered their individual and team defense, though Sue Bird did not have another record steals night, she played solid defense throughout the evening. Betty Lennox was the only other player in double figures for the Storm with ten points. The inside was working so well they seldom needed to shoot.

The Mercury continue to struggle with "Paul Ball" as their pressure defense was not at all effective against Sue Bird, and the post dominance of the Storm kept them mostly off the boards preventing a fast break momentum. Diana Taurasi and rookie Cappie Pondexter were fabulous offensively putting up 28 and 21 points respectively. Guard Tamicha Jackson was filling in for the injured Kelly Miller and was the only other player in double figures. The Mercury bigs were shut down other than a handful of outside jumpers.

Seattle needs to keep up this momentum as they head into Arco Arena next to face the defending champion Sacramento Monarchs.


Possesions: 79.97
Offensive Rating: 115.58

Player Ratings
Floor %: 62% Stop%: 47% Offensive Rating: 130.74 Net Points: 4.84 Plus/Minus: +18
Floor %: 54% Stop%: 45% Offensive Rating: 141.87 Net Points: 2.74 Plus/Minus: +12
Floor %: 53% Stop%: 33% Offensive Rating: 102.14 Net Points: 5.69 Plus/Minus: +10
Floor %: 54% Stop %: 28% Offensive Rating: 119.52 Net Points: 4.42 Plus/Minus: +9
Castro Marques
Floor %: 23% Stop%: 32% Offensive Rating: 41.73 Net Points: -0.71 Plus/Minus: +7
Floor %: 40% Stop%: 40% Offensive Rating: 79.56 Net Points: 1.16 Plus/Minus: +5
Floor %: 66% Stop%: 36% Offensive Rating: 139.14 Net Points: 18.03 Plus/Minus: +4
Floor %: 69% Stop%: 39% Offensive Rating: 139.53 Net Points: 3.94 Plus/Minus: +4
Floor %: 58% Stop %: 40% Offensive Rating: 129.63 Net Points: 1.89 Plus/Minus: +2
Floor %: 0% Stop %: 24% Offensive Rating: 0 Net Points: 0 Plus/Minus: -2
Floor %: 0% Stop %: 45% Offensive Rating: 0 Net Points: 0 Plus/Minus: -4

Most Effective Lineups
Bird-Gortman-Castro-Palmer-Burse: +5
Bird-Lennox-Gortman-Jackson-Palmer: +4
Wright-Gortman-Turner-Palmer-Burse: +4

Least Effective Lineups
Bird-Lennox-Wright-Jackson-Burse: -3
Wright-Gortman-Turner-Chones-Johnson: -2
Gortman-Lennox-Turner-Jackson-Palmer: -2
Bird-Wright-Turner-Johnson-Burse: -2

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Random Thoughts

One thing I noted during the second half last night (when the Comets were playing O at my end of the floor) was the way they used the same play over and over again to pick the Storm defense apart. They set a screen or two on the right side of the court and cut to the middle, the center then leaks out to the three point drawing her defender left. We have the Storm heavy on the ball side and then the weakside leaks just as the ball crosses to the middle leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the floor. The couple of times Palmer or Jackson covered the middle on that play the ball was kicked out to Christensen or Thompson who hit the open jumper. Anne never got that hole closed.

I am going to stop posting Plus/Minus data for the non-Storm games. pd_swanson is publishing Plus/Minus for every WNBA game over at the Lynx Blog and that means the only value that I am adding is with the effective lineup data. I may continue to run the numbers now that my spreadsheets are better, but until I get a play-by-play that I can parse automatically that is a big time consumer for me. Anyone with tips or suggestions for parsing the play-by-play, I would appreciate the ideas.

Storm vs. Comets 5/23

I did not post a pregame entry yesterday because I worried that my trepidation about this game might jinx the team were I to type them on the screen. Unfortunately my silence was of no help. Here are the worries I did not share yesterday...

After the emotional ring ceremony opening day last season the Storm offered up one of their poorest performances since Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson teamed up on the roster, and they played poorly against an otherwise self destructing LA Sparks team. I feared that the likely emotional pre-game farewell ceremony for Storm original, Simone Edwards, might elicit a similar enervated effort from this team.

Van is still a solid coach. Staley, Thompson and Swoopes possess more experience, talent and savvy than some other teams (who will remain unmentioned) possess on their entire current rosters. They had a nasty opener, and I expected the Storm would face a team "with a mission."

Michelle Snow. With JB out of the lineup I feared Wendy Palmer would be severely out-sized on the block and big minutes might be required of the still new posts Tiffani Johnson and Kayla Chones. Facing Tina Thompson, LJ would be very limited in her ability to help on Snow.

If you were at the game, watched it on ESPN2 or listened to it on the radio, you know that all of these concerns came into play in this game.

The pre-game ceremony was indeed emotional. I missed the season ticket holder only event at 6:30, though I did arrive in time. Midway through Anne Donnovan's presentation of flowers I found a tear rolling down my cheek seeing Simone's eyes tearing up on the big screen. That feeling returned later in the game when Betty and LJ videos were played on the big screen saying thank you and farewell. LJ was only partially successful at disguising a depth of feeling for Simone that welled up twice in her recording. Betty's "I will represent," comment was clearly heartfelt. The emotional build up prior to the game with these ceremonies appears to break the team's focus, perhaps they should be saved for the END of games in the future or for independent events.

Van only used 11 different lineups in this game, 10 of those were not used in their first game of the season. Other than the starting lineup every rotation and floor combination was new for the Comets. The Comets picked up where they left off in the playoffs, they dissected the Storm's new defense repeated and with ease. They disrupted the Storm's offensive flow by pressuring Bird and smothering LJ with triple and quadruple teams. Somehow, when LJ got the ball they managed to put three or four players on LJ without leaving any of the other four Storm players on the floor open.

Michelle Snow used her size and agility to dominate Wendy Palmer, Tiffani Johnson and Kaayla Chones in the post. Even her backup, Kayte Christensen, who only joined the team that day after being cut from camp on May 19th, dominated in the post.

The Storm signed another point guard, Edwige Lawson-Wade, an international player from France who has played for both the Liberty in the Comets in the past. They need one. Tanisha Wright and Shaun Gortman are a nice defensive option, but the offense is just stalling out when Sue Bird sits.

In summary, the game was ugly from midway through the second quarter. There was a brief surge at the end of the third quarter through the beginning of the fourth quarter, but the Comets quickly retook control and never looked back. The Storm fell to the Comets 84-59.

By the Numbers

Possessions: 65.04 (72.35 2005 average)
Offensive Rating: 84.32 (101.75 2005 rating)

Individual Plus/Minus
Turner: -4
Chones: -4
Johnson: -6
Wright: -6
Gortman: -7
Castro: -15
Bird: -17
Palmer: -20
Jackson: -20
Lennox: -26

Most Effective Lineups
Bird-Lennox-Gortman-Palmer-Johnson: +3
Bird-Wright-Gortman-Jackson-Johnson: +3

Least Effective Lineups
Bird-Lennox-Castro-Jackson-Palmer: -10
Bird-Lennox-Gortman-Jackson-Palmer: -8

Possessions: 74.91 (67.53 2005 average)
Offensive Rating: 120.04 (100.19 2005 rating)

Individual Plus/Minus
Swoopes: 26
Staley: +21
Canty: +19
Thompson: +18
Christensen: +17
Snow: +14
Kostaki: +5
Hodges: +4
Williams: +1

Most Effective Lineups
Staley-Canty-Swoopes-Thompson-Snow: +11
Staley-Canty-Swoopes-Thompson-Christensen: +9
Kostaki-Hodges-Swoopes-Williams-Christensen: +5

Least Effective Lineups
Staley-Canty-Hodges-Thompson-Williams: -4
Kostaki-Hodges-Canty-Williams-Christensen: -2

Monday, May 22, 2006

Comets vs. Silver Stars 5/21

Slowly automating more in my spreadsheets, but it sure would be nice to have a better way to do the plus/minus values than I use today...

Eventually I will post the raw data at my stats page...but that takes longer than running the numbers at this is a summary...


Possessions: 74.25
Offensive Rating: 84.22

Most Effective Offensive Players

Sheryl Swoopes
* Floor Percentage: 63%
* Offensive Rating: 128.57

Tari Phillips
* Floor Percentage: 64%
* Offensive Rating: 122.51

Mistie Williams
* Floor Percentage: 58%
* Offensive Rating: 117.31

Most Effective Defensive Players (Stop %)
Michelle Snow: 46%
Tina Thompson: 45%
Sheryl Swoopes: 44%

Individual Plus/Minus
Tari Phillips: 0
Dawn Staley: -2
Mistie Williams: -2
Anastasia Kostaki: -4
Dominique Canty: -6
Tina Thompson: -10
Michelle Snow: -13
Sheryl Swoopes: -15
Roneeka Hodges: -20

Most Effective Lineups
Staley-Kostaki-Swoopes-Thompson-Phillips: +2
Kostaki-Canty-Swoopes-Thompson-Snow: +2

Least Effective Lineups
Kostaki-Hodges-Swoopes-Thompson-Snow: -6
Canty-Hodges-Swoopes-Phillips-Snow: -5

San Antonio

Possessions: 75.36
Offensive Rating: 105.61

Most Effective Offensive Players

Shanna Zolman
* Floor Percentage: 54%
* Offensive Rating: 139.41

Sophia Young
* Floor Percentage: 61%
* Offensive Rating: 125.31

Vickie Johnson
* Floor Percentage: 57%
* Offensive Rating: 122.58

Most Effective Defensive Players (Stop %)
Sophia Young: 48%
Kendra Wecker: 48%
Katie Feenstra: 47%
Shyra Ely: 47%

Individual Plus/Minus
Sophia Young: +21
Shannon Johnson: +19
Vickie Johnson: +12
Shyra Ely: +9
Shanna Zolman: +8
Katie Feenstra: +5
LaToya Thomas: +4
Kendra Wecker: 0
Chantelle Anderson: 0
Agnieszka Bibrzycka: -1
Dalma Ivanyi: -3

Most Effective Lineups
SJohnson-VJohnson-Ely-Young-Feenstra: +9
SJohnson-Wecker-Ely-Thomas-Anderson: +4
SJohnson-VJohnson-Zolman-Young-Anderson: +4

Least Effective Lineups
Ivanyi-VJohnson-Wecker-Thomas-Feenstra: -4
SJohnson-VJohnson-Young-Bibrzycka-Feenstra: -3
Ivanyi-VJohnson-Bibrzycka-Ely-Anderson: -3

Storm vs. Sparks 5/21

I will get to the numbers in a moment, but I will start with my thoughts on the evening, followed by some thoughts on the game.

The Experience
My wife took her first solo vacation in three years this weekend to go visit a friend in LA, so she wasn't going to make the game. I had planned on taking my 2 year old son, Connor, with me to the game but by the time 5:00 rolled around he was still napping, so I headed out on my own. It was pretty exciting that no sooner had I hit 15th Ave NW did I see a truck in front of me with a window sticker saying Go Storm! There was a small crowd outside the arena, and the concourse inside was not too bad. I strolled over an picked up some Terryaki chicken (I do NOT recommend this particular dish...too much sesame) and went down to my seat. I took note of the fact that Holdsclaw was not on the floor for warmups, nor was Janell Burse. I went and picked up Connor's "goodies" from the Doppler's Kids Club we signed him up for at Saturday's open practice.

Speaking of the open practice, Sue Bird is a great sport...she did her Elaine from Seinfeld dance on request during the Q&A. The other keys from the event for me were LJ's "No one knows where Suzy is.." line and Doppler coming up the aisle to us. My two year saw Doppler coming up the stairs and started hyperventilating, jumping up and down and screeching, "Dopper, Dopper, hi Dopper!!" When I finally got him out into the aisle Doppler gave him a big hug and a high five. The whole trip was worth those few seconds. He was happier than I have the ability to describe. He spent last season seeing but never getting to touch Doppler so this was almost overwhelming for him. It is all he talked about for hours. Last night I picked up my wife at the airport after the game and the long napper was still awake when we got back to the house. The first thing he did was tell her all about Doppler, and then I gave him his Doppler T-Shirt and he started walking around saying "Dopper give this gift to me...Dopper give me this shirt!"

Back to the game, there was a pregame kid's dance troupe which I missed while retrieving the Kids Club paraphernalia which the crowd seemed to enjoy. They introduced a new pregame Storm Vision with David and Elise on Arena Vision which will air throughout season. David really seems to be diving into his new role as the production manager. The 15 year old girl who sang the National Anthem had great voice, as she matures and develops some polish she will be quite the singer. The crowd gave Lisa Leslie the requisite boos though the rest of the Sparks got polite applause. AD got huge cheers when announced (again) as Coach of Team USA, and the crowd gave impressive cheers for newcomers Barbara Turner and Wendy Palmer.

The dance troupe and the hip hop troupe were in top form, and did some of the best routines I have seen them do in the past few years. The halftime show was a little weak, but I am not fond of juggling, even with the impressive acrobatics and tricks they threw in for this show. The crowd was quite lively and very much into the game. They were nuts for Wendy Palmer and her amazing performance, drowning David Locke out a number of times during his post game interview. She said that in her 10 years in the league she has never felt the energy of the crowd as strongly as she did last night, but she earned every decibel with her 18 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal.

They struggled with the crowd warm up, adding in a Beat LA chant which was not well coordinated. The crowd did better on their own at the end of the game. Pitman is starting to find a groove and get some flair to his player announcements...he has a catchy rythm for introducing LJ that should stick.

The Game
The game was fantastic. It started close and there was some back and forth play until the Storm broke free in the start of the third quarter. LJ got into early foul trouble but Wendy kept things solid in the middle while LJ was sitting. Johnson did an OK job, but she is clearly still feeling her way around. The offense fell apart when Sue sat at the 5:12 mark, and she only ended up with about a minute's rest. The Storm managed a 2 point lead to end the quarter.

Izi looked great out there. She was so fast all night, and had some nice hesitation moves that got her to the basket for easy layups. Newcomer Kaayla Chones does not seem quite settled yet, but considering she arrived at her first practice Saturday morning, we can't complain. The lead flipped back and forth some more until the end of the quarter where Seattle was able to make a run in the last three minutes and close the half with a 9 point lead.

Wendy Palmer came out with a purpose to start the second half. She was scoring in the paint, from the outside, rebounding , blocking shots and getting steals like woman possessed. This opened up things for LJ who finally got some points on the board. Sue was solid and steady on offense all night, taking and hitting open jumpers and finding players where they could score. Again, though, when she sat the offense struggled, indeed for a couple of minutes there were no scorers on the floor other than Betty. Sue's defense was very impressive, however, and she set a franchise record for steal in a game with her 7 steals. The early run created some padding and the Storm closed the quarter with a 13 point advantage.

The fourth quarter included more dominance inside by Jackson and Palmer, and Lisa Leslie fouled out of the game at the 4:08 mark. There was a distressing moment early in the fourth when Izi took a fall during a failed fast break by LA that led to a fast break by Seattle. It happened right in front of me, but I was watching the ball and missed the hit. Wendy was forced to foul when the refs continue play with Izi on the floor under the basket. The Storm players couldn't guard the paint without stepping on Izi and LA strolled right in for a layup that was waived off by the foul on the floor. She did get up on her own, and Jayda Evans reports that LJ hit Izi with her elbow (she only seems to injure her mates with those elbows!) but Izi is fine. The best part about the fourth quarter was the constant defensive effort by the reserves. Gortman throughout the game made some nice defensive plays, as did Tanisha Wright. Barbara Turner struggled, picking up fouls and failing to be effective at either end of the floor. I think she just needs a little more time. Tiffani Johnson seemed to warm up by the fourth quarter and improved her offensive and defensive performance. Betty, Izi and Tanisha made some great interior passes to Johnson and to Chones which would have been layups by JB, but were bobbled by the newcomers. Again, this will come in time. The Storm held on for a dominating 90-67 win over the Sparks.

Some random thoughts on the Sparks:

Temeka Johnson is going to have a great year. She is very fast, plays intense defense and has some great fakes that get her open shots and paths to the basket. Sue Bird finally had to give Johnson a taste of her own medicine in the second half with a juke step of her own.

I have never before had the opportunity to watch Lisa Leslie under the basket up close. My angle underneath the basket at the visitor's end of the floor gave me a great look at her efforts. She really is amazing down on the left block. She uses the same move to the right then spinning to the left for a layup or a fadeaway over and over again. The defender and the help defender both knew it was coming and they still couldn't guard her, no matter who it was.

Mabika looks like she is back. She really looked solid out there.

This team, once Holdsclaw returns, could really be better than I thought.

By the Numbers

Storm: 78
Sparks: 84
Offensive Ratings
Storm: 109.79
Sparks: 81.73

Plus/Minus Data
Wendy Palmer: +26
Sue Bird: +24
Iziane Castro Marques: +22
Tanisha Wright: +14
Tiffani Johnson: +13
Betty Lennox: +12
Lauren Jackson: +10
Barbara Turner: +5
Janell Burse: 0
Shaunzinski Gortman: -3
Kaayla Chones: -6

Most Effective Lineups
Bird-Lennox-Castro-Jackson-Palmer: +10
Bird-Wright-Castro-Palmer-Johnson: +7
Bird-Lennox-Castro-Palmer-Johnson: +5
Wright-Gortman-Turner-Chones-Johnson: +5

Least Effective Lineups
Wright-Lennox-Gortman-Chones-Johnson: -5
Wright-Gortman-Castro-Palmer-Johnson: -3

Christi Thomas: +2
Doneeka Hodges: +1
Murriel Page: -1
Lisa Willis: -4
Lisa Leslie: -8
Brandi Davis: -13
Jessica Moore: -16
Tamara Moore: -17
Emmeline Udongue: -17
Mwadi Mabika: -18
Temeka Johnson: -21

Most Effective Lineups
Willis-Hodges-Mabika-Thomas-Leslie: +8
Johnson-TMoore-Mabika-JMoore-Thomas: +3

Least Effective Lineups
Johnson-TMoore-Mabika-JMoore-Leslie: -14
Willis-TMoore-Davis-Mabika-Udongue: -6

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Liberty @ Sun

I wasn't expecting too much from this game. I was interested to see how Whalen was Phillips was going to fit in and how the Liberty might look different with a full effort from Hammon.

This was another fast paced game with just around 80 possessions per team, though all the games on opening day were, with the defensively focused duo of the Shock and Fever having the low mark of 74 possessions each (remember last season the league averaged around 67). This 80 possession pace was about 10 possesions above the Sun's 2005 average and about 13 faster than the Liberty's 2005 average. The Sun managed an offensive rating of 114.79 which was about 10 points better than their 2005 average. The Liberty eked out a 93.34 which is 9 points below their 2005 average.

Connecticut Plus/Minus

Taj McWilliams-Franklin: +17
Erin Phillips: +13
Nykesha Sales: +12
Katie Douglas: +10
Asjha Jones: +10
Margo Dydek: +10
Lindsay Whalen: +7
Laura Summerton: +6
Megan Mahoney: -3
Jamie Carey: -9

Most Effective Lineups
Phillips-Douglas-Sales-McWilliams-Jones: +5
Phillips-Carey-Summerton-McWilliams-Jones: +5

Least Effective Lineups
Phillips-Mahoney-Carey-Summerton-Jones: -4
Carey-Douglas-Summerton-Jones-Willingham: -3

New York Plus/Minus
Loree Moore: 0
Ashley Battle: -3
Cathrine Kraayeveld: -4
Kelly Schumacher: -6
Kiesha Brown: -8
Becky Hammon: -12
Sherill Baker: -12
Shameka Christon: -16
Barbara Farris: -24

Most Effective Lineups
Hammon-Christon-Battle-Kraayeveld-Schumacher: +10
Hammon-Baker-Christon-Farris-Schumacher: +3

Least Effective Lineups
Hammon-Battle-Christon-Farris-Schumacher: -13
Hammon-Baker-Christon-Kraayeveld-Schumacher: -8

Mercury @ Monarchs

For the first five minutes of this game it looked like Paul Westhead's fast break, run and gun offense was going to be lethal this season. For the remaining thirty-five minutes you began to wonder how many games into the season would he fired.

After putting 17 points up while holding the Monarchs to 4 points, all in under five minutes, the Mercury fell apart. Sacramento coach John Whisenant called a timeout, talked to his team about how to handle the pressure defense and reminded them to defend. Also, at that 5:11 mark of the first quarter Cappie Pondexter had to be subbed out due to her second foul. The Mercury never recovered and fell to the reigning WNBA champions 105-78. I asked earlier this year who would be the first team to 100 in the new world of the 24 second clock...I was sure it was going to be Phoenix's first game, but never did I dream that the offensively challenged Monarchs would be the team to reach it.


By my calculations each team had around 87 possessions, which is 18 more than the league average for 2005. It also happens to be smack on my estimated 86.45 possessions per game for this season based on the new 24 second shot clock. The Monarchs had an offensive rating of 120.97, around 25 points higher than their season rating for 2005. The Mercury had an offensive rating of 89.87, which is around 11 points below their 2005 rating, but 3 points higher than Sacramento allowed for the 2005 season.


Powell: +28
Maiga: +25
Penicheiro: +15
Smith: +13
Lawson: +13
Brunson: +12
Haynie: +12
Griffith: +12
Buescher: +8
Wilkins: 0
Dorrell: -3

Most Effective Lineups:
Haynie-Lawson-Maiga-Powell-Buescher: +7
Penicheiro-Lawson-Powell-Brunson-Griffith: +5
Haynie-Wilkins-Smith-Maiga-Buescher: +4

Least Effective Lineups:
Haynie-Lawson-Smith-Brunson-Buescher: -3
Haynie-Smith-Dorell-Wilkins-Buescher: -2

Lacy: +9
Pondexter: +5
Strother: +2
Rasmussen: -3
Jackson: -8
Taurasi: -12
Snell: -12
Vodichkova: -13
Miller: -13
Pettis: -14
Stevenson: -20

Most Effective Lineups:
Lacy-Pondexter-Vodichkova-Taurasi-Miller: +5
Stevenson-Snell-Jackson-Taurasi-Miller: +5

Least Effective Lineups:
Stevenson-Pettis-Vodichkova-Taurasi-Miller: -8
Lacy-Pondexter-Vodichkova-Taurasi-Miller: -5

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Simone Retires

Farewell Simi!

Our last remaining Storm original...the one, the only Jamaican Hurricane, Simi, she of the Doppler shake, Simone Edwards announced her retirement yesterday. Whatever her reasons, they are HER reasons, and we will lucky enough to get to say goodbye to her during Tuesday's game against the Houston Comets. The photo on this page is an AP photo taken by Elaine Thompson and is owned by the AP, it is posted here by direct link to it's original location on Yahoo!Sports. Her joy after winning the 2004 championship and the way she and the only other Storm original at the time, Kamila Vodickova shared it together are representative of how I will alway remember Simone. I fell for her and her radiant smile from my very first Storm game. I remember when my neighbors' dance class was performing at a game and Simi walked up to them and plucked their two year old son right out of their arms and carried him onto the court with her before the game. He had a look of awe on his face that matched the look of aprehension on his mother's face. She knew nothing about basketball or the Storm, and I assured her afterwards that Simone was just like that about kids. I think she is drawn to kids, and they to her so much because they share the same vibrance and joy of life that she radiates. For me, Simone is a big part of what makes going to Storm games such a special experience. I will miss her.

Friday, May 19, 2006

One More Season of Locke

One More Season of Locke

A Seattle Times article today contradicts early reports on radio station 950 KJR AM that David Locke would be leaving as Storm play-by-play announcer for this season for his new job as the play-by-play announcer for the Seattle Sonics NBA radio broadcasts. Instead they say that he was hired by the Sonics, not KTTH, and will continue with Storm play-by-play duties for the WNBA Seattle Storm for the 2006 season including this Sunday's game.

Congratulations to David who also nabbed the Program Director spot for the newly established Sonics Radio Network and will be in charge of production for the pre/post game shows. The Tacoma Tribune reports that he plans to do a blog for the Sonics much like he has done for the Storm. I think it is great, while his passion and energy have irked some listeners (particularly those from opposing teams) and he does not have the traditional "radio voice" like others in the business, he loves the game of basketball and puts so much effort into his work that it shines through in his work. He doesn't just tell us what happens during the game in a detached manner, he loves every minute of the game on the floor and shares his emotional experience with the listener. It may also mean a more thorough pre and post game show format, since that will be handled by the Sonics, and no longer at the whim of KJR which has traditionally "slighted" basketball over the more popular sports of basketball, football and of course their annual woman ogling "Bigger Dance" bracket.

New Signings in the Future?

Wendy Carpenter at the Tacoma News Tribune reports that coach Anne Donovan continues to watch the waiver wire and may bring on an additional player before the season kicks off. Teams may waive their last players today. She is looking for another post (too many injuries) or a backup point guard. The team has the maximum 11 players on its roster but can have up to 2 additional "inactive" players as well.

PI Gets it Going

Jayda did her stuff yesterday, but the PI is jam packed with its WNBA season preview today. Mark Bergin and the PI staff have a section FULL of articles on the team and previews of the WNBA season. Nice work folks.

The Countdown

Hey fans...the WNBA will kick off less than 32 hours with the first of two nationally televised games. ABC television will air the Phoenix @ Sacramento game tomorrow at 1:00 PM pacific time and NBA TV will be carrying New York @ Connecticut at 4:00PM pacific time. You can see the new "Paul Ball" style Phoenix Mercury with the lightning quick Taurasi/Pondexter back-court, as well as the recently returned former Storm standout, Kamila Vodichkova, take on the reigning WNBA champion Monarchs. Then you can see if the gutted New York Liberty can surprise the two time Eastern Conference Champion Sun with a little regular season adrenaline.

Of course the Storm kick off things on Sunday at 6:00 PM pacific with their game against the Sparks on FSN and LIVE at Key Arena. Buy TICKETS and start filling up the upper bowl, because it is being reported as a lower bowl sellout folks!

Thursday, May 18, 2006


KJR AM and the Seattle times are reporting that David Locke will take over the radio play by play for the Seattle Sonics 2006-2007 season, no word on his color commentary partner but he will no longer serve as play by play for the Storm which air their games on KJR which competes with the Sonics new flagship station 770 KTTH.
Taylor Cut

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.

Shout Out
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.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Preseason Numbers Review

Most Effective Offense
Floor %
Lauren Jackson: 58%
Lindsay Taylor: 57%
Wendy Palmer: 51%
Offensive Rating
Barbara Turner: 122.65
Lauren Jackson: 121.54
Sue Bird: 119.86
Lindsay Taylor: 112.63
Wendy Palmer: 101.24
Points Produced per Game
Betty Lennox: 10.17
Sue Bird: 10.12
Wendy Palmer: 9.95
Lauren Jackson: 9.82
Janell Burse: 7.56

There should be no surprise that Lauren and Sue show up in most of these categories, the offense revolves around these two players. The exciting thing for me is how well newcomer Wendy-Palmer is rising to the top, it will be key for the Storm to have offense power of the bench if they are to win more than the 20 games they have won in each of the past two seasons. It is sad that Taylor is suffering from injury at the moment and her chances of making the roster are thinning, she has shown some promise in the last game and half she played for the Storm.

Most Effective Defense
Stop %
Janell Burse: 54%
Wendy Palmer: 52%
Shaunzinski Gortman: 48%
Lauren Jackson: 47%

No surpise again that the dominant front line of Janell Burse and Lauren Jackson leads here. Palmer shows value at the other end of the floor and may make her the single most important free agent acquisition the Storm has ever made. It is also nice to see a perimeter player here, we haven't had that since Tully left for the Fever. Hopefully she will get better at running the offense as the season moves forward.

Plus/Minus Performance
Janell Burse: +26
Sue Bird: +20
Tanisha Wright: +18
Iziane Castro Marques: +16
Simone Edwards: +11
Betty Lennox: +8
Lauren Jackson: +8
Lindsay Taylor: +1
Wendy Palmer: 0
Barbara Turner: -3
Shaunzinski Gortman: -4
Tiffani Johnson: -8
Most Effective Lineups
Bird-Lennox-Wright-Jackson-Burse: +16
Bird-Lennox-Wright-Palmer-Burse: +7
Bird-Wright-Gortman-Palmer-Edwards: +6
Bird-Lennox-Castro-Palmer-Edwards: +4
Gortman-Castro-Turner-Edwards-Taylor: +4
Gortman-Lennox-Turner-Jackson-Edwards: +4
Wright-Castro-Turner-Palmer-Taylor: +4
Least Effective Lineups
Bird-Lennox-Turner-Jackson-Palmer: -6
Wright-Castro-Turner-Edwards-Taylor: -5
Bird-Lennox-Castro-Jackson-Palmer: -5
Bird-Lennox-Gortman-Palmer-Burse: -4
Gortman-Lennox-Wright-Johnson-Taylor: -4

Is there any question remaining as to how important JB is to this team? She played and started all 34 games last season. The Storm need her healthy. I think Simone Edwards should be a lock at the backup post position. The Storm don't have time for three players to be learning the system and helping the team to win. There is a reason why the team performs so much better when she is in the lineup.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Seattle @ Minnesota +/- Numbers

The box score was posted yesterday, as was the play by play sometime after I ran numbers and posted. Here are the +/- figures for the game. Minnesota's big front line seemed to make the smaller lineups for Seattle less effective at both ends of the floor. The Storm need JB back.

By Player
Simone Edwards: +2
Tiffani Johnson: +1
Shaunzinski Gortman: -1
Iziane Castro Marques: -2
Sue Bird: -6
Betty Lennox: -7
Lauren Jackson: -8
Barbara Turner: -10
Wendy Palmer: -15

Most Effective Lineups
Gortman-Lennox-Turner-Jackson-Edwards: +4
Bird-Lennox-Castro-Edwards-Johnson: +3
Bird-Gortman-Castro-Jackson-Palmer: +2
Bird-Castro-Turner-Palmer-Edwards: +2
Bird-Castro-Turner-Jackson-Palmer: +1

Least Effective Lineups
Bird-Lennox-Turner-Jackson-Palmer: -6
Bird-Lennox-Castro-Jackson-Palmer: -5

Which Vet Will We Get?
With Tanisha Wright and Janell Burse out, AD used 15 new lineups in this game and did not play 6-8 Lindsay Taylor at all despite excellent work in the last game and a half. There has been some speculation on the message boards that AD was putting Simone and Tiffani head to head to see which veteran she will keep. Tiffani won the individual numbers battle with a solid offensive performance, but Edwards has a slight margin on overall team performance based on the numbers for the preseason.

Edwards was the more effective rebounder, passer (from an assist perspective), had a MUCH higher offensive rating, and was +11 for the preseason.

Johnson shot a better percentage and scored more points, she was better defensively securing more blocks and steals, but had a fairly poor offensive rating in her first game and ended the preseason at -8.

In other words, it can still go either way depending on what AD wants. If the REAL Tiffini Johnson is the player from the Minnesota game that she is likely the better individual player, however, Edwards is obviously better ready to step into the offense and help the team with JB injured early in the season.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Storm Lose Again

The Storm fell to the Lynx yesterday...84-75, but since the game was played at a "guest" location, there is no box score or play-by-play results to analyze so we have to rely on some limited data from a guest writer for the Times. Other than Izi, who had a poor night, the starters looked relatively good, all scoring in double figures, though Betty took 16 shots and only hit four of them. That is still too many shots for Betty to take in a game. I wonder if the 24 second shot clock is putting the ball in Betty's hands to create more often than it did in the past. Turner and Johnson looked strong of the bench, with Taylor apparently not playing. Has she been waived or is AD giving Johnson a chance to show what she has before final cuts are made? Gortman and Edwards had unimpressive nights. Thanks to pd_swanson at Rebkell, I got at least a box score....

By the Numbers

Most Effective Offensive Players:
Wendy Palmer: 143.26
Barbara Turner: 129.64
Lauren Jackson: 105.40
Sue Bird: 103.11

Least Effective Offensive Players:
Betty Lennox: 74.48
Iziane Castro Marques: 51.73

Most Effective Defensive Players:
Lauren Jackson: 46% stop percentage
Shaunzinski Gortman: 46% stop percentage

Saturday, May 13, 2006

May 12, 2006 Preseason Game Storm @ Sky

As noted yesterday, neither of the scheduled preseason road games will receive radio coverage. From the box score for yesterday's game, we see that Wendy Palmer and Lindsay Taylor led the Storm in scoring with 10 points and 9 points respectively. Palmer also led the team in rebounding. Tanisha Wright and Sue Bird led the team for assists, with 5 and 4 respectively. The Storm won the rebounding battle 39 to 27 over the Sky, but hurt themselves on turnovers. It would be nice to blame the high turnovers on the inexperience caused by the missing starters Janell Burse and Lauren Jackson, but in fact it was simply a terrible night for Betty Lennox who committed 5 turnovers herself while shooting a wretched 15% on 2-13 shooting from the field. Wendy Palmer only did slightly better, shooting 33% on 4-12 shooting. Sue Bird was also a culprit on the sloppy play, though she shot 50% going 3-6 from the field, she turned the ball over 3 times as well. While I can only guess at Betty's struggles, I think it is safe to assume that defensive hawk, Chelsea Newton, who was acquired by the Sky in the expansion draft from the 2005 WNBA championship Monarchs, was not the problem, playing only 15 minutes in the game. I suspect that the interior threat of Burse and Jackson would have given Betty more options had they been available to play.

Donovan was forced to play 20 entirely new lineups in this game, unable to leverage any of the 13 she put on the floor against New York on Sunday.

By the Numbers

Final Score: Chicago 68, Seattle 67
Offensive Rating: 93.54
Defensive Rating: 94.94

Most Effective Offensive Players:
Tanisha Wright: 126.39
Iziane Castro Marques: 121.95
Lindsay Taylor: 114.69

Most Effective Defensive Players:
Wendy Palmer: 58% Stop Percentage
Barbara Turner: 48% Stop Percentage

Player +/-
Iziane Castro Marques: +9
Wendy Palmer: +5
Sue Bird: +4
Barbara Turner: +4
Simone Edwards: +4
Lindsay Taylor: +2
Tanisha Wright: -3
Betty Lennox: -7
Shaun Gortman: -7
Tiffani Johnson: -9

Best +/- Lineups
Bird-Wright-Gortman-Palmer-Edwards: +6
Bird-Lennox-Castro-Palmer-Edwards: +4
Wright-Castro-Turner-Palmer-Taylor: +4

Worst +/- Lineups
Gortman-Lennox-Wright-Johnson-Taylor: -4
Gortman-Wright-Turner-Palmer-Johnson: -3

The Storm will try to recoup tonight as they add Lauren Jackson back into the lineup against Minnesota, they will still be without JB, and Tanisha Wright will miss the game to attend her graduation ceremonies.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Someone didn't think it worthwhile to pay for the radio crew to travel for preseason games so we are stuck with the web stats...despite the clear indication that it would be aired, the game is dark.
Preseason Game 2 Tonight

Fairly old news, but LJ, JB and Tanisha Wright are all out of the lineup for tonight's exhibition game against the expansion Chicago Sky. The Sky beat the Sparks (who look pretty bad so far) earlier this week despite big minutes from Sparks' stars Lisa Leslie and Chamique Holdsclaw. The game is at 5:30 pm Pacific time and available on 950 KJR AM in Seattle. The internet broadcast is available at or via where you can also get live scores. I will post stats and plus/minus numbers from the game tomorrow morning. During the regular season I will post summaries here on the blog and the detailed stats information on my Stats Site. I have not decided how much plus/minus data I will do for other teams, but I may do them all since there aren't that many games in a season. Perhaps someday I will be able to get the data more easily like via XML, but for now it is a manual process.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Locke in the Lead?

According to Jim Moore, the Seattle PI's Go2Guy, David Locke is the leading candidate for the Sonics radio play by play position, replacing Kevin Calabro who will focus on television play by play for next season. Calabro has been working NBA playoff games for NBA TV, particularly the Indiana/New Jersey series and regularly picks up ESPN gigs during the season. Over at Rebkell Locke got slammed as a mean and petty homer by Liberty fans who didn't appreciate his comments on the quality of the current New York roster made throughout the game. He has always been a passionate announcer for the Storm, and as a stat geek, I appreciate the time and effort he puts into sharing the statistical perspective with his audience. His style is somewhat polarizing, and folks tend to love it or hate it.

I have already posted my two cents on the subject here, and dropped my thoughts to the Sonics/Storm front offices via emails to Howard Schultz. I certainly hope he gets the job, but also that he sticks with the Storm as well.

The news is everywhere that JB aggravated her labrum tear injury and could be out for weeks. The important thing is that this means AD may keep more posts than usual to cover the start of the season. She has made it clear though that she can't keep the three she has in camp due to Salary. It will come down to one of the veterans, Simone or Johnson, in addition to the less expensive Taylor. We may not know until the start of the season which way Anne will go, though this weekends preseason games will likely give us indications based on performance and playing time. AD may also want to keep room in her roster for a backup point guard off the waiver wires. According to Kevin Pelton and David Locke's latest Stormcast, Francesca Zara has told the Chicago Sky that she is injured and will not play in the WNBA this season. All three of the Storm's international free agent players from 2005 have remained overseas for 2006.

NBA TV has published their schedule of games for the 2006 WNBA season (thanks to Jovany's post over at Rebkell) adding 5 more nationally aired games for Storm fans this season. Check out to look for a schedule of local airings for Seattle fans. A couple of dedicated fans have paid for NBA TV access and use their local theatre space to air the road games (free of charge of course). The events are at times attended by representatives from the Storm, including former players. Everyone who has attended raves about the great time had by all.

Monday, May 08, 2006

May 7, 2006 Preseason Storm vs. Liberty

I went to this game with my wife, and since she was hungry, we didn't actually make it to our seats until after the national anthem. The crowd was not at all bad for a preseason crowd in terms of numbers, and proved to just fine in terms of enthusiasm. My first thought during the Liberty introductions was that I only knew four of the Liberty players by name or sight. Hammon, Kraayveld, Farris and Battle were the only players I could recognize. Storm introductions followed, including the introduction of Tiffany Johnson who just arrived and was dressed in street clothes for the game.

Anne started Tanisha Wright (sporting a new 'do) in place of Izi who had only a practice or two under her belt after resolving Visa issues with the Brazilian government. The game started off like most preseason games, quite sloppy. We stood for that first basket for quite a while. The first few possessions were quite swift and resulted in poor shots. The game was over by the end of the first quarter, with the Liberty unable to execute and the Storm able to get rolling with every lineup by the end of the game.

I don't know how much the Liberty's performance was an indication of their season play...Hammon only took 11 shots, and I think most of those were in the second half. I hope, for their sake that this was just an example of preseason experimentation. The Storm defense abused the Liberty, seemingly stopping them whenever they wanted to. Individual and team defense as a whole looked great, but we will need to see how this carries forward.

Ashley Battle spent quite a bit of time as a floor leader for the Liberty, and was running the offense even with Hammon on the floor at times. I think she has made this roster. She was one of the Liberty's only bright spots, she and Hammon led the Liberty with 7 points apiece. She added two rebounds, a steal and an assist and only one turnover in 19 minutes. Barbara Farris was the most efficient player for the Liberty, though Erin Thorn looked good a times as well. The rookies were not noticeable.

Barbara Turner and Wendy Palmer are going to be HUGE for the Storm. They both looked so good out there last night and combined clear talent with clear effort. Gortman was not overly impressive on offense, but offered nice height on defense and her speed is really promising. The offense, much like last year, fell apart as soon as Bird checked out at the 1:58 mark of the first quarter, however looked better at the end of the game while Bird was sitting. This was the only glaring error. Lindsay Taylor looked like a deer caught in the headlights in the first half, but closed the game nicely, using her height to get rebounds and put some points on the board.

Again, the defense looked fabulous last night, but I will hold my opinion for another month on that topic.

I believe Simone will make the roster again this season, though we'll have to see if AD keeps all three posts for now. In the first half Taylor was lost and Simone had to tell her who to pick up on defense. A little while later she had Tanisha yelling at her as she was in the wrong spot on offense and Simone had to point her to where she belonged. Simone wasn't "special" last night, but I could easily see why AD keeps her around. Even if Johnson comes in offering something special, I think AD needs Simi to teach Taylor, who showed some promise.

The game was fairly slow and offensively challenged despite the shorter shot clock, but that had a lot to do with how poorly New York played.

By the Numbers

Possessions: 76 (Storm average 73 per game in 2005)
Team Off Rtg: 95.16 (Storm averaged 101.82 in 2005)
Team Def Rtg: 57.63 (Storm averaged 98.12 in 2005)

Most efficient players (offensive ratings):
Sue Bird: 164.09
Barbara Turner: 144.51
Lauren Jackson: 136.46
Lindsay Taylor: 110.06
Janell Burse: 101.94

Best +/- Players:
Janell Burse: +26
Sue Bird: +22
Betty Lennox: +22
Tanisha Wright: +21

Best +/- Lineups:
Bird-Lennox-Wright-Jackson-Burse: +16
Bird-Lennox-Wright-Palmer-Burse: +7

Worst +/- Lineups:
Wright-Castro-Turner-Edwards-Taylor: -5
Bird-Lennox-Gortman-Palmer-Burse: -4

Lindsay Taylor was the only player with a - value on the +/- calculations coming in at -1 due to the extremely poor team performance at the end of the first half (-5).

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Preseason Kicks Off

The first Storm preseason game is tonight at Key Arena vs. the revamped New York Liberty. All of last years starters will play, though Tanisha Wright will start for the newly arrived Izi. My wife is joining me for tonight's game, and the kids are staying home. I also got some free tickets from my sales rep, and I gave them to a new family that moved into the neighborhood. They have three girls from around eight to fourteen. I found them playing basketball on my hoop earlier this week and my wife asked if they wanted free tickets to a Storm game. They got so excited that they started squealing and ran home to ask their parents. It was great to see how excited they were to go to a game.

All-Decade Part 5

Ok, this is my last installment. My final two players were both drafted in the first round of the 2001 draft, so they were only participants in half of the decade, but the same can be said for my top pick, Cynthia Cooper. These two players offer all-around games from the forward position, and will be top players in the league likely for the second decade of the league as well. They have been in the chase or winners for MVP every year that they have played in the league, and are tops every season in more than one statistical category. Their high ranks on all time record lists despite their limited time in the league attest to their place on my list.

Tamika Catchings
While Catchings was drafted in 2001 she was forced to sit out that season due to injury, which was good since the field for Rookie of the year was softer in 2002. Catchings does everything for her team. She has lead her team in points, rebounds, assists and steals in all four seasons that she has played. She holds the distinction of being the fastest player in league history to hit the 2000 points, 1000 rebounds, 400 assists and 300 steals marks. She can play the small forward or shooting guard positions easily and the entire offense and defense of the Fever have revolved around her. If they ever add some shooters around her the Fever will offer a serious challenge to the Sun who currently dominate the Eastern Conference. Her numbers for 2005: 49% floor percentage, 76% stop percentage, 105.39 offensive rating, 90% win percentage, 15.45 points produced per game.

All Time Records
#4 Points per game
#27 Points total
#6 Rebounds per game
#21 Rebounds total
#16 Assists per game
#24 Assists total
#26 3 point %
#11 3 point baskets total
#22 Free throw %
#15 Free throws total
#29 Field goals total
#2 Steals per game
#13 Blocks total
#2 Minutes per game
#38 Minutes total

Rookie of the Year (2002)
1 All-Defensive First Team (2005)
1 Defensive Player of the Year (2005)
2 All-WNBA first team selections (2002-03)
2 All-WNBA second team selections (2004-05)
3 WNBA All-Star starter selections (2001-2003, 2005)

Lauren Jackson
Yes, I did select a Storm player for this team. I could have selected two, but I think that Lauren has distinguished herself far more than Sue at this point in their careers. Lauren is perhaps the best woman's basketball player in the world at this point, and she is still so young. If injuries allow, she should only continue to improve. Her Australian Opals team is the main threat to Team USA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and LJ is the main reason why they hold that status. Lauren came into the league as the #1 overall pick of the 2001 draft. She was the runner up for the ROY award in 2001 losing to Jackie Stiles of the now defunct Portland Fire. I still believe LJ lost more because the team was so poor, and more was expected of her than was expected of Stiles who actually exceeded expectations, though injuries ended her bright career far to early. LJ has been a leading candidate for MVP for the past four seasons, and by many fan's reckoning should have more than one under her belt by now. She lead the league in efficiency last year (Catchings was second), was second in 2004 (Catchings was third and Leslie was first), and was first in 2003 (Catchings was third). Her numbers for 2005 (her worst 3 point shooting of her career) were: 54% floor percentage, 41% stop percentage, 115.98 offensive rating, 77% win percentage and 16.84 points produced per game.

All Time Records
# 2 Points per game
#15 Points total
#7 Rebounds per game
#14 Rebounds total
#37 3 point FG %
#16 3 point baskets total
#31 Free throw %
#14 Free throws total
#17 Field goals total
#3 Blocks total
#7 Minutes per game
#33 Minutes total

1 WNBA MVP (2004)
1 WNBA All-Defensive second team (2005)
3 All-WNBA first team selections (2003-2005)
1 WNBA All-Star starter selection (2005)
3 WNBA All-Star reserve selectiosn (2001-2003)
1 of six players to record 20 point/20 rebound game (2003)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bird is the Word

Ok, I know that headline is old, but still irresitable, though it still calls unwanted images of the Stanley Kubrick film, Full Metal Jacket, whenever I hear it. Yesterday was all about Sue Bird following her return to practice. The Times, PI and Trib all sang her praises, as did Kevin Pelton and David Locke. The love affair between the tough young point guard from New York and the media continues. Of course she probably was spectacular to a group of people stuck watching a team without a point guard. Williams and Eshe were both cut this week, leaving second year 2 guard Wright and surprise FA camp standout Shaunzinski Gortman as the primary backups for the guard positions. A few more ears are likely now glued to those waiver wires to see who gets cut from other camps. David Locke continues his raves about camp performances today with a prediction that Janelle Burse, despite a huge breakout in 2005, may be in the running for Most Improved Player again this season. Jayda Evans tracked the same story at the Times.

All-Decade Part 4

I am out past my sure heading into the gray area where many player could be selected. My last four candidates include two more veterans, both of whom are guards, and two newer players, both of whom are forwards. I will start with the veterans I picked.

Ticha Penicheiro
Ticha has led the league in assists for so many of the seasons of her career that last year was the first time Sue Bird broke through and earned that honor. Ticha is one of the best perimeter defenders, and equally as good at leading the team oriented "white line" defense of Sacramento head coach John Whisenant. She has been able get into the lane seemingly whenever she wanted throughout her career, and had she ever developed a consistently solid jumper would have been a lock for the All-Decade Team. Her numbers for 2005 were as follows: 45% floor percentage, 61% stop percentage, 95.42 offensive rating, 28% win percentage and 7.24 points produced per game.

All Time Records
#45 Points total
#29 Rebounds total
#1 Assists per game
#1 Assists total
#41 3 Point baskets total
#25 Free throws total
#50 Field goals total
#4 Steals per game
#12 Minutes per game
#6 Minutes total

2 All WNBA first team selections (99-00)
1 All WNBA second team selection (01)
3 WNBA All-Star first team selections (99-01)

Teresa Weatherspoon
T-Spoon...I didn't get to see her in her prime...but her game is known, and she was the best perimeter defender in the game for years. She led her New York Liberty (before their management destroyed the franchise) to be the only team to seriously challenge the big three in Houston. She went to LA, but they had eroded there as well leaving her without a ring.

All Time Records
#3 Assists per game
#2 Assists total
#8 Steals per game
#15 Total minutes

2 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (1997-98)
4 All-WNBA Second Team selections (1997-2000)
5 WNBA All-Star starter selections (1999-2003)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Some Good Stuff

Jayda Evans and the Seattle Times continue to lead when it comes to Seattle print media coverage of the Storm and the WNBA. Her Daily Blog is just one way for her to provide the more in depth coverage she wants for the team without having to compete for space like in their print version. Right now she is bringing you day to day coverage of camp (though Wednesday WAS a day off, remember) and discussing issues like why Erin Grant was cut, what the backup point guard situation looks like, and how Betty got her B-Money nickname. She continues to stay true to her print roots, though, with articles like the one on newcomer Barbara Turner. Over at the Storm site, Kevin Pelton finds time during his busy season (he has been churning out articles for 82games and SI during the playoffs) to provide great stories, and he and David Locke stretch broadcast media coverage of the Storm and the WNBA via their Storm Cast podcasts. This week they introduce us to Barbara Turner and bring up more interesting tidbits from camp.

All Decade Part 3

Time for the last two easy selections for me.

Yolanda Griffith
Yo didn't come into the WNBA until 1999 as part of the shut down of the American Basketball League (ABL) where she had played for three years. She was selected #2 overall in the 1999 draft behind the height of the W's only seven footer, Margo Dydek. Yo's WNBA performance has proved Margo must live in the #2's shadow behind the sustained, superior play of the other candidate for best center in WNBA history. Yo's interior toughness and rebounding prowess come from the same place inside that allowed her to put herself, as a single mother, through college by repossessing cars in Iowa. Her stats for 2005...54% floor percentage, 67.5% stop percentage, 108.55 offensive rating, 94% win percentage, 13.15 points produced per game.

All Time Records
#9 Points per game
#8 Points total
#3 Rebounds per game
#2 Rebounds total
#2 Free throws total
#6 Field goal percentage
#9 Field goal total
#5 Steals per game
#7 Steals total
#11 Blocks per game
#19 Minutes per game
#21 Minutes total

1 Defensive Player of the Year (1999)
1 League MVP (1999)
2 All WNBA First Team selections (1999, 2005)
3 All WNBA Second Team selections (2000-01 & 2004)
1 All WNBA Defensive First Team selection (2005)
1 Newcomer of the Year (1999)
1 WNBA Championship (2005)
1 WNBA Finals MVP (2005)
2 WNBA All-Star Starts (2001, 2005)
3 WNBA All-Star Reserves (1999, 2000, 2003)
1 WNBA All-Star MVP (2004)*

* No true ASG in 2004, Yo played for team USA against a squad of WNBA All-Stars

Dawn Staley

Dawn Staley is a leader. She has shown this for Team USA, for the Charlotte Sting and for the Houston Comets. She led a Sting team from a 1 and 10 start straight to the WNBA finals where they lost to the Sparks. In the playoffs last season she set the tone in Seattle after a stunning home loss in the first round of the playoffs. Houston beat the defending champions in back to back games in Key Arena. Staley made big play after big play in the deciding game, though it was Swoopes who scored the points. Staley is everything a coach wants in a point guard. She knows the game, looks for her team mates, defends and is vocal on the floor. Her current coach calls her his coach on the floor. She is the first of my candidates never to win a WNBA title. Dawn's numbers for 2005...46% floor percentage, 45% stop percentage, 100.99 offensive rating, 13% win percentage (for Houston), 6.8 pts produced per game (for Houston).

All Time Records
#36 Points total
#3 Assists per game
#3 Assists total
#23 3 pt %
#21 3 pt baskets total
#16 Free throw %
#34 Free throw total
#35 FG total
#10 Minutes per game
#9 Minutes total

1 Sportsmanship Award (1999)
3 WNBA All Star Starter selections (02, 03, 05)
1 WNBA All Star Reserve selcection (01)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

All Decade Part 2

Problems with getting on Blogspot the past two days...Here are my next two selections...

Tina Thompson
Though she was the third wheel in the Cooper/Swoopes years, that third wheel was critical in their "tricycle" ride to four championships. Thompson is athletic, tough, plays inside and outside equally well and she is committed at both ends of the floor. Last year she came back slow after giving birth, and lost a step on defense while her shooting percentage also dropped off. She looked better in the playoffs, and I expect her back at 100% this season. While a yanking out of extensions incident similar to the Jackson/Leslie olympics episode is possible in the NBA, I doubt we will be entertained by any NBA refs having to determine if the blood on a players jersey is actually lipstick. Tina's aggressive defense on Lauren Jackson provided one of the more humorous incidents for me last season when Tina left streaks of red lipstick all over LJ's jersey.

Her numbers for last season were not representative of her averages, but here they are... 42% Floor percentage, 45% Stop percentage, 89.91 offensive rating, 5% Win % and 9.60 points produced per game.

All Time Records
#9 Points per game
#4 Total points
#10 Rebounds per game
#7 Total rebounds
#42 Total assists
#24 3 pt %
#3 Total 3 pt baskets
#27 Free throw %
#9 Total free throws
#4 Total field goals
#11 Total steals
#23 Blocks per game
#5 Minutes per game
#4 Total minutes

4 WNBA Championships
3 WNBA All First Team (97-98, 2004)
4 WNBA All Second Team (1999-2002)
3 WNBA All Star Starter Selections (excluding 2004 Team USA appearance)
1 WNBA All-Defensive Team (2005)

Lisa Leslie
This one hurts. There is no team in the WNBA that I love to "hate" more than the Storm's dreaded rival the LA Sparks, and no player that I love to "hate" more than Lauren Jackson's dreaded rival, La Diva. It is too hard to ignore all that she has done for the game, though, and I have to put her on my all-decade team for everything she has accomplished. After she retires I am sure that I will learn to have positive feelings about Leslie, much like I did after Magic Johnson retired...he was the nemesis of my Boston Celtics and my favorite player, Larry Bird. As long as she dons a uniform in the W, though, I will hiss when they call her name in the starting lineup. She has been the best center in the WNBA for the entire decade, challenged only, perhaps, by another of my all decade selections from a little farther north. Leslie's numbers for 2005...47% floor percentage, 75% stop percentage, 105.19 offensive rating, 62% win percentage and 14.79 points produced per game.

All Time Records
#5 Points per game
#1 Points total
#2 Rebounds per game
#1 Rebouds total
#39 Assists per game
#11 Assists total
#39 3 Point baskets
#1 Free throws total
#28 Field goal %
#1 Field goal total
#2 Steal total
#2 Blocks per game
#11 Minutes per game
#2 Minutes total

1 Defensive Player of the Year (2004)
2 League MVP (2001 & 2004)
6 All WNBA First Team (97, 2000-2004)
3 All WNBA Second Team (98-99, 2005)
1 All Defensive Second Team (2005)
4 time All Star Starter selections (1999-2000,2002-03)
2 time All Star Reserve selections (01, 05)
3 time All Star MVP (1999, 2001-2002)
2 WNBA championships
2 WNBA Finals MVP awards
1 of six players to earn a 20+ point/20+ rebound game (2002)
1 of four players to earn a triple double (2004 vs. Detroit)
Only WNBA player to dunk in a game (2002)
Only WNBA player to dunk in an All Star Game (2005)

Monday, May 01, 2006

My All Decade Team

I will spend this week detailing my selections for the All Decade Team. I will do two each day starting with my top two.

Cynthia Cooper
She was the most dominant player in the game. When the league started it heavily hyped college star Rebecca Lobo, the pregnant Sheryl Swoopes and the Diva, Lisa Leslie. Lobo's game didn't translate to the pros, Leslie was good but not dominant, and Swoopes, as good as she is, was outshone in every game by her team mate. From Dean Oliver's book Basketball on Paper, She averaged a 52% floor percentage, 118 offensive rating, 20.7 points produced per game, a 50% stop percentage and a 96% win/loss percentage in 119 games from 1997-2000.

All Time Records
#1 Points per game
#7 Assists per game
#16 3pt FG%
#4 FT%
#13 Steals per game

2 League MVP Awards (97 & 98)
4 Finals MVP Awards
4 WNBA Championships

Sheryl Swoopes
Sheryl may have played in Coopers shadow, but she still shined, and seems to get even better as she ages. She plays plays the game with grace and determination. Her passion and skill wins games for her team, and her grace and charisma wins points for the league. She is a role model for any child in her pursuit of success, her willingness to blaze trails on and off the court and the graciousness she displays in winning and in losing. Last year was her 9th year in the league, and she had a floor percentage of 52%, a stop percentage of 52%, an offensive rating of 111.13, 18.33 points produced per game and a win percentage of 78%.

All Time Records
#6 Points per game
#2 Total points
#28 Rebounds per game
#17 Total rebounds
#18 Assists per game
#7 Total assists
#44 3pt FG%
#21 Total 3 point baskets
#15 FT%
#5 Total free throws
#40 FG%
#2 Total field foals
#3 Steals per game
#12 Total steals
#24 Blocks per game
#4 Minutes per game
#5 Total minutes

3 League MVP Awards (2000, 02 & 05)
3 Defensive Player of the Year Awards (2000, 02 & 03)
5 All WNBA First Team (1998-2000, 02 & 05)
1 All WNBA Second Team (2003)
4 WNBA Championships (though she only played 14 minutes in 1997's playoffs)
3 WNBA All Star Starter Selections (leaving out 2004 Team USA spot)
1 All Star Game MVP (2005)
1 All-Defensive First Team (2005)
1 of 4 league players to earn a triple double (1999 vs. Detroit)
Only player to earn a triple double in the playoffs (2005 vs. Seattle)

Tomorrow I will get the last Comet out of the way (yes, I have three on my list) and move on to the rest of the league.