Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New Storm Camp Signings

The Storm added Tiffini Johnson and Tocarra Williams to their camp roster last week while I was on vacation. The ratings below represent career numbers, not simply the last year they played.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Tiffani JohnsonHouston 200463.6894.28
Tocarra WilliamsSan Antonio 200476.5581.69

Neither player played in the league in 2005. Tocarra Williams played one year with San Antonio, starting 4 games and playing 26. She is not much of an offensive player, and appears to be on the camp roster for her potential defense on the perimeter. Tiffani Johnson played for the Mercury in 1998 and the Comets from 2000-2004. She was a fairly solid player during that time, but clearly she is an option for the last post off the bench should Simone decide to retire. Her defense is her strength, but since her six years in the league qualify her for the same veteran minimum that Simone would command, she would have to significantly outplay Simone in practice to make the roster given Simone's value to the franchise from a fan and chemistry perspective should Simone decide to return this year.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Storm Moving Forward

The running rumor is
confirmed as Wendy Palmer-Daniel (though she appears to have cut the hypenation) signs with the Seattle Storm.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Wendy PalmerSan Antonio83.05112.05

Though this may mean that Suzy Batkovic will not be allowed by the coach of the Australian national team to return to the WNBA this year with her Opals' team mates Lauren Jackson, Tully Bevilaqua and Penny Taylor, it is still a solid move for the Storm. They add some veteran experience that can play all 3 front court positions. This replaces leadership lost with the post championship moves by Tully and Sheri Sam. It strengthens the defense of the front line with even more depth without losing any of the offense. This can't leave much to spend on a back-up point guard, perhaps the Storm are leaning towards picking someone up in the draft. There better be a darn solid point available at their draft spot or I can't see the Storm seriously pursuing another championship. The team often fell apart offensively when Sue sat down, and they can't afford to let that happen. We will have to wait and see.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Vacation Time

Thankfully little has been happening this past few days, but I remain on vacation and am accomplishing little outside of playing with my kids and enjoying the sun here in Florida. LJ has announced that she is done with the WNBL in Australia and will be playing the next three years exclusively in the WNBA and a Korean league. The Korean league is apparently paying her enough in that three year contract to lay a core economic base for LJ's post basketball years. Good for you and congratulations on another title. I liked the tenor of Jayda Evans article on Betty Lennox in the Seattle Times last week. Betty chose a less than max two year deal from Seattle over a more lucrative three year max deal from another team (among other offers) to remain loyal to her team and her fans in Seattle. It was great to hear the mutually positive comments from Betty and AD, but the personal note in the quotes leans me towards accepting the comments at face value moreso than I normally would. The article notes the rumoured Wendy Palmer-Daniel negotiations and confirms LJ's verbal commitment to the Storm.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Caps Take the Grand Final

The vets led the charge as the Canberra Capitals topple the Dandenong Rangers 68-55 in the WNBL Grand Final. The Storm's Lauren Jackson was the game's leading scorer with 24 points and leading rebounder with 11 rebounds. Kellie Abrams added 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, Jenny Whittle chipped in 12 points and 9 rebounds and Eleanor Sharp played her final game with 11 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds. Tully Bevilaqua also added 6 assists and 5 rebounds to her 4 points. Caitlyn Ryan and Carly Wilson had 17 points apiece for the Rangers, but the bigger Capital players dominated the boards 43-30 with Jacinta Hamilton being the only serious rebounder for the Rangers with 11 boards. The Rangers lost despite getting 5 steals off the Caps without giving up a single one of their own and the Caps won despite their 18 turnovers. The Rangers couldn't hit a shot going 24-64 (37.5%) from the field and a sad 4-17 (23.5%) from 3 point range. They did hit 3 of their 4 free throw attempts. The Capitals on the other hand hit 30-59 (50.8%) from the field and a solid 5-9 (55.6%) of their conservative 3 points shots. They connected on 3 of their 7 free throw attempts.

Congratulations to the Caps as a team with special feelings for those with Seattle ties, Lauren Jackson, Tully Bevilaqua and Head Coach Carrie Graff.

Here is a great quote from Rangers coach Gary Fox before the game...

"We got together down here and applied to the WNBL to have Lauren Jackson, Jenny Whittle and Tracey Beatty be forced to carry a piano on their backs whenever they take the court on Saturday."

Apparently the request was denied.

Hey LJ...have a pint, celebrate, and then how about getting that 2006 WNBA contract signed?
More Stern Stuff

Ted and Women's Hoops point the way to more comments from the Commish captured by William Stickney at the Houston Chronicle during the NBA All-Star events in Houston with regard to the WNBA. The article closes with...

'"We're determined — and this is why it's going to succeed — we're determined to make this a successful business proposition," Stern said. "This is not an altruistic endeavor. This is a business model, and we think the business model is in the right time and the right place."'

I also like the casual drop in the bucket that the W will be profitable in 2006. Congrats to Mr. Stern, Ms. Orender, Val Ackerman, the owners, coaches and players, PR, fans and everyone else on a job well done.
B-Money Gets Da Money

Matt Wurst says that Betty Lennox signed a new deal with the Storm yesterday. More details as they become available!!!

(updated at 1:30 PST) Kevin Pelton confirms a multi-year signing (though he got scooped by Mr. Wurst) of Betty Lennox...here is Betty's comment from the Storm site.

“I’m glad to be back in Seattle playing before our amazing Storm fans. The fans in Seattle make me feel so welcome, and I perform at my best when they’re with me. I’m at home with the Storm organization, and will be ready to go for training camp in April.”

Welcome back, Betty, the appreciation is mutual.

Her passion, fire and guts earn her the fan's love and admiration. I would like to see her handle the ball better this year and defend more aggressively on the perimeter, but her clutch shooting and her will to win are a MUST for this team to be a success.

It wouldn't have been the same without Betty in Key Arena this summer...I just hope they saved money for that veteran defensive point guard I keep begging for.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Betty LennoxSeattle92.3192.22

Kevin Pelton has a Q&A with Tanisha Wright.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stern vs. Simmons

Ok. I have already said that I think Bill Simmons is an idiot. So I won't go on and on again about his ignorance. David Stern goes one on one with Simmons over at ESPN and talk includes the WNBA. Props to David for talking to Simmons on the business front about the why's of the W, but even better props for the his statement that outside of the business reasons, it is just the right thing to do. I am glad they can make money at it, too.

Favorite DS Quips to Simmons...

"I have not given up on your soul yet"
"John Wooden says it's the best basketball on the planet"
"...the idea that young women like your daughter would have strong role models rather than be relegated to wearing little blue suits to play only field hockey because that's a girl's game and they shouldn't sweat the way the boys do"

Go David.
Mystic Coco

Washington has retained the services of Ms. Coco Miller keeping the twins on opposite coasts...

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Coco MillerWashington89.1995.56

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

There are Signs...

The Monarchs held onto Ticha according to Matt Wurst.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Ticha PenicheiroSacramento68.8195.42

Keegan is rumouring that Suzy skips the season and Wendy Palmer-Daniel signs with Seattle sometime soon.
Snow in Seattle and Houston

I awoke to a dusting of snow on the ground in Seattle this morning and Ted's catch that Matt Wurst pre-announced Houston re-signed Michelle Snow.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Michelle SnowHouston69.17109.82

Next to Lauren Jackson, Michelle offers the best differential between defensive and offensive rating available on this year's free agent list. She has really grown as a player over the past few years and I look for more growth from her this year.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Leslie, Swoopes and Miller at NBA All-Star Game

I guess the Storm will never be represented at this event with all their best players overseas this time of year....

LA, Houston and Phoenix will be represented by an NBA "legend", a current NBA player and a current WNBA player.

Sheryl Swoopes, Tracy McGrady and Clyde Drexler should nail this event with ease. Leslie is not much of a shooter and Magic isn't hitting much in the shape he's in, so it would be up to Kobe to come up huge, of course he did score 80+ himself in a game this year. Phoenix might be the closest competition with Shawn Marion and Dan Majerle joining Kelly Miller, but I think the local Houston contingent is stacked to dominate.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Caps Make the Grand Final

LJ pulled out her best game of the season in a critical elimination game guiding her team into the WNBL Grand Final next weekend against Dandenong. They clearly needed LJ's best in the too close for comfort 83-81 victory over Adelaide. Kellie Abrams also came up big making LJ's fourth quarter surge worthwhile by hitting a 3 to send the game into overtime. LJ led both teams with 33 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Eleanor Sharp added 14 points and 11 assists while Kellie Abrams chipped in 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

The Fellas were led by Erin Phillips 23 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Samantha Woosnam helped out with 16 points 3 rebounds and 7 assists. Jennifer Screen (13 and 6) and Laura Summerton (12) rounded out the scoring for Adelaide.

Sun Match for Jones

The Connecticut Sun match New York's offer to restricted free agent Asjha Jones retaining her services in her Alma Mater's back yard.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Asjha JonesConnecticut92.1096.89

Friday, February 10, 2006

New York Exodus Continues

San Antonio picked up some much needed offense by signing guard Vickie Johnson yesterday.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Vickie JohnsonNew York104.91114.69

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

WNBA Statistics

I finally have started posting my WNBA stats...I have team Offensive and Defensive ratings up from 1997-2005. I will be adding team statistics as I can (though I am heading out on the road for a couple of days) and then working on aesthetics and links back to team and player pages on the WNBA site.

If you have any suggestions for data that you would like to see posted, let me know via comments on this or any other post. I hope to keep game by game stats and maybe some +/- data posted through the 2006 season...

Oh, and in another no-brainer move the San Antonio Silver Stars re-signed Marie Ferdinand though we won't see her on the floor until after the All-Star break as she enjoys time with her new baby.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Marie FerdinandSan Antonio85.2593.06

More Signings

No big surprises here. Mystics pick up Crystal from New York.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Crystal RobinsonNew York104.3398.65

Connecticut executes on the no-brainer of inking Sales to a contract.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Nykesha SalesConnecticut64.35100.61

You just don't let an offensive force who plays great defense walk away.

New York also signed Catherine Kraayeveld and former Storm player Ashley Battle to contracts.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


If you haven't read this crack up over at ESPN...you need to. It is just too much.
Twins Move West?

If the Mystics don't match Minnesota's offer sheet to restricted free agent Coco Miller in the next 10 days Coco will join sister Kelly in a move to the West, though they will actually be even farther apart in miles than they were last year.

I can't decide whether I want to know if I even care who Oovy is or whether he/she/it is right about the "secret" signings going on in Phoenix. I just want some NEWS! How many days until the season starts?
Coaching Numbers

Here is a WNBA numbers look at new Assistant Coach Heidi VanDerveer...

Lynx from July 16, 2002 through the end of the 2002 season:
3 Wins, 6 Losses

Monarchs from July 29, 1997 through the end of the 1997 season:
5 Wins, 7 Losses

Monarchs for the 1998 season:
8 Wins, 22 Losses
Offensive Rating: 88.38 which was 6.46 points below the league average for 1998.
Defensive Rating: 96.04 which was 1.34 points worse than the league average for 1998.

She only coached half the 1997 season for the Monarchs, but her 1998 team allowed 4 points less per 100 possessions than the 1997 team. The 1998 team did have the added advantage of defensive point guard Ticha Penecheiro and defensive forward Adia Barnes as well as the blocking presence of Tangela Smith.

Overall the three teams were poor offensive teams with average defense. Unfortunately it is hard to see how her past records will help us understand her potential contributions.

Coach VanDerveer has coached Storm players Betty Lennox and Janelle Burse during her tenure as an assistant and head coach for the Lynx.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Finally Some Storm News

Monday saw the Storm sign their first free agent, but it wasn't the player kind. They signed Heidi VanDerveer as an assistant coach replacing Jenny Boucek who left the team for "personal reasons" at the end of the 2005 season.

Heidi has been head coach for the Minnesota Lynx as the interim head coach (2002) between fired coach Brian Agler (1998-2002) and current coach Suzie McConnell Serio (2003-Present). She also coached the Sacramento Monarchs for a year (1997-1998) between Mary Murphy (1997) and Sonny Allen (1999-2000). She also had a fairly successful run in the college ranks as an assistant for South Carolina and head coach for Eastern Washington University. She served as a graduate assistant (1987 & 1998) for Pat Summit through two NCAA championships.

For those of us itching for FA news for the Storm, I point you to Mr. Pelton's Q&A with coach Donovan from last month. Signing Lauren Jackson is the #1 priority for the Storm in the FA period and LJ probably won't talk WNBA until the WNBL finals are over, and that could be this weekend or next depending on how the Capitals fare this weekend.

The next cog is whether Suzy is available to return on time.

For the veteran piece AD said..."With our superstars, now we have to find the player that wants to be a complementary player. Which is tricky; obviously, you're not going to get a superstar to come in and accept her role unless she's bought into it. We'll be real clear with what we're looking for, and I feel confident we can find a good match." Who are you looking at Anne? Who is this "superstar" you want buying into a backup role? Inquiring fans want to know...NOW!

Her comments on Betty... "That will be a really good thing for her to stick through her full contract." That sounds like AD still has some "maturation" issues with Betty and wants to see her be a professional through a tough time in China. I can find nothing on how Betty is doing.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Euroleague Stormed by Seattle Centers

Ok, it was just too silly to not write that lead. Storm posts Suzie Batkovic and Janelle Burse were the only two centers named to the Euroleague "Rest of the World" All Star team. Former Storm backup point guard Francesca Zara makes it as a guard on the European team. Matt Wurst over at the W's site has the full list.
LJ Comes Up Big

Lauren Jackson was everywhere with 29 points (including 10 for 12 from the charity stripe), 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists and 3 blocks in 29.5 minutes of action. She pretty much carried the Capitals to a 67-62 win over the Boomers in the first round of the WNBL postseason. LJ managed all this while apparently struggling through the heat and suffering from a lack of conditioning caused by her long absence from the court. She even secured the final defensive rebound off of Katrina Hibbert missed three, sealing the win for the Caps. Kellie Abrams was the only other player in double figures for the Caps with 12. Tracey Beatty and Eleanor Sharp helped a bit with 9 and 8 points respectively. Jenny Whittle short horribly, but had 9 rebounds and 2 blocks to help out on defense. On the perimeter Tully played pickpocket with 5 steals.

Sharin Miller and Hollie Grima led the Boomers with 12 points each and Katrina Holbert added 11 with Larissa Cavanagh adding 9. Free throws killed the Boomers who only managed to hit 7 of their 11 shots from the line. Lauren Jackson hit more free throws than the whole Boomer squad managed to shoot for the game. The Caps were 20 for 29 from the line. The Caps will play the loser of tomorrow's Adelaide/Dandenong battle next week on Februray 11th.
Signs and Trades

Indiana and Phoenix kick things off today swapping offense and defense. Phoenix goes for defense picking up Kelly Miller from Indiana and Indiana gets a shooter in Anna DeForge, who was not all that shabby on defense either. Strangely enough Kelly boasted a stronger offensive rating in 2005 than Anna, but then again, Anna was sharing the back court with Diana Taurasi. I expect to see Anna's offensive numbers soar this year. Indiana thrived on their defense last season, but the Sun showed them that offense was important, too. Look to see Indiana be an even bigger player in the east this year.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Kelly MillerIndiana66.87110.18
Anna DeForgePhoenix77.77100.41

Indiana bulked up both their offense and their defense as well by signing free agents Charlotte Smith-Taylor and Olympia Scott-Richardson in a hyphenated name dual signing.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Charlotte Smith-TaylorWashington95.57109.44
Olympia Scott-RichardsonSacramento73.7768.94

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Free Agent Guards

The offensive and defensive ratings below are based (as always here) on Dean Oliver's work. The defensive ratings are not overly useful since the league does not track truly useful statistics for individual defense, but they at least throw a little bit of light on the subject. I have selected free agent guards not currently designated as Core players (yet) that have defensive ratings below 100 points per 100 possessions.

PlayerTeamDef. RatingOff. Rating
Erin BuescherSacramento59.5198.77
Deanna NolanDetroit62.2197.86
Hamchetou MaigaSacramento63.4482.24
Nykesha SalesConnecticut64.35100.61
Ticha PenicheiroSacramento68.8195.42
Anna DeForgePhoenix77.77100.41
Marie FerdinandSan Antonio83.2593.06
Tamicha JacksonWashington83.6751.93
Coco MillerWashington89.1995.56
Nikki TeasleyLos Angeles90.1490.25
Tamecka DixonLos Angeles91.2296.91
Betty LennoxSeattle92.3192.22
Janeth ArcainHouston95.0797.17
Niele IveyPhoenix95.2392.27
Dawn StaleyHouston98.82100.99

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

More FA Signings

Center Adrian Williams signs with Minny...

Candace Futrell and Megan Mahoney sign with Connecticut.
Free Agency Jumps Out of the Gate

Detroit signs Kedra Holland-Corn. The Shock really missed her shooting the year after their championship, but they have Katie Smith now and Swin should be back, so I don't know how much Kedra will make them better than they were after the trade last season.

Check out the W's Free Agency primer.

Look for FA news at the WNBA Offseason Blog (now that I managed to find it again).

I have to run the defensive numbers, but will be taking a look at the FA pool of point guards from which the Storm could be picking later this week. Next week I will also take a look at the numbers for the NCAA seniors likely to be available in the April 5th draft at the PG position.