Monday, March 31, 2008

Dream Finals Edge Closer

I refuse to make a big deal out of the ending of the Tennessee vs. Connecticut regular season matchup. Everyone else is doing that for me in the media. It still would be cool to see them in the finals, and they are now one step closer with their respective victories over Notre Dame and ODU.

The stars played big in both games. Connecticut freshman phenom had 25 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals, 2 assists and only 2 turnovers in her 40 minutes. Not to be out done, graduating Tennessee junior Candace Parker notched a career high tying 34 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 steals, 3 assists and three turnovers in 36 minutes. I didn't get to see the Huskies play, but Tennessee needed every bit of that play from Parker as they trailed by two going into the half. Apparently Pat Summit served up her signature, icy, blue stare in the locker room at half time and the Lady Vols came out with a mission for the second half. According the the ESPN2 announcers, Pat Summit (despite her protest of UCONN recruiting practices) voted for Geno for Coach of the Year.

Connecticut faces last years championship game runner up Rutgers in the Elite 8 next round due to be played tommorow at 21:00 (9 pm) EDT. Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer gave an excellent demonstration of how to drip sarcasm like acid during her press conference by thanking the NCAA for always making sure that Rutgers has the opportunity to face the "de-facto" NCAA champions each season early in the tournament.

Tennessee takes on Texas A&M at 19:00 (7 pm) EDT tomorrow as well.

On a side note, former Houston Comets and Olympic head coach Van Chancellor has advanced his LSU team to the Elite Eight in his first year in the NCAA since leaving the WNBA. Guess he wasn't that bad a coach after all, folks. They just never got someone to take ownership that third scorer spot when Cynthia Cooper retired and moved Sheryl and Tina up to options #1 and #2. The consolation is that I bet Van is going to make more money now than he did in the W.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Karen Bryant steps in for an "international edition" of Stormcast with interviews of Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson. Sue warns Swin Cash to back off on the UCONN stories because she has all the really good ones. Sue talks about getting to play with Swin again and LJ talks about Sheryl. She is so humble and Karen pushes on her to give Bryan some advice. The site has had a guest writer who has been looking at former Storm players who have moved into the coaching ranks...definitely worth your time.

We are still waiting on the signing of Janell Burse who was cored by the Storm which means she will have a minimum of a one year max contract.

The draft is coming....but there is not much there for the Storm at number 22 in the second round...but anything is possible. Jen Derivjanek is a restricted free agent and has yet to be signed by Phoenix. She has made a solid backup guard for Connecticut and Phoenix over her young career. She is a reasonable choice for the Storm if Phoenix is passing on her.

If Anne Donovan were still coach I would be looking at Connecticut and Tennessee seniors since she has been drawn to players from those two quality programs in the past.

Shannon Bobbitt (5' 2") out of Tennessee will likely be available, but I don't think she is a good fit for the Storm given her size and lack of adequate defensive skills.

Ketia Swanier (5' 7") is a passing guard from Connecticut with good defensive instincts, but she is not much of a shooter. She will likely be available and would be worth a shot.

Sharnee Zoll (5' 7") played point for UVA, played well in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament and almost carried Virginia into the Sweet 16. She broke Dawn Staley's ACC assist record, but I don't have a feel for her defense though she was named as the best defensive player by her team in her sophmore year. She may be available and might be the best available point guard.

We will have to see what Coach Agler does, however, he remains a mystery to me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

NCAA Tournament

I tried to catch a few games this weekend, but managed to only see part of the Connecticut game, part of the Purdue game and most of the Tennessee game.

Maya Moore looked fine, though she got the announcers gossipping in the first half about whether she was ready to play at this level. She really wasn't needed in the first half, though as her team blew Cornell out early. Maya did shut them up in the second half, finishing with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a block.

The Purdue/Utah game was much closer than the other two I watched, which should be expected given the 8th seed/9th seed matchup, the selection team did a nice job with this matchup. Purdue finally took control in the last minute or so of the game. Unfortunately for them they have to face Pat Summit's team in the next round.

Last year Candace Parker set tournament firsts with two dunks in a game in the first round. This time she scored a little and sat on the bench a lot after getting in early foul trouble and then having the bench rout the competition. Still, she put up 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals and a block in 18 minutes of play. Freshman Anne Bjorklund filled the gap nicely, with 16 points, 7 rebounds and a block. Alexis Hornbuckle hit a number of open threes, but I am still not sure that she is a top 10 pick. Oral Roberts put up a good fight early, especially considering that they lost their leading scorer with a knee sprain on the opening tip when she slipped on a Tennessee cheerleader sign under the basket while chasing the loose ball.

I am looking forward to the next round.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Only $240 left to go!

We are 1.3 seats away from our goal of donating 20 full season tickets to kids for the Storm this season.

That is a mere $240.00.

Come on people, you can bridge the final gap...I know you can.

Go to and find out how to support the new ownership, enrich the lives of underprivileged kids in the community, spread the love of this great game to new and open minds, and be a part of this great team.

Think about how many young girls you will introduce to the grace of Sheryl Swoopes on the court, the raw power of Lauren Jackson in the post, and the vision and precision passing of Sue Bird on the break. Many of these young girls may not have had the opportunity to see that beauty and power are both parts of being a woman. They may not realize that competitive fire, determination and toughness in women are respected, admired and adored.

Think about all the young boys who will see women atheletes competing with passion, fire and determination and being cheered for it. Think about how much harder it will be for them to grow up and fall for age old stereotypes, for Madison Avenue definitions of beauty, of feminity.

Think about how much fun they are going to have.

We get to experience this stuff every game.

Let's share it and continue to inspire the next generation of players, coaches, and fans.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bird Signed

Sue signs a new two year contract (she shared the length on KJR).

Burse is the last starter remaining to be signed and is expected to sign next week.

Agler says he needs to fill 2-3 more spots, but he may not be done reworking the lineup yet...he is still talking to teams.

I am still trying to figure out how the new core desgination rules work.

Bird and Burse were the maximum number (2) of core players allowed under the current CBA this season. Next year they are allowed a maximum of 1. Bird signed a two year deal and therefore counts towards the maximum of 1 next year. Now, either Burse can only be signed to a one year contract or the league allows a "grandmothering" clause (not specified in the CBA) while current contracts run their length. Trades remove core designations (which other than counting towards the max each year only matter during free agency) and when the original contract expires, allowing contracts to be extended without extending the core designation. For example, according to the CBA, Cash does not count towards the Storm's core count this season or any other under her current contract, despite the fact that Detroit cored her prior to the trade. The trade to Seattle removes the core designation and its impact on the limited number of core players allowed each season.

If you haven't checked out the Storm's new flash so. It will fire you up.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


It was a fun day for college ball.

Purdue beats Illinois in the clutch and Parker takes on Fowles in the SEC tournament.

I was torn. I have a strange draw to both Parker and Summit, but I wanted the seniors of LSU to take the game. In the end the Vols take it and Parker shows she has the real stuff. I am still impressed with the physical strength of Fowles, but Parker will look better in LA than Fowles will with the Sky because the Sparks will win more games.

I was still excited through both games. It is fun to get excited for basketball game, that has been lacking for me throughout the NBA season this year.

Bittersweet Thoughts

I watched the 2007 season DVD that arrived in my mail from the Storm this week. It was a little jarring to see Coach Donovan, Betty and Izi, it made me realize how fast the recent excitement refocused my passion towards the upcoming season. It was particularly tough to have Izi tell us she looked forward to seeing us this season...we will only get to see her once in Key Arena. I will have to live with seeing Betty and Izi play only twice this year unless I watch some on the video feeds.

July 1st ESPN2 will air the Atlanta Dream hosting the 2007 champion Phoenix Mercury at 4 PM Pacific time.

September 2nd the Storm will play in Atlanta and the Dream will come to Key Arena September 12th.

It was clear the video was made before Bennett announced the 2008 season would be played in Seattle and obviously before the sale as both LJ and Sue express "hope" at seeing their fans this coming season.

For those that were wondering, Wendy made it fairly clear that she was not returning, thanking the fans for her two seasons and all the great memories. It sounded like she was planning to retire...we will have to see if she makes it official.

And kudos to Kevin Pelton for writing and producing the video which took the tug the heart strings approach to the emotional fan base. My only complaint was that the first segment seldom fit on my screen...noticeable mostly because of the text captions.

Sonics fans showed up in force to try to convince the legislature to authorize the $75 million in King County taxes to compliment the $150 million from private investors and the pledged $75 million from the City of Seattle towards the remodel of Key Arena. The city was looking at spending $35 million regardless and the additional $40 million was reasonable to them. The idea is that the private funds be targeted at the basketball part of the arena and the public funds be targetted at the surrounding infrastructure needed for other uses. It is the best public/private plan we have seen and it will be a shame if the legislature pushes it out until next year.

I am just glad that we have our Storm back and don't have to worry about those issues when it comes to them. needs less than $540 to meet their goal of buying 20 season tickets for underprivileged kids this summer. Get over there and fill the final gap!! They have already raised more than $3000. The biggest single donor has put up $600, but you can help out with just $10...the donations are being pooled together. Give whatever you can.

Friday, March 07, 2008 she is.

Bad pun...forgive me .

Every time I have gotten on a plane since free agency began the Storm announce the signing of a former champion and all-star. I am looking with great intensity at how many more trips the team can afford me to take.

I just haven't been able to post on these transactions and various news points as fast as the organization has been generating them. I will see if I can do any better...but I have a new job (while being required to continue with my old one), am preparing to rennovate my home and trying to finish up my Master Scuba training all at the same time. Whining in the blog seems to help, at least it reduces the amount of time I whine to my wife. The biggest trouble is trying to plan my summer vacation travel and figure out where I live while my house is unavailable all while making sure I don't miss a single game this summer. It simply feels like there is something special in the air and I need to be there for every minute.

A few weeks ago I said here that I wanted the Storm to pursue a free agent like Sheryl Swoopes or Swin Cash. When they traded for Cash, I said that it looked like Cash was going to be signed and that I was happy though I would have been happier with Swoopes. I guess my level of satisfaction can now be described as borderline ecstatic. Signing a veteran rebounder/defensive post and a defensive, three point shooting, backup point will send me over the edge into fits of giddy laughter.


I have visions of a stifling half court defense that locks up the post and forces a single perimeter player to make everything happen for the opposing offense. Swoopes, Bird and Cash are all great in the passing lanes but now we have length in the backcourt combined with experience and one-on-one defensive skill....something the Storm have never had. In addition, all three perimeter players can run leading to fast break potential.

On offense the options have increased as well. LJ can score from anywhere on the court, allowing offensive sets built on where we want her to be. Guard mismatches let her slide out to the wing to allow the guards to post up smaller players. Swoopes and Cash have midrange games and are savvy at sliding to open spots when Lauren is doubled. They can run backcuts when Burse posts up on the low block and LJ takes the high block leading to easy layups. Bird, Swoopes and Gearlds can hit open threes if the defense collapses.

The bench is the current concern. Robinson can back up either Burse or Jackson, but a quality insurance is needed, injuries will happen. Both Lauren and Janell have sat out games every season other than 2005. The Storm still need a backup point guard, I do not believe that Tanisha Wright works well enough at that position to carry the Storm through the playoffs like Tully Bevilaqua did in 2004 when Sue Bird went down for a game and a half. The draft is unlikely to produce any options for the Storm having given up their #8 pick for the #4 pick and the #4 pick for Swin Cash. Training camp allows greater flexibility under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement so the Storm will be able to invite and keep more players in camp this year and remain under the salary cap. This will be vital in determining the new bench.

The Storm started that process yesterday with a training camp contract offer to last year's reserve player Shyra Ely. She has the advantage of knowing SOME of the personnel, but it is a new system and a new coach, she has to prove herself all over again.

The Storm also announced a return to KKNW 1150 AM radio with Adia Barnes along with KJR's Dick Fein filling in for Alan Horton who to the job in Minnesota.

Finally, Karen Bryant was officially named CEO of the Storm.

I am sure there will me more news to come.