She knew it would be tough. Guard Adrienne Johnson missed an entire WNBA season, cut by the Connecticut Sun after having surgery on her...

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She knew it would be tough.


Guard Adrienne Johnson missed an entire WNBA season, cut by the Connecticut Sun after having surgery on her right knee in February 2004. She last played in the 2003 playoffs, averaging 4.3 points and 14.3 minutes in three games for the Sun.


Johnson returned to her hometown of Louisville, Ky., to rehabilitate her knee, believing determination and experience as a six-year veteran would land her on a roster. But last March she suffered a muscle strain in her right quadriceps that she wasn’t able to rebound from.


One of the players from the league’s inaugural season, signed to the defunct Cleveland Rockers, Johnson, 31, announced her retirement yesterday. She started an investment company two years ago and will continue in that field.


“Anne was surprised,” Johnson said of coach Anne Donovan, who signed her as a free agent in March. “She probably noticed I hadn’t been smiling as much. I’ve had injuries before, but that love of the game has always willed me through, and I didn’t have that adrenaline. It was time [and] I wanted to do it my way, on my own terms and not waste anybody’s time.”


Johnson, who played in 181 WNBA games, spent five days in Storm training camp. Donovan wanted to see more of her veteran expertise emerge, hoping she could be utilized as a reserve perimeter player.


The Storm now has 13 players in camp, with forward Adia Barnes arriving yesterday. She had been playing overseas in Turkey. The team is off today. Spaniard Eva Montesdeoca Lopez (sprained right ankle) has suffered the only injury.



Azzi speaks

Former WNBA guard Jennifer Azzi is in Seattle to raise awareness about asthma control. But if you know her, you wouldn’t link her muscular physique with asthma.


“I hate that word,” she said in a telephone interview.


The two-time Olympian was diagnosed with the condition in 2001 after taking a monthlong break from the game and catching herself wheezing during conditioning. She said ego prevented her from seeing a doctor, thinking the remedy was to train harder.


“I thought I was dying,” Azzi said. “I probably was able to do more even prior to the diagnosis and not even realizing it because I work hard. But you get to a point where there is just no way you can work through it. Your lungs aren’t going to let you.”


She will participate in the American Lung Association’s annual Asthma Walk at Husky Stadium tomorrow and is encouraging people to take the Asthma Control Test online at www.asthmacontrol.com. The approximately five-minute test is a quick way to assess possible asthmatic symptoms.


Azzi, 36, is also hosting a minicamp at Garfield High School from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.


Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com