Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans will have a weekly conversation with a newsmaker in the WNBA. This week she speaks with former Storm guard Tanisha Wright, who signed a free-agent contract with New York in February.
Editor’s note: Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans will have a weekly conversation with a newsmaker in the WNBA. This week she speaks with former Storm guard Tanisha Wright, who signed a free-agent contract with New York in February. Drafted in 2005 by Seattle, Wright is a four-time WNBA All-Defensive Team selection. She was regarded as the heart of the Storm, helping it win the 2010 league championship. Wright is averaging 7.9 points and 3.5 assists per game as a starter for the Eastern Conference-leading Liberty.
Question: You were leaning toward retiring at the end of the 2014 season. Being a Brooklyn native made playing for the Liberty too enticing?
Answer: I didn’t know what (retirement) would look like, I just felt like it was time to relax, time to maybe just play overseas. Before I had spoken to Seattle or anything, I was excited about the possibility of playing in New York in front of my friends and family. (Coach Bill Laimbeer and vice president Kristin Bernert) showed a real interest in me immediately, and any time you get an opportunity to play at home, it’s special. That’s what fell into my hands.
Q: And your grandmother, who raised you outside of Pittsburgh, moved back to New York, too?
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A: My great-grandmother passed away in December, so my grandmother moved back to New York in April. It’s been amazing. I’ve had so much joy just being around family. I saw my nephew graduate from kindergarten. I just don’t have to do as much sacrificing. If I want to see family, I just take a 40-minute drive to go see them. As much as I love Seattle and wanted to finish my career in that city, I love the fact that I’m able to do it in front of my friends and family.
Q: How have you handled the Isaiah Thomas hiring? His application for partial ownership was tabled, but he’s still president of the women’s team despite a 2007 lawsuit that found he had sexually harassed a female Knicks employee.
A: I don’t know the truth. Only he and the young lady knows the truth. We can all speculate, but all I know is what has been presented before me. That’s a very respectable man who loves women’s basketball. He’s in the gym trying to teach us every little nugget that he can. … He’s very engaged and very involved. You have to respect that.
Q: Do you keep up with the Storm?
A: I don’t have any bitterness. A lot of people when they leave teams, they don’t care for the team anymore. I still have love for Seattle outside of them playing us. I like the freshness that’s going on. They’re trying to establish a new era. Sue (Bird) is doing the best that she can do. Any time you blow up a team completely, you lose a lot of important players like myself and Camille (Little), and there’s a lot of learning. They’re just trying to get through that process. Luckily for them, the West isn’t as strong as it normally is, so they could possibly make the playoffs.
Q: Could you handle Sue’s situation?
A: I don’t say this to be rude, but my situation here in New York is the same. I was brought here for leadership and to really help the younger kids grow and bring toughness. The talent here is better, that’s for sure, but my role is the same.
Jayda Evans’ WNBA power rankings
|Last week’s rankings in parentheses|
|1. (1)||Chicago||Kent’s Courtney Vandersloot averaging 5.1 assists and career-low 1.8 turnovers.|
|2. (2)||Minnesota||All-Star Seimone Augustus had arthroscopic surgery on her right knee, out indefinitely.|
|3. (5)||New York||Three-game win streak jumped Liberty to top of East standings.|
|4. (3)||Phoenix||Despite off-court drama, Brittney Griner voted All-Star starter for Saturday’s game on ABC.|
|5. (4)||Tulsa||On three-game losing streak amid announcement team requested move to Dallas area.|
|6. (6)||Indiana||Had game slated for Saturday in Connecticut rescheduled to July 28 due to travel delay.|
|7. (9)||Washington||Joined other local teams in campaign to show support for women’s professional sports.|
|8. (11)||Seattle||Unveiled “Seattle Storm” app by Pick6 Sports; features interactive in-game contests.|
|9. (8)||Atlanta||Angel McCoughtry fears team won’t make playoffs for first time in her seven-year career.|
|10. (7)||Connecticut||Coach Anne Donovan inducted into FIBA Hall of Fame as a player; Sun on six-game skid.|
|11. (10)||San Antonio||A league-worst 0-9 on the road, still missing Kayla McBride and Jia Perkins due to injuries.|
|12. (12)||Los Angeles||
Candace Parker, a two-time MVP, signed contract to report to Sparks by July 29.