With six rookies in camp, Storm players and coaches echo a common theme during media day.
The Storm held its media day on Saturday, and that meant more work for first-year coach Jenny Boucek.
“I’m traumatized,” said Boucek, who was an assistant for Seattle the past five years. It was a strange and hectic day for Boucek while the team was introduced to the local media, filmed in-arena clips and hosted photo shoots.
Boucek agreed to wear a 1980s aerobic leotard and headband for a few skits to debut at KeyArena this season.
Tuesday: Exhibition game against Phoenix, 11 a.m. at KeyArena
Thursday: Exhibition game at Phoenix, 12:30 p.m.
June 4: Opening-day rosters due
June 6: Season opener against Los Angeles, 6 p.m. at KeyArena
“Goofy stuff,” she said of the experience. “I’m serious. The fans, it is worth coming out because they’ll either be traumatized or really enjoy it.”
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Boucek was more comfortable talking about the team and how training camp is progressing with six rookies. The word “rebuild” was frequently used in discussing the season.
For three players, it could also apply to their reputations in the WNBA.
Quanitra Hollingsworth, Kristen Mann and Abby Bishop are returning to the league after subpar debuts as rookies. Walking around KeyArena for media day had a familiar feel.
“I’m having great success in Turkey but it was time for me to establish myself back in the WNBA,” said Hollingsworth, a 6-foot-5 center who last played in the league in 2013. She’s a naturalized Turkish citizen, competing for the country in the 2012 Olympics.
“Upon getting drafted, for myself, it was disappointing,” Hollingsworth, 26, said of her playe after being selected by Minnesota in 2009. “I know that I’ve grown, so I wanted another opportunity. I’m more mature mentally and physically, and I think it’s really going to benefit me.”
Bishop and Mann were deep reserves when they last played in the WNBA in 2010. Bishop, a 26-year-old Australian, was on Seattle’s 2010 championship team while Mann appeared in five games for Minnesota before deciding she wanted a break from the WNBA.
Mann, a 6-2 forward, continued to play overseas, however. She was the last player added to Seattle’s training-camp roster. If she makes the team, Mann said she’s expecting her role to be supporting the younger players and not playing a lot of minutes.
“I understand this is a rebuilding year,” said Mann, 31. “For me, I really wanted to come back to challenge myself in the last segment of my career – see where I stand. It’s been fun this last week to see how I’ve been hanging with these younger players. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s rejuvenated me on the court.”
Boucek couldn’t compare how the players have improved since returning because of the lack of minutes their first time around. She kept an eye on their international play and likes the way they’re blending in camp.
“They’re playing all year long,” Boucek said. “It’s hard to not get flat. To not get stale. But if you can find hungry veterans, it’s a huge attribute for your team dynamics. I’ve always tried to look for those. Scan the league, scan the globe for players that have experience but have something that’s causing them to be hungry.”
After the amusing off-court antics and interviews Saturday, the team held a traditional practice. It was the second session in the facility in as many days, Boucek having the team run through a typical game-day walk-through Friday at KeyArena.
Seattle, which finished at 12-22 last year, opens exhibition play Tuesday against Phoenix. The Mercury is the defending champion but is playing without MVP Diana Taurasi, who was paid by her Russian team to miss the WNBA season.
“I’m excited to get out there and play again,” said Bishop, a 6-3 forward. “I don’t think there are any expectations except that everybody plays hard and plays together.”