Updates from the second week of training camp for the league's 12 teams.
The Storm’s male practice player numbers were back to full strength on Saturday.
The NBA playoffs, particularly Game 7 of the Houston Rockets-Los Angeles Clippers series May 17, fiddled with the number of men willing to skip viewing the game to practice against the women.
“I don’t blame them,” first-year Storm coach Jenny Boucek said of the conflicts. “But those guys have been super valuable to us over the years. We want to keep finding new talent in our practice squad, too.”
Seattle has utilized male practice players since the Storm’s inception in 2000. On Boucek’s staff, assistant coach Ryan Webb and basketball operations manager Preston Fawcett work to find the men to practice against the Storm.
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Gear and tickets to Storm games are some of the perks players are given for participating.
“I remember being in the same position,” said Webb, who was on the practice squad that helped the Storm win its first championship in 2004. “A lot of the guys are also coaches, so they’re watching the NBA games to learn and pick up stuff. But I tell them I always chose to come here (Storm practice) first.”
The NBA Finals between Golden State and Cleveland begins June 4 at 6pm PT – well after the Storm practices and will announce its regular-season roster. Seattle tips its season June 6 against Los Angeles at KeyArena.
The Storm is either on the road or has a home game during the NBA Finals, so there shouldn’t be any future practice conflicts with the guys.
“There’s no excuses when the playoffs are over, it’s mandatory they be here,” Webb said, only slightly joking. “Honestly, the basketball world in Seattle is so connected and small, it’s like going to the barbershop. We get to come, hang out, be social, learn the game and have fun.”
Here’s what’s going on around the other WNBA training camps:
TULSA: Shock all-star Glory Johnson spoke to media about her seven-game suspension. Johnson was penalized without pay due to a domestic violence arrest with her spouse Brittney Griner in April. Johnson, 24, said the suspension was “a little much.”
The players’ union released a statement that some of its members agree with Johnson. “There is a significant segment of WNBA players who feel that, while a suspension may have been warranted, a suspension of seven games (20 percent of the season) is excessive and inappropriate for each player in these circumstances,” according to a statement from Evie Goldstein, the WNBPA director of operations.
Johnson or Griner must request an appeal in order for the WNBPA to take action but WNBA president Laurel Richie is firm about her decision.
PHOENIX: The Mercury is planning a live stream from media day on Monday. Team broadcasters Ann Meyers Drysdale and Kevin Ray will interview players, coaches and other guests. Former Arizona State standout Promise Amukamara was cut Friday.
LOS ANGELES: A Dishin & Swishin podcast features Brian Agler, who left the Storm in January to take a similar position in LA. “I knew through communication with the ownership that they (Seattle) wanted to go through a transition,” Agler said. “Through several conversations, I talked with them about talking to some other teams.”
SAN ANTONIO: Former DePaul star Brittany Hrynko is a WNBA journey-woman and it’s only her second week in the league. Connecticut drafted Hrynko in the second round, then traded her to Atlanta. She was cut by the Dream on May 19 and signed by San Antonio on Tuesday.
MINNESOTA: The Lynx are dealing with aging. Of the projected 2015 starting five, reigning MVP Maya Moore, 25, is the only player under the age of 30. Moore, who’s entering her fifth season, is starting to get more vocal about the WNBA’s struggles.
INDIANA: One of the woes of overseas play is getting paid. All-Star Shavonte Zellous won her case and was awarded more than $200,000 in back pay and bonuses. Stateside, the Fever cut Sydney Carter, Alicia DeVaughn, Chelsea Gardner, and Tyaunna Marshall.
NEW YORK: The Liberty held a scrimmage followed by a postgame barbecue with the team and office staff on Saturday. New York defeated the Chinese national team, 100-42. The Liberty cut former Stanford star Amber Orrange and Shanece McKinney (LSU) on Thursday.
CHICAGO: Guard Allie Quigley, who was the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year last season, will leave after the Sky’s opening two games to play for the Hungarian national team in the EuroBasket. The winner of the tournament earns a berth to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Quigley, a former star at DePaul, left the Storm in 2012 to begin her process in playing for the country.
ATLANTA: Interesting read on Dream all-star Angel McCoughtry. “Honestly, I feel like this is my fresh start,” she said.
CONNECTICUT: Forward Kelsey Griffin underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left hip Friday and will be sidelined indefinitely. She is the fifth Sun player to get injured since January.
WASHINGTON: The Storm regularly plays intra-team scrimmages using analytics to formulate scoring. Washington took it a step further, playing Minnesota in an analytics version exhibition Wednesday. “We’re trying to see for the women’s game, are there things that we can do to make it more popular and are there lessons that can be learned from this scrimmage that can be applied elsewhere,” said Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Wizards, Mystics and the NHL’s Capitals.