Friday, June 12, 2009

StormTracker is on the Move

Today, we're pleased to unveil a brand new StormTracker blog. We're moving to the WordPress platform, which offers improved functionality, a cleaner look and easier navigation. Please update your bookmarks and links to Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Seattle Storm Day

Aaron Last/Storm Photos

As you may have read in Live From Press Row, before last night's game Seattle City Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Jan Drago presented Storm CEO Karen Bryant with a proclamation declaring June 7, 2009 Seattle Storm Day in the city of Seattle.

The timing was right for the Council to honor the Storm, as yesterday was both Opening Night for the Storm and the 10th anniversary of the city of Seattle being awarded an expansion WNBA franchise on June 7, 1999. See the proclamation in its entirety below.

The Storm organization is grateful to the City Council not only for proclaiming June 7, 2009 as Seattle Storm Day but also for its enthusiastic support over the past decade.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

In Case You Missed It ...

The busy week leading up to Opening Night can make it hard to keep up with everything, so I wanted to highlight some important content here at and elsewhere.

If anything was vulnerable to getting overshadowed, I think it was Thursday's event where the Storm reopened the First A.M.E. Child and Family Center in Seattle with a Reading and Learning Center renovated thanks to the Storm winning the 2008 Fast Break to Reading Program presented by Pitney Bowes. Our staff photographer Aaron Last was there and put together a photo slideshow/video looking at both the work done by Storm employees over the weekend and the culmination on Thursday, and it is very good.

Here are a couple more photos from the event, also by Last:

The big ribbon cutting, with Alfie Charles from Pitney Bowes and Carey Anderson from First A.M.E. doing the honors.

Storm players Janell Burse and Tanisha Wright read to children in their new space with new books.

WNBA legend Jennifer Azzi was on hand to emcee the event and represent WNBA Cares. She wrote about the experience on her blog.

In terms of basketball, our preview coverage included features on how Swin Cash is feeling better on and off the court after back surgery, how Shannon Johnson's addition has completed a versatile Storm backcourt and the team's impressive depth in the post with Janell Burse and Lauren Jackson reuniting as likely starters. It culminated with yesterday's general season preview highlighting how the Storm hopes to get back to the level at which the team played during a dominant six-game winning streak last July before Jackson's departure and subsequent injury.

I was surprised to check out the Seattle Times' preview yesterday and see Jayda Evans chose a similar angle for her centerpiece story. I intentionally don't read other stories until after I've written mine so I'm not influenced subconsciously, and I hadn't guessed we'd both focus on the July 12 win over Los Angeles that was a highpoint of the Storm's season. Of course, from there the articles diverge quite a bit, so there's plenty to be gained from both.

In addition to that, Evans has bio capsules on each player and checks in with members of the inaugural 2000 Storm team to see what they are up to now. Steve Kelley completed the coverage with his column on why Lauren Jackson decided to return to Seattle, which tugs at the heartstrings.

More on LiveAccess

One of the big developments you'll see this season on and sites throughout the WNBA is the ability to watch many webcasts of many games live through LiveAccess. With this feature debuting across the league today, I wanted to explain things a little more clearly. During Storm games, you can go to our LiveAccess page (which will also be linked on the homepage in the top story) to get to LiveAccess. You will need a user name, which is completely free and easy to register.

For a handful of games, live video will not be available through LiveAccess. The five Storm games that are on FSN (including Opening Night tomorrow) will be blacked out locally, so look for your TV and not your computer in those games. The two Storm games that are televised nationally on ESPN2 will also not be available on LiveAccess, though they can be streamed through if your cable provider gets you access to that site.

Lastly, any game that is in a national broadcast window, including today's season opener at Sacramento, will not be available live, though you can watch an archived version of the game after it has been played. So for today, your options are listening to the game on Alternative Talk KKNW 1150 AM or hearing that radio broadcast live on You can also chat live with me during the game here on

I hate to spend so much time focusing on the exceptions because either a webcast or TV coverage will be available for virtually every game this season, which is a terrific development that should enhance the fan experience. I do want to make sure everyone is clear on the parameters, so let me know if you still have any questions.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Approaching Opener, Storm Making Decisions

With less than 48 hours remaining until the Seattle Storm opens the 2009 season Saturday in Sacramento (1:00 p.m., Alternative Talk 1150 AM), the Storm is beginning to close in on some important decisions. The first of those came after Thursday's practice, when the Storm waived guard A'Quonesia Franklin and wing Aja Parham to get down to its 11-player roster (which will actually be 10 for the opener because center Suzy Batkovic-Brown will be arriving from Australia Sunday).

Storm Head Coach Brian Agler also said after the practice that he's got a likely starting lineup in mind to face the Monarchs.

"We'll probably go with Lauren (Jackson) and Camille (Little) and Sue (Bird), T (Tanisha Wright) and Shannon (Johnson) starting the game," said Agler.

Center Janell Burse will likely come off the bench after experiencing a subluxation of her left shoulder that limited her in practice yesterday. Burse was back on the court today.

"I haven't had a chance to talk to her since practice was over to see how she feels and how she responds," said Agler. "She's going to play, I know that. She was in practice the whole day. We went into practice thinking it might be in and out - she was pretty much in the whole time."

Burse felt good about her practice effort. She wore a sleeve on her left shoulder, something she has not done in the past because she hates the sleeve, which slightly limits the mobility of her shoulder.

"Before, I never wore it even when it was more serious," Burse explained. "Now I'm trying it because I really want to be out there and hopefully not reinjure it. When you're out there playing and you're 'in the zone,' I guess, you don't think about it."

Forward Swin Cash was also out on the floor.

"I envision her playing this weekend," said Agler, though her minutes will likely be limited. "I think it will all depend on her. I'm sure we will (limit her). She has practiced sparingly."

How much Cash can play may impact the rest of the rotation and how Agler uses his other three active reserves - Katie Gearlds, Ashley Robinson and rookie Ashley Walker. He anticipates the Storm's first-round pick being in the rotation, though finding time for her could be difficult.

"It's not easy to get everybody in here who we feel like can help us," Agler explained. "We're still sort of evaluating how things are going to go. I think she's going to be in the rotation. How much? I don't know."

As other teams have been cutting down to their final rosters, experienced players have been hitting the waiver wires. In the short term, Agler has no plans to bring anyone in. He wants to see his team at full strength, with Batkovic-Brown in the mix, before seriously considering adding a player who has come available.

"I like a lot of them," said Agler, "but to make that decision ... I don't think we can really do a whole lot before we fully understand what Suzy's going to bring."

GM Survey Results

Yesterday, released the results of its annual GM Survey. While not every GM apparently takes the voting seriously, based on some of the (ahem) unusual choices, it's still an interesting snapshot of the league as a whole.

Noteworthy Storm results:
- Lauren Jackson finished second in both most likely to win MVP and player you would pick if you were starting a team (tying there with Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi). Because Jackson split votes between forward and center, she also was second in terms of top power forwards in the league behind L.A.'s Tina Thompson.

- Sue Bird did in fact garner 58.3 percent of the vote to outpace Lindsay Whalen in voting for the league's best point guard.

- Jackson was an overwelming winner as the WNBA's best international player. San Antonio's Ann Wauters was the only other foreigner to get a vote.

- Bird is one of three players, along with Detroit's Katie Smith and Sacramento's Kara Lawson, considered most likely to coach after their playing career.

- Jackson's turnaround jumper tied with Seimone Augustus' runner and Cappie Pondexter's crossover as the single most effective offensive move in the game.

Elsewhere on the Web today, Mechelle Voepel of has a great feature story on Jackson's return to the Storm. Many terrific quotes in here, including:

"You know, it's fun being good at what you do," Jackson said. "I can't imagine my life without playing in America or Russia, as well as Australia. It's a nice feeling that people are so happy to have you there. And it's given me the opportunity to travel, to see so many things."
You can also take a listen to Jackson's interview with Elise Woodward on KJR 950 AM last evening.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Burse Participates in Non-Contact Practice

Storm center Janell Burse participated in the non-contact portion of practice Wednesday after leaving Tuesday's session early when she experienced a subluxation of her left shoulder. For Burse, the injury was a surprise because it was the first time since May 2007 her shoulder has subluxed, or slipped out of the socket.

"It was more shocking that it actually happened again," said Burse, "because it hadn't happened in so long."

While a partial tear of her shoulder labrum has left Burse vulnerable to subluxations, she has been able to control them by strengthening the surrounding muscles. She did not experience any trouble with the shoulder during the 2007 regular season or in either of her last two overseas campaigns.

Burse underwent X-rays that showed no bone bruising in the area, and is currently day-to-day.

"They just wanted to X-ray it to get a look at everything and make sure everything was still intact because my range of motion was bad yesterday," she said. "Today it's much, much better. Hopefully I'll be fine much faster because I've kept strengthening it all this time. I think I'll come back fast because of that."

"I think we're moving forward," Storm Head Coach Brian Agler said of his team's health. "The only thing I can say is we've got two more days to move forward here and we're going to move forward."

Forward Swin Cash participated with contact after being sidelined the last two days by an allergic reaction that caused swelling in her left knee.

With two practices left before Saturday's season opener in Sacramento (1:00 p.m., Alternative Talk 1150 AM), Agler feels good about his team's progress, though he won't really know whether the Storm is ready until the game is played.

"I think when you're in a situation like this, you never know if you're prepared or not," he said. "You try to do your best and you go into the game and see how things play out. You try to prepare your team. Do you underprepare? Do you overprepare? I don't know. I guess you can answer that question after the game. That's the only time you really know."

- The WNBA waiver wire continues to be busy as teams cut down prior to Friday's deadline for final rosters for the start of the season. However, Agler doesn't anticipate at this point bringing in a player cut by another team.

"I think, to this point, unless we really get a chance to study it, our 11 I think we have here (in camp)," he said. "Well, our 11 isn't here because Suzy (Batkovic)'s not here. Once Suzy gets here, I think we'll get a better evaluation."