Monday, December 31, 2007

Storm New Year's Resolutions

Let's see ... hire a new coach ... no, not the Storm as a team. In addition to getting holiday memories, we also asked Storm players about their New Year's resolutions. With the final sand pouring out of 2007's hourglass, it's time to share.

Ashley Robinson:
My best memories in life are when I lived life freely and chose to make each day a great day. So my New Year's resolution is to make as many memories as I can. Oh! And to learn Spanish because the Spainards [Robinson is playing for Hondarribia in Irun, Spain] do not understand anything I say over here. Even the ones that speak English can't understand "Southern" English. I feel like Charlie Brown's mom: "WOOMP WOOMP WOOMP WOOMP WOOMP WOOMP!!" LOL!

Janell Burse:
To be a better Christian!!!!!

Sue Bird is a not believer. We asked how she did on her 2007 resolutions and she answered, "I'm terrible at it so I stopped making resolutions a long time ago. :)"

Saturday, December 29, 2007

LJ Honored (Again), Bird Sighting

Sports Illustrated's "The Year in Sports" edition is on newsstands now and celebrates the year's best female athletes, one chosen from each sport. For best pro basketball player, the choice was clear: Storm forward Lauren Jackson. Writes SI's Kelli Anderson:

Jackson, 26, led the WNBA in scoring (23.8 points, a career best) and rebounding
(9.7 boards) en route to winning the league's MVP and Defensive Player of the
Year awards. Best of all, Jackson believes she has yet to reach her peak. "My
game is developing," she says. "I'm just getting better and better."

Jackson's teammate here and abroad, point guard Sue Bird, was at KeyArena Thursday to see the Sonics take on the Boston Celtics and got a great hand from the crowd when she was introduced during the game. Bird is back in the U.S. during the holiday break European teams take this time each year.

On, be sure to check out league president Donna Orender's "wish list" during the holiday season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Checking in with the Dot Com

I hope most of you check out on a regular basis, but if not you're missing some great content this week, including some Storm information.

- Have You Seen Her? Iziane Castro Marques's series of off-season Q&As turns its attention to the Storm's Brazilian sensation, focusing on how Castro Marques became a WNBA player.

Q. At what point did you realize that you were a good enough player to really pursue it professionally?
A. "When I was 15, I decided that I wanted to become a pro. That brought a lot of change in my life because I had to move away from home to Sao Paulo to play with a professional team and with the youth national team. And then when I was 19, I had the option to either go overseas to play or to stay in Brazil. I decided to give it a shot overseas and see how it goes… to see how good I am. From there, maybe I'll be good enough to play in the best league, the WNBA. I played in Europe and then I had the option to come to the WNBA, so I was like, 'Yup!'"

- Snap Judgement 2007 is picking the photo of the year tournament style by fan vote. One of the final eight contenders is a favorite around the Storm offices - Tamika Catchings (playfully) squaring off with Lauren Jackson at the All-Star break, when they were the two leading contenders for MVP. LJ and Tamika are trailing a photo featuring Diana Taurasi, the star of this competition, and Cappie Pondexter, so be sure to vote by Sunday.

- Donna Orender Chat
Lastly, the WNBA president took time out of her busy schedule to chat with fans on earlier in the week. Check out what Orender had to say.

Friday, December 14, 2007

12/14 Overseas Update

After our last update focused on Euroleague, this team we're going to focus on league play with an update on how teams featuring Storm players have performed this season. There are still several undefeated clubs in this group vying for the top spot in their respective countries.

- Spartak, featuring Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, is 7-0 and tied with UMMC Ekaterinburg atop the Russian Superleague. CSKA Moscow is just behind, however, at 6-0. We won't have a good idea of the relative strength of these powers until they start playing each other. Spartak plays UMMC on Jan. 6 and CSKA on Jan. 12.

Jackson hasn't shot the ball well by her high standards, but is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Bird has hit 69% of her two-point attempts; she has averaged 10.5 points, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

- Janell Burse's USK Praha squad is also 7-0 in Czech league play, tied for first place with long-time rival Gambrinus Sika Brno. Those two squads have, in recent seasons, distanced themselves from the rest of the Czech squads, making their matchups very important. Burse is averaging 11.3 points and 7.6 rebounds.

- Katie Gearlds is playing for Kosit 2013 Kosice, and I'm having a little bit of a hard time making sense of the team stats - I've got free throws (Th) and three-pointers (S3), but I'm not really sure why there are both S2 and Sk, both of which are purportedly two-point shots. Maybe shooting foul shots? I think Gearlds is shooting 60.8% from the field. She's averaging 10.2 points and, I think, 3.3 rebounds per game. Anyways, Gearlds and Janel McCarville have led the team to a 10-0 record in Slovakian league play.

- All I can find about the performance of Betty Lennox's K.V. Imperial AEL in the Cypriot League is that the team is 5-0 and tops in the league.

- In Italy, the Storm's players have some work to do. Phard Napoli, with center Astou Ndiaye-Diatta, is at 5-4. Doneeka Lewis' Fiera di Roma Pomezia squad is 0-9. Lewis is averaging 15.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Ndiaye-Diatta is averaging 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds. And former Storm forward Adia Barnes, Ndiaye-Diatta's teammate in Napoli, is averaging 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds.

- The Hondarribia Irun squad of Ashley Robinson is in the middle of the Spanish FEB Liga Feminina pack at 3-5. Robinson has averaged 3.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

- Lastly, Tanisha Wright's Raanana Hertzliya team suffered its first loss of the season Monday, a 23-point blowout at the hands of Elizur Ramla. Still, at 9-1, Raanana leads the Israeli DI league. Wright ranks third in the league in scoring at 21.6 ppg and is adding 7.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists (second in the league) and 3.6 steals (second). That's impressive in a league with several WNBA players.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Schedule Notes

The countdown is on to Opening Night 2008, which is 156 days away, now that the Storm's 2008 schedule has been released. I've already written about 10 big games during the 2008 season, but I wanted to share a couple of other notes in this blog.

- Games by month:

Month     H   A   T
May 3 2 5
June 6 5 11
July 5 5 10
Aug/Sep 3 5 8

- That chart doesn't really reflect how tough in terms of road games the end of the Storm's schedule will be. 13 of the team's first 21 games are at KeyArena, which means of the last 13, nine will be played away from Seattle. Getting off to a strong start will be important.

- There is no road trip of longer than two games until late July. The Storm has a four-game road trip from July 18-25 that is the team's longest of the season, then plays three games in five days just after the return from the August break.

- The Storm has two back-to-backs, both in June: June 3/4 at New York/Detroit and June 13/14 at San Antonio/Houston. That's tied with the Liberty for the fewest back-to-backs in the league.

- It's mentioned in the press release, but worth noting: 11 of the Storm's 17 home games will be played on the weekend.

- Semi-interesting random note: The final regular-season game at Los Angeles will be precisely the 300th in franchise history, and the home finale against Atlanta will be the 150th home game for the Storm.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vote for LJ

The presidential election may still be almost a year away, but now is your chance to cast your vote for Lauren Jackson. Lauren is one of the nominees for the 2007 United States Sports Academy Athlete of the Year award, as presented by and Past winners include Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer, Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods.

There's a great group of female nominees, including tennis star Justine Henin and sprinter Allyson Felix, but how many of them can claim an MVP award? That's right, only LJ. Not that you need convincing, but's Adam Hirshfield has a great explanation of why she is the best candidate.

Lauren is also up for Australia's best sportswoman of 2007 in a poll conducted by The Herald Sun newspaper. Click here to vote for her for that honor.

Make your vote count and help out LJ!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Messages for Anne

Many Storm fans have expressed their desire to share their thoughts with Anne Donovan after her resignation from the Storm last week. We invite you to post them in the comments of this blog. If you would prefer, you can also e-mail them to or address your letter to 1201 Third Ave., Suite 1000, Seattle WA 98101 and have them passed along to Coach Donovan.

We Sonics & Storm employees got a chance to talk with Anne yesterday, but I wanted to be sure to publicly thank her for all her help over the last five years. I can't imagine a coach who would be more helpful or more accommodating than she has been over that span, and I learned a tremendous amount from her about the game she so obviously loves.

Thanks for everything, Anne.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

12/5 Overseas Update

Before we head overseas, a quick stop in Atlanta, where the newest WNBA franchise is soliciting fan feedback on a name and colors. In the interest of full disclosure, I voted for the Flight and for a blue and red color scheme, though I would get a certain kick out of a team wearing hot pink.

Anyways, it's long overdue to take a look overseas. Euroleague teams are in action today, and while we have yet to get results from USK Praha (with Janell Burse), there's still plenty of Storm action.

Spartak is 4-1 and tied atop Group C after beating US Valenciennes 91-70 earlier today. Lauren Jackson had 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and five boards in the win; Sue Bird handed out a game-high nine assists and had three steals, scoring two points. Diana Taurasi scored 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting to go with nine boards and six assists.

Katie Gearlds' Kosit 2013 Kosice squad pulled out a 79-77 victory over Lotos Gdynia when teammate Janel McCarville scored late in the game. Gearlds had a quiet night, attempting only six shots and scoring all six of her points from beyond the arc, but McCarville carried Kosice with 28 points and 13 boards. Kosice is tied for third in Group C at 2-3.

Phard Napoli, including Astou Ndiaye-Diatta, fell 63-55 to TTT Riga despite Ndiaye-Diatta's 20 points and seven boards.

EuroCup teams are also in action today, and Betty Lennox's squad (KV Imperial AEL) suffered a 74-64 loss at the hands of Galatasaray. Lennox had a solid game in the loss, scoring 22 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the field. Lennox added five boards and three, count 'em three, blocks. Sophia Young scored 32 points for Galatasaray.

Hondarribia Irun blew by the Rhondda Rebels 86-64. Ashley Robinson had two points and six boards for Hondarribia, which got 22 points from Shameka Christon. Hondarribia, at 3-2, will be tied for second in Group J after the results of another game in the group later today.

That's plenty of overseas action for today, but I'll try to check in later in the week with a look at league play and the Storm players overseas who are not in either Euroleague or EuroCup.