Thursday, May 8, 2008

Notebook: Storm Waives Two

After Thursday's practice at KeyArena, Head Coach Brian Agler and the rest of the coaching staff were presented with a difficult task. They had to inform rookies Natalie Doma and Allie Quigley that they were being waived after spending two and a half weeks in training camp with the Storm.

"This is probably the toughest thing about our job is to go through decisions like that, because those two ladies have come in and really worked hard," Agler said. "They both have a chance to do something in this league and I think they both will go over and play in Europe next year. It's a numbers game. You start bringing people in and you've got to find room for them. We've got some more to go. We've got some more decisions to make that aren't going to be easy, but I just want to compliment those two on their efforts and how good of players and teammates they were when they were here."

Quigley, the Storm's second-round pick in last month's WNBA Draft, started off camp strong but seemed to fall behind as more experienced wing players arrived in camp. Quigley played extensively in the Storm's preseason opener and contributed five rebounds and four assists, but shot 0-for-6 from the field. Still, Agler is confident that Quigley has the ability to play in the WNBA at some point.

"She may have lost some confidence, a little bit," he said. "She didn't have a great showing there in Chicago - she had a lot of family and friends there; that might have got her down. I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't get another opportunity in this league this year and definitely she'll get another one next year or down the road."

Doma impressed during camp with her touch from the perimeter for a post player, but the leap in athleticism and physical play from the Big Sky Conference to the WNBA proved too much to overcome.

The cuts leave the Storm with just three rookies left in camp: third-round pick Kimberly Beck and invitees Daphanie Kennedy and Kristen O'Neill. Agler doesn't anticipate making any more move until next week, by which point the Storm will have wrapped up its preseason with Saturday's game against Indiana and a joint practice/scrimmage with the Fever on Sunday. The joint practice gives the Storm another opportunity to gauge its progress against another opponent. Teams are allowed such practices if they have fewer than four preseason games scheduled, and the Storm has three this season.

"Since they were in town," explained Agler, "they were going to spend another day anyways, we decided to do that."

Kristen O'Neill
Aaron Last/Storm Photos

As Agler spoke to the media nearly an hour after the Storm concluded its practice, O'Neill remained on the KeyArena court, shooting free throws all by herself at the far basket. That work ethic has become O'Neill's trademark during training camp.

"If you wouldn't have made me turn around and you would have asked me who's back there shooting," said Agler, "I would have said, 'It's Kristen.' She was shooting for an hour and a half after practice yesterday. She's had a great training camp. She's a workaholic. She's a great teammate. She's worked hard and she's still on our team."

Going through her first WNBA training camp two years after she was undrafted out of the University of Washington, O'Neill has outlasted more heralded players, including a pair of former second-round picks.

"How much is she going to play Saturday?" Agler said. "I have no idea, but she's still here and we enjoy her here and she's making us better. She's got her opportunity and she's one that I think she plans on taking full advantage of it."

- Storm wing Sheryl Swoopes injured her left ankle late in Thursday's practice and received treatment from the team's training staff, but Agler wasn't worried about her status.

"She tweaked it," he said. "She was down there smiling though, afterwards, so I think she'll back out here tomorrow playing."

- Agler Audio After Practice


Online ZenDoc said...

So the roster is thinning out a little. No real surprises here, well maybe Allie Quigley a little, since she was their second round pick. I guess she wasn't as skilled as their third rounder, Kim Beck, though. It sure would be nice to see Kristen O'Neill make the roster, but it's hard to see how she could. I have her as either the 13th player or the 14th player. I can't see how she could be the 12th player on this team, and we don't even know for sure if they're keeping 12 players.

I may have just answered my own question, though, combining the roster moves with what you said yesterday about the salaries. If they do keep 12 players, they could keep Kristen because her salary will be less than the 12th player - so they might keep her to come under the salary cap. I'm also glad to hear that she's working so hard in camp. She just might make it yet.

Anonymous said...

When salaries are figured in, there will need to be at least a couple rookies in the mix to keep 11-12 and stay under the cap.

Players like the 'neeka twins and Tanisha are expensive to keep if you have someone almost as good and cheaper.

With JB out, having another post is a must. Santos may have made the team for that reason.

Kevin Pelton said...

Hodges and Wright are both still on their rookie contracts. They don't really belong in that veteran-salaried group.