Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Road Trip

Kasha Terry and Janell Burse battle for a rebound in practice. Aaron Last/Storm Photos

After spending the first week and a half of training camp in Seattle, the Storm is ready to head out on the road for the first time. The team flew to Las Vegas this afternoon and will join the host Sacramento Monarchs as well as the Phoenix Mercury for a three-team controlled scrimmage tomorrow. Friday, it's on to Phoenix for Satuday's exhibition finale against the Mercury. Since the Storm hosted Sacramento in its home preseason game, the WNBA's three westernmost teams will know each other intimately by the start of the regular season.

The Storm has now had eight days of practice, having taken Tuesday afternoon off before returning to the floor at The Furtado Center for a session Wednesday morning.

"I think we're improving," Head Coach Brian Agler said afterward. "I think that's a better question to ask after we play, how we stand. We've really been proactive on trying to get a lot of things in. When you do that in a short period of time, you don't get the reps that you want on certain things. I like how we're advancing, but how sharp we are trying to do those things, that's another question."

Agler explained that the coaching staff will use the two settings for different purposes. On Thursday, the focus will be on evaluating talent. The teams will alternate playing quarters against each other - two teams on, one team watching.

"I think tomorrow will be a good (test)," said Agler. "Tomorrow we'll get a chance to watch people in more of a controlled situation, up close. I think it will be a good evaluator."

Saturday, the focus changes to what Agler calls "our last dress rehearsal." Rotations will be more "game-like" as the Storm prepares for the regular season. The lineups will be different from the ones Agler used in the Storm's previous preseason game.

"We have Tanisha (Wright) now and we see Tanisha playing big minutes for us this year. She'll get some quality time. Obviously Sue (Bird) will be on the court. Sue didn't play the last game."

Then there could be a wild card on Saturday - the potential availability of Swin Cash, who is making progress in returning from her back surgery and continues to feel good.

"I sort of envision Swin trying to get in the swing of things sometime either Saturday or early next week," Agler said. "Everything's based on her. Knowing Swin and knowing how well she's feeling, I would guess she'll get on the court more in practice as time goes on. If she feels like she can go, then we'll give her some minutes."

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