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The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

May 4, 2006 at 9:03 PM

Simi goodbye?

Word from a reliable source of Storm coach Anne Donovan says free-agent center Tiffani Johnson weighs 195 pounds, which was her listed weight when she entered the league in 1998. If you know anything about Johnson, though, she was really 240 pounds in Houston in 2004.
“If she’s 195, that tells you she’s serious about her game,” Donovan said. “I always liked her in Houston, it’s just that’s a system where they really don’t use back-to-the-basket post players very much. I’m eager to see what she can do.”
Johnson is due to arrive from Charlotte via Poland this weekend. The camp battle at the post position has heated up this week, anyway. Free agent Lindsay Taylor, 6 feet 8, was finally able to practice Thursday after tending to right Achilles tendinitis and looked promising, although she bobbles the ball too much. Donovan said it was too early to evaluate Taylor, but the staff did vote to keep her around for a longer look.
And franchise original Simone Edwards looked solid. So, with Sunday being the Storm’s only home exhibition game, Edwards fans might want to show just to be sure to send the player off in style if she doesn’t make the final roster.
Without seeing Johnson, it’s hard to pick a frontrunner for the possible two open post positions, but Donovan said she likes the fact that Johnson is a bruiser-type player. Edwards and Taylor have quickness, which is necessary in the Storm’s system. The question is, does Donovan go ahead and get younger now with Taylor, 24, or does she keep the two vets with different styles?
Action Jackson
Despite sporadic practice time due to monitoring her shin injuries, Jackson will play Sunday against New York at KeyArena. She should start, but Donovan hasn’t decided whether she’ll start rookie Barbra Turner at the small forward position. Donovan likes the look of her three-guard lineup with Sue Bird, Tanisha Wright and Shaunzinski Gortman.
Floridian exodus
The Storm cut forward Dalila Eshe, the second-round draft pick, and guard Tocarra Williams on Thursday. Both are native Floridians. Eshe (Tallahassee) barely practiced due to a left knee injury that was examined and didn’t have any complications, but the swelling never subsided.
Williams (Hollywood) was vying for the backup point guard position and did not impress, except in spurts. She looked a lot better Thursday with her ball-handling skills, but, again, Wright and Gortman have this dynamic together that could make the Storm lightning quick this season.
Williams, who was out of the league last season and decided to come to camp last week only last week, said she was going to go back into real estate if she couldn’t play in the WNBA. She has her license with Century 21.
“If you ever need to buy a house in Florida, call me!” she said. “I should bring my business cards to practice.”
Too late for that.
Nose more
Bird asked media to stop inquiring about last summer’s broken beak.
Bird broke her nose for the second consecutive season in a loss at Connecticut six games into the season. She also broke her right orbital bone and had numbness on the right side of her mouth the entire season. She wore a protective facemask until the Storm’s final game of the postseason, but not in Russia, where she played this past offseason. And she plans to never break it again.
“Let’s not address that issue ever,” she said with a big smile.



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