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Women's Hoops

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

June 12, 2006 at 8:51 PM

Tune in

The WNBA will announce its All-Decade team during the ESPN2 broadcast of the Charlotte at Washington game Tuesday. League president Donna Orender will make the announcement.
Based on a completely unscientific poll while traveling with the team this past road trip, it seems Storm forward Lauren Jackson is a lock to make the prestigious team. But guard Sue Bird, who was also nominated, is teetering on the cut line. I suspect she’ll be in because of fan popularity alone, however.
As implied in a Seattle Times article, depth at the forward position, veteran acknowledgement, and voters being unimpressed by the point-guard selection among the 30 candidates may lead to Bird’s omission, however. We’ll see.
While the players are in the process of being notified, all will not be present at the announcement. They will be formally recognized at the July 12 All-Star game in New York City instead.
And speaking of All-Stars, the Storm practically nominated its entire team in Jackson, Bird, Betty Lennox, Wendy Palmer, and Janell Burse. But how about a little love for Burse?
Even with a tender shoulder, the 6-foot-5 center, is playing incredibly well inside. And the Tulane grad banked in her first career three-pointer against Connecticut on Friday and had nine offensive rebounds to go with 23 points in the four-point loss.
Burse said she worked on her outside shooting while playing in Prague, but missed majority of training camp with the injured labrum suffered the final day in the country. There were concerns about whether she’d regain the shooting touch from overseas as she missed the Storm’s opening two games.
Well, she showed she’s all right.
And compared to the other centers on the All-Star ballot, only Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles) and Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento) are considerably better candidates. And, of course, Phoenix center Kamila Vodichkova is the sentimental favorite in Seattle. But if we’re voting with our basketball smarts, Burse has to get the edge over Vodka, the Storm organization’s inaugural first-round draft pick, even though the native of Czech Republic is having a standout season with 13.0 points and 7.3 rebounds. It’s just that Burse, and the Storm, got the best of Vodichkova twice this season. (Remember how Vodichkova was used as a floor mop in the Storm’s lone road win at Phoenix in May?)
Leslie, a league original, is averaging a double-double with 21.4 points and 11.8 rebounds, yet I can pretty much guess Seattle folks won’t vote for her. Griffith, the 2005 Finals MVP, is averaging career-lows of 12.4 points and 7.4 rebounds. Burse, who has never been an All-Star, is averaging career-highs of 11.9 points and 7.0 rebounds.
It’s time to start looking at Burse differently. She probably won’t top Leslie for the starting position, but honestly, Burse should be the reserve on the team, which is voted by coaches. Aside from botching several high-low passes, she’s better at handling the ball, is good on the boards, is stronger, and her shooting range has opened a whole new dimension for the Storm. Plus Burse held her own against all of the other centers on the ballot in both conferences.
If she keeps going like this, we may be talking about her for the next All-Decade team.

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