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Women's Hoops

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

May 12, 2007 at 3:02 PM

Another level

Storm coach Anne Donovan was upbeat having her All-Stars back in the rotation for practice today. She played Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird longer than both expected, especially since they traveled 18 hours to get to Seattle. But the Storm is off today and the opener is May 19, so there’s not much time.
Donovan mentioned that there was a change in attitude among the reserves, who have been acting like starters as players trickled into camp. The rumors were true, Lauren Jackson is slimmer and better with her pull-up jumper in the paint. And Bird is the brassy floor leader with the smooth three-pointer.
If the reserves can hop off the bench and dupicate the majority of their impressive exhibition win against Sacramento on Friday consistently throughout the season — the team looks good.
But what about the defense? Donovan’s comfort level on that end will probably determine if forward Barbara Turner can retain her spot depsite missing training camp.
Turner’s Turkish team lost a Game 6 today and Game 7 isn’t until Tuesday. She will not arrive until late Wednesday at the earliest and final rosters are due Friday at noon.
As a rookie last season, Turner joined Betty Lennox as the team’s best defenders. Turner also played well enough to replace Iziane Castro Marques in the starting lineup for eight games.
Turner’s play dropped in the postseason, but Ely hasn’t shown much on the defensive end during the exhibition season and is still transitioning from playing power forward in college to small forward in the pros. If Donovan is serious about defense, she swallows the jagged pill of Turner not being in camp despite being told to report on time, and keeps her on the roster. If not, or Donovan just likes something about Ely, she chooses the free agent.
I know I picked Ely earlier. But after watching the roster play with Jackson and Bird, it seems what the Storm needs is a legit defensive stopper off the bench to raise havoc. That’s Turner. Ely is too meek. And Ely said she wasn’t trying not to push anything because she wanted to just do what Donovan asked — rebound and play defense — but she could have showed a little more fire.
Like boxer Oscar De La Hoya said after losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last week, you should have to knock out a champion to take their title. Turner’s not a champ, but she’s built like one and Ely has yet to deliver a knockout punch to unseat her.

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