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Women's Hoops

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May 15, 2007 at 3:09 PM

Against each other

Storm coach Anne Donovan didn’t offer any real insights to the only question mark on her roster – the Barbara Turner-Shyra Ely battle for the reserve small forward spot. Both were solid at practice today, going against each other in some drills.
“It’s physical out there,” guard Sue Bird said. “Anytime, especially at the beginning of the season or in a training camp type atmosphere where everyone is trying to earn their spot. Or in this one, everyone is trying to figure out their roles, we have some hard play, some tough play. As time goes by, everyone will figure out their role and it’ll go down a little bit – in terms of the hitting. But it’s tough. Both [Shyra and Barbara] are getting in wherever they can. I feel bad for the coaching staff, they have tough decisions to make.”
Both players remain to have the same advantages and disadvantages.
Ely, with her 6 foot 2 height, can guard all along the periemeter as well as play and guard the power forward position. She’s been at camp for more than two weeks – a plus. But is still learning the system and team – a minus.
Despite doing an adequate job playing a little power forward because of the early injury to Wendy Palmer (Achilles) last season, Donovan said Turner will not play inside this season because of her shorter height, which is generously listed at 6-foot. Turner can defend on the perimeter but would only make the team as a small forward. Her pluses are her energy, defense, and knowledge of the system.
Final rosters are due Friday at noon. The Storm is not practicing on Thursday, but Donovan refused to say whether she’d make the cut before Friday or wait until the final hour.
“I’m not worried about that,” she told the media after practice. “You guys can worry about that. The cuts will be made by noon on Friday.”
Based on past experience, I expect Donovan will have a final decision by Thursday. Then the team can adjust and have one full practice prior to opening the season on Saturday against Houston.
It appears to be an emotional pick, especially since Ely is close with fellow Tennessee alums Ashley Robinson and Tye’sha Fluker. Ely is also close to Wendy Palmer, playing with her in San Antonio as a rookie in 2005, and Turner after their experience overseas in Israel.
“Ultimately it’s Barb’s team and I’m here trying to prove myself,” said Ely, who has never been pitted against a friend in her career. “It’s uncomfortable sometimes and I don’t want it to get there because before anything, we’re friends. It just sucks the way things may happen or may not happen, but I believe we’ll remain friends. It’s a business and that’s just what it is.”
Donovan can only keep 11 players on her roster due salaray limitation with the $728,000 cap. The Storm is paying league max salaries to Bird, Lauren Jackson, and Betty Lennox and signed starters Janell Burse and Iziane Castro Marques to hefty contracts this summer.
“I heard all the things about Shyra,” Turner said. “I’m real excited for her, we are really good friends. From a basketball standpoint, I know that’s a question you guys want me to answer and know you want to hear, but I’m not interested in talking about that. I’m interested in maintaining our friendship and obviously we’re going to compete on the court as hard as we can, but that’s as far as I’ll go.”



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