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Women's Hoops

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

August 18, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Santos returning?

LJOly.jpgPool play in Olympic women’s basketball is complete and after a 1-4 finish by Brazil, Storm forward Kelly Santos’ dreams of leading her country through the medal rounds are dashed. Storm coach Brian Agler said he hasn’t spoken to Santos, but does anticipate her back in Seattle “shortly,” which could be before her expected return on Sunday.
“A lot depends on her team travel, but she didn’t travel over with the team so I don’t know if she’ll travel back [with them],” Agler said. “I don’t have a definition for shortly.”
Santos’ best showing was in a loss to Australia when she frustrated forward Lauren Jackson (right) and finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Watching in Seattle, Storm center Ashley Robinson said she was inspired by the game.
“Kelly was balling!” said Robinson, whose younger sister called to be sure Robinson was watching the matchup. “That motivated me. She’s playing so well, kind of different. She’s obviously working hard, so we need to work hard. I was so impressed.”
The eight Storm players practicing will have this week to continue working on drills together, then will focus on preparing for Houston next Monday. But driving in from her Kirkland home, forward Sheryl Swoopes said she’s already antsy to begin playing.
Swoopes hasn’t watched much of the Olympics because of the early start times, but said she’ll begin to focus on the Games now that Team USA is out of the dull pool play. She said she’s anticipating another USA-Australia showdown for the gold medal. The Opals begin medal-round play against Czech Republic while Team USA faces South Korea, which features former Storm guard Sunmin Jung (above, left corner).
“We use the preliminary rounds to work on our stuff to get better for the next round,” said Swoopes, a three-time Olympic gold medalist. “But I don’t think there’s anybody that can beat us, I really don’t. At the same time, I know Lauren is determined. I really feel if Australia can beat the U.S., then Lauren will have accomplished everything that she’s set out to accomplish in basketball. And she is just determined to do that. It’ll be a very good game, but they don’t have enough.”
Yet, if Jackson does somehow get to the gold-medal game to face Team USA and does win, don’t worry about her ditching the Storm. I’ve covered her since her rookie season and don’t feel she’s that type of athlete, although I could see her delaying her return to celebrate with her country.
Swoopes, who mentored Jackson since the 2000 Olympics when the Aussie was just 19, agreed with me regarding Jackson’s loyalty to the Storm.
“Instead of her saying, ‘We won gold, I’m going back home,’ Lauren is more the type of person to say, ‘We won gold and now I’m going back to Seattle to win a championship and I’m going to win MVP,’ ” Swoopes said. “She wants to keep piling it on. That [Jackson not returning] has never been a concern of mine. If they won gold, she’s come back fired up and better than she already is.”

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