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August 28, 2008 at 11:33 AM

Checking in on Houston

Uncertainty remained even after the Storm’s shootaround this morning. Houston apparently held its session at 9 a.m. and because no one in the Storm camp could really verify who did travel with the Comets and who is healthy enough to play tonight, Storm coach Brian Agler continued to refuse to disclose his starting lineup.
“We’re going to wait and see who they start,” Agler said. “It’s enough to be patient and wait. We definitely have one person missing and that alters how we play. It’s the same thing with them. We watched them enough to know they have a big lineup they can go to and they have a small lineup.”
Agler was so vague, he didn’t even commit to Olympian Sue Bird being in the starting five. But if she doesn’t start, I’ll shave my head. Seriously.
The major issue with Houston is the health of Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, who suffered a high left ankle sprain while representing Mali at the Beijing Games. She did not travel with the Comets, remaining in Houston to receive extra therapy. Maiga-Ba is expected to join the Comets in Sacramento on Friday for the Saturday matchup against the Monarchs.
A spokeswoman for the Comets also said coach Karleen Thompson hasn’t finalized her starters for tonight.
Two players returning for Houston are guards Tamecka Dixon and Roneeka Hodges, who was cut by the Storm during training camp. Dixon suffered a pulled calf in the final game before the Olympic hiatus, missing the matchup. But she healed during the break and is ready to play. Hodges started one game for the Comets, averaging 7.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in eight games for the team.
“She’s played well for them,” Agler said of Hodges. “She gives them another three-point shooter. They run different actions for her and she has started for them, so she’s another possibility that could be out there and alters how they play. But she’s definitely a three-point shooter. That’s her strength.”
If you’re looking for a positive sign as the Storm begins its final stretch without franchise cornerstone Lauren Jackson (ankle surgery), the KeyArena hoops still favor the home team. When shootaround concluded, the team played its normal half-court shot game and guard Tanisha Wright, the first to attempt the shot, swished hers. She was the only to hit, but the Storm is going to need her scoring tonight and whatever vibe that helped Seattle go 13-1 at the facility thus far.

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