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March 5, 2009 at 10:20 AM

The word from overseas Storm players

SeattleStorm.pngStorm All-Stars Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson helped Spartak Moscow defeat CSKA Moscow 72-61 in the Cup of Russia competition today. You can checkout the footage here, but on my computer, the feed was slow. If you have patience, it’s a good matchup until Jackson and Phoenix All-Star Diana Taurasi take over for Spartak in the second half. (San Antonio players Ann Wauters, Becky Hammon, and Edwige Lawson-Wade play for CSKA along with Indiana’s Katie Douglas and New York’s Janel McCarville)
Jackson and Taurasi are getting ready for the EuroLeague All-Star game in Paris on Sunday. Jackson said in an interview with Sports Illustrated that past trips to the city included chauffeurs and shopping. My guess is it’ll be even fancier for the All-Star game. Probably a little better than the Mohegan Sun Casino can pull off. Bird isn’t an All-Star due to rules that limit the number of players from one team, but according to an interview with the Storm, she’s more upset at Russian teammate Sylvia Fowles (Chicago) not being able to dunk for the world.
As far as free agency goes, Jackson is being “very meticulous and thoughtful about the decision she will make in the upcoming weeks,” according to her agent, Susie Jarosch. Also forward Kristen O’Neill’s representative, Jarosch was in Spain recently to review Jackson’s options.
“Lauren is still working through the process of free agency and taking the time she needs to make the decision she feels is right for her,” Jarosch wrote in an e-mail. “This is the first time she’s been a free agent in the WNBA and it’s critical to weigh all of her options carefully.”
So, basically no news will have to be good news for now.
As for Jackson’s health, she’s looking fabulous to Jarosch and coach Brian Agler, who have watched her play overseas. Jackson had ankle surgery after the Games in August.
Storm center Janell Burse also checked in from Russia. She had the chance to be home with her family during the historical presidential inauguration, saying it was moving. She’s excited to return (with Ginger) this summer with all the pieces that are falling into place, feeling refreshed herself from injury (shoulder, foot).
“It was a good mental break,” wrote Burse in an e-mail of missing the 2008 season. “When you play year round for so long like I had (seven years), it’s really taxing on the mind and body. I had reached a point where playing basketball felt like a routine versus something I had a deep passion for like earlier in my career. Taking that time off helped me to regain that passion and enthusiasm to be on the court. It’s true when they say you never miss something until it’s gone. So, now when I go out and train or play in games I try to enjoy every minute of it and remember I don’t have forever to play, and not to take these days for granted.”
Lastly O’Neill and post Kelly Santos aren’t letting the WNBA’s trimming rosters fluster their hopes to play for Seattle. Both were deep bench last summer, but according to their agents, they are ready to return for training camp in May. In fact, Santos’ Brazilian Olympic teammate, Erika De Sousa, plans to return for Atlanta. After last season’s 4-30 finish, she hinted at not returning to the league.



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