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April 28, 2009 at 8:58 AM

WNBA Draft Redux: The Uncertains

Question.jpgTrailing by as many as 19 points, Spartak Moscow couldn’t fully recover, losing the Russian SuperLeague title today 70-68 to UMMC Ekaterinburg. Of course, to those who follow the WNBA, the outcome officially puts two-time MVP Lauren Jackson on the clock.
A simple scan of fan sites like StormFans.org and RebKell or comments to me on Twitter shows a virtual green room bursting with anticipation between Seattle and Phoenix – Jackson’s final pick-list. Only it’s not just Jackson, who after returning home to vacation, will finally decided publicly. But also for fellow Australian forward Penny Taylor, who like Jackson during the Olympics, dealt with ankle pain while in Russia and could skip the WNBA season because of surgery.
Seattle and Phoenix seemingly made free agent moves regardless of what the Olympians decide. The Mercury, however, first appeared like they were clearing space for Jackson. Draft picks of DeWanna Bonner (Phoenix) and Ashley Walker (Seattle) could be good moves to secure a future inside because Jackson, at least, has already stated she’ll return to the WNBL to play in three seasons. The Australian league’s season currently runs during the winter.
Both teams picked up guards — Sha Brooks (Phoenix) and Mara Freshour (Seattle) — in the third round. It’ll be difficult for either to stick on the roster, unless Phoenix lands both Aussies and needs a $30,000-plus contact to remain under the $803,000 salary cap.
So, for at least today, two teams aren’t certain about how their training camp and final roster is going to look. Well, as far as big-names on the roster.
Seattle and Phoenix aren’t the teams with fluctuating rosters.
Washington picked up a gem in Marrisa Coleman with the No. 2 overall selection in the April 9 draft and returned solid veteran C Chasity Melvin. But their roster is overloaded with talented backcourt players, some of which may have to be cut prior to the May 17 training camp open date in order to stay under the 15-player limit.
Connecticut was hit with two players opting out of this season in order to focus on coaching careers and is still trying to woo players like F Svetlana Abrosimova and F Nykesha Sales to return to the Sun. Connecticut did fill a big void in drafting C Chante Black and should see second-round pick, F Lyndra Littles make the roster.
Still, the only thing that’s certain is something will be decided soon. Tic, tic, tic.
UPDATE: Former Storm coach Anne Donovan, who led the team to its only WNBA title, was named New York Liberty assistant coach today. Read more here.

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