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May 19, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Storm return for Day 5 of training camp

StormPrac5-20.jpgWhile you’re perusing the Storm roster, getting excited about the roster combinations the coaching staff can run, know coach Brian Agler isn’t exactly sharing in your delight.
“I don’t even think of it as fun,” said Agler in response to the possible matchup problems he could create. “I mean I enjoy it, but ‘fun’ to me sounds relaxed. We’re definitely not relaxed, I can tell you that. At some point here in the near future, there’s going to be a sense of urgency. We haven’t quite got there yet because we’re still in the teaching-mode. But it won’t be long that our numbers will get down, we’ll have our group and then it’ll be time to lay the foundation.”
Seattle returned Thursday for a four-hour session (not including pre-practice) after a day off on Wednesday. When media was allowed to enter, the veterans and newcomers were working on offense in the halfcourt against the male practice players.
Guard Tanisha Wright was the only player absent, tending to a family matter in Pittsburgh. Agler anticipated her returning to training-camp on Friday.
“I think we were a little bit refreshed,” he said. “A lot of times, you take a day off and come back in and you’re not as sharp, but I thought we did pretty well at responding from being away from it for a day.”
Agler still anticipates making more cuts on Friday, taking Saturday off. He opened up a little about the top-tier of the roster, again reiterating that his starting lineup will not change for a fourth consecutive season. He also doesn’t feel there’s much of a difference between reserves Le’coe WIllingham and Katie Smith, a trade acquisition from Washington.
Willingham, a 6-foot post, averaged 15.6 minutes for the Storm last season, shooting 53.8 percent from the field, including a career-best 45.2 percent from three-point range.
In Seattle, Smith, a three-time Olympian, will be a reserve for the first time in her 13-year WNBA career. Agler dotes on her defensive capabilities and three-point shooting prowess, a career-36.6 percent clip.
Agler played a seven-player rotation to begin the 2010 season. He added Jana Vesela to the mix late, the Czech Republic native needing time to learn the system, language, culture, and WNBA. The difference this summer is with the Storm’s nine veterans, all are adjusted to cultural barriers and have played in the league at least five seasons.
If retained, they offer more matchup combination possibilities. Just not fun.
“The way I look at our team, we’ve got seven starters,” Agler said. “In terms of roles? I think we’ve got seven starters. We’ll have a set group of starters and that’s the group that played last year and started. But I don’t see us dropping off when we substitute here. Belinda’s (Snell) got a little bit of a ways to go in that, but she hasn’t played (my system). Katie has some experience (in my style).”

*PHOTO CREDIT: A snapshot of the Storm shooting free-throws after practice on Thursday.

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