Series Note: The Storm was swept in the opening-round of the WNBA playoffs by Minnesota on Sept. 22. Game 2 was played at the Tacoma Dome due to a scheduling conflict at the team’s KeyArena court by one of its sponsors, Microsoft. Minnesota went on to win the Western Conference championship as Seattle players dispersed to offseason destinations the following days after holding exit interviews with coaches and the media. This series will feature conversations from the 11-player roster.
The WNBA offseason won’t feel as long given news the league should generate on the business side. The league’s collective-bargaining agreement expired Sept. 30 and a new agreement will need to be in place before free-agency can open as tentatively slated in February. The 2014 WNBA schedule likely will be moved up to accommodate for the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Turkey from Sept. 27-Oct. 5.
Storm-wise, the team could remain the same in 2014. Here’s a conversation with wing Shekinna Stricklen, who needed to provide more offense as franchise All-Stars PG Sue Bird (knee) and C Lauren Jackson (hamstring) rehabilitated offseason surgeries. Stricklen, 23, had a rocky sophomore season, however. Her minutes as a starter decreased in the postseason with teammates Noelle Quinn and Alysha Clark playing better off the bench. Stricklen averaged 10 points and 2.8 rebounds. For every three-pointer made this season, Stricklen donated money to her former college coach’s Pat Summitt Foundation, which gives grants to nonprofits that provide education, awareness, support and research for Alzheimer’s and those affected by it. Stricklen made 54 three-pointers for a donation of $1,350.
Seattle Times: What was your impression of the season?
Stricklen: Overall, I thought it was a pretty good season. For me personally, I had some good moments and bad moments. I’ve grown somewhat from last year but there are still some things I can work on.
Q: Yes, in the latter part of the season, you seemed to struggle.
Stricklen: Yeah, I really did. Especially in the playoffs, I really did struggle. I can really learn from the last two games. I was really thinking so much and making mistakes and not just playing ball. But we were a close group and could lean on each other.
Q: What are your offseason plans, will you go back to Turkey?
Stricklen: No. I’ll be going to Korea. You get paid more and I feel it’s a better organization, more organized, I guess. I feel it’ll be great for me out there. I’m playing for Shinhan Bank S-Birds.
Q: Last season was your first overseas but you seemed to not like your experience in Turkey, are you concerned about playing in Korea?
Stricklen: I think it’ll be better just from what teammates and people have been telling me. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be teammates with Alana Beard (Los Angeles). I’m going to work on playing better defense, especially one-on-one basically, and the little things like ball-handling. But it’ll mostly be defense and learning to stay in the moment.