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May 21, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Mailbag: What to do with the Storm?

A simple but complicated question was posed on Twitter:

You may have noticed something different to start the Storm season. Two games into the schedule and everyone on the roster has logged seven minutes or more, including league veteran Nicole Powell, who was signed May 14.

“It probably shows you we’re still evaluating,” said Storm coach Brian Agler, who typically limits his rotation to eight players.

While Agler, who’s also the team’s general manager, isn’t done tweaking the roster, improving the roster for the immediate future will have to be done the old-fashioned way — through practice. A couple grueling sessions have helped the team in the past. Agler pushed his team through back-to-back 2 1/2-hour sessions this week.

Seattle departs Wednesday for a four-game road swing against Eastern Conference teams.

“Brian is getting in us and he needs to,” Storm F Camille Little said of the practices after losing to Los Angeles and Phoenix by an averaged 14 points. Seattle, which claims defense as its staple, has allowed an averaged 80.5 points against the Western Conference powers.

“We need to push every single day to the limit,” Little said of how the team can improve. “He always says, ‘You’ll pass out before you die.’ Right now, we’re getting close.”

It’s no coincidence the reserves played better in the losses against Los Angeles and Phoenix last week. They’ve been together since Day 1 of training camp. Starters like Little, All-Star Sue Bird, Tanisha Wright, and reserves Temeka Johnson and Angel Robinson reported late.

The starting unit looked the most unorganized, accounting for 12 opening-half turnovers against Los Angeles alone. Bird is averaging 3.5 turnovers overall in her return from a season-ending knee injury in 2013. If it holds, it’s a flashback to her rookie season numbers when the roster was also getting used to playing alongside the Olympian. Yet, more is expected of Little and Wright, who won a championship with Bird in 2010.

True, Phoenix and LA have deeper, more star-studded rosters. And it’s only two games into the season. But Seattle seemed to accept being ran over last week, which wasn’t the case when WNBA legend Tina Thompson was on the team last year.

The Storm needs to work on finding its grit because LA and Phoenix are beatable teams for this Storm lineup. These are vets who’ve played numerous games, including overseas competition, against nearly everyone on the LA and Phoenix rosters. There’s no intimidation factor working against the group like you may see when the younger Washington or Connecticut teams play. But even the Mystics and Sun showed more fight than the Storm.

“I’m not satisfied with how we’re competing at this point,” said Agler, who didn’t coach Saturday’s game in Phoenix in order to attend his son’s college graduation.

“That’s what we’ve been addressing this week,” Agler continued. “We’ve got to get better in all areas in regards to our improvement. But we’ve got big strides to make with how we’re competing and our energy, our enthusiasm and our excitement to play.”

The Storm (0-2) showed a little more pep in the practice minutes open to media on Tuesday. Friday will be the test when Seattle opens the road trip at Connecticut (0-2).

Comments | More in Storm, WNBA | Topics: Brian Agler, Camille Little, Sue Bird


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