From the Storm: Lauren Jackson to Miss 2014 Storm Season Jackson to rehab right knee, left Achilles SEATTLE – Following Monday’s surgery on Lauren Jackson’s right knee and left Achilles, the Seattle Storm and Jackson have announced that she will not return to Seattle for the 2014 Storm season. “I’m so sad that I can’t play this year…More
Topic: Brian Agler
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Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson underwent successful knee and Achilles surgery late Monday in Melbourne. The injuries were discovered while playing in China and she’s expected to need a four-month recovery in order to extend her career until she’s 40. But that means she’ll likely miss a second WNBA season, which opens training…More
Watching recent WNBA news swirl the past week about the loss of the Los Angeles Sparks owners seems like most feel the league is one Tinseltown from becoming Bikini Basketball — some obscure version of hoops never to be heard of again.
A league spokesperson on Friday told The Seattle Times there is no update to report. The WNBA hasn’t even acknowledged the story on its website and the Sparks’ site streams along as if nothing has happened, Ticketmaster allowing you to purchase packages, too.
LA’s last tweet on its Twitter account was Dec. 27 asking for more followers. The Sparks have more than 28,000 as of Sunday morning.
Don't forget to tell your friends/fam to follow us! We need 30,000 by 2014 for someone to win the ultimate Sparks experience. #WeAreSparks
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LA_Sparks) December 27, 2013
Everyone, including Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel, states the league was blindsided by the dropout, so it’s natural some details haven’t been broached. Like the NBA, the WNBA doesn’t open its books, so none publicly knows the real financial state of the league. A major television network has even dumped money in a failed league before (XFL anyone?), so ESPN investing in the WNBA through the 2022 season doesn’t cement stability.
Still, the WNBA isn’t going to crumble without LA. The NFL surely didn’t.
There’s a passionate fan base that’s started a petition to keep the team in the city. But honestly, the WNBA has long needed to return to the Bay Area.More
No. 23 Gonzaga (8-1) returned to Spokane early Wednesday morning, so a groggy coach Kelly Graves hadn’t turned his full attention to playing at No. 6 Stanford (7-1) on Saturday. The series between the top programs out West will air at 1 pm (PT) on Pac-12 Networks.
Graves mentioned this morning that two tapes were waiting for him in his home office to view. It’s the beginning of the week’s prep for the Zags’ toughest nonconference game, yet. GU hasn’t defeated Stanford since the annual series began in 2010.
“One of these days we’re going to get them,” Graves quipped. “We’re not going to change too much with the way we play. We’re going to change defenses as often as we can. We’ve done a nice job of pressuring people.
“Obviously (Stanford All-American) Chiney Ogwumike is going attract attention. I haven’t watched enough to see what they’re doing to get her to spots where she’s kicking everyone’s butt. Their point guard, Amber Orrange, is going to be better than the two point guards we played this past week. But we’re really good at guarding in the backcourt. Jazmine Redmond is terrific and so is Hadien (Palmer), so we matchup pretty well there.”
The Zags’ final game prep was a pair of wins on the road against quality Big Ten programs Ohio State (59-58) and Wisconsin (70-55). GU saw big leads dwindle late but was able to secure the win. The Zags also received solid play from its bench. Redshirt sophomore F Shaniqua Nilles nailed a buzzer-beater against OSU on Sunday. GU’s bench outscored UW’s 18-7 on Tuesday, junior G Danielle Walter scoring a season-high 10 points in the win at Wisconsin — eight in the final six minutes.More
UPDATE: According to multiple sources, former Storm camp invitee Samantha MacKay was treated for injuries and released Sunday. Another source with Northwestern said C Daniella Diamant was not with the team, receiving clearance to attend her grandfather Jerry Tarkanian’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame this weekend.
Prior to Seattle’s 75-60 loss to Minnesota on Saturday, the team heard news of former training camp invitee, PG Sam MacKay, being involved in a auto accident in Hungary. MacKay had just joined the Uni Gyor Hungarian club. But, according to news reports and the Storm, she suffered two cracked vertebrae while her team’s manager Peter Tapodi and head coach Fuzy Akos were reported dead.
Among teammates injured was Daniella Diamant, a standout Northwestern graduate and granddaughter of legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian. Tarkanian, 82, is being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Storm coach and GM Brian Agler was receiving updates from MacKay’s former high school coach, who also coached Agler’s daughter.
“What we’ve heard is she broke the third and fourth (vertebrae),” Agler said of MacKay. “Most of the players were hospitalized and the manager and head coach were killed. From what I understand, it was a situation where the bus driver was trying to avoid a head-on collision with a car that came over in their path.”More
In a Storm season sans All-Stars Lauren Jackson (hamstring) and Sue Bird (knee), it turns out consistency and not talent is Seattle’s biggest question mark. Co-captains Tanisha Wright and Camille Little solidified an entertaining inside-outside bond in 2010. Tina Thompson is a living legend and Temeka Johnson is among the best PGs in the WNBA.
So, talent is there. Even reserves Tianna Hawkins, a 2013 first-round draft pick, Noelle Quinn, Ashley Robinson and Alysha Clark are respected in the league. But consistency among the group has been as elusive as championships. The weekend’s polarized games between San Antonio are a prime example, losing badly on Friday only to execute one of the Storm’s better games in a win on Sunday.
“Obviously that’s the goal, to try to be consistent,” Little said. “To me, even (Sunday’s win) wasn’t consistent. We played really well in the first half and let them back in in the second half and gave them some confidence and it became a game, again. We have to be able to carry over. We have some practice time (now) and hopefully we’ll be able to get into a good groove.”
Since the WNBA All-Star break, Seattle is 3-2 overall and appears to have the needed backup it’ll need for a true playoff push. It’s not even unrealistic to believe Seattle (10-12) could leapfrog Phoenix (12-11) to snag a coveted No. 3 seed. Based on Monday’s standings, that would be a first-round matchup against Los Angeles (16-7) — a better route to reaching the Western Conference finals.
Uhn? Exactly. But it can only happen with a solid bench.More
Sanford, a 11-year veteran, was cut July 18 before WNBA contracts became guaranteed. Agler signed her to two seven-day contracts, keeping a financial option open to sign a better player.
After signing the second on Sunday, Sanford left for her home in Atlanta.
“She just didn’t prefer seven-day contracts,” Agler said. “It was a mutual agreement. We can’t demand that she does anything. She’s a great person and was very professional about it. She looks at her situation as a business as we have to, too.”
Sanford, 37, will be paid for the full week. Agler said the team will sign a 10th player despite not even finding one to replace Sanford the past month.
Agler signed Sanford in the offseason to help fill a void left by international star posts Ann Wauters (Belgium) and Lauren Jackson (Australia). Wauters opted not to return in order to spend time with her young family while Jackson, a three-time MVP, underwent hamstring surgery in January.More
Storm coach Brian Agler has had a successful career in Seattle since being hired in 2008, winning a WNBA championship in 2010 and collecting a solid run when the team won a franchise-record 18 straight home games from 2010-11. In 2011, Agler past former Houston Comets coach Van Chancellor to became the coaches’ all-time leader in wins in American women’s professional basketball with 229 through Sunday’s overtime victory at KeyArena against Washington. Agler had 72 wins in the defunct ABL and has 157 in the WNBA.
For that, and many more achievements, he’ll be inducted into his native Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame on May 17, 2014.
“I would have loved to (play for Brian here),” three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson said recently of Agler being considered to coach her Australian national team through the 2016 Olympic Games. “He’s probably the best coach I’ve played under.”
Here’s the official release:
Brian Agler to be Inducted to Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame
2010 WNBA Coach of the Year Will Be Honored in 2014 Ceremony
SEATTLE – Brian Agler, the all-time winningest coach in women’s professional basketball, will be inducted to the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame on May 17, 2014.
“I feel very honored to be nominated for induction into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame, which already includes many great individuals and teams from my home state,” Agler said. “I have had great fortune to have played for, played with and coached great basketball people that have impacted this recognition and because of that, I am very appreciative.”
The Storm made its final cut on Thursday to reach the WNBA-mandated 11-player roster. Second-round draft pick Chelsea Poppens (Iowa State) was waived in favor of rookie Cierra Bravard, a 6-foot-4 former Florida State forward. Seattle will play with a 10-player rotation, however, because PG Sue Bird counts as the 11th spot despite being out the 2013 season to rehabilitate from knee surgery.
“It was a hard decision because we think a lot of Chelsea, she had a great training camp,” Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler said. “She was the type of player we thought she’d be, but we felt we had several players on our team like her and we needed a little bit more size at the rim at this moment.”
Missing three-time MVP Lauren Jackson (hamstring) inside, Agler won’t cement his Thursday decision. He’ll move veteran Tina Thompson back inside where she’s made her name as the game’s all-time leader in points scored. Last season Thompson played on the wing and off the bench. The adjustment gives the Storm lineup five guards and five post players. But as the season progresses, Agler and his staff could choose to return former players like Polish C Ewelina Kobryn or make trades.
“There are some intriguing players out there,” Agler said. “But we’ve worked with this group for a period of time and we’ll let this develop for a few days or weeks and see how it goes.”More
Caught up with Storm All-Star C Lauren Jackson (way) early Tuesday morning to get her thoughts about the WNBA season without her and Sue Bird due to injuries. More from the interview (and a chat with Bird) later, but Jackson did give some insights to what would be a successful season for the Storm considering all of the changes. None of ESPN’s prognosticators have Seattle advancing for a WNBA-record 10th playoff appearance and league general managers pretty much feel the same, only giving Seattle a nod for its staple fan support and coach Brian Agler’s strategies the final two minutes of a tight game.
“Obviously a successful season is dictated by wins and losses,” Jackson said. “But when teams are rebuilding or dealing with injuries, you’ve just got to get your players better and stronger and ready. You never know what can happen. Stranger things have happened. The girls could come out and win every game, you never know. Chemistry is a really important thing. I’ve played sport long enough to know you can’t really rule anybody out.”
Maybe, but here’s a release of what the league’s GMs think. The full tally can be found on the WNBA’s website:
2013 WNBA.COM GM SURVEY TAPS PHOENIX MERCURY TO WIN TITLE
– L.A. Sparks’ Candace Parker Picked to Win MVP Honors –
– Seattle Fans Again Provide Storm Best Home-Court Advantage –
– Minnesota Lynx Selected as Team that’s Most Fun to Watch –