Topic: Tanisha Wright
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October 3, 2013 at 4:20 PM
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 G Tanisha Wright, who took on the co-captain role as franchise leaders PG Sue Bird (knee) and C Lauren Jackson (hamstring) rehabilitated offseason surgeries. Wright, 29, was named to the All-WNBA Defensive First-Team. A 5-foot-11 slasher, she averaged 11.9 points, 4.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds as she split offensive duties with PG Temeka Johnson. Wright also started a namesake blog during the season.
Seattle Times: It hasn’t been 24-hours since the loss, but how do you look back at the series with Minnesota?
Wright: The only thing for me is I’m not disappointed. I’m not disappointed in the effort. I’m not disappointed in the season. Being a competitor, you want to continue to play and play for a championship. But I think the effort that we’ve given this year (compared to) the expectations, we’ve exceed the box that people put us in. I’m happy with that. We exceed people’s expectations and met our own expectations.
September 20, 2013 at 3:19 PM
Many disagreed with my selection of Storm G Tanisha Wright for All-WNBA first team, but, as the coaches see, the co-captain is one of the better defenders in the league. And, if I’m picking a first squad, I want a true, lock-down defender in my starting rotation. I’ll let the league press release break it down.
As a side note, Chicago F Elena Delle Donne is the 2013 Rookie of the Year while teammate Sylvia Fowles was named Defensive Player of the Year. Washington coach Mike Thibault is expected to be named Coach of the Year on Saturday when his team hosts Atlanta in Game 2 of its opening round series. Forwards Swin Cash (Chicago) and Tamika Catchings (Indiana) were the 2013 recipients of the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award. On Thursday, the WNBA awarded Candace Parker as the 2013 MVP.
Congrats to all, especially Wright.
Tanisha Wright Named to 2013 WNBA All-Defensive First Team
Fourth Career Honor for Storm Guard
SEATTLE – Tanisha Wright has been named to the 2013 WNBA All-Defensive First Team, the league announced today.
Wright, who is known for her lockdown defense, was selected to the First Team for the fourth time in her career. She was also designated with the honor in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.
September 19, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Rookies Brittney Griner, the 6-foot-8 Phoenix center, and Elena Delle Donne, the 6-5 Chicago forward, did their job in drawing more fans to WNBA seats and telecasts for the 2013 season. Delle Donne’s Sky saw a 17 percent increase in attendance from the averaged 5,573 fans Chicago drew in 2012.
Phoenix saw a 9 percent bump from its 7,815 in 2012 while the Indiana Fever was third in increased attendance, up 8 percent from its 7,582 average in 2012. The WNBA conveniently stopped providing the hardcore averages for its attendance this season — percentages without reference to actual numbers does look better in print, you know — so it surmised its total attendance saw a 1 percent increase overall. The league averaged 7,457 fans in 2012, an all-time low.
Because I have a calculator and time, the Storm, sans All-Stars Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, averaged 6,980 fans in 2013. In Seattle, where KeyArena’s environment and fans are the envy of the WNBA, the figure is a dramatic dip from the 7,489 fans in 2012 – which ranked seventh in the WNBA. The Storm’s best season remains its inaugural one in 2000 when it averaged 8,912. But since Force 10 Hoops purchased the team in 2008, the Storm has averaged more than 8,000 fans in three seasons (2008, 2010, 2011).
I blame this season’s dip more on a failure to market more than Bird and Jackson in the past, fans not knowing players like G Tanisha Wright, F Camille Little and the addition of F Tina Thompson are worth seeing, too, hence the 10th consecutive playoff berth. But I digress.
September 17, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Might as well start with Storm G Tanisha Wright, seeing how my mentioning of Wright as a first-team WNBA pick irked some on my Twitter timeline. It’s an opinion vote, so fans can have theirs and it can not count all the same. But mine isn’t a homer pick.
My ballot rules remain the same. A team has to reach the postseason to be considered. Only one pick broke that personal criteria this season, Tulsa’s Gary Kloppenburg as Coach of the Year. The Shock improved its win total, won the regular-season series against the Storm 3-2 to nearly clinch a playoff berth for the first time since relocating from Detroit in 2010 and Tulsa lost five games in overtime, which again, could have helped them get to postseason play. Considering this was done with a young squad that required tough decisions — benching a touted draft pick being one — Klop gets my nod despite not reaching the only goal in pro sports — postseason play to win a championship.
So, back to Wright and the team everyone said would be booty due to offseason surgeries in All-Star mainstays Sue Bird (knee) and Lauren Jackson (hamstring). The Storm finished 17-17, one better than last season with the hobbled stars. The Storm finished at .500, which either matched or is better than three of the Eastern Conference playoff teams. (FYI, there are only four playoff teams) Seattle swept No. 3 seed Phoenix and was 2-2 against No. 2 seed Los Angeles this season. What I’m saying is you can’t tell me Wright shouldn’t be considered a top player in the league because the Storm lost 17 games.
I vote by position — the old-school small forward, power forward, center, point guard, shooting guard lineup. The WNBA also requires voters to vote players by the position they start, so Candace Parker can play all over the court if coach Carol Ross would like, Parker is still a center on my ballot and not better than Sylvia Fowles (Chicago), so Parker is all-WNBA second-team.
August 13, 2013 at 9:00 AM
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.
June 2, 2013 at 5:42 PM
BREAK: The Storm is luring the Mercury into its game and it’s working. Quinn drained a three-pointer with 16.4 left in the third and on defense the team forced a turnover to take a 60-56 lead into the final quarter. Seattle is hustling, rebounding and if Sanford wouldn’t have missed two freebies, I’d say they were doing that, too. Hard work can beat anyone kiddies and that’s what the Storm is giving. Wright leads with 15 points. Griner has 16 points but had to take a seat in the third after collecting a fourth foul. I’m out to focus on the newspaper version. Check out the Seattle Times’ Monday paper for a full wrap.
THE LEAD: Shocked? Storm is up 48-42 and you can thank knuckle-headed play by Phoenix as the reasoning. Wright and Bonner did get testy on a stretch of two plays. But the Mercury had Griner respond by giving and obvious chest shove on a screen against Wright. The Flagrant 1 put Wright at the line. She made both and the momentum swung. The Storm is outscoring the Mercury 13-4 in the third.
SANFORD & STRICK: The old-school television, the Storm duo are taking junk and turning into beauty. That wasn’t what the show was about, but that’s what’s happening in the game. Since a Griner layin with 3:55 left in the quarter, Strick has scored eight and Sanford has made a jumper over Griner to pull the Storm within 36-35 with 35.6 remaining in the half. The Key is on its feet.
May 26, 2013 at 5:24 PM
MERCY: The Storm is down 84-53 headed into the final quarter. Shots are short and the defense isn’t getting the stops it saw in the first half. Six players on LA’s squad have scored in double-digits. Little (13) and Wright (10) are the only ones for the Storm. Seattle’s worst overall season-opening loss was 30 points against Houston in 2000, its inaugural game as an expansion team. The Storm is down 86-56 with 5:40 left in the game. I’m out to write the newspaper version. Checkout the Monday story in The Seattle Times for an overall summary.
ROOKIE FIRST II: Bravard caught a pass from Wright on the perimeter for a three-pointer, with 58.2 seconds left in the third. The shot — at the WNBA’s new extended distance no-less, is her first in the WNBA. It’s 84-53 LA.
KICKED BALL: Wright booted the ball up to Row 15 at Staples Center, defending in the perimeter. It’s the only highlight for Seattle this quarter. It’s 79-48 LA with 1:27 remaining in the third.
WHOOSH: The Sparks have been doing anything the want after the break and Seattle is down 73-46 after a 20-5 LA run. Kind of figured the game would change after the break. LA would make adjustments, moving the ball even more, and Seattle would, too. Yet, given the Sparks have played together for a while, it’s easy for those veterans to be fluid in the changes after the break. Seattle is new to each other, even if the vets know what needs to change to stay close. Ogwumike, the 2012 Rookie of the Year out of Stanford, has 15 points along with Toliver. Thompson has Seattle’s two points in the quarter. By the way, LA is still rolling. It’s 77-46 with 2:51 on the clock.
May 23, 2013 at 4:40 PM
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.”
May 17, 2013 at 6:55 PM
FINAL STRETCH: Seattle is up 39-37 headed into the final quarter. Little and Thompson has eight points apiece. Seattle is shooting and icy 26.9 percent from the field. I’m out to focus on the daily story. Check our Saturday paper for the final wrap.
A FIRST: The Shock were awarded the first defensive three-second violation at KeyArena. Wright made the FT on the technical foul to put Seattle up 38-32. MacKay checked in with 2:46 on the clock, making her first appearance in the game.
NEW LINEUP: The second half is underway with Quinn, Johnson, and Little starting alongside Sanford and Strick. Seattle is up 32-25 with 7:12 on the clock.
SWAG: In her second year, you can see the confident swagger in Strick, the 2012 No. 2 overall pick. She played a season in Turkey, which helped her play. Knowing her teammates has also helped her look good in the exhibition game. She has three points and six boards in 16 minutes. Little and Hawkins have six points apiece to lead the Seattle scoring. Glory Johnson has game-highs in points (10) and rebounds (10). The Storm is up 28-25 at the break.
May 6, 2013 at 3:38 PM
There’s not much faith in the Storm sans All-Stars Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird – if you believe the Seattle Times’ unscientific poll. Both are out this season due to injuries, the first since 2002 that at least one wasn’t in the Storm’s lineup. More than 60 percent of a small sampling of readers voted the team will have a losing season and miss the playoffs for the first time in a WNBA-record nine seasons.
No doubt the Western Conference will be tough with the addition of No. 1 overall draft pick Brittney Griner, who I hear has already found a reason to dunk five times in the opening day of Phoenix’s training camp practice Monday. But the Storm having a losing season and no trip to the postseason where four of the six teams in the conference advance anyway? Ouch. And some must have forgotten a losing record hasn’t kept a team from advancing to the postseason in the past. Seattle (16-18) and New York (15-19) achieved the dubious feat in 2012, losing in the first-round.
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