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6/3/08 at New York

Final score: Storm 77 – Mercury 58 (W) (1-0 preseason)

Attendance | 4912

Box Score | Jayda's Game Blog | Live from Press Row

Game Photos | Scott E | Scott L | Toni

Here we are, season 11, ready to watch another game with a lot of players that we'll probably end up liking and left wondering later on why they got cut. With the league's contraction and shortened rosters, it gets more and more unlikely that draftees or the middle of the road veterans make it onto WNBA teams. Fewer spots combined with more available players should equal greater competition for a job. It was interesting to watch the Storm hopefuls on the court today with all of that in mind.

So here are my impressions of the new players, in alphabetical order:

Heather Bowman

Storm vs Mercury  36

She easily had the worst game out there. After she entered the game, she had a horrible sequence both on offense and defense. First, she tried posting up against Ashley Paris and got her shot blocked. Then on defense, she got beat and ended up fouling the Phoenix player driving to the basket. Back on offense, she was way out of position for a box out after a Storm shot and let Phoenix get the ball and finally down on the other end got bowled over on a Phoenix drive. Yes, she was matched up against Paris much of the time, but she was kind of getting eaten alive out there. She didn't impress at all and was, in my opinion, in the greatest danger of getting cut after this performance.

Devanei Hampton

Storm vs Mercury  51

She was harder to pin down, but I don't think she did a lot to make her case. She didn't look very comfortable and she seemed to be slowed down by a weak knee and robo-brace.

Laura Kurz

Storm vs Mercury  69

Kurz was one player who I thought has a chance to compete for a spot. I liked her aggressiveness. I liked the fact she wasn't afraid to take a shot. She had a lot of energy and was very active on both ends of the court. The main hesitation I had with her was her size. She seemed a bit undersized for a forward, even a small forward. She had some success today against Phoenix's small lineups, but I'd like to see her play against some bigger opponents. Hopefully, Coach Agler will think the same thing and keep her around until the next game.

Alison Lacey

Storm vs Mercury  49

She was impressive and played with confidence, seemed to have control of the game when she was in and played with a ton of energy. Her shot wasn't there consistently, but man she was good in just about every other way. You know, give her some time in the system and I would feel pretty comfortable putting her behind Sue for a good 15-18 minutes a game. I honestly felt like she was one of the first training camp guard potentials that really looked like a legitimate point guard. I like her and I hope Coach Agler likes her too.

Loree Moore

Storm vs Mercury  46

I honestly can't see her not making the team. She's a proven veteran and I think her style of play would fit in nicely with the Storm's existing lineup. She has great ball handling skills, can score when she wants to and would fit in nicely into a similar multi-guard rotation like we had last season with Sue, Tanisha and PeeWee.

Aja Parham

Storm vs Mercury  64

Another one who had a solid game. At first, she came off as more of a defensive player and was disrupting the Phoenix offense with four steals and a few rebounds. In the second half, she started looking for her shot and was able to drive to the basket a couple of times and then step out for a three. She's quick, a bit small, but has some confidence and looked serious about fighting for a job.

Lindsey Wilson

Storm vs Mercury  62

Wilson was the other player that I thought probably isn't going to make it past the first cut. As a point guard, she didn't look as good as Lacey and, in general, she had a lackluster game. She didn't really do anything badly necessarily, but she also didn't do anything that stood out either. With the level of competition she's up against, I don't think she did herself any favors by not finding ways to make a splash.

At this point, I'd say Moore is a lock, I'd like to see Kurz, Lacey and Parham keep playing, I'm not sure about Hampton and I expect Bowman and Wilson to be heading home soon.

For our returning players, we only had Camille Little, Ashley Robinson and Ashley Walker suited up. Swin and LJ made it to the game, but were in street clothes on the end of the bench and were having a good time playing spectator.

Camille Little

Storm vs Mercury  15

Camille looked like she was in great shape and was playing her normal game. She didn't get much playing time because I'd bet Coach Agler saw what he needed to see — Camille's solid.

Ashley Robinson

Storm vs Mercury  33

ARob did get some serious playing time. It was interesting that Parham and Lacey looked more at ease and confident out there than ARob did. She still seemed to be a little surprised when she had the basket in scoring position. She has the briefest of hesitation before she starts a move that always allows the defender to get set. I think she's still rushing things once she gets going and it's hard to shake the impression of a deer in the headlights. It was telling, I think, that the crowd reacted so loudly when she put up her first shots. To me, it came off as "Hey, she's actually shooting the ball. Good for her." It also seemed like someone told her to talk more on defense because she was loudly vocal at times. Maybe she was trying to be a good role model for the newbies, maybe she was really trying hard to follow instructions. She's probably not a lock for the team, but she's also the only true center we have on the roster right now. She might make it out of necessity.

Ashley Walker

Storm vs Mercury  47

Walker also got some serious playing time and came out like a beast. She was scoring, rebounding and having a positive impact on defense. Like the standout newbies, Walker looked like someone who was taking the competition for a job seriously. She is slimmer than she was last season and I liked the look in her eye. If she keeps playing like this, I'd put her in the lock list.

Other notes:

There was a new announcer. He stumbled on a couple of names and I don't think he was saying Aja Parham correctly. He also sounded like he was going hoarse over the course of the game. I'll be trying to find out if he was a temp or is the real deal for the season.

Good news for you merch hounds out there — the Team Shop is reopening on May 16th.

We got our first in-arena Bing commercial on the big screen at 24 minutes to go before the game.

Two of the courtside seats between the Storm bench and the scorer's table had blue covers on them with Alaska Airline logos on the backs. I didn't have to wonder about it too long because a couple lucky fans got the Alaska Airlines First Class Upgrade to those seats. Nice sponsor usage.

I like the new ref orange/oatmeal uniforms, although they kind of blended in with our floor.

The Bing logo on the team shooting shirts looked ironed on. I'm hoping that they get a more permanent version once the season starts.

The team got called for a "team control foul" a couple times. Anyone know what that is?

There was a lot less advertising visible in the arena. Key Bank was still prominent, but the rest of the (the back-lit signs on the bottom and top of the big screen, the signs above the stairs in each section) were all for Seattle Center events, the Space Needle or local arts organizations. We're definitely seeing the effect of the Sonics' absence.

Doppler apparently has the WNBA mascot record for the most halfcourt shots made in under 60 seconds with 2. He will be trying to break that record this season.

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