Storm F Heather Bowman looks completely different.
And that’s not a good thing.
During a play underneath the hoop, she took a hard elbow from veteran Camille Little, which busted Bowman’s nose. The team’s trainer stuffed both nostrils with gauze and Bowman continued playing, knowing a little broken nose can’t keep her from trying to make the 11-player roster.
The team cut F Tanisha Smith on Friday and G Chelsea Newton retired on Tuesday. Yet the moves did little to bring Bowman closer to solid positioning. Storm starters will trickle in beginning Saturday with Lauren Jackson and Swin Cash and more experienced training camp invitees are also expected, shrinking Bowman’s chances.
The Gonzaga standout should last long enough to play in Sunday’s exhibition game against Phoenix at 2 p.m. at KeyArena. Bowman will be a reserve while returnees Little, Ashley Robinson, and Ashley Walker should start with Loree Moore and first-round draft pick Alison Lacey in the backcourt. The guards will swap playing the PG role just as Sue Bird and Tanisha Wright do for the Storm.
“It’s a learning experience,” said Bowman, who has an agent researching overseas opportunities for her if she doesn’t land a spot this summer. “We had our scrimmage (against China on Wednesday) and it really got us focused on what to work on. Today (Friday) was a very defense-intensive practice and it was really about getting the details down.”
Bowman played against China’s national team, looking strong in her game, according to coach Brian Agler. In fact, the coach was pleasantly surprised how fluid the entire team was offensively despite only having three days to prepare.
“Our offensive is ahead of our defense,” Agler said. “I’m hoping we see an improvement defensively on Sunday.”
Bowman — and the rest of the Storm — looked whipped after Friday’s session, but things could be worse. Former teammate Vivian Frieson was drafted by Tulsa and the former Detroit Shock held two-a-day practices this week.
“The intensity of these ones, it would be hard to get two in,” said Bowman, who hasn’t spoke with Frieson since camp started. “It’s different styles I guess.”