In a collective effort to help teams function economically, WNBA owners agreed to limit coaching staffs to two. In Seattle, that prompted head coach Brian Agler to designate Nancy Darsch (pictured right) as his sole assistant for 2010.
Former assistant Shelly Patterson will not return.
This summer will be Darsch’s third with the team, joining the Storm after head coaching stints in New York (1997-1998) and Washington (1999-2000) and an assistant coaching role with Minnesota from 2003-05. She was the head coach at Boston College before being hired by Agler for the 2008 Storm season.
“I’m thrilled to return to the Storm staff and appreciate the continued support of Brian, Karen [Bryant, the CEO] and our owners, Force 10 Hoops,” Darsch said in a released statement. “I have enjoyed my experiences with the organization the past two seasons and look forward to continuing my role with the Storm.”
With the staff settled and the dispersal draft completed, Agler and Darsch will turn their focus to scouting. But the Storm roster, limited to 11 players, is mostly set with eight players under contract or reserved by the Storm. The only unrestricted free agents are posts Lauren Jackson and Ashley Robinson.
Jackson, a 6-foot-5 power forward, gave a verbal commitment prior to leaving to Australia to rehabilitate a lower back injury while Robinson constantly says she only wants to play in Seattle. If she does not play overseas this offseason, Bryant is looking at her to help with marketing promos, already completing a commercial for the team.
Yet Robinson, a 6-foot-4 center, will most likely still have to earn a contract at training camp, which opens in April. She’s averaged 1.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 11.6 minutes in six WNBA seasons.
The Storm’s major void — unless posts Janell Burse and Suzy Batkovic-Brown don’t return — is at guard. Veteran PG Shannon Johnson retired. Newly acquired G Chelsea Newton, the 10th pick in the dispersal draft of Sacramento players, is a possibility as a replacement.
Free agency was supposed to begin Tuesday, but was pushed back January. Now “core” designations and qualifying offers must be sent between Jan. 1 and Jan. 14. Negotiations can begin Jan. 15. Offer sheets and contracts can be signed beginning Feb. 1.