The Storm concludes Day 2 of exit interviews this afternoon with Storm CEO Karen Bryant and coach/director of player personnel Brian Agler speaking with media at 3 p.m.
The organization handed retiring PG Shannon Johnson a commemorative photo album and listened intently when seasoned center Janell Burse (pictured right by the WNBA) expressed her displeasure with how her 2009 campaign played out. She’s questioning returning for 2010, although under contract with the Storm.
“There’s options,” said Burse, who could force a trade. “There’s always options.”
Burse, one of three remaining members of the Storm’s 2004 championship team, missed the 2008 season due to shoulder and foot injuries. The 6-foot-5 post was lured back under the guise that she would compete for the starting post position.
Injured at the close of training camp, Burse lost the spot to undersized F Camille Little, who was impressive all season inside with two-time MVP Lauren Jackson. Agler, a guard-oriented coach, had trouble finding minutes early-on for Burse, Australian Olympian Suzy Batkovic-Brown and Ashley Robinson (6-5).
Until injuries hit. Or Little, playing her third season, entered foul trouble. Then Burse and Batkovic-Brown saw playing time. Yet, while Batkovic-Brown and Robinson continued to see action during the postseason against Los Angeles, Burse started and was pulled.
In Game 1 it was due to having four fouls by halftime. In Game 2, she took a hard hit and was benched in the second half. Batkovic-Brown started hitting three-pointers to help Seattle win. In Game 3, Agler admitted Burse struggled and that Robinson (6-4) and Batkovic-Brown (6-4) played better against Los Angeles’ post-oriented lineup.
When asked if overmatched Burse said the lineup was tough, yet she just need time to play through the errors. “Definitely. I usually do,” she said of the ability to do so.
“I was OK with being a backup,” Burse said. “My role was not a problem. I have to have an opportunity more than anything. At this point in my career, this is not who I am.
“To go back to having those rookie feelings is kind of unnecessary to me.”
Burse, a starter from 2005-07, averaged 15.9 minutes, 6.1 points and 3.1 rebounds this season, her lowest in a Storm uniform. During the postseason, those numbers dropped to 10.7 minutes, 0.7 points and 2.7 boards.
The exit interviews with Agler and Bryant were positive, however. Burse, 30, said she’ll need until at least December to know exactly how she’ll handle the decision on her end in regards to honoring her contract. She’s going to play for Wisla Can-Pack in Karakow, Poland, but doesn’t envision herself as solely an overseas star.
For Dynamo Moscow last year, Burse second to Batkovic-Brown on the all-EuroCup team. Both said they are their team’s go-to players, allowing them to display their entire skill set.
“I have a love for both,” said Burse of playing overseas and in the WNBA. “A lot of people think it’s strictly financial, but I’ve always loved ball over here even the ABL when it started. I always have those dreams of playing in it and it’s usually a fun experience.”
Robinson felt similar and as an unrestricted free agent, she wants to stay in Seattle but also wants to contribute on the court. Agler told her her offense needs to improve and she’s hopeful to play overseas for that individualized work.
“It was a tough year,” said Robinson, who’ll attend Phoenix Mercury playoff games in the meantime. “We had a lot of post players. And more talented, seasoned post players were finding it tough.”