Storm rookie Alison Lacey was the first of the 2010 WNBA championship team to depart Seattle for offseason plans. Due to the quick turnaround — the Storm won its title on Thursday in Atlanta — she said she didn’t have the traditional exit-interview with coach Brian Agler and CEO Karen Bryant about the season.
Lacey traveled to Ames, Iowa on Saturday where she starred for the Cyclones. After checking in on friends and family who suffered through the flood and picking up the remainder of her things, she’s going to return to her native Canberra, Australia to play ball with the WNBL defending champion Capitals.
Drafted 10th overall by Agler, Lacey averaged 6.8 minutes playing behind All-Star Sue Bird and Svetlana Abrosimova at the PG slot. A known three-point shooter in college, Lacey missed 14 before shooing 3 of 13 in August, including her first in a 10-point win over Atlanta to help Seattle secure home-court advantage throughout the postseason.
“It was a lot to take in in a couple of months,” said Lacey of her quick, five-month WNBA schedule. “I learned a lot and I’m happy I went through it. I’m definitely growing from it.”
But Lacey, pictured right by The Associated Press slapping high-fives with Finals MVP Lauren Jackson, was non-committal about her return. It’s early and her style is to take a long evaluation of her future. Lacey is under her rookie contract, only able to play for Seattle if she does play in the WNBA in 2011.
“I need to work on overall ball-handling and trying to be more confident and comfortable,” said Lacey of the offseason skills Agler advised her to hone. “I’m under contract, but I’m not one to make decisions quickly. I need to think things through. I definitely enjoyed it, so far, but we’ll see what happens in the future.”
Even that isn’t a guarantee, however. Agler drafted F Ashley Walker in the first-round in 2009 and the former California star ended up being the final cut during 2010 training camp. Next summer, the Storm could see the arrival of 2010 third-round draft pick Tijana Krivacevic, a 20-year-old Hungarian center.
Agler said he likes the current roster, but also knows he has areas where the Storm will need to improve in order to remain on top. Winter meetings among the WNBA Board of Governors aren’t until November and free agency isn’t expected to begin until 2011.
“There are really good people on the team,” Lacey said of cherishing the relationships she made this summer. “People I never would’ve met if I hadn’t had this opportunity, so that is something that is definitely my favorite part in Seattle. And the Atlanta (regular-season) game was fun because everyone played well and contributed, so it was one of the highlights with the playoffs, of course.
“Being a bench player was difficult at times; it’s not the easiest thing to do. It was a huge, humbling experience coming from college and I appreciate everything everybody did in college a lot more now. I’m so happy I went through it to understand what other people went through.”
Storm reserve Svetlana Abrosimova also left on Saturday, joining her Russian national team to prepare for the World Championships. Her country defeated America, but lost to Australia in the title match, losing the automatic berth to the 2008 Beijing Games.
Abrosimova and F Camille Little are also letting the confetti settle from the championship run before thinking about their future in Seattle. Abrosimova is an unrestricted free agent while Little is a restricted free agent, meaning Seattle has the right to match any offer made for her services in 2011.
“More than likely, I’ll be back,” said Little, who completed her first season as a full-time starter. “I love it here. Right now I’m not thinking about it, but when it’s time; Brian and I will sit down and work it out.”
The remainder of the Storm team will be honored by the Mariners on Sunday. Most are expected to be gone by Saturday, including Agler, who’s going to attend the World Championships.