The Storm wrapped up a morning session in time to board an afternoon bus to the airport for a trip to Las Vegas. The team accepted an invitation from Sacramento to play a round-robin-type format of 10-minute games against the Monarchs and Phoenix Mercury.
Before you start scratching your head about money and making jokes about how they’ll have to pay their way at the craps table, the Maloof family, owners of the Monarchs, host the teams at their Palms hotel and the flight is cheap. In return, Seattle will know a lot about both teams, playing Phoenix on Saturday in a traditional exhibition at US Airways Arena.
Because of the format, Storm coach Brian Agler said he’s going to play various combinations, including the three-guard look with returnees Sue Bird and Tanisha Wright and signee Shannon Johnson. Wright and Bird missed the exhibition opener against Sacramento due to play overseas and needing rest, respectively.
Agler, and coaches like Los Angeles’ Michael Cooper, San Antonio’s Dan Hughes, and Connecticut’s Mike Thibault, say they want to have final rosters at least by Tuesday. The Storm opens its season on the road against Sacramento on June 6.
Player movement has been slow on the waiver wire and even though plenty of cuts are expected this weekend, even enticing names won’t hook most coaches to make additions this late in camp.
“There’s obviously some teams who have more difficult cuts than others,” Thibault said. “But the problem you run in to is, if the cuts are next Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it’s very difficult to then turnaround and then cut one of your own players to bring in somebody with a game looming. There’s going to be some good players not starting a season on a roster.”
Storm C Suzy Batkovic is arriving June 7, the night of the home opener. Agler, who’s also director of player personnel, will most likely cut to 10 players and have a slot open for her.
The quasi-good news from practice today is F Swin Cash may be close to returning to contact drills. She had outpatient back surgery in March.
“Swin is progressing. Whether Swin plays this weekend or not, we don’t know,” Agler said. “I sort of envision Swin trying to get in the swing of things either some time Saturday or early next week. So, we’ll approach [the upcoming three days] more game-like.”
As for the craps table, don’t expect to see Agler there. But you may find F Katie Gearlds (pictured right by WNBA) at one. She learned the game last season and was up $1,400 at a casino at one point. She walked away with about $600 that night.
“I’ll have a little fun,” in Vegas, Gearlds said. “I picked it up pretty nicely so I’m excited to hit the craps table again.”