The first week of training camp is halfway over and there is a lot going on in the Western Conference.
Whalen welcomed home
The Minnesota Lynx held a press conference to introduce their newest star and hometown hero Lindsay Whalen. Whalen is glad to be playing in front of her friends and family. Over the years she kept her wishes of playing for the Lynx alive.
“I think I always kind of had it in the back of my mind that I’d hope to maybe come back and play here one day,” said Whalen, a former member of the Connecticut Sun’s squad. “Of course you never know anything until it happens….[T]his year it worked out with the draft picks and the players involved…and I am just happy that it did.”
Whalen responded to a question about starting the season without teammates Seimone Augustus and Candice Wiggins. Both will be out for the first few weeks of the season as they recover from surgery.
“It is unfortunate for the both of them,” said Whalen. “Their health is first of course. That is how it is in the league. It happens, its sports and there are injuries. I think everybody just has to step up and it will give some other people some opportunities to get better and improve. I think that is just the way that you have to approach it and when they get back…they are obviously two of the best players, we will just be even better for it. It’s unfortunate, but their health is the number one key and the most important thing. Hopefully they will heal well and get back when they can.”
Cuts and signings
Tulsa veterans made the rookies wash cars and the team made cuts after practice yesterday. The Phoenix Mercury released their training camp roster.
The San Antonio Silver Stars re-signed Australian Belinda Snell.
“We’re very excited about Belinda joining us again,” said head coach Sandy Brondello in a statement. “She brings continuity to the team having played with us last year. And, being a fellow Australian, she is someone that I know very well and I look forward to her bringing all of her strengths to the team again this season.”
Snell joined the Silver Stars for the 2009 season after spending her first three seasons in the league with the Phoenix Mercury. She averaged 6.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game for San Antonio.
Veterans begin returning from Russia
Veterans overseas who played in the Russian Superleague Finals are on their way home after Candice Parker led UMMC Ekaterinburg to a win over Spartak Moscow for the title. Other WNBA players on those squads include:
- Spartak Moscow: Diana Taurasi, Janel McCarville, Anete Jekabsone-Zogota, Sue Bird, Kelly Miller, Sylvia Fowles.
- UMMC Ekaterinburg: Sandrine Gruda, Deanna Nolan (not playing in the league this season), Cappie Pondexter and Svetlana Abrosimova. Ann Wauters, another Ekaterinburg player with WNBA experience, announced earlier this month that she would not return to the league this summer.
The Storm vs. the Chinese National Team
The Seattle Storm coaching staff got a chance to see rookies in action as the team took on the Chinese National Team in a scrimmage. The Chinese won three out of four scrimmages (18-17, 24-13, 21-14, 19-15) for a final tally of 71-70 in their favor. Rookie standouts according to the Storm’s report: Alison Lacey and Devanei Hampton.
The Storm’s first-ever point guard Sonja Henning attended the scrimmage. She is the director of U.S. sports marketing for Nike, an interesting position for her to be in since the company is under fire from some for its continued support of Tiger Woods and Ben Roethlisberger. Henning played in Seattle for two years (2000-02). Her bio from the former law firm
Ticha arrives in Hollywood
Former Sacramento Monarchs floor general Ticha Penicheiro arrived in Los Angeles Tuesday for training camp joining Marie Ferdinand-Harris, Noelle Quinn, Lindsay Wisdom-Hyltom and rookies. The Sparks travel to San Diego to face the Chinese National team at San Diego State University on Saturday, May 1 for an early evening matchup.
Saturday’s game is one of three occasions where the Sparks will play home games outside of the Staples Center during the season. Los Angeles plays San Antonio for its second and final preseason game at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. on May 8. The team faces Seattle at the Home Depot Center Tennis Stadium in Carson, Calif. on June 5.
The Washington Mystics training camp is presented by Hilton Garden Inn according to the team’s website. Veteran Kristen Mann reported to camp after playing in Lithuania.
The New York Liberty mascot Maddie has a twitter account: @MaddieLiberty