The Seattle Storm added another player for Wednesday’s practice. No, not that one. While Lauren Jackson made her 2008 debut, the Storm also brought in a true newcomer, signing 6-4 Romanian center Florina Pascalau as a free agent. Friday’s Noon deadline to set final rosters is looming, but the Storm will take a look at Pascalau, whose performance in the Italian League has intrigued the coaching staff. Securing a visa delayed Pascalau’s arrival in camp, but she’s here now and the Storm is glad to have her.
“We’ve followed her over in Europe,” explained Storm Head Coach Brian Agler. “We’ve heard good things about her from (Storm color analyst) Adia Barnes and Doneeka (Lewis), who’s played against her, and other people over there. It took us a while to get her visa. If it was going to take too long to get it, we felt like we wouldn’t bring her over, but we felt like we just had enough time to take a look.
“We didn’t really get a great chance to see her play today, but we’ll see her more the next two days.”
The Storm wasn’t the only team interested in Pascalau. The Minnesota Lynx listed her on their initial 2008 training-camp roster, but Pascalau ultimately wasn’t interested in the long-term contract Minnesota was offering. She signed a training-camp deal with the Storm.
Adding Pascalau leaves the Storm with three cuts to make before Friday.
“We’ve got to make some decisions here in the next 48 hours,” said Agler. “That’s what we have to do.”
UPDATE: The Storm waived guard Roneeka Hodges Wednesday evening, meaning two more players must be cut.
- Asked for the first time about his starting lineup for Saturday’s Opening Night against Chicago (7:00 p.m., 1150 AM KKNW, TIX), said the presumptive lineup of Sue Bird, Sheryl Swoopes, Swin Cash, Jackson and Yolanda Griffith was “what we project.” Swoopes’ status still leaves a little uncertainty there. While she has practiced all week, Swoopes said yesterday she wasn’t sure she is ready to play 25, 30 minutes of game action just yet. Agler strongly hinted those extra minutes could go to Tanisha Wright.
“We’re going to see how Sheryl comes along,” he said. “She’s working real hard. I also feel real comfortable with Tanisha. Tanisha’s had a great few days here. She gives us a little bit different flavor there in terms of how she can attack the basket and what kind of defender she is. She’s sort of a secondary ballhandler with Sue on the floor. I like what she brings to the table, to be honest with you. I see her really playing within that tight rotation.”
Wright is also still in the competition to serve as backup point guard. The outcome of that battle is “Yet to be seen,” said Agler. “Still evaluating that.”
Post-Practice Audio: Agler Jackson