Tennessee alumnae Shyra Ely (newly-signed, press release to come) and Tye’sha Fluker will join the Storm for tonight’s practice, giving the team 10 players in camp. Ely, Fluker and Ashley Robinson all played together for two seasons under Pat Summitt.
Ely is a 6-2 forward who has a somewhat similar story to the Storm’s Barbara Turner – undersized power forward for an NCAA power asked to move out to the perimeter in the WNBA. Turner’s a better athlete, so the transition was a little easier for her.
However, Ely contributed as a rookie in San Antonio after Kendra Wecker was lost for the season with a torn ACL, averaging 4.5 points per game and ranking fifth amongst 2005 rookies in minutes per game. Her role was smaller last year after the Silver Stars got Wecker healthy and added Agnieszka Bibrzycka, plus Ely missed 18 games with a broken left foot.
“If you come from Tennessee, you’re a very fundamentally sound player,” said Storm Coach Anne Donovan. “I like the fact that she’s had more experience since college and more experience playing the perimeter, because we’ll use her in both spots.”
Ely’s best shot to make the roster is probably up front. With Turner, Iziane Castro Marques and Katie Gearlds able to play small forward, the Storm is already well-stocked at that position. We’ll see how that develops.
Ely and Fluker went through their physicals this morning and Donovan was hoping to have them for the morning session, but they were held up in traffic after a broken water main flooded some of the South Lake Union area this morning. The Storm was left with seven players, as Wendy Palmer will practice in tonight’s evening session (she’s currently limited to one practice a day).
Center Sarah McKay, who sprained her ankle yesterday, was able to practice normally.
Donovan continued to indicate that the veterans in camp have been the stars – a group that might include the rookie Gearlds.
“Katie looks like a returning player,” said Donovan. “She’s fit in that easily.”
Donovan also singled out Tanisha Wright, who has had a great camp in the eyes of her coach.