The first basket of Jana Veselá’s WNBA career was unexpected. The third quarter of Sunday night’s win over the Phoenix Mercury was apparently over after Camille Little missed her second free throw, but replay put 0.5 seconds back in the clock. In the huddle, Storm Head Coach Brian Agler, thinking there would be time only for a tip, drew up a lob to the rim for Veselá. Svetlana Abrosimova put the entry pass on the money and Veselá converted to beat the buzzer.
“I just did what the coach said,” Veselá said after the Storm returned to practice Wednesday. “It was set for me. I received like the best pass in my life from Svetlana, because I just showed my hands and the ball was there. I just thought about my shot, and when it went in, I was so happy for this.”
Veselá followed with a bucket on the Storm’s opening possession of the fourth quarter and finished with a career-high eight points in 18 minutes, as well as four rebounds and two blocks. During the longest outing of her career after having gotten a chance to play 10 minutes the previous Sunday against San Antonio, Veselá felt more comfortable on the floor.
“When I go on the court for a few minutes, I’m just playing for the team,” she said. “When I play longer, I feel much better. I can do more and more things. I appreciate the starting five playing so good, because it gave me a chance to get on the court the last quarter.”
“I really like what Jana did in the game against Phoenix,” said Agler. “That’s what I’ve been seeing the last two winters in Europe watching her play. I think she can really help us. I like her versatility. We’ll try to keep playing with that a little bit.”
Agler sees Veselá progressing as she makes the adjustment from the international game with which she is familiar to the WNBA’s style. He did caution not necessarily to expect more scoring outbursts from the native of the Czech Republic.
“That’s not her game,” Agler said. “She can do those things and we’ll need her to do those things, but she’s more of a multi-purpose player. She really is team-oriented in her mentality. She’s been like that in Europe and she’s like that here. You’ve got to challenge her to step up her game offensively. But that’s not all so bad either – she can find people, she can rebound, she can defend. She’s a great passer. We like those things out of her.”
- Rookie guard Alison Lacey was back on the floor for Wednesday’s practice after missing the previous three Storm games with an illness. Lacey was disappointed to have been sidelined for a pair of games where she would have seen extended action. On Sunday, the Storm’s second unit was on the floor for the entire fourth quarter, but starter Tanisha Wright played the point because Lacey was unavailable, having tried to warm up but still feeling sick.
“It was a perfect game to get in,” lamented Lacey. “That was something that made me really frustrated – to be suited and not be able to play, I think it kind of made me more hungry to get back out here again and get after it.”
Lacey is glad to be feeling better, and the timing of the Storm’s two days off helped ease her return to the court.
“It was perfect, just to have two more days,” she said. “I’d been resting, and then to have two days to work out individually to get back after being in bed for so long. It was good to get it out of my system and relax a bit instead of being thrown right back into practice.”
- The Storm had a lengthy practice session that included five-minute scrimmages for both the first and second units against the team’s male practice squad.
“We’ve got to get them back in game mode,” said Agler. “We have to now because we gave them those two days off. Today’s practice was a pretty strong one in terms of time and intensity. It will be like that tomorrow but not quite as long.”