Storm center Le’coe Willingham, who sat out the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Game 2 in Phoenix after rolling her right ankle late in the third period, participated as the Storm returned to practice Tuesday at Seattle Pacific University.
“I did the whole practice,” she said. “We didn’t go as hard. It’s a little sore, but in a couple of days it will be fine.”
Willingham said the injury wasn’t as bad as when she sprained her left ankle at the US Airways Center on Aug. 20 in the penultimate game of the regular season. She missed the Storm’s game the next day but was back in the lineup when the Storm started the playoffs on Aug. 25. Willingham initially hoped to return to Sunday’s game.
“I tried, but I didn’t want to go out there and hurt my team if I know I’m not going to be able to push off 100 percent,” she said. “It was just one of those things where it was pretty sore when I first did it and it swelled up pretty good.”
When the Storm arrived at Sea-Tac International Airport on Sunday night after the game, players and coaches were greeted by more than 200 fans who congratulated them on sweeping the Mercury and reaching the WNBA Finals for the second time in franchise history. Players were impressed by the support. Willingham remembered a similar gathering when the Mercury returned for Game 5 of last year’s WNBA Finals, but not the same number of people. Sue Bird, meanwhile, was clearly moved by the turnout.
“That was awesome,” she said. “I’ve told friends and family back home about it, people from Connecticut about it. You don’t see that very often. That was really special for them to greet us. When we got off the plane, the security guard was telling us, ‘There’s 100 people there.’ And there really was. It was great to get that support.”
After hitting the game-winning shot on Sunday, Bird became a “trending topic” on Twitter – one of the most popular subjects of tweets around the world.
“I’m not a tweeter, so I really didn’t know what that meant at first,” she said. “I had to get educated about it. It’s pretty cool. People are talking about you.”