After his team practiced Tuesday morning at The Furtado Center before flying to Chicago to take on the Sky in the preseason opener for both teams, Seattle Storm Head Coach Brian Agler confirmed his starting lineup for the game. Rookie Kimberly Beck will start with Sheryl Swoopes in the backcourt, Shyra Ely will get the nod alongside Katie Gearlds at forward and veteran Yolanda Griffith will anchor the middle. That group worked together during the Storm’s practice, but expect a number of different lineups to see time against the Sky.
“That’s a starting point,” said Agler. “We’ll rotate people in. We’re going to get people quality minutes. Sheryl and Yolanda, I doubt will play in the second half. We want to use this opportunity to take a look at some different people and some different combinations.
“Obviously want to get Ashley (Robinson) in with that first group. We’re going to experiment with people running the point. Other than that, I think we’ll probably sort of go on the fly a little bit. We’ll probably talk tomorrow and organize some different groups of five that we want to play together.”
With the veterans playing limited minutes, tomorrow will be an important opportunity for the young players on the Storm’s roster, including five rookies who will see their first WNBA game action. While they have learned a lot about the youngsters in practice, Agler and the coaching staff will also rely on preseason action in making roster decisions going forward.
“You evaluate in practice – some of those things you can see in practice,” Agler said, “but you can’t simulate live game action until you get into those exhibition games.”
What will they be looking for from the young players?
“Obviously you want to see a carryover of the execution in the offense,” he added. “You want to see how competitive they are defensively, see if some of the things we’ve worked on defensively carry over. Then just to see if they’re going to be able to compete and play at the next level.”
The Storm will not get forward Swin Cash back in time for Wednesday’s game because Cash traveled back home after suffering a minor injury while playing for USA Basketball in the Good Luck Beijing tournament last week.
“She bruised her knee over in China, although she played – it’s nothing major,” said Agler. “She wanted to get it looked at in Miami, so she’s going to meet us in Sacramento.”
- Agler on Doneeka Lewis, who practiced with the Storm for the first time yesterday: “You never know how long it’s going to take them to adjust to the time change and things like that, but she’s done well. She’ll get a lot of action over the next couple of days.”