Storm's Ashley Walker faces nemesis on equal terms
When Seattle's Ashley Walker will face Sacramento's Courtney Paris in an WNBA exhibition Thursday night at KeyArena, she finally won't have to worry about Courtney's twin sister.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Finally, Storm rookie Ashley Walker won't be outnumbered by the Paris twins.
Walker won't have to worry tonight about stepping on the court to play Courtney Paris and her twin, Ashley, bookend 6-foot-4 posts who starred at Oklahoma. Unlike the junior-high and playground battles when the trio was growing up in Northern California, Courtney Paris will play without her sister.
No more two against one.
When the Storm hosts Sacramento tonight in its exhibition opener at KeyArena, both WNBA teams will debut first-round draft picks. Walker, of Modesto, was selected 12th by the Storm. Paris, of Piedmont, was the seventh overall pick to the Monarchs.
"There was two of them and one of me for a long time," said Walker, who's potentially the California Bears' first WNBA player. "When we were younger, it was all of us playing against each other, and then I actually joined their AAU team. Her mom is good friends with mine."
Walker recalls a junior-high championship game between the three that turned into a blowout.
"I had no help," Walker said.
Walker often posted up against Courtney's sister, who was drafted by Los Angeles. She can sympathize with the two-on-one advantage they had over Walker.
"Since I started playing basketball, I've played against Ashley," Paris said. "She was always really good, but we had the advantage. I have great respect for her, and she's a fun girl."
Walker and the Paris sisters haven't connected since being drafted. And with rosters trimmed from 13 to 11 players this season, there's no guarantee first-round draft picks will make final rosters.
Storm coach Brian Agler plans to make cuts after the game, so Walker might have to make an immediate impression. Star guard Sue Bird will not play while veterans Shannon Johnson and Janell Burse will play about a half to clear minutes for others to be evaluated. Returnees Camille Little, Katie Gearlds and Ashley Robinson are also expected to start.
Walker, who led the Pac-10 in scoring (19.8) as a senior despite being an undersized power forward at 6-1, will play some small forward against the Monarchs. Teammates describe her as strong and quick, and they like her ability to hit three-pointers.
"Like all teams, it's going to be tough for rookies to make it this year," Agler said. "Ashley has really shown her versatility, and I've been impressed with that. We've had her play with some of the starters, and she's done well."
• Storm forward Swin Cash's flight to Seattle was delayed. She's expected to attend tonight's game.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 7:10 PM
Storm re-signs Swin Cash to multiyear deal
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