Storm's Tanisha Wright makes big strides this season
WNBA guard posting career highs in scoring, assists-to-turnover ratio.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Tanisha Wright showed up at Storm practice in classic fashion Monday.
She dabbed two squirts of toothpaste on her forehead to help clear up blemishes and walked out the door. She didn't really care how it looked.
"Why would I care? I'm around these girls all the time," said the fifth-year WNBA pro. "I'm not at all superficial. I'm here to practice and to do my job and it isn't to look pretty. It's to play basketball.
"I've come to not let all that — what people think — bother me. ... They [teammates] get mad at me for stuff all the time. I don't care."
Wright is equally assertive on the court this season.
Drafted by former coach Anne Donovan, Wright is past the bobbles of her 2005 rookie season. And she's through with having her confidence shaken if she didn't play well, as happened in 2006 and 2007.
Last season under coach Brian Agler, Wright learned the offense and was still pushed to play point guard despite being a natural shooter. By the end of the season she moved into the starting role to replace an injured Sheryl Swoopes.
Back at shooting guard this season, the 5-foot-11 Wright is even more aggressive as a full-time starter. The 26-year-old is averaging a career-high 11.0 points and has a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
"She's playing at a real good speed for herself, everything seems to be under control," said Agler. "Her assist-to-turnover is pretty positive and I haven't talked to her a whole lot about it, so it's pretty self-driven.
"We ask a lot out of her. She usually defends some of the better players. We ask her to play the point occasionally. And she can obviously do things with the basketball. She plays a vital role for us."
Center Janell Burse, who hadn't watch Wright since 2007 because of her own injuries last season, said the most noticeable change in Wright's game is her offense. Wright was championship MVP in a French league and impressed with her assists. Wright said she used game situations overseas to hone her game — shooting while draped by a defender or hitting three-point baskets.
"She's developed so much more," said Burse of Wright. "I think mainly from going overseas and getting that freedom to play and lead teams. It's made a huge difference. She was always a pretty good passer to me. The biggest thing that she really improved on to me is her ability to get in the lane and finish."
The penetration is needed as the Storm (15-11) prepares for Washington (13-14) tonight. The talented Mystic emphasizes defense.
Because of various tiebreakers the Storm needs two wins to clinch its sixth consecutive playoff berth. Just don't ask Wright anything ahead of tonight's matchup.
She doesn't care about anything but defeating Washington. And if KeyArena is lucky, she may help Seattle do it without the toothpaste.
"She's coming into her own," Storm guard Sue Bird said. "She knows what works for her and our team. She doesn't really play outside of that. You can see it."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 7:10 PM
Storm re-signs Swin Cash to multiyear deal
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.