Breanna Salley hopes to don Storm jersey
Ineligible to play at Seattle University the past two seasons, Breanna Salley worked as an intern at the KeyArena team shop and got an invite to the Storm camp, where she hopes to make the roster.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Meet the StormCourtney Ward
Position: Point guard. Height: 5-7. College: Florida State.
Age: 21, born Aug. 22, 1989.
Acquired: Signed to training-camp roster on April 18.
Hometown: Montgomery, Ala.
• Favorite show is "48 Hours," so majored in criminology ... Ranked fourth in ACC in assists last season (4.1) ... Played with Storm trade acquisition Jacinta Monroe at FSU.
• Favorite dish (assist): "I've had a lot of good ones — a whole bunch with Jacinta. We were just talking about one. It was on a fast break and I slung it some kind of way. It hit her dead in her stomach and she ended up making it."
• Favorite dish (to eat): "I'm a big eater. I love seafood and I hate pizza, I think because I ate it too much as a kid. I love lobster, shrimp, crab legs. I can cook shrimp alfredo."
KeyArena obviously doesn't grant every wish it hears, or Seattle would have an NBA team. But Breanna Salley's mantra whispered in its halls must have been heard.
"Don't worry, your day is coming" Salley would tell herself as she rang up another $60 Storm jersey. Working as an intern in the Team Shop, all Salley dreamed of last summer was playing in the WNBA.
"I'd sneak in sometimes, but normally I watched (the games) on the little TV screen on the concourse," Salley said. "I tried to get all up close. I was like, 'I'm going to go from selling the jersey to wearing the jersey!' "
Actually, wearing a game-day jersey will be a difficult task for Salley. When Storm training camp opened Sunday, she was the unknown after being ineligible to play college hoops her final two seasons at Seattle University. Salley didn't take the requisite courses under former coach Dan Kriley and was denied repeated appeals to be reinstated.
The Redhawks' leading scorer her sophomore year (17.5), her sole season at SU after a freshman year at Minnesota, Salley spent the past two using SU practices and shoot-arounds as her games.
Former coach Joan Bonvicini said Salley's squad never lost a scrimmage.
Still, with little NCAA footage, Salley had to work out at a combine in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four in April in Indianapolis to get on the WNBA radar. She was undrafted, but did impress Seattle.
"We did our own research, watched her play and felt she was worthy for a tryout," said Storm coach Brian Agler after practice Sunday. "She's a good athlete, shot the ball well and competed well."
A 5-foot-11 wing, Salley is one of six true rookies in camp. If she wanted to feel close to the pro game, she couldn't inch any closer than the past week.
Her locker at KeyArena is next to that of three-time MVP Lauren Jackson. She's draped in official WNBA practice apparel, and she's being taught by the league's reigning Coach of the Year.
Players were whipped through a 3 ½-hour session focusing primarily on offense. It worked to Salley's game as she drained three-pointers and jump shots. She played with the other rookies against a male practice squad to conclude the opening session.
"She can shoot the ball," Storm veteran Ashley Robinson said. "She seems like she works hard, that high-energy type person. So I wish her the best of luck. If that (shooting) is what they want her to do, she showed what she can do. I don't think she missed a three-pointer."
But with 11-player rosters and the Storm already nearing the salary-cap maximum of $852,000 because of offseason spending for free agents Swin Cash, Camille Little, Katie Smith and Robinson, Salley's chances of making the final lineup are tough. Agler already plans to cut two players after Monday's practice to make room for the return of Cash and All-Star Sue Bird.
The early decision will be based on versatility and ability to pick up schemes quickly. But Agler and his staff advised the rookies Sunday to relax, focusing on the drill or scrimmage before them.
"It was intense," said Salley, who will try to play overseas if she doesn't make the Storm roster. "A lot of X's and O's — especially me not having to learn any plays the last two years, doing whatever I wanted. It was a lot to take in. I'm just trying to stay clear and listen to what he's saying.
"But the pressure is definitely on. It's about staying composed and giving it everything I can each day. ... It's tough. But, hey, that's what it takes at this level."
And who knows? Maybe Salley will hear her name at KeyArena on opening day June 4.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.