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Originally published Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 8:58 PM

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Storm hits roster deadline with a choice to make

The Storm will cut either point guard Sharnee Zoll or rookie center Krystal Thomas.

Seattle Times staff reporter

quotes I think that this was the right call. It's gotta be tough when you get down to cutting ... Read more
quotes Jadya, as a head coach and director of player personnel, who would you cut? I feel like... Read more
quotes I like the final roster. I'm very happy that Coach Agler kept Krystal Thomas on the... Read more

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The Storm will finalize its roster Thursday, cutting either point guard Sharnee Zoll or rookie center Krystal Thomas to reach the league-required 11-player roster.

WNBA teams have until 2 p.m. EDT to make final decisions. Due to the time occurring when Seattle begins practice, coach Brian Agler, who is also director of player personnel, said he'll make his choice early.

Knowing her fate is being decided, Zoll posted on Twitter that she was "praying about what will happen" Wednesday night.

"Part of it has to do with the immediate health of our team, what our depth is," Agler said. "Then I think both of them bring special things to the table. One's a true point guard and the other one's a true five. We sort of need depth in both areas."

The Storm has injuries along the perimeter but historically the team has needed depth inside, further complicating the choice. The main snag is the timing of the deadline. Players must wait 48 hours to clear the waiver wire and sign with another team. Lingering is not an option.

The WNBA Board of Governors ended the league's two-player injured reserve for the 2009 season. While that move increased parity and cut expenses, it crimped player development and depth.

"We sort of have to use the leagues in Europe as our developmental league now instead of having a couple extra players you can work with," Agler said.

Smith returns; Snell out

Storm guard Katie Smith completed a full practice on Wednesday, a first since the opening week of training camp in mid-May.

The 13-year veteran suffered from Achilles tendinitis in her right foot. Rather than strain the injury, Agler held her out of camp and both exhibition games.

"It's a little achy, but it's better," Smith said. "I'm happy about that. I'm kind of careful and trying not to aggravate it anymore. It's baby steps."

Teammate Belinda Snell still hasn't returned to practice, however. After scoring 12 points in the Storm's exhibition loss to Los Angeles on May 25, she sprained her left ankle. She missed Sunday's exhibition win against Tulsa and was only able to shoot baskets after the session on Wednesday.

"This is the first sprain in like 15 years," Snell said. "I'm just getting a lot of treatment at the moment. It's a bad sprain."

Agler expects both players to be available for Saturday's season opener against Phoenix at KeyArena (noon and televised on Ch. 4). Snell, who won a title with the Mercury in 2007, may be limited due to a lack of practice time, however.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com

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