Storm finishes three-game trip at Indiana
Storm, adjusting to playing without injured star Lauren Jackson, is glad to be keeping busy.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle @ Indiana, 4 p.m.
The Storm concludes a three-game road trip at Indiana on Tuesday and normally the players would be feeling the grind. But for a team that is making the transition to playing without injured star Lauren Jackson, it's good to just play.
"There have been times in my career in the WNBA where you've looked forward to a weeklong break," said Storm guard Sue Bird, whose team will jump from six games played in June to 12 in July. "But now, we just want to play games. It's hard to play a game and wait a week. Play two games, wait a week. You never get going and it's been a weird beginning. So a lot of us are looking forward to playing and working through it on the court."
The Storm (5-3) embarrassed the Fever (7-3) in a 68-54 win at KeyArena last month. Seattle used its defensive focus to hold a previously hot-shooting Indiana team to 29 percent shooting.
The Fever is without Spokane's Briann January, out with a season-ending knee injury. But the team has capable floor leaders in Australian Erin Phillips, a pickup from Seattle via a three-team trade, and Katie Douglas.
Seattle is 2-1 without Jackson, leaning on its defense to defeat Washington on Sunday. Swin Cash has led the Storm offensively, averaging 19 points and 8.3 rebounds in the past three games.
"We talked as a team that everybody was going to have to do a little bit more, and Swin has taken it upon herself," Storm coach Brian Agler said. "She's doing a heck of a job of being aggressive and has found different ways to score, playing to her strengths. She's just a tremendous competitor. She just outworks people the majority of the time."
Agler is trying to incorporate guard Belinda Snell into the rotation. She was signed as a free agent during the offseason but suffered an ankle injury and missed the season opener.
Snell scored a three-pointer immediately after entering the game against the Mystics on Sunday, helping the Storm build a 35-26 lead in the opening half. The Storm won 73-63.
"We're just trying to get into a routine," said Agler, who noted that last season Jana Vesela wasn't a constant until after the All-Star break. "Our season has been so choppy so far, it's just good to get time on the court ... but she'll (Snell) get in the rotation at some point."
Another player Agler needs time to develop is Polish center Ewelina Kobryn, who was signed Thursday to add depth in the post. The Storm didn't practice Monday, so she has participated only in shoot-arounds.
"She's adapting well," said Agler of Kobryn, who speaks fluent English. "She's really energized and cheering us on. When we have time to practice with her, we'll have a chance to incorporate her into what we're doing. We're just a work in progress."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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