Lindsay Taylor back for another shot at making Storm roster
Lindsay Taylor, a 6-foot-8 center who was cut by the Storm during training camp in 2006, is back with the team this spring. Taylor averaged 23.5 points last season in China.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Lindsay Taylor filePosition: Center.
Height: 6 feet 8.
College: UC Santa Barbara, 2004.
Acquired: Signed as a free agent April 25.
Age: 30, born May 20, 1981 in Poway, Calif.
Three-pointers: Enjoys the outdoors ... Named Poland's center of the year in 2008.
Lindsay Taylor didn't need to watch the Sonics' documentary, "Requiem for a Team," to know things are different around the Storm training camp since her last visit in 2006.
From Storm ownership splitting ties with the NBA to the new location of the practice facility on Seattle Pacific's campus, a lot has changed.
Even with the change in coaches, from Anne Donovan to Brian Agler, who was hired in 2008, one constant remains for Taylor.
"The tradition from when I was here with coach Donovan to now being here with coach Brian is still the same emphasis," said Taylor.
Taylor, a 6-foot-8 center, was added to the 2006 training-camp roster by Donovan and cut a week before the regular-season opener after suffering from tendinitis in her Achilles throughout camp.
"The defense and going hard during our practice — doing a short and a quality practice — that's still the same," Taylor said. "So that's easy."
Another similarity: The path to a roster spot is still a challenge. Taylor has a strong offensive game and shot-blocking ability. Her height also is an asset, especially as young 6-8 players Liz Cambage and Brittney Griner prepare to enter the league.
But Taylor has floated from camp to camp, playing only five regular-season games with Phoenix in 2004. She attempted five shots and averaged 5.2 minutes in her stint. The majority of Taylor's experience has been in Turkey, Poland, France and, most recently, China.
China allows its teams only one international player, and that athlete is often the backbone of the squad. As Qujing Dongheng's go-to player, Taylor averaged 23.5 points.
"You better play the defense, play the offense, coach the team, coach yourself ... you're looked upon to have every aspect of the game down," Taylor said of playing in China. "It helped with my maturity and my poise."
Storm forward Camille Little played against Taylor in China and noticed the positives spilling into the training camp this week. Agler is looking for a big player to add depth inside, especially with Australian center Lauren Jackson missing the first half of the season to compete in the London Olympics.
Taylor, who starred at UC Santa Barbara, is in a battle with post players Ashley Gayle and Ewelina Kobryn for a roster spot. Free-agent signee Ann Wauters is expected to fill the starting role, if she arrives at camp in time to pick up Agler's system.
The coach gave Wauters, mother of two infants, time to recuperate at home after helping her Spanish team win the country and EuroLeague championships in April.
"She's (Lindsay) tall and lean and it's hard to guard her," Little said. "It's nice to have somebody (in camp) that you can throw it up to and can finish around the rim. I'm excited for her and hope she has a good camp."
After two three-hour practices, Agler said his staff is getting a clearer feel about evaluations and could make cuts as early as Tuesday. Veteran Tina Thompson, who could replace Swin Cash in the starting lineup, had her first session Monday and Agler wants fewer players in camp so players who will definitely make the roster get more reps.
"(Lindsay) is getting in there and she's dominating inside," said forward Alysha Clark. "That's a good thing to see because there are a lot of tall players who don't like to be inside. She does a great job of getting inside and getting position and is great around the rim. And she can shoot."
• USA Basketball's training camp, and game against China on May 12 at KeyArena, became a little more interesting Monday. In an Olympic draw held in Rio de Janeiro, the Americans learned that in the first round in London this year they will play China, Angola and three other teams from a June qualifying tournament. Led by Storm star Sue Bird, the U.S. women are in pursuit of their fifth consecutive gold medal. Tickets for the Seattle exhibition are available at www.StormBasketball.com.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @JaydaEvans