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Originally published Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 7:04 PM

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Storm adds veteran post Nakia Sanford

A 6-foot-4 post, Sanford is a 10-year veteran who split time as a reserve and starter for the Phoenix Mercury the past two seasons.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The Storm announced Wednesday it signed free agent Nakia Sanford. Terms of the deal were not released.

A 6-foot-4 post, Sanford is a 10-year veteran who was a part-time starter for the Phoenix Mercury the past two seasons. She averaged 4.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 16.7 minutes in 2012.

The Storm will be without Australian center Lauren Jackson and Belgian center Ann Wauters this summer. While Sanford is comparable in size, she's not a player who could fill the void.

Sanford started 15 of her 30 games last season with the Mercury, five in September. Former Storm draft pick Krystal Thomas emerged to take over the role late in the season. Phoenix re-signed Thomas to a multiyear deal in February and is expected to draft 6-8 Baylor star Brittney Griner with the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft.

Sanford is a veteran player known for her consistency. She's missed only five games in her past seven WNBA seasons. Sanford was a staple inside for the Washington Mystics in her best season in 2007, averaging 11 points and 7.1 rebounds and 29.2 minutes.

"She is a great rebounder and defender and has really expanded her versatility offensively," Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler said in a news release. Sanford will likely play alongside forward Camille Little.

"We feel like she will come in and be a strong foundation for us on the defensive end," Agler said. "Nakia is a high-character individual who has a great work ethic. It's impressive that she has sustained her career in the WNBA this long and it's because of her work ethic and her ability to play within a team setting."

Agler likes to sign veteran players. He's expected to retain forward Tina Thompson, a 16-year vet, and in the past has signed former All-Stars like Sheryl Swoopes and Yolanda Griffith in the twilight of their careers.

The Storm begins training camp May 4, then opens its 2013 season at Los Angeles on May 26. The home opener is June 2 against Phoenix at KeyArena.

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

On Twitter @JaydaEvans

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