in the season, the Storm held a fan workout that Angie participated
in. That event was open to men, women and children and was
meant to be a fun fellowship event. When the Storm
started advertising the Fantasy Camp and described it in more
serious terms, Angie wasnt sure she would participate
since she hasnt played basketball since college intramurals
16 years ago. I convinced her to take one for the website
and that she should just go to have fun. The closer the event
got, the more convincing I had to do.
get to the Furtado Center early to sign in. All of the participants
have to sign a waiver before they are allowed to join in.
Another thing to make Angie nervous. In addition to me, there
are probably 10 other people who are there just to observe
or support one of the approximately 45 campers. There is a
range of ages and fitness levels. From the activity in the
spontaneous shoot around that begins before the event, there
are several women who have some extensive basketball experience.
I wouldnt be surprised if some of these women arent
former college players. There is one group who is hitting
shots from all distances. There is another group that is lucky
to hit the backboard Angie has found her people.
Shapiro, the teams strength and conditioning trainer,
begins the workout by leading the group through a series of
warmup stretches and exercises. He lets everyone know that
the goal is to have no injuries and to speak up immediately
if something hurts. He also lets them know to not stretch
a pulled muscle. Throughout the event, the campers (sorry,
but using participants or attendees sounds weird) get little
tidbits of health info in addition to the basketball clinic.
Daniel was glad that everyone had been doing the shoot around
earlier. He says that it is best to stretch warm muscles.
As they move through the exercises, he let the campers know
what muscles they are stretching and how some of the actions
translate into game movements. These are the same exercises
he runs the team through prior the each practice and game.
At the end of the warmups, he brings everyone together, does
a quick One, two, three, go Storm! cheer and hands
off to Coach Dunn.
welcomes everyone to the event and reiterates that everyone
needs to leave healthy. She says that they should work as
hard as they can, but under control. She introduces the team
and her staff and describes how the event is going to work.
There will be four skill stations: ballhandling led by Sonja
Henning and Semeka Randall; rebounding and post moves led
by Quacy Barnes, Kamila Vodickova and Alessandra Santos de
Oliveria (Ally to her teammates); shooting led by Katy Steding
and Michelle Marciniak; and finally passing led by Charmin
Smith and Lauren Jackson. Simone Edwards is suffering from
a bad cold and has already been commandeered by all the kids
at the event. Coach Dunn says that she is going to roam around
and give positive reinforcement when you all arent
doing so well, which means Im going to be real busy.
She gets a laugh, but as it turns out she doesnt need
to do much.
the camp gets rolling, the campers work hard and do really
well. I roam around myself, taking pictures and notes. These
women, regardless of skill level, are going all out. While
they are at times being very competitive, they also seem to
be having a lot of fun. Here is a quick synopsis on each of
the skills areas (not all of the groups did the exact same
things in the same order):
Sonja, who sounds a lot like a head coach in training, leads
the campers through basic dribbling skills (low and fast,
high and power, figure eights), hand speed drills (holding
the ball in front of their shins, letting it go and catching
it from behind) and then passing (bounce passes and chest
passes at the same time, behind the back). All the while,
Sonja kept admonishing them to keep their eyes up, to not
look at the ball. You cant see your teammates
if youre looking at the ball. She also tried to
reassure them that your fingers will tell you where
the ball is. During the behind the back passes, their
fingers were telling them that the ball was bouncing across
the court. Seriously, it seems that when they were able to
get into a rhythm, even the more difficult skills were doable
for a little while at least.
Katy and Michelle start out this drill by getting the campers
to cover the basics of shooting the ball. They have them get
into 2 lines and then launch the ball into the air. The important
elements are to start with the legs (to give you more momentum
into the shot), shoot up instead of forward, and to follow
through the shot until the ball is in (or around the general
vicinity) or the basket. The execution of this drill looks
like they are trying to graze the roof with high passes
which is exactly what Katy and 3M wants. Then they move into
different layup and shooting drills. For a layup, if you shoot
with your right hand you want to bring up your right leg.
Likewise for the left side. Again, this is to increase your
momentum into the shot. The funniest Angie moment
comes when Michelle decides that the campers in Angies
group need to work on 360-spin-in-air layups, which she demonstrates
perfectly. Angie tries, I have to give her that. She fails
miserably of course. As she approaches the basket, she does
this sideways pirouette move while flinging the ball towards
the side of the gym that the basket may or may not be attached
to. Michelle, Katy and most every one else gets a good laugh
Here, the campers work on offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds,
boxing out and getting past a box out. For the rebound drills,
Quacy has the campers get into two lines. For the offensive
practice, they bounce the ball off the backboard and then
immediately do a layup. Quacy and the other players try to
get the campers to get 3, 4 then 5 in a row. For the defensive
drill, they have to again bounce the ball off the glass and
then pass the ball to an outlet player (Ally or Kamila) after
the rebound. For the box out drills, after giving a demonstration,
the campers worked in pairs (still in two lines). This time
the person in front bounced the ball off the backboard and
then tried to box out the person behind her in line from getting
the ball. The final exercise was a 2-on-2 where Kamila or
Ally bounced the ball off the board and there were two defenders
boxing out two offensive players.
Charmin runs the group through several types of passes: the
chest pass, the bounce pass, the overhead pass, and two types
of passes when you are being defended and have your pivot
foot planted passing around the defender or stepping
through, blocking the defender out and then passing. Like
just about everything, you need to step into the pass and
follow through. Charmin then runs the women through the same
exercise we see the team work on before each game where they
run towards the basket in groups of three passing the ball
to each other without dribbling, resulting in a layup. Charmin
reminds each group to talk to each other and call for the
everyone has gotten through each of the stations, the groups
are gathered together and given the instructions for the 3-on-3
drills. If the group on offense scores, they stay in and are
supposed to kick the ball out to the drill leader at the three
point line and then go right back at the basket. If the group
on offense fails to score and doesnt get the offensive
rebound, they go out. If the group on defense gets scored
upon, they go out. If the group on defense gets the rebound
on a missed shot, then they kick it out and move to the offense.
It sounds a little confusing and takes a couple of tries before
all the groups get it. The action is continuous until one
of the teams of 3 in each group scores 4 baskets. The women
who obviously have previous basketball experience start to
take control. In one group, the same 3 stay on offense almost
the whole time. This drill goes on for about 10 minutes or
the full court 5-on-5 scrimmages begin. Each of the campers
received a reversible jersey at the beginning of the camp
so they can switch from being the White to the Black teams
when directed. Everyone gets playing time. With the Storm
players as coaches and refs, the women start putting their
new (or refreshed) skills to the test. All in all, there is
some respectable basketball being played. There are some great
rebounds, fastbreaks, steals, no look passes, and great shots
happening on both sides of the Furtado Center (there are two
full courts inside). They play 2 games each to 5 baskets.
the scrimmage, Daniel comes back out and runs the campers
through some stretches and cooling exercises. Camp t-shirts
are handed out and all the campers, the players and Storm
staffers get together for a group photo. Afterwards they do
a short raffle and give away some t-shirts, hats and game
tickets. We find out the some of the participants came from
quite a distance to be here today (Lauren yells out Australia
but that doesnt count). The farthest is from Atlanta,
Georgia. There are also women from Canada, Kentucky and Montana.
Things break up after the raffle and we all get a chance to
talk to the players a little bit and get autographs.
after being worried about going to the event, what is Angies
impression? It was fun, but a lot of hard work. The event
gave Angie a whole new appreciation for how fit and athletic
the players really are. She wants to let her 3-on-3 teammates
and Coach Marciniak know that she is sorry for letting them
down and not helping to win their scrimmages. The next day
she is sore in places she didnt know existed. She is
happy to make it without a major injury. She also hopes that
the players enjoyed themselves as well and that it wasnt
too much of a chore, and hopes that her spin move provided
them with some amusement.
any of the participants would like to add their impressions
or comments about the event, please email them to email@example.com.
Like with our other reports, we seek out other fans to contribute
and add to the story. Speaking of which, while the event is
going on, LD, another stormfans member, is also taking notes
which contribute to the above report. At one point when she
is observing Charmins passing drills, she notices that
Lauren is playing with one of the little boys from Simones
impromptu day school. So, LD goes over and starts talking
to Lauren. Following is LDs report about that conversation
and some others she had with a few of the other players.
(LD) went over with the intention of just telling Lauren that
I had met her parents and that they were very nice people.
She thanked me for that and I made a comment about how tough
she was to take that Jenny Mowe hit and stay standing. She
said it really wasnt that bad. The next thing I knew
we were involved in a conversation.
I told her about the stormfans website and she said she would
check it out. When I told her about the Aussie members she
said to make sure and tell them she said hi.
likes Seattle, loves the weather and shes had fun this
year. Shes not exactly happy with the way shes
played because she knows she can play better.
looking forward to seeing Alessandra more involved with the
offense because she thinks Day Oh is a very good post-up player
and is the type that can clear space in the lane.
convinced that she wont get Rookie of the Year.
last L.A. game was rough and they were getting cussed out
the whole game by the Sparks. I told her about the viewing
party and that they could go down there knowing we would all
back her screaming for them. She thought that was cool but
said she really wishes we could all go down there for the
game. I said that that could be a bad idea if it was as rough
as the last one and if the refs were as bad as last night
because we might all storm the court, end up getting arrested
and then the players have to come bail us all out of jail.
She said that wouldnt be a problem and that theyd
come get us:)
was very homesick when she came here. Shes looking forward
to getting home and shes going to get a couple of dogs.
very proud of her brother. Hes younger and has been
into trains since he was two. He just recently started working
with the railroad there and just loves it. He never really
had an interest in playing ball.
likes it when the Storm plays teams with other Aussies on
them since they know her and its really familiar. I
got the impression that she was saying that even though they
play hard against each other its not a matter of the
other Aussies trying to gun down the rookie. Again, just my
impression. Kristin Veal from Phoenix is her best friend and
they have matching tattoos.
the topic of nicknames: shes Lozza and Loz back home
(not sure if I could pronounce it correctly or not) but she
doesnt really mind LJ. She said an interesting thing
about that though said that it would be considered
cocky in Australia to call her LJ and that shell never
be that there. She was unaware of Lo Jack and seemed pretty
horrified at the prospect. I teased her about us calling her
that if we thought she needed to be fired up and pissed off
in a game. She begged me not to.
talked about pronunciations and how words mean different things
here and there. She likes Ripper mate and I think
we should add that to things we yell at the games. No bonzer
though. She put me to the test and asked me to tell her what
a caravan is. Of course I said a long line of vehicles headed
somewhere. Wrong. Its an RV.
said the players really appreciate the fans but that sometimes
the media gets them down. I said I had hoped they hadnt
seen the Steve Kelley column from last Monday but they had.
I told her that I had sent an e-mail to him and that I knew
some others from the message board had as well. She agreed
that he needs to get the facts right (35-second shot clock)
before he wrote something like that.
in all shes a very nice young woman with a great sense
talked to Quacy for a bit about Indiana University, Bloomington,
etc. Shes got her degree in education and may teach
after her playing days are over. Shes played in Spain
and Turkey but isnt sure if shell play in the
off-season this year or not. Shed kind of like to take
some time and just be a mom. She hasnt been able to
take her son with her overseas before but most likely will
if she goes this year. We talked about how the WNBA players
need to make more money and how its teachers that are
the ones that should be making the huge money. While she was
talking about her teaching experience so far you could see
in her eyes that she really loves it.
also spoke to Michelle about how her wanting to take that
last shot Friday night against the Mercury reminded me of
Larry Bird. She was very pleased with the comparison and I
think it made her feel better about the whole thing. She has
checked out the website, her mom told her about it, and she
was impressed with it.
and I chatted about needed to get some more SEC players out
actually saw Alessandra smile when I told her she was making
me feel short. I dont think Id ever seen her smile
let Katy know that I tried my best to get Coach Dunn to put
her in the game last night and that I couldnt get any
louder. Apparently it was loud enough cause she said
they heard it and she appreciated it.
think thats about it. You guys will have to talk about
the actual camp experience. I have to say though that I wouldnt
have missed the side I got to see for anything.
here once again well, thats the end of the longest
stormfans report to date. Again, feel free to send us your