WNBA training camps are now open. If you don't recognize the majority of the players, it's all right.
Many players are still overseas, playing for their respective teams, either finishing up regular-season play, or beginning their post-season run. Several others, such as Swin Cash, Lisa Leslie and Katie Smith, are with the USA National Team.
This is the way of the WNBA at this time of year.
Eight players are missing the Minnesota Lynx training camp, including projected starters Seimone Augustus, Anna DeForge, and Nicole Ohlde. Lindsay Harding and this year's top pick Candice Wiggins, who had seven points and five assists in a win over Cuba, both are competing with the USA club. Harding added two points and four assists to help USA improve its record to 1-1.
Nonetheless, Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Don Zierden and his staff are preparing for the upcoming 2008 season with the 15 players who are in camp, including 2008 draftees Nkolika (Nicky) Anosike and Charde Houston, along with last year's draftees Eshaya (Shay) Murphy and Noelle Quinn.
If anything, it gives the rookies and such players as Murphy and Quinn, who started at point guard in place of Harding after she got injured last June, a good leg up on the veterans.
"As much as we miss the players that aren't here, you have to go with what you have," Zierden points out. "You got to play with what you have every day."
Zierden's plans haven't changed, he admits.
"Just like any other training camp, by the first exhibition game (against Connecticut on May 1), we want a certain number of things in," he continues. This also includes the Lynx's defensive philosophies and some parts of the offense. Defense, especially defending the post defense "was a big concern last year," adds Zierden. "These are two things that we really need to focus on for that first exhibition game.
"By that last (exhibition game on May 11) with Los Angeles, we just fine tune for the Detroit opener (on May 18)," he surmises.
When the other players, who most likely will be on the final roster, show up later, "It will be a game of catch-up for the veterans when they get here," says Zierden. "We're moving straight forward, whether all of our players are here or half of them are here."
As we say, that's the way in the WNBA.