Former Lady Raider Alicia Clark (32) joined the WNBA’s Seattle Storm this season after gaining experience overseas. (Photo submitted)
Former MTSU women’s basketball player Alysha Clark has found a home in the Pacific Northwest with the two-time WNBA champions, the Seattle Storm.
Clark has only been there a few months, but she has already fallen in love with the city and its fans.
“It is such a pretty city,” Clark said via e-mail. “I love looking out the window in the morning and seeing mountains, trees and water. It’s like the perfect backdrop. I have not gotten to experience too much of what the city offers, but I definitely plan to. Oh man, the Storm Crazies are amazing. They make it so much fun to play in the Key Arena. They are so loyal and supportive of the Storm. The energy you feel in there gets you so excited as a player. It reminds me of the Murphy Center.”
It took her a couple of seasons after her legendary Lady Raider career ended to find a WNBA team. She was drafted by the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2010, but did not make the final roster. The team brought her back a year later, and again she missed making the team.
But that did not stop Clark, and she took her talents to the Israel professional league. She performed well during her time there, and caught the eye of the Storm head coach Brian Agler.
“We watched her in training camp, and invited Clark on the team, because of her work ethic,” Agler said. “That is why she earned a spot on the team.”
Because Clark had never appeared in a regular-season game, the league classified her as a rookie this season. “She has a great attitude and has a hard work ethic,” Agler said. “She picks things up quickly.”
She has the opportunity to play and learn from some of the best players in league history.
The roster of the two-time WNBA champions, 2004 and 2010, once again is filled with all-stars that combine youth and championship experience.
Four of the players, Katie Smith, Sue Bird, Tina Thompson and Lauren Jackson were named to the WNBA Top 15 players of All-Time list last season as the league celebrated its anniversary. Each of them had also won league titles during their careers.
However, Jackson is not currently with the Storm as she is preparing for the upcoming Olympics in her native Australia.
“Our veterans are amazing,” Clark said. “We have some pioneers of the women’s game and some of the best to ever play the game. I’ve learned what it takes to compete everyday and just the mindset you have to have to be successful in this league. They’re so good at encouraging you and giving you pointers to get better.”
At the same time, the Storm also is filled with several young and talented players, including Clark. Those include center Ann Wauters, former Kentucky star Victoria Dunlap, and former Lady Vols player, fellow rookie Shekinna Stricklen.
“The experience has been great so far,” Clark said. “We have such an amazing group of veterans to learn from... I’ve learned so much already. This is definitely my first time for a “rookie” season in my career so it’s a new role, but I’m loving every minute of it.”
Currently the Storm are near the bottom of the Western Conference standings with a 1-5 record as of June 5. However, Agler believes the Storm will be better as the season goes along. Also, the WNBA will be taking a month off starting in July, because of the London Olympics.
Clark added that Agler’s championship experience will help this year’s Storm as it fight for a playoff spot.
“He does a great job of keeping things in perspective,” Clark said. “He understands what it takes to win a championship, so he focuses on the little things that need to be done and finds ways to push his players on a daily basis. So he helps us look at winning a championship in different steps. The first step is to stay in playoff position. The next step is to be a great defensive team, and the last thing is to be an efficient team on offense.”
Clark finished with three rebounds and two points during four minutes of play in a 79-55 loss to the defending WNBA champions, the Minnesota Lynx on June 5.
Yesterday, Seattle faced that Sliver Stars franchise that overlooked Clark’s talents, twice. Results were unavailable when this issue went to press.