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Training camp opens overflowing with talent

By JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 3, 2001


ORLANDO -- The Miracle opened what likely will be the most competitive training camp of its three-year history Wednesday in preparation for this WNBA season.

Of 17 players in camp, a number that does not include three returning starters playing in overseas leagues, more than half will not make the final 11-player active roster.

"My staff and I wanted to bring competitors into camp, and that's what we got in our four draft picks and in the free agents we've been assigned by the league," coach Carolyn Peck said.

Peck, who also is the general manager, drafted Purdue's Katie Douglas, Florida State's Brooke Wyckoff, Kansas' Jaclyn Johnson and Michigan's Anne Thorius -- all versatile athletes.

Guard Shannon Johnson and post players Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Cintia Dos Santos will join the team this month when their leagues end. Their absences allow the Miracle to invite three more to camp and remain under the league maximum of 18.

"We've got 17 here to start out and Cintia, Shannon and Taj still on the way," Peck said. "You can do the math. There is going to be great competition in training camp."

The team will practice twice daily at Orlando's RDV Sportsplex.

NEW FACES SEEM FAMILIAR: Douglas and Wyckoff are rookies but already feel at home. Douglas played for Peck for two seasons at Purdue, including the 1999 national championship team. Wyckoff went to FSU.

"I couldn't have asked for a better place," said Wyckoff, who helped FSU reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 seasons. "I've only been living here for two days but I've been in Orlando a lot. It's a blast."

KEY DATES: The roster must be trimmed to 15 by May 11 and to 11 active players by May 28. The first preseason game is May 16 against four-time champion Houston and the season opener is June 1 against Western Division winner Los Angeles, both at 7:30 p.m. at TD Waterhouse Centre. The All-Star Game will be July 16 in Orlando.

TICKETS: Individual game tickets $8-$34 go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at the TD Waterhouse box office and through Ticketmaster by phone toll free (1-877-WNBATIX) or online (www.Ticketmaster.com). Premium seats are sold in packages, including season tickets and seven- and 10-game sets. Call (407) 916-WNBA.

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