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Utah Utes women’s basketball: Ex-star Michelle Plouffe battling to stay in WNBA

Canadian National Team center Michelle Plouffe.
Canadian National Team center Michelle Plouffe.
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

Former Utah Utes women’s basketball star Michelle Plouffe may have been selected by the Seattle Storm in the 2014 WNBA Draft -- but she has yet to make the team. Unlike the NBA and NFL Drafts which guarantee all player contracts for early round picks, the WNBA does not, adding a slice of intrigue to the proceedings.

And so far, with the Storm having already released their third-round draft pick, Plouffe has no guarantee of making the team’s 12 man roster, according to a Seattle Times report on Wednesday, May 7. Not only is she not guaranteed a roster spot, she’s battling for the 12th and final spot on the Storm as team training camp continues.

It’s not entirely a losing battle for Plouffe at this juncture; the 6-foot-3 Canadian National Team member does some things well that have impressed her superiors, like play defense down low. The way the Storm want her to play defense on the interior is similar to how she played at Utah. So, she has a chance of making the team, according to Seattle head coach Brian Agler.

“Michelle has done real well with her post defense,” Agler said. “She didn’t play real well Saturday (in a closed scrimmage against the Australian national team), but she had a good practice (Monday). She’s long, mobile and versatile. We like that kind of player.”

Plouffe has some work ahead of her as training camp winds down and final cuts to the team are made. Right now, she’s in a dogfight for the final roster spot with 6-foot-5-inch center and free agent Angel Robinson, a well-traveled veteran who has finished a stint overseas in time to try to make the Storm.

As for Plouffe, her journey has just begun. As a Ute fan, you hope she makes the team but when you’re fighting for one roster spot -- and the last one at that -- every day will be a challenge. She knows that as well as anyone.

To sum up her battle to make the Storm team, Plouffe got a bit personal on her Twitter page on Thursday after a hard day of work. A friend, Velaida Harris, tweeted the following words of encouragement. “Thinkin bout my girl @Plouffey_15 this morning. Keep working. Keep grinding. Keep believing. Keep trusting. God has greater plans for YOU.”

To which Plouffe replied, “Thank you V! Needed this!!” As for Plouffe on the court, her Storm team and she take on the Chinese national team Thursday in an attempt to right the wrongs her coach said she made earlier this week. Final cuts will be made next week.

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