Hammon plays a small rotation


Kiah Stokes knows exactly what it’s like to be one of those lower-usage players. During the regular season, her minutes fluctuated. Sometimes she played 20 or more, but often her minutes hovered around 10, and there were multiple contests where she didn’t play at all.

But when Hamby was sidelined with a right knee bone contusion in early August, Stokes was thrust into a starting role.

Hammon plays a small rotation, but she also expects every player on the roster to be ready at all times.

“In practice, we do a great job of making the starters better and vice versa,” Stokes said. “Everyone has a role, even if they aren’t necessarily playing in games. Everyone is contributing to the team.”

In the series against Connecticut, Hammon will have access to both Stokes and Hamby. Though Hamby admits she isn’t 100 percent and wasn’t even expected to return this season, she’s willing to play whatever role her coach asks of her.

“It’s been frustrating for me,” the All-Star forward said. “Because I feel guilt that I can’t contribute the way I was contributing in the first half of the season.

“I’m still locked in and prepared to play whatever is needed.”

If it was up to Hamby, she probably wouldn’t have spent any time on the bench in street clothes this season. But that’s part of Anumba and Connor’s jobs, making sure no one plays until they are ready.

An injured player’s recovery process is all about baby steps. They start in the training room, then the weight room, and then begin transitioning back to the court.

“For her, she had a lot of milestones to meet,” Anumba said. “Her knee range of motion, to getting her swelling down, to walking back to normal.”

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