Utah Starzz coach Frank Layden and staff had to make that agonizing decision Wednesday. The one that changes the lives of players who've been team members from the beginning.
"But we're going to move on. We have to keep the most competitive team we can," Layden said after having to cut guard Dena Head and maybe the most popular team member in the club's first two years, guard Tammi Reiss."It's very difficult to cut veterans," said Layden. "Much more difficult than to cut players who have not been on your team."
That reference was to the first four roster trims made a couple of weeks ago, though BYU's Kari Gallup was among that group. She was a last-minute '98 trim.
Layden told Head and Reiss to remain in shape because the Starzz could recall them if there are injuries and because the WNBA expands by four teams next season.
Like all WNBA teams, the Starzz had to reduce their rosters to 11 players by Wednesday.
To reach that limit while still holding a place for center Elena Baranova, who is to arrive from Russia Thursday night, and still looking at guard Krystyna Lara, who arrived with her Polish teammate Margo Dydek Tuesday night, the Starzz placed forward Olympia Scott-Richardson and guard Chantel Tremitiere on the injured list.
Scott-Richardson had a baby two months ago and still needs to reach playing condition. Tremitiere spent the past three weeks nursing a partially torn hamstring muscle that was to take four weeks rest. She has tried to play and reinjured it. Her conditioning has also suffered.
Reiss spent the offseason living in Utah, promoting the Starzz and working for KJZZ TV-Ch. 14, so that was an especially hard move to make.
The cuts mean that the Starzz have two "midget" guards in 5-foot-3 second-year player Tricia Bader and 5-2 ABL veteran Debbie Black, and that 6-5 rookie free agent Michelle Campbell from Southern Cal makes the squad. Also rostered are Natalie Williams, Wendy Palmer, LaTonya Johnson, Adrienne Goodson and Dalma Ivanyi.