By Matthew Roberson
As with anything in life, basketball is all about learning curves. Had a successful first half, first game, or first year? The next one will surely feature a whole new set of challenges that will require newfound growth and knowledge if they are to be overcame.
Take Seattle Storm post player Ramu Tokashiki.
In 2015, her first year in the league, Tokashiki started 16 games for the green and gold and averaged 8.2 points per game. Granted, this was before Breanna Stewart came to town and usurped some of her playing time. Still, Tokashiki’s numbers have declined since that 2015 campaign, going from 8.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in ’15 to 3.4 and 1.6 in ’17.
Nevertheless, the 6-foot-3 Tokashiki is optimistic about her future in the league, drawing several positives from her third season with the Storm.
“Towards the end, it was really good,” Tokashiki said. “I think we were able to rise at the end of the season.”
While her per game average has dropped since entering the league, Tokashiki proved a handful of times this year that she is more than capable of scoring when she gets the opportunity.
On May 13 at the STAPLES Center, starting in Seattle’s season opener while Stewart sat out with an injury, Tokashiki notched 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting while earning 30 minutes of playing time. On June 11 at Madison Square Garden, the other marquee venue in the WNBA circuit, she put up eight points on 4-for-7 shooting. Two weeks later at Washington, she had 11 points in 17 minutes. While she’s been forced to take on a smaller role with the arrival and ascension of Stewart, the Japanese forward still has a lot to provide to the Seattle roster.
“I can’t really say a lot about everyone on the team, but for me, I really need to figure out more in terms of – what can I give my most energy to out there,” Tokashiki said. “This year was a really good fight. Next year, I personally feel that it’s going to continue.”
Tokashiki, or “Tak” as she is known around Storm games and practices, announced her arrival in the WNBA with a three-game stretch in June of 2015. Playing in three games in four days, she averaged 15.6 points and shot 60.5 percent (23-for-38) from the field. That three-game span included a 21-point explosion against the Tulsa Shock on June 28.
She would end that season with a spot on the WNBA All-Rookie Team with teammate Jewell Loyd. While that accolade may not be on par with the MVP of the Women’s Japan Basketball League – which she won three times – Tokashiki was grateful for the honor as a validation of her skills and hard work.
Of course, things changed when Stewart donned the Storm jersey. Tokashiki became a more ancillary, yet still important, part of the Storm’s offense. While there was the obvious learning curve that came with that, Tokashiki adjusted quickly to her new role.
“Every year it’s different,” Tokashiki said. “I’ve been able to absorb something different every year. Of course, I do want to play longer and have my opportunities, absolutely.”
- Started the team’s season opener on May 13 at Los Angeles, scoring a season-high 14 points and grabbing four rebounds
- Shot 15-for-23 (65.2) percent over a five-game run from June 6-June 29
- Scored 11 points in 17 minutes on June 27 at Washington
- Snagged a season-high five rebounds on Aug. 4 at Dallas