Storm F Camille Little scored a career-high 31 points in a win against Minnesota on Friday. She’s the fifth player in team history to reach the mark.
C Lauren Jackson has scored 30-points or more 27 times in her 12-year Storm career. PG Sue Bird has scored 30-points or more twice in her 12-year career while retired G Betty Lennox and F Tina Thompson have done it once while in Storm jerseys.
Little was moved into the starting lineup in 2011 to replace an injured Jackson. On Friday, Little tied Bird in most consecutive starts in franchise history at 106. Bird’s run was from her rookie season in 2002 to 2005.
Despite Bird missing the 2013 season due to a knee injury, she’s slowly develop a new pick-and-pop/pick-and-roll partner with Little — now that Little is able to add the pop. The two-player game was a favorite of Jackson and Bird, helping Seattle win two WNBA championships.
Vastly different from Jackson, a 6-foot-6 post, Little at 6-2 first started putting the three-point shot in her game when she went to China in 2012 for offseason play. The bruising style in the paint is Little’s specialty, although she’s not a consistent shot blocker like Jackson.
Little shot 28.3 percent from the three-point range in 2013 and is currently shooting an improved 35.5 percent, 40.9 percent in 11 games in June. Little, who was acquired by GM Brian Agler via trade in 2008, is shooting 45.7 percent from the field overall. She’s missed a lot of opportunities for the old-fashioned three-point play, but is shooting a career-best 81.7 percent from the foul line.
The only kink is the Storm (7-10) is struggling to win. Seattle defeated Minnesota for the second time this season on Friday, Phoenix is the only other WNBA team to be undefeated against the modern-day power. The Storm is 6-4 on the road and plays its first matchup at Minnesota (11-5) on Sunday at 4pm PT.
“We were tired of losing to them,”Little said in a postgame interview Friday. The Storm was swept in six games to the Lynx in 2013, including the opening round of the playoffs.
Due to the brutal schedule where Seattle played 10 of its opening 13 games on the road to open the season, the Storm has already hit the midway point of the season (17 games) and is done playing the Eastern Conference on the road. Barely edging Los Angeles (5-8) for last in Western Conference standings, Seattle can’t afford many more losses in hopes of making an 11th straight playoff appearance.
And this season’s draft is hardly the one to look for a “silver-lining” in getting a game-changer No. 1 overall draft pick to help for the future (UConn star Breanna Stewart is the Class of 2016).
So Seattle needs to continue its winning game-plan against Minnesota. There’s no doubt a big piece of that is Little, the MVP of the team so far this season.
Here’s a replay of Little’s career night on Friday: