It's no secret that an area that needed to be addressed this offseason was Minnesota's three-point shooting. While last Friday's addition of Kelly Miller should help a team that finished 11th in three-point field-goal percentage (32.2%) and 13th in made three-pointers per game (3.91) in 2008, she's not the only player the Lynx have added this winter to jump-start their ascent to the top in three-point shooting.
Because of Friday's roster makeover, a player who might get lost in the shuffle is December addition Roneeka Hodges. The Lynx plucked the veteran guard from Houston in last December's Dispersal Draft.
Both Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith and Head Coach Don Zierden quickly identified Hodges' prowess from behind the arc and her ability to lead as qualities that could help their young roster and improve Minnesota's chances to return to the playoffs. "Roneeka gives us a veteran perimeter player who we feel can come in and compete for minutes at the guard position," said Griffith at the time of the move. "She's a versatile player who has playoff experience and will add another three-point threat to our roster. She will be a great complement to our young and talented group."
After completing her fourth season in the WNBA in 2008, Hodges went overseas to Spain where she hoped to continue to hone her skills from beyond the arc. A career 33.5 percent three-point shooter in the WNBA, Hodges' three-point proficiency has been on full display overseas.
While playing for Spanish power Ros Casares, Hodges averaged 8.3 points in 24 games while shooting 33.3% (20-60) from outside the arc. Lynx teammate Candice Wiggins' arrival to Valencia forced a mid-season move for Hodges to Rivas Ecopolis.
The move seems to have ignited the 5-11 guard, as she has been on fire from the floor, and nearly automatic from long distance. In four games with her new club, Hodges has connected on 16-of-30 (53%) three-point attempts, en route to 17.5 ppg. In a Jan. 24 game versus LaToya Thomas' Zaragoza club, Hodges connected on 6-of-12 three-point attempts, and totaled 24 points. Much of Hodges’ success can be attributed to her spike in playing time. In her short time with Rivas, she's started each game and averaged 32.0 mpg, compared to averaging just over 17 minutes of floor time with Ros Casares. While it's a small sample size, the results and jump in production should not be ignored.
Hodges' status for 2009 remains to be seen, as she enters her fifth WNBA season as a restricted free-agent - but if she carries her level of play from Spain over to the States come May, Minnesota might have just found someone who can help cure its three-point shooting woes.