2012 in Review: Ann Wauters

Neil Enns/Storm Photos
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5.8 RPG 2.3
1.4 APG 1.0
0.6 SPG 0.3
0.7 BPG 0.3
23.0 MPG 12.7
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Kevin Pelton, StormBasketball.com | Dec. 18, 2012

The Storm made center Ann Wauters the centerpiece of the team's offseason makeover. After clearing space under the WNBA's salary cap, the Storm was able to lure Wauters back for her first WNBA action since 2009 in San Antonio. The unrestricted free agent was sold on the Storm's family environment - ideal for her pair of infant children - and the prospect of pairing again with Lauren Jackson, her teammate in Spain for EuroLeague champ Ros Casares Valencia.

At first, the Storm viewed Wauters as a short-term replacement for Jackson, who missed the first half of the 2012 season in order to train with the Australian National Team prior to the Olympics. Wauters' arrival gave the team more size in the middle in Jackson's absence, as well as a post-up threat that was previously lacking. The addition paid immediate dividends in the season opener as she scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in an Opening Night loss to Los Angeles.

Wauters stayed hot the brief remainder of the Storm's May schedule, putting up 15 points and eight boards in the rematch in L.A. and falling just shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds on May 27 at Minnesota.

The month of June was not as kind to Wauters, who fell into an extended slump as the team struggled. After scoring double figures in the Storm's first three games, she did so just once in the next seven she played. Wauters continued to contribute on the glass, averaging 5.7 rebounds in the month. She also reached a pair of milestones in back-to-back games. On June 17 against Minnesota, she grabbed her 1,000th career rebound. Five days later, she surpassed 2,000 career points early in the Storm's win over San Antonio.

At the end of June, Wauters started to get going again, reaching double-digit scoring in four consecutive games - three of them wins. That's when injury intervened. During a loss at New York on June 30, Wauters injured her left Achilles tendon. The strain sidelined Wauters for the remainder of the team's schedule prior to the Olympic Break, and lingered past the month off.

After nearly two months, Wauters was finally able to return to the lineup against the same opponent she had last faced, New York. Playing with Jackson for the first time in a Storm uniform, Wauters had nine points in as many minutes off the bench as the Storm romped, 84-66.

Jackson's return moved Wauters to a reserve role, which was ideal for working her back into the lineup after the injury. She ramped up her minutes late in the regular season when Jackson missed time due to back and hamstring pain, and showed her renewed health. Wauters had 12 points and nine rebounds at San Antonio on Sept. 14, then scored 16 points with eight boards against Chicago on Sept. 18. In the Storm's last home game of the regular season, Wauters recorded her only double-double of 2012 with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

During the playoff matchup with the Minnesota Lynx, Head Coach Brian Agler tried to use Jackson and Wauters together to give the Storm more size in the frontcourt and a high-low combination. Wauters played 19 minutes in Game 1, contributing four points and two rebounds. While Jackson and Wauters played together in Spain, that came with Jackson in a different role at small forward, and the two players got little practice time in Seattle. So Agler went elsewhere the remainder of the series, with Wauters playing just 19 minutes in Games 2 and 3.

Despite the injury that interrupted her season, Wauters put up solid numbers. Her 5.8 rebounds per game led the Storm, and Wauters was fourth in scoring at 9.6 points per game. She also shot 51.9 percent from the field, putting her tied for sixth in Storm franchise history among players with at least 100 shot attempts.

2012 Highlights:

  • Led the Storm in rebounding (5.8 rpg).
  • Grabbed 13 rebounds, a Storm season high, in double-double on Sept. 21 vs. San Antonio.
  • Reached both 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for her WNBA career during June.
  • Scored a season-high 17 points in her Storm debut against Los Angeles on Opening Night.

What was your favorite Ann Wauters memory during the 2012 season? Share your reply in the comments.

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