by Ryan Semanko
Hard work, determination and perseverance are three terms that fit the mindset of Lynx rookie Tasha Butts. Throughout her entire basketball career, the 22-year-old has always been one to give it her all and keep a positive outlook. Her bright attitude is one of the key reasons she has been successful so far this WNBA season.
"It says a lot for me, especially my work ethic and how I believe in myself," said Butts. "I just came here and had the support of the veterans, with them telling me that I came from a top-notch program and there is no reason why I shouldn't fit in and play."
Through her hard work, Butts went from a role player in her first two years at Tennessee to being named All-SEC Second Team in her senior year. She led the Lady Vols in many statistical categories in her final season and hit the game-winning shot to defeat Stanford and bring Tennessee to the NCAA's Final Four.
Even with all her success in college, Butts was still nervous that she would not be drafted by a WNBA team last April. "I was more excited than anything, but also a little bit nervous because I didn't know if I was going to get drafted or not," she said. "Then getting drafted in the second round... I was very happy with it. It was an opportunity for me to come here and prove to myself that I belong in this league and I guess that's what I've done."
Butts' hard work and positive attitude has taken her from not knowing if she would be drafted three months ago to averaging 16 minutes of playing time per game for the Lynx. She scored a season-high 13 points in her first WNBA game, May 20 at Seattle, hitting three three-pointers in that game. She has pulled down six rebounds twice and handed out four assists in back-to-back games. In 23 games, Butts is averaging 3.0 points and 2.3 assists.
Since being selected with the 20th overall pick, the 5-11 rookie has more than proven to everyone that she belongs in this league. Butts has given the Lynx a nice spark off the bench by providing offense to go along with her normal tough defense and rebounding.
Butts' WNBA.com playerfile
May 24: Lynx visit Crisis Nursery
April 17: Lynx select Butts in second round of WNBA Draft
2004 Lynx features archive