2008 Season Rewind: Charde Houston
Undoubtedly, Minnesota's 2008 season was one for the ages. In the franchise's 10th season in the WNBA, the 12 ladies of 2008 captured fans’ hearts with their aggressive, spirited and energetic play. Under the guidance of Don Zierden, the 2008 squad finished the season 16-18, a six-game improvement from 2007. A 2009 playoff appearance seems to be on the horizon for the second-youngest team in the WNBA.
With the season in our rear view mirror and the players flocking overseas, lynxbasketball.com reflects on an exciting 2008 season by taking a look back at each player's campaign. In the sixth installment of this 12-part series, we take a look back at the season of Lynx rookie forward Charde Houston.
Everyone knew Houston had loads of talent coming out of a storied Connecticut Huskies program, but just where the enigmatic forward would land in the 2008 WNBA Draft was anyone's guess. Fortunately for the Lynx, Houston was still sitting there when the 30th pick rolled around. Minnesota snatched her up, marking Houston Minnesota's third selection from a 2008 Final Four participant. While Houston often battled inconsistencies at UCONN that lead to some questions about her pro potential, she quickly put the doubters to rest in her first professional season. Just how good was the 6-1 forward in her rookie year? Houston's 8.8 ppg in 2008 ranked her first since 2000 in scoring among third and fourth round picks in their respective rookie seasons. Furthermore, Houston ranked among the top-10 rookies in scoring (8.8), rebounding (3.7), FG accuracy (49.2%), FT accuracy (74.1%), steals (.91) and minutes (17.6). I'd say the Lynx got quite the steal and a piece to build around in rookie Charde Houston.
So You Think You Can Dance
Minnesota's 9-8 record at home in 2008 gave Houston plenty of opportunities to show off her moves, and that she did. As is tradition after a win, the Lynx players gather around center court to celebrate and form a circle, leaving one player at center stage to steal the show. The player to step to the center more often than any other was… you guessed it, Charde Houston. Dancing to Sugar Hill Gang's “Jump On It,” Houston's moves exemplified the outgoing and likeable personality that made her one of the fan favorites in 2008.
Houston came off Don Zierden's bench in all 33 games she played in 2008, averaging 8.8 ppg. That's notable because Minnesota's bench, primarily comprised of Houston, Candice Wiggins, Kristen Rasmussen, Vanessa Hayden-Johnson, LaToya Thomas and Navonda Moore, combined to average 33.35 ppg, setting a Lynx record for team bench points in a single season.
2008 Game to Remember
We all recall the way Houston burst on to the scene by scoring 21 points in Minnesota's unforgettable season-opening win over the 2007 WNBA Champion Detroit Shock. But as for her best game in 2008, we'll go with two weeks later when she again led the Lynx to a victory over another 2007 Finals participant, this time the Western Conference's Phoenix Mercury. The Lynx came into the May 31 contest at Target Center looking to extend a franchise-best three game winning streak to start the season. Minnesota started strong, jumping out to a 44-36 advantage at half. Phoenix would close the gap to one point midway through the fourth quarter before Houston and company would take over. Houston combined with fellow rookies Nicky Anosike and Candice Wiggins to score the next 10 points in a Minnesota 10-1 game-deciding run that gave Minnesota its fourth consecutive win to open the season. In the 94-83 win, Houston finished with 18 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and two steals in just under 28 minutes off the bench. With the double-double, Houston became the first Lynx rookie to record a point/rebound double-double since Nicole Ohlde accomplished the feat in 2004. In addition, at the time, the 13 rebounds tied for the fourth highest total ever recorded by a Lynx player.
Final 2008 Statistics