It’s hard for any rookie to adjust to life in the WNBA—and it’s been a little more difficult than most for Tasha Humphrey.
The center from Georgia was working hard at getting settled into life with the Detroit Shock after being the 11th pick in last spring’s draft. But Detroit traded her to the Mystics on Aug. 12, the centerpiece of a deal that also brought Washington Shay Murphy and a second-round pick next year in exchange for Taj McWilliams-Franklin.
Humphrey has played three games with Washington since the deal and is making an impact – averaging 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds while starting twice. She had a solid game in Tuesday’s 79-68 loss to Indiana, getting nine points and five rebounds while playing over 31 minutes, the second-most on the team.
“She’s very talented. She’s stepped up and has been able to help us,” interim coach Jessie Kenlaw said. “I’m real pleased with her and her performance.”
Humphrey gives the Mystics more muscle inside, something they seemed to be lacking at times this season. The combination of Humphrey, Nakia Sanford, first-round pick Crystal Langhorne (currently dealing with a broken nose) and Andrea Gardner give Kenlaw four different players to use who can battle on the boards.
Right now, Humphrey said she’s just trying to settle into life as a Mystic.
“I just want to go out and help our team as much as possible and get a couple of wins under our belts,” she said. “I think I’m getting more in my comfort zone-- the organization has a lot of high expectations for me, and I have a lot of high expectations for myself. I’m trying to capitalize and make the most of it.”
Humphrey admitted that the trade surprised her. She had been playing well with Detroit, averaging 7.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 22 games, 16 of which were starts.
“It’s been good here,” she said. “I’m still trying to adjust because it’s a totally different surrounding than it was being in Detroit. I’m just taking it one day at a time.”
Humphrey came into the league following a stellar career at Georgia. She was a four-year starter there who averaged 18.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
In addition, she was a first-team all-SEC selection all four years at Georgia. Humphrey also was the SEC freshman of the year in 2005 as well as the co-National freshman of the year, which set the stage for her strong career.
For now, though, Humphrey is facing a new challenge. She’s likely going to play a big role with the Mystics in the seasons ahead, but is working hard at helping them finish the 2008 season in a strong way.
“It’s getting easier every day,” she said. “Just going out there and practicing and playing with the team, I think that helps a lot. I think we’ve just got to keep going forward as a basketball team.”