2008 in Review: Camille Little
Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com | November 28, 2008
A trade took Camille Little from the bottom of the league almost all the way to the top. Little started her second WNBA season in Atlanta, having been acquired by the expansion Dream from San Antonio on the day of the WNBA Draft. Little split time up front for Atlanta but never really settled in. So, on June 22, the Dream dealt Little to the Seattle Storm in exchange for a 2009 second-round pick. Suddenly, Little, who had been playing on a team that would finish with a league-low four wins, entered the thick of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
Storm Head Coach Brian Agler was very familiar with Little, having coached her as an assistant during Little's rookie season with the Silver Stars. Based on that experience, Agler felt he could get more out of Little than she was able to give Atlanta. After getting a practice under her belt, Little quickly stepped into the Storm's rotation. Her arrival coincided with the Storm going on a franchise-record seven-game winning streak.
Little's opportunity truly came in mid-July when Lauren Jackson left the Storm to join the Australian National Team prior to the Olympics. Little stepped into Jackson's starting spot and responded immediately, putting up 13 points and seven boards in her first start with the Storm. That was the first of four straight double-figure scoring efforts for Little, including a double-double July 20 at Washington (10 points, 12 rebounds).
After the Olympic break, Little figured to return to a reserve role. That plan changed when Jackson was forced to undergo ankle surgery, ending her regular season. Little kept up her strong play as a starter, helping the Storm go 8-5 without Jackson. Little scored double-figures in five straight games to start September, capped by a career-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting against her former Atlanta team on Sept. 12.
Overall as a starter, Little averaged 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, giving the Storm solid production at both ends of the floor. While Little was a strong defender as advertised, the scoring punch she offered the Storm was something of a surprise. She had averaged but 3.9 points per game as a rookie playing heavy minutes off the bench in San Antonio. Little's ability to finish in the paint was a major strength, as she shot 53.2 percent after joining the Storm and 50.3 percent for the season, tops on the team either way. The Storm-only mark would have been good for eighth in the WNBA.
During the postseason, Little continued to start up front and had a challenging matchup with eventual league MVP Candace Parker. Little was a major factor in the Storm holding Parker in check during the series, limiting her to 13.7 points per game and forcing Parker into nearly four turnovers a night. At first, Parker's length was problematic for Little, somewhat undersized for a post position. In Game 1, Little missed seven of her eight shot attempts. Little got it going during Game 2, when she scored 13 points and was 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. She was then the Storm's second-leading scorer in Game 3, finishing with 17 points and matching that perfect performance at the charity stripe.
As a rookie, Little had established herself as a second-round steal, making the WNBA All-Rookie Team. During her sophomore campaign, Little showcased her potential to be more than just a role player in the WNBA with her performance as a starter in Seattle. The potential return of a healthy Jackson, provided she re-signs as an unrestricted free agent, could change Little's role in 2009. As either a starter or a reserve, she's sure to be a big part of the Storm's future.
2008 Photo Gallery
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