Hightower Comes Into Her Own

Written by Bobby Duley

Allison Hightower has exceeded expectations in her third year with the Sun, but shes only just getting started. After averaging only 2.3 points per game in her first two seasons, she is averaging 7.1 points per game so far in the 2012 season. This is partially due to the fact that she was only on the court for 10 minutes a night in the first two years of her career, but has now more than doubled that to 25 minutes per game this season.

Hightower grew up in Texas, and was exposed to the WNBA at an early age. The Houston Comets were formed in 1997 and won the first four WNBA championships. The team was an inspiration for a young Hightower, and she used the games she saw as a kid to influence her career.

I loved watching the Comets, she said. I first started watching them when they first came on in 97 and I actually got to be there for a few championships. It was just an amazing experience. I already loved playing the game of basketball, and to know that there was a professional league was just always something that was in the back of my head and something that I always dreamed about.

After a successful high school career, Hightower became an LSU Tiger and left as the 13th leading scored in school history. She played in two Final Fours and was named LSUs MVP in her final two seasons. She even played for Van Chancellor, who coached her beloved Comets years before.

LSU is a great program and it prepared me for a lot, Hightower said. We had a lot of great coaches who guided me, and I learned a lot and improved every year. I just continued to improve and develop my game and help my team. It was just a great experience.

After being named to the 2010 All-SEC Defensive team, it was clear that Hightower took pride in her play on the defensive end. Although shes become more of a scorer in her third year in Connecticut, her defensive play has always been a key to her success.

I love to play defense and its just something thats second nature now, she said. I went to a school in LSU, where defense was a big key in our team, so coming here it prepared me a lot.

After battling an illness and struggling to really find her groove in the league, Hightower has been able to hit the ground running and not look back so far in 2012.

I feel like I had a great opportunity and Ive made the most of it, she said. My first two years, I was sick and I wasnt playing that much. But the hard work, its really paying off now and hopefully I can continue to do that and continue to help the team in any way I can and continue to get better, each game and each practice.

Although the final goal of a championship is still a few steps away, Hightower is confident that the team is on the right track, and she will be an important part of the process as the Sun move forward.

I know Im prepared for this and it just feels good to see it paying off.