Indiana's Tammy Sutton-Brown still a big WNBA force
The 6-foot-4 former Rutgers star has played in the shadow of teammates, but is one of the most effective big players in WNBA history
Seattle Times staff reporter
Indiana @ Storm, 7 p.m.
It doesn't seem like that long ago to Tammy Sutton-Brown.
The former Rutgers star remembers a shy Australian named Lauren Jackson being selected No. 1 overall in the 2001 draft. Knowing her from national-team play, Sutton-Brown knew that there was nothing bashful about the Aussie's game.
But as Jackson quickly rose to WNBA stardom, Sutton-Brown waited as she was flicked into anonymity. The two meet Friday night when Indiana (8-4) faces the Storm (11-2) at KeyArena.
Sutton-Brown was selected in the second round by now-defunct Charlotte. She was named a 2007 All-Star, yet most may be surprised she's in an elite group of five players with 3,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 400 blocks in their WNBA careers. Jackson, Lisa Leslie, Tangela Smith and Margo Dydek round out the list.
"Tammy's steadily gotten better," Storm coach Brian Agler said. "Now it seems she's a consistent player. She plays hard all the time, and she plays to her strengths. To me, that's the key to being a good player."
Sutton-Brown, a 6-foot-4 Canadian, doesn't mind if she goes unnoticed, either. She's already in the shadow of teammates Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas, who average a combined 30.2 points for the defending Eastern Conference champions.
"That's fine, I don't have a problem with that," said Sutton-Brown, who averages 8.9 points and 5.9 rebounds. "I had no idea about the milestone — that I was even up there. I'm at the point now where I want a ring so bad, I want to do whatever it takes, whether it's playing the toughest defense in the post or blocking shots, just whatever to get wins."
The traditional "center" mindset is what makes Sutton-Brown a rarity.
Sure, Jackson can catch an alley-oop pass from point guard Sue Bird in transition and lay it in. But the 6-5 Aussie also shoots a career 35.5 percent from three-point range.
Sutton-Brown has attempted one three-pointer in 10 seasons.
"The way she's built is perfect for a five," Bird continued. "Her hamstrings are some of the biggest. Watch her post up. It's a wide base and you can't move her. You see so much of her scoring occur right under the basket because she's so strong. The other thing she does great is run the floor. She's fast and they look for her a lot."
Sutton-Brown lured Storm forward Camille Little into two quick fouls, and blocked three shots and grabbed five offensive rebounds in a 72-65 win against Seattle last week.
Jackson, who averages 20 points and nine boards, and Sutton-Brown know it's going to take another blend of their elite skills to bend the outcome their way in the rematch Friday.
"It's going to be a battle," Sutton-Brown said. "Lauren is a great player, one of the best in the league. So, it's going to be tough. But in this league, you're pretty much going to war every night."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com
|Only five players in the WNBA's 14-year history have accumulated more than 3,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 400 blocks in their careers. The newest addition in Indiana center Tammy Sutton-Brown will face off against another in Storm post Lauren Jackson on Friday. Here's the complete list:|
|Lisa Leslie||C||Los Angeles||13|
|6,263 points, 3,307 rebounds, 822 blocks|
|4,568 points, 2,116 rebounds, 524 blocks|
|5,361 points, 2,186 rebounds, 550 blocks|
|3,008 points. 1,708 rebounds, 455 blocks|
|3,216 points, 2,248 rebounds, 877 blocks|
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