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Originally published June 6, 2013 at 7:55 PM | Page modified June 6, 2013 at 11:35 PM

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Camille Little needs to be a big factor for Seattle Storm

With Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird out with injuries this season, it’s up to Little to provide power inside and some scoring punch, too.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Friday

Tulsa @ Storm, 7 p.m., Live Well channel

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You’re not going to see Camille Little’s name on any list of the top centers in the WNBA. She’s always going to be considered the underdog in every matchup Seattle plays without all-star Lauren Jackson.

But since she joined the Storm in 2008, Little has proved she can handle playing inside, this year as a full-time center. That was reaffirmed in Seattle’s win against Phoenix on Sunday.

Little is 6 feet 2 inches tall, yet used her strength and veteran skills to limit touted rookie Brittney Griner (6-8) in a 75-72 win. Friday she’ll attempt to do the same against a scrappy Tulsa (0-4) team looking for its first win of the year.

The secret? In addition to Little using her physical nature to help wear opponents down – Griner was 2 of 8 from the field in the second half Sunday – Little can also step out to shoot three-pointers.

“Everybody is taller than me,” said Little, one of the few second-round draft picks to be successful in the WNBA. “I usually don’t like to lift a lot, but we have a good trainer who makes me want to go in there more.

“But (strength conditioning) wasn’t anything about (Griner); it was what my team needed me to do. We’re going to always have to have a defensive stand in every game. We can’t relax on that. If you have a hard night scoring, you can play defense and get stops.”

Scoring is a question for the Storm (1-1) this season. Jackson and Sue Bird have led the offense since 2001. Both are out due to offseason surgeries.

Little emerged as more of a reliable offensive player in 2012, averaging a career-high 11 points with 5.1 rebounds. She’s averaging 13 points this season.

Notes

• Storm assistant coach Nancy Darsch rejoined the team after attending the funeral services for her brother last week.

• Bird will make her second appearance as an in-studio host for Saturday’s game between Indiana and Phoenix on ABC at 12:30 p.m. The WNBA will also debut a “Ref-Cam” where a wireless camera will be positioned at eye level on one of the game’s three officials.

• Storm reserve Alysha Clark was named an assistant coach at her alma mater, Middle Tennessee State. She’ll begin the position after the WNBA season.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @JaydaEvans

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