Take a look at Tina Thompson reflecting on her special career! One of the pioneers of the league, Thompson finishes as the all time leading scorer in WNBA history. She is also a two time gold medalist and a four time WNBA Champion!
SEATTLE – The Storm beat the Indiana Fever 77-70 Saturday night at KeyArena, 77-70.
Seattle led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, but the Fever hung around and fought its way back, taking a one-point lead into the half, 40-39. The Storm used key defensive stops in the fourth quarter to seal the victory against the defending champions.
Tina Thompson became the first player in WNBA history to reach 3,000 rebounds and 7,000 points. She led all scorers with 23 points and had seven rebounds. Thompson achieved her milestone in the third quarter when she pulled down her fourth rebound of the game. Temeka Johnson added 16 points and dished out eight assists. Shekinna Stricklen chipped in 15 points.
Indiana was paced by Tamika Catchings, who scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds. Briann January put up 17 points and Erlana Larkins added 14 points and nine rebounds.
The Storm returns to action on Tuesday in a game against Los Angeles on Aug. 20 at 7 p.m., which will be broadcast on ESPN2, followed by a game against Phoenix on Friday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m., which will broadcast on KONG.
In April 1997, on the night before Houston Comets coach Van Chancellor was to make the first pick in the inaugural WNBA draft, he got a call from then Vanderbilt coach Jim Foster, who knew his friend was trying to decide between USC 6’2″ senior forward Tina Thompson and a veteran of an overseas league. Foster told Chancellor, “Younger players bounce back more quickly from injury. The WNBA season doesn’t last long. Take Thompson.” Foster made a good point, but it never applied to Thompson: In 16-plus seasons in the league, the first 12 in Houston, she has never had a major injury.
As players and teams have come and gone, and many celebrated stars have hit the disabled list for long stretches, Thompson—with her ruby-red Diva lipstick—has been an important constant in the league. That will change after this season, when Thompson, now 38 and the last original WNBA player still active, retires from the sport.
Though the topic makes her cringe and “feel old,” Thompson’s legacy extends far beyond what’s listed in the record book, though there is plenty there. She, Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl Swoopes made up the Big Three and led the Comets to the first four WNBA titles, from 1997 through 2000. With tenacious post defense, range out to 30 feet and a jeweler’s touch around the rim, Thompson plays with a versatility that was unknown among power forwards in the women’s game 16 years ago and is still rare today. Even as bigger and faster young athletes flood the league, Thompson continues to be a difficult matchup—her experience and savvy, and her careerlong commitment to staying in shape and expanding her game, make up for any lost explosiveness. (Through last Thursday her 14.4 points ranked first and her 4.6 rebounds third on the 4–4 Seattle Storm.) To her four titles she added eight All-Star nods, seven All-WNBA selections and two Olympic gold medals. She has been the league’s alltime leading scorer since 2010, and her 7,124 points (through last Thursday) are more than 800 ahead of Katie Smith, who is No. 2 on the list.
In the past 16 years, Tina Thompson has seen all that the WNBA has had to offer. Thompson has observed—and been a part of—the ups and downs of advertising in the WNBA, scored a lot of points and was a key factor in the league’s first dynasty. But possibly the most important thing Thompson has learned over her basketball career is this:
The choices you make will define you.
Thompson’s game is probably one of the most unique the WNBA has ever seen. While many talk about her versatile skill set, Thompson said her game was developed as a product of her environment. Thompson was raised in West Los Angeles, CA, honing her game at Robertson Park. In an area known for its rich basketball culture, Thompson was placed in a great environment to grow.
“Everyone in my neighborhood played basketball,” Thompson said. “It wasn’t my initial interest, but my brothers used to always take me to the park, and I just began playing and competing.” Playing with her brother and his friends helped mold her game for years to come. “I started playing basketball with guys, and they were bigger than me. A lot taller and more developed than I was.” As a result Thompson developed a polished outside game and often displayed an uncanny ability to hit shots for a player of her size.
The balance of Thompson’s offensive game made coaches salivate at the opportunity to have her don their program’s jersey. Thompson chose to stay close to home and continue to soak in the Cali sun at USC. It was here that Thompson got to play with Future Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie. Thompson was very observant and learned a lot in the year playing alongside Leslie.
“We pushed each other and playing together was an instant connection,” Thompson said. “We had an excellent high-low game, with me up top and Lisa working the block down low. The game becomes very easy when you are playing with someone of that caliber. Her basketball IQ is very high.”
Two teams representing the Western Conference and two teams representing the Eastern Conference will compete in the 2013 Sears Shooting Stars as part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Toyota Center in Houston
Representing the Western Conference from the NBA are James Harden, who earned his first career All-Star Game nod in his inaugural season with the Houston Rockets, and fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The WNBA stars for the West are Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx, a 2012 Olympic gold medal winner and 2011 WNBA champion, and the Seattle Storm’s Tina Thompson, the WNBA all-time leading scorer. NBA Legends Sam Cassell and Robert Horry, who played a combined 31 seasons in the league and won 10 NBA championships, round out the West representation. Cassell and Horry were teammates on a Rockets team that won back-to-back titles in 1994-95.
On behalf of the Eastern Conference from the NBA are Chris Bosh, an All-Star and key member of the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat, and All-Star Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets, who earned his first All-Star nod. The WNBA Eastern Conference stars are Swin Cash of the Chicago Sky, a three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Tamika Catchings, who guided the Indiana Fever to the 2012 WNBA title and earned Finals MVP honors along the way. The NBA Legends on the East squads are Muggsy Bogues, the shortest player in NBA history at 5-3, who enjoyed a 14-year NBA career, and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, a nine-time NBA All-Star, who finished with 26,668 career points.
In last year’s competition, Team New York, which featured Landry Fields, Allan Houston and Cappie Pondexter, defeated Team Texas in the final round with a time of:37.3. Team Texas was comprised of Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars), and Kenny Smith (NBA Legend).
Sears Shooting Stars is part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, an all-inclusive skills showcase, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Toyota Center in Houston and will be televised live by TNT at 8 p.m. ET. The other events consist of the the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, a contest of top guards working against the clock to complete a series of passes, free throws, layups and agility drills; the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest; and the Sprite Slam Dunk contest. For the first time, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will feature a new format that pits the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference in a night of competitions that will raise money for charity.
The Sears Shooting Stars contest features one current NBA player, one current WNBA player and an NBA legend on each team. There are six numbered shooting locations of increasing difficulty, with each team attempting to make all shots in numeric order in the fastest time. Each team will select a specific player rotation to follow throughout the competition. Each shot must be made before the next player begins shooting in succession. Teams have up to two minutes to complete the entire shooting course. (Complete rules for 2013 Sears Shooting Stars and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night attached).
The NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 17, will air live on TNT, ESPN Radio and in 215 countries and will be broadcast in 47 languages.