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Sun happy with the leadership newcomer Little has provided

Mohegan — The Connecticut Sun finished Wednesday’s practice and gathered in a circle, as is customary.

Generally, coach Anne Donovan does all the talking.

Not anymore. Veteran forward Camille Little, who has been with the team for less than a month, stressed to her teammates that they “have to do better,” and “this is not acceptable.”

Connecticut has had many leaders over the years, but most led by example and weren’t outwardly vocal. The Sun have found their voice this year.

“Our first team meeting, we went around the room and everybody introduced themselves and told a little bit about themselves,” Donovan said. “(Little) was the seventh person (to speak), and when it gets to her, she said, ‘I was told you had to stand up when you were speaking, so I’m going to stand up.'

“From the beginning, she had a way about her.”

The Sun play reigning Eastern Conference champion Chicago tonight at 7 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

“Leadership, of course,” Little replied when asked what she brings to her new team. “I just want to make sure that I can teach the girls all the things that I’ve learned over the years; just small things that can help make you better. Never taking a shortcut, and really focusing on being the best player you can be.”

Connecticut (1-1) acquired Little and wing Shekinna Stricklen from the Seattle Storm in late January in exchange for point guard Renee Montgomery and the Nos. 3 and 15 overall picks in the 2015 WNBA Draft.

The Sun coveted Little for both the matchup issues she causes as a “stretch four” and her leadership. They lost a lot of the latter because veteran Katie Douglas was forced to retire in May due to back issues, and Ebony Hoffman isn't playing this season.

“A lot of times last year, I was in my second year, (post) Chiney (Ogwumike) was in her first year, so we got a little sporadic in the post,” third-year center Kelsey Bone said. “Camille has just been a calming presence. She’s always talking. She’s won championships. She’s played a couple of years in this league. She brings and experience that nobody else on this team has.”

Little has had an interesting early journey through the WNBA. She was drafted by the San Antonio Silver Stars in the second round (17th overall) in 2007. She was traded to the Atlanta Dream after the 2008 draft. That same year, Atlanta traded her to Seattle for a second-round pick in the 2009 draft.

Little found her groove with the Storm as she started all but two games since 2009. She averaged 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds and helped Seattle win the 2010 WNBA title. She’s also done so despite being generously listed as 6-foot-2.

“I didn’t become short until I got older,” Little said. “I was taller than everybody else when I was a kid. I was taller than most people, so I played big. And I guess when I realized that I was smaller, I just did things that worked, using my left hand more often, or expanding my mid-range game and 3-point game. It’s to my advantage, obviously, to bring bigger players out (of the paint).”

Chicago (2-1) is led by forward Elena Delle Donne (35.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg), guard Cappie Pondexter (17 ppg), and point guard Courtney Vandersloot (12 ppg, 5 apg).

n.griffen@theday.com

Twitter: @MetalNED

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