Everyone enjoys playoff basketball! The NBA Finals are coming to an end. There are two games left featuring two amazing teams that are playing skilled basketball with a lot of heart. It’s great and there’s so much excitement around it!
I’ll talk more about the NBA Finals, but it’s also the start of the WNBA season. A lot of transactions took place during the offseason. I happen to be one of the storylines, with me coming back home to Chicago. There’s a huge, huge, huge amount of excitement here in Chicago with our new team!
I’m so excited to be home! I’ve had a house here for about six years, but I never had the opportunity to stay here because I was either playing in Phoenix, New York or Europe. I love sleeping in my own bed! This is a huge city with crazy traffic, so sometimes I stay out in the suburb of Deerfield near our team’s practice facility. Most of our team lives out there. I’m enjoying the process of learning the city. I left when I was 18, so I didn’t really have the opportunity to learn Chicago as an adult. And I’m doing that now.
So, we are 2-2 right now. Even though our record doesn’t say much, we have a really good team and I feel very positive about it. We are in the mode of finding the right pieces that fit together…trying to find the five to start the game that makes us kind of click from the beginning. We’re so ahead offensive-wise, which is kind of scary. I think our main thing is finding what we’re really good at defensively because obviously we’re missing a big part with Sylvia Fowles not being in the middle protecting shots. But we’re making adjustments with that.
We are going to continue to have fun. It’s a process right now. And this is when we say to ourselves, how good do we want to be? Do we really want to win a Championship? And right now, we are working everyday to get to that.
Back to the NBA finals for a minute. I’m not pulling for any team per se, but I enjoy the skill level of certain players. I’m learning, I’m watching sets, I’m watching defensive schemes. I’m just enjoying these games. The game f basketball is always evolving and you can always learn and pull something from it. That’s what my eyes are doing now – watching and learning!
You know what I think was really interesting…There was an article on ESPN.com that a lot of people were talking about a couple days ago about the science behind all the traveling the players are doing during these Finals and how the body recovers from it. It’s amazing how these players are going back and forth like that. It’s crazy! Flying itself is exhausting. And then with the minutes they are playing, the amount of intensity out there…it all plays a major factor. It eventually comes out.
But Golden State is much deeper rotation-wise. They have so many diverse players that can play multiple positions, where the Cavs rotation is 6 or 7 off the bench. So when I think about Game 6, I think it will be interesting to see how the teams recover after the flight from Golden State to Cleveland, which is obviously a totally different time zone. Honestly, I think whoever recovers the fastest will win Game 6.
I had a great offseason from the WNBA in Australia. It gave me a chance to actually rest my body and still compete. Now, I’m officially back and it’s good to be home in Chicago. After being traded to the Chicago Sky, I’m very excited to be playing in front of friends and family in the city that I grew up in.
But, it’s always hard to leave places that are familiar to you. I’ve been in New York for five years trying to build something, but I’m happy to be in a place where I’m wanted and able to compete for a championship. That’s always my goal and I feel that being in Chicago, I have the chance now.
The draft is tonight and I’ll be watching at our draft party, cheering on our pick. I’m excited to see who we land with the fifth pick. I’m sure it will be a fun night.
For me, back in 2006, the draft was overwhelming. I can’t lie. We had just finished the All-American game for the college seniors and I had to fly to Connecticut. There were rumors surrounding whether I was going to go one or two. People were talking about whether Seimone Augustus would go one and I would go two or vice versa. There was a lot of speculation around it.
It was a two-day event, and I also had to find something to wear. I spent a lot of time running all around looking for something. My family came up. They wanted to be with me. I was nervous going into it because I didn’t know if I’d have to go up there first or second or what. I didn’t know how it would go. It was an excited nervous feeling, though. Ultimately I went second to the Mercury, and I was happy to learn that I’d be playing with Diana Taurasi. That was a great feeling.
It all happens so fast. Your name is being called and you’re talking to media and then just like that I had to fly to Phoenix an hour later after the draft. It was a crazy whirlwind but it was super exciting. I’d tell this year’s draft class to just have fun and soak it all up. You only have this day once and it all happens so quickly, so embrace the moment, take lots of pictures and enjoy it. It’s an opportunity that will change your life for the better, so just soak it all up.
Even though the fashion is the trend and all the girls are thinking about what to wear, once your name gets called, it’s all about basketball. You have to prepare yourself to be ready to go. The Mercury flew me out for media right away, so I landed in Phoenix at 11 or 12 at night and was up at 7 in the morning talking to the press. It was fun. I was happy to be in a different element and ready for my professional career to start.
When the season starts, I think that first half of the season you are riding on a high and then you hit that rookie wall. If you played in the NCAA tournament and then you go to the WNBA you’re pretty much playing nonstop. You have to do your best to take care of your body – rest when you can, but at the same time enjoy going to different cities and playing against all these different teams.
But it all starts now for these girls and it’s exciting to start your career. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing where everyone lands. Good luck to everyone at the draft!
We are in a good place right now, especially coming off of All-Star break and winning five of our last six games, which is very positive. We are improving day by day, practice by practice, game by game...and I'm excited about it! We are in fourth place right now and if the playoffs started tomorrow, we'd be in the playoffs facing Atlanta.
Going into our West Coast trip, everybody was focused. It's been a tough swing for Tina and me since we flew from All-Star (in Phoenix) to practice in New York for one day back out to Los Angeles. But I'm glad we had the legs to come out and play really hard. The third game of our road trip hit us; we shot terribly and didn't get the win, but overall we have been playing with a lot of intensity.
Morale on the team has been great, especially since we picked up two key players in Natasha Lacy and Swin Cash. They fit in so well, it's almost like they've been with us since the beginning of the season. The chemistry they bring, which our team already had, has been amazing.
Lacy is a similar guard as myself. She can get her own shot and help others as well. And now she adds a third dimension as a backup 1. Swin is a veteran leader who has played for Bill for many years, so she knows what he is looking for. She's an all-around winner, in my opinion, on and off the court.
Players can talk all day about what we should do, but we have been showing it. We have a handful of players that can say what they feel, and then at the same time, show it. It's important to both of these things. We want to make the playoffs, and the bottom line is that it's in our own hands.
You always want to play at home, and sleep in your own bed, but we have three more away games ahead of us. Tonight we are playing Chicago, who has beat us in our last nine games. So tonight is an important game. We have to come out with an aggressive mindset and play really, really, really hard. When you compete on the road, you have to play even tougher. And my mindset is to go after it on both ends of the floor.
It's been a tough year because I'm nursing an injury; I have my good days and I have my bad days. I feel like I can give this team so much more, but right now I'm trying to get healthy and give this team as much as I can.
I also want to thank the fans for their energy at our last home game (we had something like 13,000 fans at our last home game, which is pretty amazing for a regular-season game)...the energy was unreal! Please keep supporting us as we make our playoff push!
August 8th is our next home game and I look forward to seeing all of our fans there...packing the Garden!