Lyttle Seizes Opportunity
- By Erica Littles, -

Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

ATLANTA, June 8, 2009— Sancho Lyttle, forward for the Atlanta Dream, lives a life of perseverance and inspiration. When the window of opportunity opens, she doesn’t hesitate to take full advantage. Hard work, preparation, and eternal optimism are three key characteristics that describe how Lyttle has been able to find success on the basketball court from unlikely roots. These attributes combined with her natural athletic ability carried her from the Caribbean tracks to the WNBA courts.

When did you start playing basketball?
“I use to run track and when I was finishing up high school, that spring, they opened up a clinic for girls to start playing basketball. The guy who brought the clinic said lets teach the girls how to play basketball because it is not the dominant sport in the Caribbean. So he brought us in and we just played. His friend, a coach at a junior college in West Texas, needed some players but we didn’t have any experience. The coach said ‘I will teach them; I just need some players.’ That’s how I got a scholarship to come to America.”

Why did you make the switch from track & field?
“It was an opportunity to get out of what I was used to. I finished high school when I was sixteen and I was not ready to work. So I stayed at home for a while waiting on a track scholarship, but it was taking too long. Then the basketball scholarship came before the track scholarship, so I took it just to get out.”

What motivated you to pursue a career in the WNBA?
“When I first came, I knew about the WNBA but it wasn’t on my mind. I just came to play. Then in my second year in junior college, my coach told me that if I did well, I would get a scholarship to a [4-year] college. So I went to University of Houston and in my third year, we did really well. After that, everyone kept saying next year is her last year and she will probably make it to the WNBA. I did not know that much about basketball except what the coaches taught me. But if these people see that I could make it, then maybe I will. My senior year everyone was saying ‘yeah you are going to make it,’ but in my mind I was thinking ‘whatever.’ All these other players have been playing so long, so for me to come from playing only four years and make it… it seemed impossible. Then the last few months of my collegiate career, I started hearing my name in different newspapers and articles. I started thinking I probably will make it, but let me see where and how I have to do this. I didn’t know the game as well as some of the other players who had been playing so much longer, but because I am athletic I can pick up on things quickly. And that’s how it was until I got into the WNBA.”

Where does your drive come from?
“When I injured my knee my first year is when I realized I really love this game. It did not set me back because we were not playing. It was the off-season and I was at home finishing up my college degree. But when people started saying that some people never come back [after an injury], I said that I want to come back. That’s when I realized this is what I want to do because I felt like if this injury sets me back, I’m going to die.”

What are your goals?
“Just doing better than I did in previous years. Doing better at the things that I know because there are a lot of things that I have to learn and I have to learn them quickly. I am getting older not younger. I also can’t let anyone intimidate me because we are all here for a reason. And I know that I am here to help the Atlanta Dream.”

What advice do you have for a young girl hoping to play in the WNBA?
“Work hard. I started basketball late, but I’ve worked hard for the past seven years. If you can keep working hard from where you start to where you want to go, you will probably make it.”