Fever Q&A With Alison Bales
Bales lived in Indianapolis until she was five years old and her family moved to Ohio. On her 22nd birthday she found out she'd be returning to Indiana when the Fever made her the ninth pick overall in the 2007 WNBA Draft.
FeverBasketball.com had a chance to ask Bales what it was like to return to Indianapolis as well as what she learned during her first year in the WNBA.
FeverBasketball.com: What was your reaction when you found out the Fever had selected you and you'd be returning to Indianapolis?
Alison Bales: “I was really excited when I heard [WNBA President] Donna [Orender] announce that I had been drafted by Indiana. For me it really was a homecoming, not only did I live here until I was five but I have spent every Christmas and many summer weeks at my grandparents in Terre Haute, Indiana. It was my Grandmother's reaction, who was sitting at my table in the front row of the draft, that says it all; she yelled, ‘YES! YES! YES!’ as soon as my name was called. My family has been more than supportive of the Fever. My parents bought season tickets, my three siblings, as well as several aunts, uncles, and cousins have attended many games.”
FB: You lived here until you were 5. What memory of Indianapolis stands out the most from your childhood?
AB: “I remember several things from my Indy childhood. My house just north of downtown on Pennsylvania and 49th, the duck pond that we always walked to, but the thing that stands out most has to be our trips to the Children’s Museum and the big yellow water clock.”
FB: You were just inducted into the Hoopstars Basketball Hall of Fame. What did that mean to you?
AB: “The Dayton Lady Hoopstars are the best organization for girls’ basketball of all ages in Ohio, and I am proud to have been a part of three AAU National Championships. This was the first group inducted, and Tamika Williams (Raymond) of the Connecticut Sun and I were the only players honored. It was nice to be able to help the organization do some fundraising to help out the future of women’s basketball.”
FB: You had a very successful career at Duke being a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year award your senior season. What was the hardest transition from college to the WNBA?
AB: “When I was a freshman at Duke it took some time to adjust to increased athleticism and the skill level of the players I was going against. I think that last year as a rookie was the same sort of thing. The WNBA has the best players in the world, however this season I am going to be expecting a lot of myself and I think my role will increase.”
“There are some great players on our team and they are also great people. Tamika sent me an email welcoming me as soon as I was drafted and that was how I felt coming into camp. Now don’t get me wrong, my "mentors" had no problem reminding me I needed to carry the extra bags or referring to me all season by the name "Rook," but that was all in good spirit.”
FB: You played in Russia this past winter. How hard was it to get acclimated to a new environment?
AB: “The basketball part of overseas was probably the easiest part, while the language part was probably the toughest. One good thing was my coach hardly ever yelled in English. He usually chose Latvian or Russian (must have better curse words). My college teammate Monique Currie, (Washington Mystics) was playing for another team in Moscow and luckily for her (haha) I lived a short five-minute walk away. Needless to say, we watched our three English TV channels to death!”
FB: Did you learn more on or off the court while you were there?
AB: “I think being able to play basketball overseas is an excellent opportunity and although I wasn’t there the whole season, I got to see a lot of the world I probably would have never had the chance to see and experience.”
FB: The Fever has been very busy of late with the trading of Tamika Whitmore for Katie Douglas and re-signing Tammy, Tamika Catchings, and Ebony. What were your thoughts upon learning about the Douglas trade?
AB: “I think that KT will be an excellent addition to our team this year, both as a player and as a hometown girl. I am sure the fans are happy about her coming home.”
FB: As a player, how does it make you feel that the team re-signed three players to keep them in Indiana?
AB: “I think that the Fever staff is very committed to our team and think that last year we really showed we were headed in the right direction, so this year we can continue to set our goals high.”
FB: Heading into your second season, where do you think you need to improve the most?
AB: “My game has always been strong defensively, but I have really been working in the offseason on my shooting and post moves. Offensively I need to step it up.”
FB: Your pre-game ritual includes putting on your left shoe first. Where does that come from?
AB: “Haha, who knows where we get our crazy superstitions...”