Q&A: Fever guard Erin Phillips

Australia provides valuable break between Indy and Krakow

After four WNBA seasons and with Olympic and World Championships experience under her belt, Erin Phillips has become a top-flight world competitor who can play both guard positions. Though providing one of the Fever’s most stirring moments in 2011 with a game-winning playoff bucket against New York, a late-season ankle injury was costly in Indiana’s playoff run. The injury surfaced again in Poland, requiring surgery and a five-week layoff. But perhaps the layoff was a good thing, both physically and mentally. While her Polish team remains unbeaten in the Polish League and marches toward a berth in the EuroLeague quarterfinals, Phillips spent time answering questions via email for FeverBasketball.com’s Ashley Bureau.

February 28, 2012

FeverBasketball.com: How would you describe your first season with the Fever?
Erin Phillips: “Whenever you go to a new team it’s always a big adjustment. My teammates were awesome in helping me find my feet and learn a new style of basketball. I did extra practices with coach Stephanie White and I started to feel more comfortable and confident as the season went along. The Fever organization is one of the best in the league and they, along with the fans, made me feel very welcome!”

FB: Being away from your family in Australia must be hard, what was it like to have your parents come see you play last year in Indy?
EP: “Yes, it can get really hard and I miss them every day but I am lucky to have a great relationship with my parents and my two older sisters who are very supportive. Mum and Dad coming to Indy last year was amazing. They had A LOT of fun and they came for the playoffs which is always a good time. I was very happy to have them there in the stands and on the computer back home in Oz watching.”

FB: How have you recovered from your injury in Indiana?
EP: “I first injured my ankle (the last game of the regular season) September 11th and I never fully recovered. I pushed through during playoffs because, well, it’s the playoffs and then had to go straight to my team in Poland, Wisla Krakow, and start an important role with them. By the December break, I was in a LOT of pain and required surgery two days before Christmas. It ended up being pretty serious and I am still in the process of recovering. It’s day-to-day, and hopefully I will get to a point when I am pain free.”

FB: What did you do to come back after your surgery?
EP: “I was working pretty hard on the bike. I couldn't run for five weeks after the surgery so I was riding, swimming and I was on the beach every day walking in the water, stretching etc. I did damage to the surface of my ankle joint and I couldn't do any impact training, so I was very limited.”

FB: How was it to get to spend time at home in Australia while you were recovering?
EP: “It was so much fun. It was a much needed rest both mentally and physically. My family and I went on vacation to my favorite place in the world, Port Lincoln South Australia. We (my parents, sisters, their husbands, and three nieces and two nephews) rented a house for 2 weeks on the ocean so you can imagine there was a lot going on! We went fishing, swimming at the beach, diving, surfing, you name it! I love my time at home, although it’s very limited, and spending time with my family and the kids always brings me back to reality and is the perfect distraction from basketball.”

FB: Reflect on your time in Indianapolis last year, what was the best part of the season? Were where any lasting memories, high points?
EP: “One of the highlights was when I got my first start against Seattle and then getting the W made it that much sweeter. Another highlight was hitting the game-winner against NY in Game 1 Eastern Conference Semifinals with my parents in the stands. Playing alongside the WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings was an invaluable experience and I'd also have to mention, before I get in trouble, sitting next to KT on the bus and discussing the difference between a weed wacker and a whipper-snipper and planning our reality TV show, ‘Katie and Matey’!”

FB: Is there anything from last season that you would like to do over again?
EP: “Yes, I wouldn't mind not injuring my ankle and also I should have practiced before the season ticket holder bowling night, I think Lin Dunn got a higher score than me. That can't happen this year!”

FB: You are playing in Poland for Wisla Can-Pack Krakow, how is your team doing?
EP: “We are doing very well. We recently just made it through to the Top 8 in EuroLeague with a 2-0 series win over USK Prague. The Top 8 tournament is in Istanbul in March so that will be a great experience and challenge for our team.”

FB: Do you ever think about what you might want to do with your life after basketball? Will you still call Australia home, or do you think you’ll settle in elsewhere?
EP: “I will always call Australia home, but I also would like to continue working in America. I think doing color commentary on radio would be a lot of fun. My best friend back home in Adelaide and I have agreed that we want to do a late night call-in show like Delilah!! Having something after basketball is very important so I will be doing some work experience this year, and basically I am going to secretly stalk Chris Denari without him knowing!”