Tan White Q&A

The Indiana Fever sit atop the Eastern Conference standings at 3-0 after Tuesday's 89-75 victory in Minnesota. A vital piece of the team's fast start has been the play of sixth man Tan White. The third year guard from Mississippi State is averaging 11.7 points on 52% shooting. She is also contributing 2.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and one steal per game in just under 19 minutes of playing time each night. WNBA.com's Brian Martin caught up with White to discuss the fast start she and the Fever have gotten off to and her role on the team.

Tan White
(Photo: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

You've gotten off to a quick start this season. What would you attribute that to?
White: The start Iíve gotten off to has been great; my confidence level is up right now. I think coming off the bench, giving my team energy and bringing the up-tempo game style has helped us out tremendously. I feel if I just continuing to do that, Iíll have a good season.

Talk about the mind set of a player coming off the bench.
White: I just come out and try to stay focused. I know my role coming off the bench is huge for our team. Iím the one that is supposed to bring the energy off the bench defensively and I feel like so far Iíve done that. Just getting prepared and staying focused is something that I try to do from the bench. I try to read the game as it goes on and when my time comes to get it in, I just hope that Iím ready

After warming up prior to the game, do you cool down on the bench?
White: We come out and warm up for about 20 minutes before tip-off, then I sit down for about 10-15 minutes. Of course Iíll cool down physically, but mentally I have to stay focused on the bench and once coach calls me to get in, the adrenaline gets going and once I get to run up and down the court a couple times then I feel like Iím ready. I know my mind is set already. When youíre coming in off of the bench, you have to be ready at all times. Everybody else is in the flow of the game. Iím really not loose like everyone else, so just staying focused and being ready to come out mentally is something that I try to do.

Do you enjoy the role of coming off the bench or do you wish you were in the starting lineup?
White: It doesnít matter to me. Like Iíve told most people, itís not how you start, itís how you finish. Of course I would love to start, but coming off the bench and playing my role as being the energy bringer, Iím pretty confident in that now. As far as starting, it really doesnít matter to me. By coming off the bench I get to see how the flow of the game is going and see what I need to bring to the game.

Did you set any individual goals for this season?
White: Just to come out and play tough and doing some of the things that Iíve done early on, like getting more assists this year, getting my shooting percentage up from the 3 point line, thatís something Iíve focused on in my career. As the season goes along, Iím really not focused on what I can do individually, but what I can do to help my team out. Whatever that is, getting assists, getting rebounds, points, whatever it is, thatís what Iím focused on.

The team is projected to be one of the top teams in the East. You made it to the East semifinals last year. What will it take to make it to the championship level?
White: Itís just going to take everybody playing well together. We have a strong team and we have a lot of depth. We just have to come out and stay on the same page. Weíre one of the top teams and everybody is focused on us to go far. One of our team goals is to make it back to where we were last year and try to build on that, make another step in the process. Itís going to take that plus the chemistry on the team. We have a lot of veteran players and some have been there. We have two people that have won the championship Ė Tully [Bevilaqua] and Sheri [Sam] - so they know what it takes. With that experience, along with the team we have, I think we just have to stay focused and do the small things to win.

What did the team learn in last year's playoffs against Detroit?
White: We learned that we just canít start at the end of the season; that everything starts now. We have to build on this and not let our guard down at any point in the season. We know that the season goes so fast, we just canít let what weíre starting to build break down in the middle of the season when everybody is fatigued and tired. We need to keep working hard. Donít just wait for the playoffs to start and think that everything is going to come together then. Itís something thatís a building process.

How was it playing overseas in Poland this year?
White: It was a good experience for me. I felt like I got better on some of the things that I was trying to work on. I think that what I built over there has carried over so far this season for me. I feel stronger as a player now.

I know you faced your Fever teammate Anna DeForge in the championship series and less than a week later you were on the same team again. What was that experience like?
White: It was kind of weird at first. We just battled each other for seven games, you were my enemy, and now weíre on the same team. But it was fun. Itís just business and as a WNBA player, thatís what we have to do. After the season we have to compete against each other and just make the most out of it.

Is it tough with such a quick turnaround from the overseas season to the WNBA season?
White: As far as the competition level, I think this is a more physical league. Youíre going against tough players day in and day out. Overseas you play against good teams, but they are just not as great as WNBA teams, so you kind of relax. The competition gets harder once youíre playing seven games [in the championship series overseas]. Itís a quick turnaround, the competition here is harder, the games come by so fast, and you really donít have time to think, heal, or anything. Itís just a tough job to go year round and play like this.

Do you ever find time for a vacation?
White: No, you donít get a chance. The days that you have with just one practice or you have off, you just take advantage of it and just relax and get off of your feet. Itís not as bad as it seems, but you get fatigued a lot. Especially since Iíve played two years in a row, back and forth, overseas and back here and have really not given my body a chance to rest, I really donít know how Iím going to hold up throughout the middle of the season. I donít know if Iím going to hit that wall of fatigue or not. Hopefully I can mentally push myself through it. Iím really not sure about how my body will hold up after all of this.

Have you had any injury problems in the past?
White: Not so far, thank God.

I know your time off is limited, but what do you like to do when you have some time away from basketball?
White: I just like to enjoy the day. I like to watch TV a lot and just spend time with my friends and family. Thereís not a lot of opportunities where we get a chance to just enjoy having free team. Itís always basketball, basketball, basketball. You just have to do something to get your mind off of basketball and relax. Iím a pretty quiet person.