As one of the most experienced and toughest players in the WNBA, the Indiana Fever are hoping that point guard Tully Bevilaqua, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, can help to put them back into the postseason. With a championship under her belt, the Aussie import looks back on her cherished experiences and looks ahead to playing with her new team this season. Note that she speaks in heavy "Aussieisms," but this Yank interviewer has done his best to translate them here for you... (for example, "onya" means "well done.")
I hear you like to play jokes on writers, including the prank
a few weeks ago where you made one run around the court without key articles
of clothing after losing a game of H.O.R.S.E. because you told him it was an Australian
custom. Am I safe?
"The funny thing is, I told him afterwards, we don't actually make them do it. We just talk about it a lot. But you have nothing to worry about"
| Tully was immediately welcomed by her new teammates in
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
Q. How about the coffee? Did you have any interest in that popular
coffeehouse chain, Tully's?
"Nah, I couldn't. It was a conflict of interest, you know? Because of the Starbucks relationship and Howard Schulz, the Storm owner. As a result, I couldn't do anything with Tully's Coffee. I should look into it now that I have no connection with Starbucks."
Q. Now that
you have been here for a few months, what have you liked the most about Indiana?
"The first thing was definitely the players. As soon as I got here, they were all so welcoming and made me feel at home. That made it a lot of easier to get used a new city like Indianapolis, which is a much quieter city than Seattle. But I've ventured out and seen the country roads a little bit and found a few places to hang out. I'm definitely finding my way around things now.
How does the nightlife compare?
"I don't go out very often. I'm a professional athlete. I do the right thing and make sure I get enough sleep."
So this is now your fourth team and fourth American city…
"…Do you have to bring that up and make it sound like I'm hopping from one to the other? Remember Portland folded…"
Q. Granted... So what do you find
the biggest differences to be as an Australian living in the United States?
"Seattle is a great city, probably one of my favorites. It's a real up-tempo, funky city with a huge mixture of cultures. It's basically chalk and cheese in Indiana, so you go from one extreme to the other. But thankfully, I grew up in a small, country town back home in Australila. Population: 5000. So I know how to handle small-town life. Portland was also a beautiful town as well, and that probably reminded me the most of my area back home near Perth in Western Australia. It was easy to live alone.
Q. You just celebrated your tenth anniversary with your
husband. What are the secrets to a long, healthy relationship?
"Yes, we celebrated that just before coming back over here in April. The key is not being together for half of it (laughs)."
Q. Is it hard being away
for that long a period of time?
"Yes, it is definitely, probably more so for him because I'm constantly kept busy with training and on the road, games, seeing new things. He's the one left at home looking after our babies. Two dogs. He's always the one who wants to know what's going on. A lot of phone calls. You have to shop around for the best phone card, that's for sure. They call me the phone card queen. I found one card that was $5 for six hours."
has started every game for the Fever so far in 2005.|
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
Q. Don't you own some sort of business together?
"Yes, it is going on 15 months now. We import a plastic product that replaces galvanized steel. I have very little to do with it because I'm just a basketballer, but I will get more into the business when I retire. I've left it in good hands and I'm sure he is looking after it well. Still in it after 15 months and doing well. That's the thing, you have to understand... you're going to have more money going out than coming in at first, and if you can get through that, you're going to be fine."
Q. Do you play any other sports?
"Aussie-rules football. And I love golf. I don't get to play much when I'm here, but when I am home, I can go to a course in every direction from home within like 15 minutes. I'm a "drive-for-show, putt-for dough" player. I'm a good four-ball or best bal player because you get the full handicap, but I can drive as long as you can putt. I've got a bit of a hook, but they are straight for the most part."
Q. You mentioned your dogs. Is it hard to leave them behind
"It is very difficult. Tears are shed every time I say goodbye. They know that as soon as I start packing, mommy is leaving. This year was more difficult because just recently, one of my dogs was diagnosed with cancer, so she's going through chemotherapy right now. That's when the distance is a big factor. She is going to be fine, responding well to treatment, so it's all positive."
Didn't your mom play basketball as well?
"Yes, and we actually played together in my country town of Merredin we played together. The senior A-grade women's team. I went from under-12 to A-grade women. That's what happens where there aren't a lot of people in a small town. It was fun. Myself and another one of my teammates got to play with out moms. It was great. She was a roughie as well... A country girl. She definitely influenced my career. She and my dad both allowed me to do everything possible to get where I am now."
So now in Indiana, you are starting again. How do you prepare differently when
starting as opposed to coming off the bench?
"I started with the Portland Fire. I came to Indiana with no guarantees of starting. It is a privilege to have that role at the start of the season. I prepare for it the same way I would as if I was coming off the bench. Ready to go whenever called. No hang-ups for me whether I start or come off the bench or how many minutes I get. Same effort and intensity at any point."
Q. After having your knees operated on
twice a few years ago, how do you come back from that?
"My knees are great. Those surgeries were back in 1992 and 1995, so it's been a few years now. I did everything the doctors said, like a good girl, and came back stronger. Never think about them at all. The first time I got back on the court, I never looked back or thought about it again. Then the second time was a lot easier because I had been through it before and knew I could come back from it and get back to that level. Just don't cut corners. That's what I tell these young girls now. Don't cut corners, do your rehab and you'll be alright. It' shard because you have to have someone holding the reins and pulling you back."
So at 32 years old, are there things you can't do or your body won't let you do?
"I can't touch my toes very well now. Every practice and training camp it gets worse. No, nothing comes to mind. I might not be as quick as I used to be, but that's where the experience and the ability to read the game a bit better now comes into play. Health is a very good thing to have."
Q. So you're still keeping
up with the young kids?
"I'm the second oldest player on this team now. Thank God Natalie Williams is still here. (Laughs)."