Olympia: She’s Back!
Olympia Scott was the starting center on the Fever's first playoff team in 2002. She was a part of the team's early foundation as it ventured into its first years in the WNBA. Then, prior to the 2003 season, while playing in Italy, she suffered an ACL injury - the first serious injury of her career. She missed all of the 2003 season, then signed a free agent contract to play in Charlotte, in 2004. Now, though, after a year in Sacramento and a WNBA Championship under her belt, she is back at 100% and ready to play - and she's back in Indiana!
Fever Website: When you left Indiana prior to the 2004 season, what kind of odds would you have placed on returning to the Fever in two years?
Olympia Scott: "Actually, I always had a feeling that I would be back because my experience here was so special. I would have to say about 50/50, if you can believe that. But then I guess you can, because I'm back!"
FW: You injured your knee in Italy, in April 2003 before returning to the Fever. You missed the 2003 season altogether, but you're obviously playing significant minutes now overseas. At what point did you return to playing 100%?
OS: "I was nearly 100% in Charlotte in 2004. Unfortunately, in my haste to return to the hardwood, I overdid it a bit, so I needed to scope my knees at the end of the 2004 season. This past summer in Sacramento, I returned to 100% after rehabbing the second injury. I would say I felt great around the end of June/early July."
FW: When you were hurt initially, it was the first significant injury of your career. Were you afraid of your career coming to an end?
OS: "No, I was not thinking that my career was over by any means. Nowadays, the ACL reconstruction surgery is a fairly common one, and I know several people that have successfully recovered from it. I also know myself, and I am mentally tough and very strong-willed. I had already recovered from child-birth fairly quickly, so I had every confidence that I could recover from my knee injury."
FW: What was the worst part of coming back from the injury?
OS: "Getting the last 10% of my athleticism back. My game has been largely dependent on my quickness, speed, and jumping ability. So, the lack thereof, was affecting my game. This league is only getting bigger, stronger and faster, so competing without my main weapons was difficult for me. Patience is a virtue, indeed!"
FW: Being out for awhile allowed you to pursue some coaching during the 2004-05 WNBA offseason. What can you tell Fever fans about your college coaching experience?
OS: "I loved coaching basketball! I realized how rewarding it is to help others realize their true potential. My team had nine first year players, and we were able to have a 20-win season, win the conference championship and go to the Sweet Sixteen in the Division III NCAA tournament. Both of my parents are teachers – my mother, Dr. Jacqueline Scott, is a professor at Santa Monica College, and my father, Stephan Scott, M.B.A, is a professor at West L.A. College – so I guess teaching is in my blood.
"I also realized that, as much as I loved coaching – and I mean I really loved it(!) – I am not ready to hang up my hoop shoes yet. Not by any means!"
[In October 2004, she was named the head coach of the women's basketball team at William Smith College. Scott led her team to the Liberty League regular season and tournament championships, an appearance in the NCAA regional semifinals, and the program's first 20-win season (20 wins against eight losses) since the 1999-2000 season. The team's efforts resulted in Scott and her coaching staff being voted by the conference as the Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year. She was formerly an assistant coach at College of the Sequoias, in Visalia, Calif.]
FW: Is coaching something you would like to do following your playing career?
OS: "Quite possibly. I have a lot of interests that include going back to school for a joint law/business degree (J.D./M.B.A); music; parenting; entrepreneurship. I know that my future is in God's hands, so I will allow Him to captain my ship."
FW: How has your time away from the court helped you in your return to the court?
OS: "Many people who endure an unplanned hiatus from basketball will probably attest to the fact that your love for the game grows while away. That's if you truly loved it to begin with, and believe me, I did. I gained a greater appreciation for my blessings, and I learned more about the game on a grander scale by participating from the sideline."
OS: "In the first years of the WNBA, people weren't as aware of the league and its players. Maybe people knew one or two top players and that was it. Nowadays, I can go anywhere in the world and people are fans, and can really discuss the league and its players. Another big difference is the attendance. I can remember maybe two or three teams having great attendance (Houston, D.C., New York) in the early years. Now I can name eight teams that consistently pack their arenas: Connecticut, Houston, New York, Phoenix, Seattle, Sacramento, Washington, and of course INDIANA! I guess the biggest difference is the parity. In the first four years, the Houston Comets reigned supreme. Now, there are several teams vying for that top spot, including the Fever!"
FW: What has been your favorite arena in the WNBA? And why?
OS: "My favorite arena honestly is Conseco Fieldhouse. I like it because it’s fairly new and well-planned from a player or fan perspective. For the players, we have a practice facility inside the building, a nice locker room with a weight room attached, and the business offices are right upstairs. And best of all, the fans are great! They are loud and loyal! I love playing in front of the Fever fans."
FW: What has been your favorite city in the WNBA? And why?
OS: "My favorite WNBA city other than Indianapolis, is Los Angeles because I am from there. Every year, when I return to play against the Sparks, my parents purchase over 100 tickets for family and friends for the game. They have signs and they sit in a section behind the bench and cheer for us so loudly. It’s almost like a home game for me."
Part 2 of the Olympia Scott interview will appear on Friday, May 10.