Q&A with Ann Wauters

New York Liberty center Ann Wauters is enjoying a successful off-season in Russia, where she is a key member of the defending champion Samara club in the EuroLeague. Wauters recently took a few minutes and checked in with nyliberty.com to discuss her recovery from injury, her experience in Russia and her outlook for the 2005 WNBA season.

Q: How are you feeling now that you are back from injury?

AW: This summer was a big disappointment for me. I was looking forward to play for New York but my injury stood in the way. I worked very hard to come back from this injury. It is looking good right now. I am playing and I can't tell you how good it feels to be back on the court!

Q: Share your experiences of playing in Russia this winter ...

AW: We have a great team here in Samara ... Sheryl Swoopes, Maria Stepanova, Edwige Lawson, Ilona Korstine, Svetlana Abrosimova, Olga Arteshina,Tania Shchegoleva and Olga Naymushina. We are unbeaten in the Russian league and in the EuroLeague. I love playing with Maria Stepanova. Believe me, it is better to play with her than against her. I hope we can accept the challenge to be the best team in Europe this year. We are far from there and have to keep working hard.

Q: Discuss your life in Russia off-the-court ...

AW: Life in Samara is good, but the travelling in Russia and Europe can be hard at times. Our gym and fitness facilities are great. In our free time we read, watch movies ... Edwige Lawson (pointguard) and I take Russian lessons together. We are doing our best but the Russian language is pretty hard. Most people in Samara don't speak english, so we have a translator.

Q: Talk about your outlook for the upcoming 2005 season with the Liberty and returning to WNBA action from an injury-plagued 2004 campaign.

AW: I am excited to play for New York. I see it as a new start. My season last year was pretty damaged by my injury. I still have to show my real game to New York and the fans and I strongly believe that I will. I am working hard. I will see you all soon!