Katie Douglas Bonding with WNBA Teammates in Spain
Katie Douglas is spending her offseason overseas in Spain Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
The Indiana Fever's Katie Douglas is spending her overseas season alongside some familiar faces. While Minnesota's Nicky Anosike and Rebekkah Brunson, San Antonio's Edwige Lawson-Wade and Seattle's Jana Vesela aren't teammates back home in the WNBA, the five players do share that common bond and embrace opportunities in getting to know one another on and off the court.
When Katie checked in for this interview, she had just landed back home in Spain at 6 p.m. local time. To say she sounded exhausted is a bit of an understatement. She and her Valencia teammates spent the previous night in France for a game against Bourges, but found traveling in snow put a bit of a damper on the ease of travel. Katie mentioned 3 a.m. wake-up calls, dinners at midnight, four-hour bus rides and the snowfall as obvious downsides of her trip, which unfortunately culminated into a 58-55 loss.
Katie took a few minutes to chat with WNBA.com before settling down for a much-needed nap.
WNBA.com: How does playing overseas in Valencia, Spain compare to everywhere else youve ever played?
Katie Douglas: This is my second stint here in Valencia, so this is my second go around. I definitely can say that the second time is much more comfortable for me. I definitely know the style and the culture and everything over here, so its been very easy for me to get adjusted. But as far as the other countries, you know, I was just eating at the beach and its one of two countries that Ive played in besides Athens, Greece that you can go to the beach in December and still have a nice meal on a pretty warm, sunny day. So that makes things nice when you have some off time that the weather here is really nice.
WNBA.com: Youre playing alongside Nicky Anosike, Rebekkah Brunson, Edwige Lawson-Wade and Jana Vesela. How quickly did a WNBA chemistry develop quickly between the five of you?
KD: I think pretty quickly. I dont know if you want to call it a fellowship among WNBA players, but its nice to get to know other players on a different level. I think everyone is pretty friendly with one another when youre in the summer playing against each other, but you really dont have time. We came together in Spain and were certainly competitive and were after one thing, and thats winning a championship over here in Spain. So I think that the bond brought us together and its just been a pleasure working with them every day and getting to know them a little better on and off the court.
WNBA.com: On a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the highest, can you rank the Spanish fans love for basketball?
KD: Its tough. I think that we have some great fans, but its tough. Were in a bigger city. I wouldnt want to put a number on it. I wouldnt want to be that person. Ive met some great fans over here in Valencia and I give them a 10 for the support they show, but as far as the numbers that we draw its not as much as the numbers we draw in the WNBA. But were in a bigger city here and so theres a lot of other attractions and distractions for the community. I definitely think when the big events roll around here that well have a pretty big following. But they definitely embrace womens basketball over here in Spain. Its fun going to other gyms as well, in smaller cities, where its the main attraction.
WNBA.com: You just flew back from a game in France. What was the scene like over there?
KD: In France they definitely had a really good following. We played a team by the name of Bourges and its a smaller city in France, so it is a main attraction. And they play in a smaller arena too, so it becomes a hostile, very loud environment. I think thats the different thing from the WNBA to overseas is the atmosphere, because sometimes youre not playing in such big arenas. But they cramp those fans into smaller arenas and it makes it a difficult venue to play in.
WNBA.com: Lets take a look at this past season. Do you think that maybe players on the Fever pressured themselves a little bit more than anything to get back to the Finals? Was that an element at all?
KD: I dont know if it was an element but I know that the expectations were extremely high and I definitely think that we didnt perform up to our expectations. I think that any time Ive been on the Connecticut teams that have gone to repeat Finals experiences, I know its hard to reset that and do it all over again. You dont just go into May the following year after youve lost in the Finals and just get right back there. It was a journey and unfortunately after we hit a bump we just werent able to recover as quickly and put ourselves in a good position. But I think again the expectations in the end are going to be extremely high. I think that everybody is hopefully trying to do their part in this offseason and come back ready with the same expectations as last year and the year before.
WNBA.com: In looking ahead, is there any area you feel the team needs to improve on for the 2011 season?
KD: I think we need to improve rebounding and I think that we had a struggle there in the season. Off the top of my mind thats the first thing but Im sure that there are obviously other things that we need to improve on.