June 7, 2004

Biba’s New Home Court

San Antonio is over 5,700 miles away from Agnieszka “Biba” Bibrzycka’s homeland of Poland and she definitely notices. She knew there were going to be some differences and over the course of three months she has begun to experience just what the variances are, both on and off the court.

“When I came here I was nervous and excited a little bit,” said Biba.

Although the youngest player on the Silver Stars roster, Biba is not without a wealth of professional on-court experience having played for the Polish National Team since 1998 and Lotos VBW Clima Gydnia of Poland for the past three seasons.

“In Europe, it was my third year as a pro and here in the WNBA, it’s my first year, so I’m a young player in the league,” said Biba. “I know I still have a lot to learn.”

And learned she has, not just the new playbook but also a different style of play altogether. She has quickly found out that playing in the WNBA is more physical and more up-tempo than what she was used to in Europe.

“In the WNBA we play quicker, and in Europe we play more patient and plays take longer,” she remarked. “Here, if you have an open shot early and can shoot it, you do.”

What jumped out to Biba right away about playing in the WNBA is the level of play that is expected from players is higher at all times.

“We jump, we fight for the ball and everything we do here is at 100 percent,” commented Biba. “The practices here are much longer than the ones I had in Europe, and the level of competition in the WNBA is higher than what I’m used to.”

So far Biba has done a good job reacting to extended practices and fiercer competition. While her future in the league is looking bright, her transition over to the United States extends beyond the court too.

Biba has had to adjust to living in a new country, culture, and climate. One of the most noticeable differences for Biba was the contrast in weather. In Poland, the temperature rarely exceeds 70 degrees with mild humidity, which is a far cry from San Antonio’s 90-degree weather with 90 percent humidity on a comfortable summer day.

Biba is adjusting to life in south Texas.
D. Clarke Evans/WNBAE/Getty
“Here in San Antonio it’s hot for me. In Poland it’s not as hot,” Biba noted. “I’ve just had to get used to it because it’s just a hot place. It was tough at first between the heat and humidity, but now I’m getting used to it finally so it’s not so bad.”

Along with having to adjust to the South Texas climate, she has also had to get used to life without Polish cuisine, which Biba misses dearly.

“I miss Polish food the most,” she stated. “San Antonio doesn’t have my favorite foods. The Polish food here in the United States is much different than back home. It is just a different style of cooking and preparing the food.”

Even Biba’s Polish roots won’t help bring Polish cuisine to the table. Biba and her roommate, teammate Margo Dydek, have tried to conjure up something close to home but with neither particularly skilled in the kitchen, it leaves only one other option - dining out. With San Antonio’s array of restaurants, Biba can fulfill her most desired craving. It may not be Polish sausage and dumplings, but it surely gets the job done.

“We go out to eat a lot and I like eating pasta, so I’m glad there are plenty of restaurants here in San Antonio that serve pasta,” added Biba.

Dinner dilemma solved, Biba has also had to become more accustomed to using the English language all the time. She credits Margo with helping her learn the language more fluently and helping to adapt to life in San Antonio.

“She shows me everything and helps me a lot,” Biba said. “Sometimes my English is not so good. Sometimes when I don’t understand something she’ll translate.”

Margo may be able to help with translations but when it comes to making it all come together, Biba knows it’s up to her. Instead of counting the miles between Poland and San Antonio, Biba is busy making way on the court as one of the league’s top rookies. With a full season, a great team and all the pasta in the world, the Silver Stars’ newest addition will soon find a home in San Antonio, even if Poland is miles away.