Batkovic-Brown Settling in Seattle
A little more than a week after joining her Seattle Storm teammates for the 2009 season, Suzy Batkovic-Brown has been to three of the four time zones in the United States, dressed for four games and even played in one of them, making her season debut with three minutes Friday in Minnesota. Now, if only she knew what day it was.
"I'm still trying to get some sleep and get in a rhythm," Batkovic-Brown said Tuesday after her first practice with the Storm at The Furtado Center.
With the three-game trip, tied for the Storm's longest of the season, in the books, Batkovic can begin to settle in. She'll have three days of practice this week before the Storm returns to the floor Friday, hosting the Minnesota Lynx on Dads & Daughters® Night (7:00 p.m., 1150-AM KKNW, ). After a short trip to Phoenix on Sunday, the Storm will have another week of practice. All of that should help Batkovic-Brown get acclimated.
"That will be good," said Batkovic-Brown. "Get some training in, which is what I need. We've been on the road, and you don't really get any training in, it's all games. I would have preferred to have this week at home and then go on the road, but it doesn’t always work the way you want it to work."
For Batkovic-Brown, the practice time is valuable for two reasons. First, she must learn the offense and defense the Storm players under Head Coach Brian Agler, which has taken some time in the past for players who have joined the Storm late.
"His systems are quite hard," Batkovic-Brown said, "but they say when you've learnt them, they're quite easy, so it's just a matter of learning them. Obviously you need to be on the court at training to do that."
Second, Batkovic-Brown is working her way back into basketball shape after taking time off between the end of her season in Italy in early May and her arrival in Seattle.
"After Europe, I didn't even think about basketball - my focus was my marriage," she explained. "Now it's switch off from that and come back on court. I've got to get my legs turned over because it's been like four or five weeks."
As she noted, Batkovic-Brown had bigger things on her mind when she returned home to Australia last month - her impending nuptials to Matt Brown, which took place on May 30. Batkovic-Brown described the wedding, which took place on a beach just south of Sydney, as "great" but lamented that the day went by too quickly - especially in comparison to the lengthy process of preparing for her wedding day.
"I tried to prepare it before I went to Europe, a little bit, and then I tried to do as much as I could while I was in Italy," explained Batkovic-Brown. "It was really hard because of the time difference. When I had to call someone, I had to wait until 2 in the morning to get the right time difference to call. It was kind of hard, but my mum was great and my friends were really good, they tried to help as much as they could.
"(After returning home,) I got to the point where I got stressed and said, 'Mum, I'm not going to get this all done.' She was great. She flew in for a week and helped me get it all done. Probably two days before the wedding I didn't have too much to do, so I was more relaxed and enjoyed it a bit more. By then, everyone came from overseas or interstate, so I got to spend some time with them."
The wedding was an intimate affair, with a hundred guests, including many of Batkovic-Brown's teammates on the Australian National Team. Lauren Jackson was part of the bridal party, as were Opals Trish Fallon and Penny Taylor and two of Batkovic-Brown's friends outside of basketball, who got left out of the media coverage that focused on the four basketball standouts.
Batkovic-Brown and her new husband got a week to honeymoon before she had to report to the WNBA and leave him behind. Now she's counting the days - four weeks and two days, to be exact - before he comes to Seattle to visit during a Storm homestand.
By then, Batkovic-Brown should have had plenty of time to learn the Storm's offense. Even by the end of this week of practice, Agler is optimistic about her prospects.
"I think she'll make progress," he said. "How that plays into minutes, I think that will be decided this week."
"It's just getting to know the plays and the systems and getting my legs turned over so they don't feel like jelly," agreed Batkovic-Brown. "Once that gets into place in the next few days, it will be easier."