Evanthia Maltsi Q&A

If you hadn't noticed already, Evanthia Maltsi has arrived. Acquired by the Sun in early June, the Greek guard/forward has earned a major role in the Connecticut rotation -- even starting seven games -- after patiently waiting for an opportunity to prove her worth. With Nykesha Sales still hampered by injuries, the versatile Maltsi has stepped up for the veteran-laden Sun and been essential to the team's continued ascension in the Eastern Conference.

Evanthia Maltsi played her first game for
the Sun back on June 13 against Minnesota.

Ray Amati/NBAE/Getty Images
While Maltsi is a newcomer to the WNBA, she's hardly inexperienced. At 28, Maltsi is a member of the Greek national team and a fixture overseas, and that seasoning is paying big dividends for a Sun team inching ever-so-closer to clinching a playoff berth.

WNBA.com's Mark Bodenrader talked with Maltsi to find out more about the Sun's newest star and what to expect from her and Connecticut down the stretch.

Q: How did you become a member of the Sun?
MALTSI: “(Coach Mike Thibault) was visiting Spain for the Euro League All-Star Game and I was there playing. I guess he had information about me before, but it was the first time that we finally spoke. He was out there talking with people and my agent called me and said he wanted me to meet the coach of Connecticut. So I was like, ‘Hey coach, how are you doing?’ He said, ‘Do you want to play in the WNBA?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’"

Q: How long have you wanted to play in the WNBA?
MALTSI: “Since I was little I’ve wanted to play here, but it was more of an objective after 2004.”

Q: Did it take a while to adapt to the WNBA?
MALTSI: “Yeah. It took me a while to get used to it.”

Q: It must have been tough early on because you weren’t getting minutes, but now that you are getting minutes you must be able to get into the flow of the game more.
MALTSI: “It is a big difference. When you play basketball, you have to find your rhythm to do your thing. You need minutes. It’s not a complaint or anything; that’s just how it is. Coming here in the beginning, I had my role with the team and I was OK with it, playing four minutes or six minutes. Sometimes (how much you play) depends on luck. But getting more time makes you more comfortable to do your job.”

Q: Has the team changed much since you arrived?
MALTSI: “No, I don’t think I’ve changed the team. Kesh (Nykesha Sales) is injured and I’m just trying to cover her spot. Kesh is very important for us and I don’t think that will change. We’re all trying to cover for Kesh, everybody together with me in her spot. We’re doing a pretty good job. Everybody needs to do something different and that’s what we’re doing.”

Q: Did you feel any added pressure because you had to step up and start in Sales’ position?
MALTSI: “Recently, no. But in the beginning, like the first game I had to start, I felt a lot of pressure. But I knew I was going to make it. Sometimes pressure works well for me.”

Q: The team was struggling a bit when you joined, but now it’s doing really well. Is there a difference you see in the squad now as opposed to back then?
MALTSI: “When I first started here the team was going though some bad times because we seemed a little bit out of rhythm and we didn’t do things the way we were supposed to. But we just kept working hard. Coach Thibault didn’t lose his confidence in us. Now we are better because we are staying focused and concentrating. We’re working very hard to cover our weaknesses and mistakes and trying to find our rhythm. We are fighters. We’re going to do well.”

Q: Have you played with or against any of the members of the Sun overseas before?
MALTSI: “Yeah, a lot of them. First of all, I’ve played with a lot of players in this league in general, and, secondly, like half of my teammates. I played with Katie (Douglas) in Greece five years ago. Margo (Dydek) and Erika (Desouza) played in Europe and we played against each other last year. And I played against Katie last year. Kristen Rasmussen was my teammate in Spain.”

Q: What aspect of your game do you feel helps the team the most?
MALTSI: “That is something I cannot answer (laughs).”

Q: Was it hard finding a role on a team with a veteran core?
MALTSI: “No, because things were pretty clear. Even sitting on the bench I could see what was needed and the role that I had to play. It was a little bit different when I had to start the game or be there for a veteran because I’m not a veteran on this team. But now it’s clearer. With this coach, everything is so simple: just go out and play basketball. Basketball is the same all over the world. Just make sure that you do your job and have fun. So that’s what I do.”

Q: Was there a specific moment -- a play, a sequence, or a game – when you realized that you had made it and that you could play in the league?
MALTSI: “I felt like I could fit in here after the first game that I started. It was against Detroit. It wasn’t that I played great or that I did something special, but it felt like I was in the game. So I got confidence from that game that I could do it. That was very important for me.”

Q: What do the Sun have to do to ensure themselves a playoff spot?
MALTSI: “Keep working hard. Concentrate and take it one game at a time. And keep winning.”

Q: Is this team good enough to go to the WNBA Finals and potentially win it all?
MALTSI: “Yeah, sure. Why not?”