Talking Big With Sky Center Sylvia Fowles
Wanna guess which player led the U.S. women's Olympic team in both scoring and rebounding in Beijing? Leslie? Taurasi? Parker? Nope, nope and nope.
The answer is Sylvia Fowles, the highly touted rookie center from the Chicago Sky, who had missed all but eight games this WNBA season after spraining her knee while recording the WNBA's first ever goaltending call. (Seriously, watch the video.)
But after Big Syl's success with the gold-medal winning USA squad, she has come back to the WNBA with a huge bang, posting three straight double-doubles in helping the Sky to a 3-0 mark. WNBA.com's Adam Hirshfield spoke with Big Syl recently to discuss her feelings on the rest of the regular season and her hopes for reaching the playoffs.
Dot-com: How does it feel to be back in the States, getting back to work in the WNBA after such a long, tough go in China? How are you feeling? Is it as tiring as it sounds?
Fowles: "Yeah, there wasn't much time to relax, but I'm feeling OK. My internal clock is still jacked up in fact, I'm kind of tired right now, but oh well But it feels good to be home and to be back here with my teammates.
"I'm curious to see if we can keep performing as well as we have. I felt out of place when I first came back to Chicago, not that I wasn't confident in myself or anything but I feel like I forgot all of the plays and it felt like I was starting all over again. But we've been able to put it together."
Dot-com: Is it tough to make the transition from playing for your country in front of the entire world to playing back here in the WNBA on a slightly different scale? How are you able to adjust to being back here in the U.S., playing with the Sky instead of for the USA against the rest of the world?
Fowles: "It's really not that different. It's basketball, you know? You just have to focus on the task at hand. I stepped up a couple of times in Beijing, had a great tournament and we won the gold medal. There are similar expectations here with the Sky, so I just want to keep my energy up and make sure that I'm bringing it every night."
Dot-com: Speaking of your performance in Beijing, you were really able to distinguish yourself, even on a team full of All-Stars and future Hall of Famers, leading the team in scoring and rebounding. The TV announcers couldn't stop gushing about how there wasn't a player in Beijing who was capable of stopping you or sticking with you down low. How did all of that success and those kind words make you feel about your game?
Fowles: "Well, I've always felt like if I put my mind to it, I can be that kind of player. Especially on a team like that, where we had Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson and Dawn Staley constantly pushing us to get things perfect in practice and staying on us even when we were doing good. With that kind of motivation, you don't want to go out there and mess you. You want to perform. All of those veterans pushing you to get to that next level makes you want to perform better."
Dot-com: You only played eight games for the Sky prior to the Olympic break. And you played eight games in the Olympics with the USA. What's it like now coming back to Chicago in the middle of a playoff race? What are you going to have to do as you make that push for the postseason?
Fowles: "I'm very excited for this last push. I know I need to go out there with a lot of energy every night, but I also know that I need to keep it smart and not come out and get in early foul trouble. I tend to do that when I'm a little anxious. So I need to be smart and go out there with a lot of focused energy and hopefully my teammates will make my intensity."
Dot-com: Being a part of this terrific rookie class in the WNBA and given how much success Candace Parker and Candice Wiggins, among others, have had this season, is there any extra motivation to come out and say, "Hey, I'm here too!" Are you chomping at the bit to show everyone that you're a talented rookie too?
Fowles: "Nope. :) Not at all. To tell you the truth, I love doing what I'm doing, but I hate the attention that I get. And it's always been like that. A lot of people don't understand it, but I hate the limelight. I don't want it. I don't care who gets it. As long as it's not me, I'm cool with that.
"At the same time, though, you tend to get that kind of attention when you do some of the things I've done and have a lot of success. But aside from winning, I'm not trying to go out there and prove any kind of point. Of course, I want my team to perform well and I want us to win. And I'm excited to have this gold medal. I want all that good stuff. But I'm not doing it to get the spotlight on me. I'm fine without it."