June 1, 2005
Feaster�s Presence Steadies Sting

It took a few waves of player arrivals for the new Sting starting lineup to come together.

First there were the mainstays of Dawn Staley and Tammy Sutton-Brown. Then came the additions of Sheri Sam and Tangela Smith.

But it was only in the late moments that the final piece of the Sting�s personnel puzzle came together. Just two days before the Sting�s home opener, and three days before her first start, Allison Feaster flew home from another �offseason� playing in France.

It was quite a turnaround, but one Feaster knows well. She�s spent each of her seven WNBA offseasons in Europe, the last four with USVO in France.

Her most recent overseas tour was extended when her team again clinched the championship. But meanwhile stateside, the Sting were regrouping in training camp after a few big offseason changes.

So how has Feaster had to adjust?

�Very quickly,� she said. �It�s always like that though. I get kind of thrown into the hot water. You have to be able to perform in those types of situations.�

Her teammates are also glad to have her back. Feaster led the Sting in scoring the last two seasons and is averaging nine points as she readjusts to the WNBA this year.

With this being her fifth year in Charlotte, her presence is an appreciated dose of continuity in the face of change.

�Any time that you can have a prolific shooter like Allison on the floor, it always makes your job easier no matter what position you are,� Dawn Staley said. �I think it�s just some familiarity with what we�re trying to do, what we�ve done in the past. She�s just great to have around.�

But playing two seasons every year for as long as Feaster has is not without a cost. And it can be literally two seasons, back to back. Her season in France began in early fall, just as the WNBA Playoffs were getting underway. If a team on either side of the Atlantic Ocean makes a postseason run, it means no rest for the player.

�I think conditioning-wise it�s a plus, but it�s very difficult on the body,� Feaster said. �It causes a lot of wear and tear on the joints and it�s something I�m reconsidering at my old age here at 29.�

Before the WNBA and the now-defunct American Basketball League, there was the rest of the world for women to play professionally. Staley said that because American players now have a chance to play basketball in their own country, they�ll pick up a ball every chance they get � even if it means playing 365 days a year.

�They certainly get tired. But I don�t think you can ever get enough of basketball. We�re professionals at what we do. We enjoy that part of it, being able to play year-round. We didn�t have always have an opportunity to play during this time,� she said pointing to the WNBA�s summer season, �so everybody wants to play as much basketball as possible.�

Not only has Feaster been playing a lot, but she�s been winning a lot, too. With the French title behind her, the Sting are hoping the word �championship� will translate into the language of the WNBA.

�She�s won a lot of titles over there in France,� Staley said with a smile. �When�s she going to bring a championship here to Charlotte?�