Where in the World is... Tammy Sutton-Brown
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February 10, 2006 - As a member of one of the most talented teams on the planet this offseason, you'd think that Sting center Tammy Sutton-Brown would be in basketball heaven. And you'd be right. As a member of Russia's Dynamo Moscow team, Sutton-Brown is surrounded by WNBA and international stars and enjoying more team success than she did with her primary team, the Sting.
In 2005, the Sting finished with the worst record in the WNBA (6-28) despite nearly 10 points per game and over 5 rebounds per game from Sutton-Brown, an All-Star in 2002. But the 2001 Rutgers graduate was not ready to take time off. Instead she went directly to Russia for the start of the season well before Dynamo teammates Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi arrived. Now, with that WNBA nuclees that also includes Kamila Vodichkova in the frontcourt, Dynamo has been on a serious role both in the Russian Superleague and the Euro League.
More About... Russia
But how do teammates who have never played together before suddenly create a solidified team chemistry? After all, Bird and Taurasi played together at UConn, both have played in the WNBA with Vodichkova and Bird played with many of her Russian Dynamo teamamtes last year. Yet, Sutton-Brown was the newcomer to the group. Yet, they have bonded off the court and the group socialized and hangs together. Just this week, Sue had Tammy and some of their teammates over for homemade cheesesteaks (which is not indigenous to Russia OR Canada...).
Like Bird and Vodichkova, Tammy has previously played in Russia and knows her way around a bit. In fact, she has visited six continents and played basketball all over the world. Living in Moscow these days, she recommends that tourists and visitors have to see Red Square, calling it a "must-see." But like most non-natives, she hates the weather in Russia.
"Russia gets really cold, so everyone wears fur in the winter," she says. "Everyone owns a least one item containing fur, a coat, a hat, boots... and after hitting record lows of -42 degrees earlier this winter, I can see why."
While it may be cold, she has warmed to, and fallen in love, with its culture. Her favorite local food is Russian Salad and can even get by speaking a little bit of Russian (she cannot read or write it and also has access to a translator and driver). But she admits that she misses the food, her family, the shopping and the American television shows we all take for granted back in the States.
"I miss Ketchup Chips," she said. "Being that I'm from Canada, I also have a hard time finding them in America, too."
Yet there are some similarities to home. At 6-4 she certainly stands out among the Russian crowds. But strangers from North America to Europe still ask her if she plays basketball (answer: she does).