Editor's note: Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans will have a weekly conversation with a newsmaker in the WNBA. This week she speaks with...
Editor’s note: Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans will have a weekly conversation with a newsmaker in the WNBA. This week she speaks with Indiana guard Erin Phillips, who was a surprise omission from the Australian Olympic team announced Friday. She was a member of the Opals’ silver-medal team in Beijing and 2006 FIBA World Championship gold-medal squad.
Q: Australian newspapers and people around the WNBA are shocked at your not being named to the upcoming London Games. What was your initial reaction?
Erin Phillips: I went to training camp with the Opals and we went to the Czech Republic and Milan. At the end of the two weeks I had a meeting with the coaches and was told that I wasn’t on the Olympic team, which, as you can image, is very devastating news to an athlete. But before the WNBA season started, I chose to be over here in the States and not stay home and prepare with the Olympic team, so I kind of knew there was a risk going into it. I based the decision to play in the WNBA because it’s where I play my best basketball and where I get myself in the best shape.
Q: Why not work a deal like Lauren Jackson to return to Indiana after the Olympic break?
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EP: Indiana has been fantastic in supporting me, signing me to a three-year contract, and they’re really disappointed I didn’t make the Olympic team. We worked out a situation where they approved my going to Europe and missing three games. I guess (Australia coach Carrie) Graf decided full-training participation was important.
Q: What will you do during the break instead?
EP: I’ll probably go to Dallas and take a few days off. My focus turns to leading Indiana to a WNBA championship.
Q: An Aussie in Dallas, how does that happen?
EP: I bought a house (in June). I have friends in Dallas and I love the city and its radical thunderstorms. I wanted to have a residence in the United States and there’s direct flights from Dallas to Sydney and Brisbane, so it’s easy access. Usually I do some of my preseason workouts in McKinney, Texas, with a couple trainers. Obviously I won’t live in it a lot, but it’ll be a base for me. It’s like 3,200 square meters and that’s actually one of the smallest ones I could get. Everything is so big in Texas!
Q: Does it have a pool?
EP: No, it’s a brand-new house, so I’m going to do some stuff with it eventually.
Q: OK, so I have some rapid-fire questions. Who’s the wilder coach, Lin Dunn or Carrie Graf?
EP: Oh, Lin. She so comical, we’ve got a quote book going of all her famous quotes. Definitely the crazy one; for me it’s just the southern drawl and ‘God Bless America.’
Q: Who’s the best you’ve played with — (Tamika) Catchings or Jackson?
EP: That’s a very tough question. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you.
Q: Fine, wiggle out of that one but not the last: Who’s more physically fit, you or Tully Bevilaqua?
EP: If I don’t say Tully, she might beat me up when I see her next. She’s one incredible athlete and is in unbelievable shape for her age (39). She sets the standard for the Australian guard. But next time I play San Antonio I may have to challenge her to sit-ups and get back to you.