Big Syl Ready for 2010
Fowles, now healthy, looks to lead the Sky into the WNBA Playoffs.
by Ben York
Sylvia Fowles is frequently described as a teddy bear off the court due to her gracious persona, her steadfast faith, and humble personality.
On the court, however, is a different story.
There are few that can defend the paint like her, and even fewer who possess her raw athleticism. With Fowles now fully healthy, she has a legion of Sky fans feeling optimistic for the future.
A motivated and driven Fowles should be a scary thing to opposing offenses. And make no mistake about it, Sylvia Fowles is pumped, and motivated, for a breakout 2010 season.
Though, breakout might be an unfair word; Sylvia did make the 2009 All-Star team as a member of the Chicago Sky and generated a substantial amount of buzz with a late game dunk. Still, playing in just 41 games in her two years in the WNBA, the amount of potential for Fowles is limitless — the key is simply staying healthy.
After struggling with injuries in her first two seasons in the WNBA, Fowles hasn’t lost the competitive fire that was so evident during her time at LSU. Leading the Lady Tigers to the Final Four each of her four years, Fowles gained a tremendous amount of respect for her ability to withstand adversity as well as her incredible basketball prowess. That talent and raw athletic ability led to the Chicago Sky picking Sylvia 2nd overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft (behind Candace Parker) and would fortify the Sky’s frontline for the future.
A staple of consistency for the Sky when healthy, Fowles has averaged 11 points and almost 8 rebounds a game in each of her seasons with the Sky. Fowles rounds out an impressive, young roster of Sky players that are well equipped to make a playoff run in 2010. Players like the incomparable Candice Dupree, Jia Perkins and Kristi Tolliver will certainly make the Sky a legitimate force in the East.
I caught up with Sylvia recently to get an update on her current time with Spartak Moscow, her excitement for the 2010 WNBA season, and what is truly important to her.
SLAM: First off, how are you feeling?
Sylvia Fowles: [Smiles] I can’t complain. The knees are feeling great. Everything is fine and I have no complaints.
SLAM: Give us an update on your time with Spartak this season.
SF: The season, overall, is going well and the team is doing well. We lost our last game before I came back home, which gave us a lot to think about and a few things to work on as a team. I’m just trying to get back in the swing of things and pace myself. It’s too cold there!
SLAM: You’ve been such a consistent force for the Sky over the past two years when healthy. What are your personal goals for 2010?
SF: First of all, just to be healthy and play the whole season. As a team, the goal always is to just go out there, play hard, and win – everything else will set the tone for itself. But the No. 1 goal for me is to stay healthy and help my team as much as I can.
SLAM: You’ve already accomplished so much in an incredibly short amount of time. What have you yet to accomplish personally and what do you want to be remembered for?
SF: [Laughs] It’s hard to talk about myself. I’m my own worst critic and I’m pretty hard on myself. I don’t know…I guess I just want to be remembered everywhere I go as someone that works hard, gives it her all, and is a team player. That’s pretty much it.
SLAM: What do you think the Sky will look for with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft?
SF: I can’t really say since I haven’t had a chance to sit down with the team or my teammates yet but I think a good, young point guard would be something we need. I think a young player who really understands the point guard position or another wing player would be a good fit.
SLAM: What do you think the Sky needs to do to get over that hump and back into the Playoffs?
SF: I think the bottom line is just to go out there and play the way we know we are capable of playing. My first year in Chicago we lost quite a bit of games and last year we won a bit more, but I think we just have to be consistent and have that understanding of what it takes to win at all times.
SLAM: Talk about the 2009 season overall. Was it a turning point for women’s basketball?
SF: I think a lot of people don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the women’s game and more and more people are getting acclimated all the time. It’s always exciting to see girls do well on or off the court since we tend to be overlooked a lot of the time. Last year was amazing and every little thing helps.
SLAM: How important has faith been in your life?
SF: I’ve been blessed. My mother has always been a focal point and a strong point in my life and it was all I knew growing up. Basketball was always a given and I’ve been blessed with being able to do the things I’ve done.
SLAM: How influential has best friend, Temeka Johnson, been to you personally?
SF: She’s been great. I was really excited for her to get that title since it was something she has always wanted. We talked about it a while back and I’m so excited for her and glad she got it out of the way.
SLAM: You do a lot in the community, why is it so important for you to give back?
SF: I’ve been there; I know what it feels like. I love kids and love seeing them happy. Anytime I can help a child makes me really happy and I’m glad to be in a position to help them as much as I’m able to.