Q+A: Sylvia Fowles
‘We really have a chance to compete for a championship.’
by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
The Chicago Sky made a splash this offseason, moving their second overall pick to bring in veterans Ruth Riley and Swin Cash. They also added veteran point guard Ticha Penicheiro to the mix, but no move was more important than keeping All-Star center Sylvia Fowles on the roster.
Fowles was amazing last year, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Miami native also was dominant on the defensive side of the ball—averaging 2 blocks and a steal per game—garnering WNBA 2011 Defensive Player of the Year for her efforts.
SLAMonline sat down with Fowles last week, as she explained why she thinks the Sky has what it takes to go all the way this season.
SLAM: Good afternoon Sylvia. Thanks for your time.
Sylvia Fowles: No, thank you.
SLAM: So this is a new year… Excited to get out there and start up this season?
SF: Yeah, I’m excited to get out there this year.
SLAM: Tell us a little about Coach Pokey Chatman and her coaching dynamic with this team.
SF: Yeah Pokey has been the same since college, so I am comfortable with her and her coaching style. Her motives are the same as always—she wants to win—but with that being said, she also wants a group of women who are going to listen and go out there and get it done. So that is one thing I have always respected about her.
SLAM: What are some things she has been empathizing in training camp?
SF: Well, she has been on top of us in regards to our turnovers. We led the league last year in turnovers, so just taking care of the ball. So that’s something that she has been stressing throughout training camp. She also has let us be free, she lets the shooters shoot, and if you have range, she lets you display it. She doesn’t want you doing anything crazy so you have to know your limits.
SLAM: As with any coach…
SF: Yeah, but she is really letting us be free and lets us play our game.
SLAM: Yeah, I found it interesting that even though you guys were averaging around 16 assists per game, you were turning it over at the same rate. Do you think that possibly bringing in a veteran like Ticha Penicheiro—someone who can push the tempo, but will still monitor the turnovers—will help you guys out?
SF: Definitely, I think she did a great job at picking out veterans that we have now on our team—from Ticha to Ruth to Swin. These girls know what it takes and have been around the league almost since it started. To have them here really helps the younger players and us. I think it will limit our turnovers while still improving our transition.
SLAM: So you averaged 10 rebounds a game last year—in particular, 3 offensive rebounds a game—which ranked you in the top three in both categories. What were some of the factors that led to you being so dominant on the boards last year: positioning, play calling, conditioning?
SF: I think all of that plays a factor, but rebounding strong was always stuck in my head. Coach Chatman got on me a lot about just crashing the offensive boards. She was like, ‘You can crash the defensive boards all day,’ but she challenged me to go to the offensive boards, which was something I didn’t do. I know it was a bad habit of mine but it was just a weakness of mine since I started playing basketball, so I just wanted to focus in on that. I wanted to let her and my teammates see that if you need me to get it done, [I can]. So it was a challenge to me, but all those factors played a part.