Q+A: Ticha Penicheiro
SLAMonline sits down with the Chicago Sky guard.
SLAM: Would you say that the high number of turnovers is due to a lack of chemistry?
TP: You can blame it on that a little bit. Sometimes it’s us trying to make a touchdown pass when it’s really not there. You can maybe make another pass to lead to the touchdown pass. It’s a little bit of both. Sometimes I feel like we go too fast. It’s better to slow down a little bit. I know that our chemistry is not where I want it to be. If you talk to Pokey we’re not consistent. Every team has little bumps on the road but we have to be more consistent. Probably not for 40 minutes because you’re always playing against good teams but we have to be a little more consistent with ourselves and what we do on the court.
SLAM: You’re vocal about being a big Miami Heat fan, that’s a tough thing to admit in Chicago…
TP: [Laughs] Yeah, I know, I know. I’m a big LeBron fan. I feel like all the hating is just ridiculous. He was a free agent. I don’t think he handled everything right and if he could go back he probably wouldn’t have done The Decision but he was a free agent and did what was best for him. When you get traded or get cut it’s always a business but when you have that title of free agent you should pursue whatever fits you best. I’m happy for him. He’s one of my favorite players and I’m glad that he got that Championship.
I love the Bulls. Michael Jordan was my all-time favorite player and I love Derrick Rose. Unfortunately he dealt with a lot of injuries. If I’m frustrated I could imagine how he felt. When I got to Chicago I actually got to see one game live when they played the Sixers in the Playoffs. It was Game 5 and then they went to Philly and lost Game 6. So yeah, I support the Bulls, too [laughs].
SLAM: Would you say winning a championship was the highlight of your career?
TP: I’ve won a lot of championships overseas, Euroleague, FIBA Cups, which is supposed to be the best in Europe but honestly nothing felt like winning a WNBA championship. I still remember it like it was yesterday, and it was 2005. There is nothing like it. You feel like you’re on cloud nine for months! Not even a week, it’s like months! You feel good because the WNBA is the most competitive league in the world with the best players so when you win it probably means you are the best team in the world. It’s a great feeling.
SLAM: Do you think this team can get to that level?
TP: I think we can. I don’t think we’re right there quite yet. From day one we haven’t had all 11 players healthy. First it was Sonja [Petrovic] with her finger issue, then Shay [Murphy] left, then Piph got hurt, and I’ve been out. We haven’t had all 11 players together and playing at our highest level. I think we can—it’s baby steps. This is a franchise that has never made the playoffs so it’s out there. We want to make the playoffs. It’s our goal. Once you make the playoffs anything can happen.
SLAM: Do you think there is a current player who can break your assist record?
TP: Oh, of course. Records are meant to be broken. I know somebody will break that record eventually. Sue Bird is probably the number one candidate. Maybe Courtney will do it, you know? We’ll see.
SLAM: What’s your personal goal for this season?
TP: To contribute the best that I can on and off the court. Bring it every day to practice, to lead by example, lead in a vocal way, and do whatever coach asks of me. My main goal now is to be as close to 100 percent as I can health wise so I can be myself and help this team the way that I know I can.
SLAM: What’s your favorite thing about Chicago so far?
TP: Definitely not the weather! This heat is killing me [laughs]! Actually I love this team. It reminds me of my Sacramento team where it’s almost like a college atmosphere. Everybody gets along really well, we eat together, we have barbecues, and we go and watch the NBA games together. I just really like the personalities on this team. We all get along really well and to me that’s my most favorite part.