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August 4, 2011 at 6:04 PM

Catching up with Svetlana Abrosimova

SvetPhx.jpgFormer Storm guard Svetlana Abrosimova stopped by practice on Thursday. No, she’s not signing a seven-day contract to join the team. The Russian star is spending her vacation stateside, attending three Storm games, before returning home and preparing for league play there.
I had a chance to catch up with Abrosimova, a catalyst to the Storm’s 2010 championship team. She said she hasn’t seen her bling, err, ring, yet, but was told the organization is going to present it to her at the game against Connecticut on Friday.
Women’s Hoops Blog: Congratulations on Russia winning EuroBasket, how was that experience?
Svetlana Abrosimova: It was tough in the beginning, but we changed some things and got a little more confident winning some games. Usual tournament stuff, you stay in the game and keep believing in yourself and things start slowly moving up in the right direction. It worked out perfectly.
WHB: What’s your status now?
SA: We finished 20 days ago and I’ve been taking care of stuff that I don’t have time to take care of, like my house (in St. Petersberg). When you have free time, you’re just running around. Finally, I was like, ‘I need to come to the states so I can relax!’ Really get away from everything. I’m here for 10 days and will probably see two-three games. I’m very excited to come back. In the airport, I thought about how the last time I was here, it was with the championship trophy. It’s pretty cool. One of those things you’ll always remember.
WHB: You’ll get your ring Friday, have you even seen it?
SA: I haven’t seen it. And I was really upset I missed the trip to the White House. I think we had a quarterfinal game (EuroBasket) and I was like, ‘Come on!’ We had the entire summer and I only had three days left. I was upset about that, but it happens.
WHB: How many times have you been asked to come back and play with the Storm?
SA: A lot of times. Especially since I said I’m here, people thought I was actually going to play. But I have a commitment with my national team and I have to be there September 2. To come here two-three weeks, I don’t think I can really help the team. But this is my team. I feel like I belong here. I don’t want to be on another team, I want to be here. Next year is a tough year, so I don’t know. If they want me back, I would love to come back.
WHB: That’s a lot more certainty than after the championship when you contemplated WNBA retirement after winning the title. What happened?
SA: I became really popular in Russia. They keep bringing it up and also say, ‘The only Russian ever to win the WNBA championship.’ It’s one of those things in your biography that stands out.
WHB: Sounds cool.
SA: I did get mad a couple of times because it’s the only thing they talk about. I did things before that, too, but because it’s so big, people didn’t care about that other stuff any more. “She’s a WNBA Champion” and that’s it. It’s good, but at the same time I did have a 15-year career before. It’s funny how it works out like that.
WHB: What achievements did you feel were slighted?
SA: There’s Olympics, World Championships, European championships, a lot of other things. Five-times winning the Russian championship, it’s the country championship. But in Russia, it’s not enough (compared) to one in the states. It’s different.
WHB: Some international players are going to play the second half of the WNBA season in order to participate in the Olympics, is that an option for you in order to return to Seattle?
SA: It’s still a year ahead and I can’t think like that. I don’t know how the national team coaches are going to react to that and what’s the political thing. We are pretty strict about it. The Olympic year, you have to be with the team and afterward, I don’t know if I’m going to play on another professional club, so do I need to get rest?
WHB: What’s it like seeing everybody? You started your WNBA career with Katie Smith and coach Brian Agler in Minnesota.
SA: It’s good to see everybody. I haven’t played with Katie in Europe, she hasn’t been there in a while. Sue is going to be my teammate next year (in Russia). It’s different because usually I see all of the girls in Europe. But Katie, it’s good to see her. I want her to play great. Even Brian was like, ‘You need to come back and win. We’ve been together for a long time.’ I told him, ‘You have Katie now, you can win with Katie.’
PHOTO CREDIT: Svetlana Abrosimova drives on Phoenix F DeWanna Bonner by Dean Rutz of The Seattle Times

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