Alternative Sport Meets: Jordin Canada & Ticha Penicheiro – WNBA

What do you and the team need to do to get past Minnesota Lynx?

Jordin: The way we can get to the Finals is to take away their best players. Crystal Dangerfield has been their spark for them and obviously Napheesa Collier has been one of their sparks as well so we need to stop them doing what they want to do – it’ll make our job easier. In the Playoffs, everyone knows the scout so everyone needs to be a bit more creative and thorough with our offensive set by switching it up and adding new things so they don’t know what to expect. Minnesota is the type of team where they know all your plays, they know exactly what you’re trying to do so they will try and take away little things to stop you doing that. So it’s just about tweaking little things on both the offensive end and defensive end.

How are you finding playing in the bubble? How different is it to a normal game?

Jordin: In the bubble there are fewer distractions. You’re not fixated on the crowd, although the crowd does help bring that energy if you’re at home but being in the bubble with just the team, the energy has to come from us. So you’re a lot more focused, you’re not distracted by what’s going on with the outside noise. You’re able to hone in on your team and focus on the things you need to do.

Who do you think will win the WNBA Championship?

Ticha: With the way Seattle Storm played last year with Brianna Stewart and Sue Bird, and now having those two players back with that experience, great coaching they’re definitely one of the teams that can win the championship. They were probably my favourites coming in and a lot of people said that they would be strong. Seeing that they won last night, despite not even playing all that well, that’s the sign of a good team. They ae definitely one of the strong candidates to take home the trophy.

How important is the Black Lives Matter movement and how can current and former WNBA players help inspire change?  

Jordin: It’s extremely important with what’s going on in the world today. It’s disheartening, it’s tragic and the fact that we even have to play under these circumstances and try and fight for social justice is ridiculous. To see that we’re making a change in the community and giving a voice to the voiceless, hope to the hopeless is something that’s extremely important and everyone in the WNBA has done a great job of advocating for social justice, Black Lives Matter and the Say Her Name campaign. We’ve all done a good job of spreading awareness, educating people who aren’t aware of what’s going on in politics and the Black Lives Matter movement so we have to keep using our voices while we have this platform and while the world is watching. It’s extremely important to have that representation for the next generation and black communities.

Ticha: It’s crazy that it’s 2020 and we’re still talking about racism. We’re dealing with a huge pandemic and hopefully we can get a vaccine for that and eventually it will go away but to me the worst pandemic is racism. We have fought so hard and for so long to get where we are but we have taken so many steps back. I don’t think it’s only an American problem but it’s definitely very real here. We witness the police brutality and social injustice every day. It’s been happening for a while but now with technology and with phones it’s been brought to life more. We have taken a lot of steps forward but there is so much still to fight for and the WNBA has done a tremendous job, not just this year, but looking back they have been one of the leagues that has been at the forefront of fighting for social justice and so many other causes that are important to this nation. The players in the bubble this year have done a great job from t-shirts to social media posts to bring awareness to what’s going on in America and to fight for change.

What do you think that European players bring to the WNBA?

Jordin: It’s amazing to see the European players in the league. They bring so much skill set to this league. I’ve played with a couple Spanish players before and seeing how skilled they are and how much they know the game. It’s great to see that European players can play in this league as well and they can show off their talents and how they got here. I hope there’s more Europeans that come into the league in the future.