Note: In anticipation of the final selections of the USA Senior Women's National Team and the beginning of the 2010 FIBA World Championships, this week Dishin & Swishin will post snippets of interviews done during national team training September 9th through 12th in Hartford.
Today's feature is Jayne Appel of the San Antonio Silver Stars. Other pieces will feature Sylvia Fowles of the Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun guard Kara Lawson, and USA national team coach Geno Auriemma. I hope you enjoy them!
There may be no more intriguing story in the final group that has assembled in the Czech Republic as candidates for Team USA than that of Jayne Appel of the San Antonio Silver Stars.
Questioned by many WNBA fans as to the legitimacy of her selection to the national team pool over omitted posts like Crystal Langhorne, Appel has rewarded the selection committee thus far with aggressive, physical play, and she has earned a spot in the final 14.
An All-American at Stanford and a dominant post throughout her college career, Appel has been hampered by injuries. A banger, with a big body and soft hands, Appel perhaps would have been a top 2 or 3 overall draft pick if her health wasn't a concern. Instead she fell to the Silver Stars at 5th, where she was never able to get into a groove this season, as she tried to recover too quickly and learn too much too soon of the WNBA system. The injuries were physically draining, but mental toughness has proven to be a strong part of Jayne's makeup, and she is finally feeling good, and strong.
Still, she has shown the determination and attitude that makes her difficult to overlook. Putting in extra time, learning to watch and observe from the bench, which she had not done often since her freshman year in college, and working on whatever is needed from her in limited minutes. It's easy to see why Silver Stars GM Dan Hughes feels she is an important part of the rebuilding of the Stars and the team's future.
The biggest variable determining the final 12 player roster selection is the health of 6'6" All-WNBA center Sylvia Fowles. Fowles is the type of dominant center you want in international play, with the size and strength to play against some of the international teams' equally large posts. Should Big Syl prove to be unable to play, or not be at 100%, the selection committee will have to look even harder at the strength and power that Jayne Appel brings with her game. She loves the physicality of the low post and banging against larger players. In Connecticut she was clearly the strongest post player for USA vs. Australia's 6'8" youngster, Liz Cambage, drawing an offensive foul on her, and accumulating 8 rebounds in 11 minutes. Jayne loves the challenge of defending the "Big Girls."
One thing is for certain, regardless of final team selection...Jayne Appel has proven she belongs. The WNBA and future international competitors will not be able to overlook her presence. She is in better health, better mind, and showing her abilities. I can't wait to see what the rest of this year and the future brings!