January 07, 2005

Holdsclaw takes game overseas

Chamique Holdsclaw is playing overseas in part to see if she still has a love for the game - she says she is passing her self-imposed test.

But while she is enjoying playing basketball again, she stopped short of saying she will return to the WNBA when the 2005 season tips off on May 21.

The five-time All-Star missed 10 of the Washington Mystics last 11 games battling depression. She and Mystics teammate Murriel Page are playing with Ros Casares Valencia and Holdsclaw said Thursday via e-mail from Spain she is having a blast.

"Things are going great for me as far as the team and the city," said Holdsclaw, who has averaged 18.3 points and 9.0 rebounds in her WNBA career. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm just trying to stay progressive in my thoughts and everything else. I can really embrace my free-spirit nature here, because the people and culture are so laid back. I don't feel like it's a rat race here."

The No. 1 pick in 1999, she said life on the court is good, too.

"As far as basketball is concerned I can honestly say that I'm enjoying myself here," said Holdsclaw, 27. "I have the opportunity to play with my partner in crime Murriel Page. She knows she is a big reason why I came here. She gives me a sense of security. I know she has my back and that means a lot to me. ...

"I'm doing well in balancing everything on my plate," Holdsclaw added. "I can't say that it's not like this summer didn't happen, but I'm living with it and taking things one day at a time. I'm just appreciating life and all the blessings that I have. That means focusing on the moment. The past is the past and the future will work itself out as it always does."

The Mystics have been following Holdsclaw's overseas performance and Pat Summitt, the team's director of player personnel, says everyone is excited about her progress.

"I spoke with Chamique (Thursday) and she is having a great experience," said Summitt, who coached Holdslaw at Tennessee and together they won three consecutive NCAA titles. "She is playing well and she is glad that Muriel is playing with her and I'm really happy for her."

Holdsclaw was named the Euroleague player of the week recently after averaging 24 points and 13 rebounds, including a double-double against Dynamo Moscow that featured a front line of 6-4 Kamila Vodichkova (Seattle Storm), 6-5 Elena Baranova (New York Liberty) and 6-3 Elena Shakirova (former member of the Houston Comets and Charlotte Sting).

"The best thing about playing overseas this winter is playing on the road in EuroLeague," Holdsclaw said. "The crowds are so hostile it's like you and your team against the whole arena. It makes you focus a lot more because the refs seem like they're against you too."

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