Dishin & Swishin: September 7, 2011 Podcast – Candace Parker, Tammy Sutton-Brown and Maria Laterza



One of the people on this week’s podcast may not seem to belong with the others. If you are reading this, you have undoubtedly heard of Candace Parker and Tammy Sutton-Brown, but Maria Laterza? However, Maria belongs in this elite group as well, and I’ll explain why if you continue to read.

First on this week’s podcast though, is one of the biggest names in women’s basketball today. Unfortunately for my podcast, when I spoke to Candace Parker last week, the Sparks were still clinging to the hope they would be able to turn around a disappointing season, and make it to the playoffs; a dream ended by the San Antonio Silver Stars last night.

Still, Parker has to be pleased with her personal success on the court, after returning from another in a succession of injuries she has endured. She attacked rehab the way she attacked training for her basketball career, with vigorous effort and enthusiasm. Even on the way home at the end of a day full of team obligations, Parker was a joy to talk to, and she was willing to share her thoughts on the Sparks’ season, her former coach and mentor Pat Summitt and her health battle, her love for the WNBA and why it is so important to her, her adorable little Lailaa, and what was the bigger thrill, winning MVP as a rookie, or meeting Jane Lynch at a WNBA game. The Sparks may have been knocked out of the 2011 playoffs, but with a healthy Parker, I would look out for them in the future.

The Indiana Fever have been an outstanding story this season. Many thought the window of opportunity had closed, but they have retooled, and despite, or maybe because of, the age and experience of their veterans, they are on top of the Eastern Division. Tammy Sutton-Brown has been an All-Star in her career, and has been a 30-plus minute per game center for most of that time. She has adjusted this year, with the emergence of Jessica Davenport as an offensive threat off the bench, to less minutes and more of a defensive role on this year’s Fever, without missing a beat.

Fever head coach Lin Dunn likes the defensive intensity Sutton-Brown brings to the start of games, and she relishes the opportunity to be that physical inside presence. Off the court, Sutton-Brown is one of the most engaging personalities I have had the pleasure to talk to. As part of that other side, that of children’s book author. She has recently released as first in a series of books, The Adventures of Cree & Scooter, educating and entertaining kids with information and stories gleamed from her travels throughout the world playing basketball. Together we discussed the Fever’s success, her adjustment to her new role on the team, the MVP candidacy of teammate Tamika Catchings, playing worldwide, how and why she became an author, and more.

Which brings me to Maria Laterza. Laterza, if you have not previously heard of her, was a post on this year’s successful Marist Red Foxes women’s basketball team, that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament and almost upset Duke. I noticed her while covering the MAAC tournament, and loved the way she played, with aggression and resilience, going after every rebound, every loose ball, setting solid screens, defending with passion. In talking to head coach Brian Giorigis, he discussed the fact hat Laterza was one of his captains, and the emotional leader of the team, willing them ahead and not settling for anything less than victory.

Recently, Laterza, like Parker and Sutton-Brown, signed a professional contract, and today will be heading overseas to play in Europe. Like Parker and Sutton-Brown, she has not given up, and has worked tirelessly to get a chance. Like Parker and Sutton-Brown, she has spent hours playing pickup ball against anyone who would play. She worked on her post moves, her face up game, her handle, her speed, her quickness. She went to Italy for tryouts. All she wanted, since she determined it was her goal, was a chance at a pro career. And now she has that chance.

I talked to Laterza about her career at Marist and playing for a mid-major as she aspired for a pro career, the things she’s done since graduation, and going overseas today. It’s a great listen from a great kid.

To summarize, today we have one of the greats in the prime of her career, Candace Parker. We have a former All-Star who is adjusting to new roles, and tackling a new career off the court, Tammy Sutton-Brown. And we have, a young player, just out of college, trying to make women’s basketball her career, Maria Laterza. I hope you enjoy today’s show.

Dishin & Swishin: The World of Women’s Hoops is an Internet Radio Show hosted by David Siegel, devoted to the many facets of women’s basketball.  From players to coaches to administrators and journalists, David strives to bring you an entertaining listen that also leaves you with something you didn’t know before. Enjoy!

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  • Awesome podcast! Very impressed by Maria. Marist certainly has some awesome players.

    • Thanks for the listen and comments Lynn. I loved watching Maria in the MAAC tourney

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