WNBA players share their wildest stories from abroad: ‘Damn, I’m really

In No Offseason, The Athletic follows the paths of women’s basketball players after their WNBA seasons end and their travels begin. From Turkey, Israel, Italy, the Czech Republic, Mexico and even here in the U.S., our reporters tell the stories of these players as they chase their dreams and try to shape the future of the WNBA.

A hotel room with water that “stayed brown.” A gym’s lights suddenly turning off. A gas station pitstop almost leading to an arrest. When many WNBA players head overseas to compete in the offseason, culture shock, travel hiccups and tangled translations aren’t uncommon. These are just some of the stories that current and former players relayed to The Athletic about how they’ve adjusted to playing professionally overseas.

This winter, The Athletic has produced a wide range of features about what women’s basketball is like abroad in our “No Offseason” series. We’ve touched on the benefits of becoming a naturalized citizen in another country, how Americans can impact a foreign league’s on-court style of play, and about what it’s like to get injured on an overseas club. At each stop — Turkey, Italy, Israel, Czech Republic — on our nearly five-week trip, we also asked players for at least one anecdote about a time that made them realize they were in a new environment away from the confines of home — a “damn, I’m really overseas” moment, as one player called it.

(Quotes have been lightly edited for length and clarity.)

‘My power is out’

Kayla McBride

Minnesota Lynx and Fenerbahçe (Turkey) forward

One day in Orenburg, Russia, my power was out for two or three days, and I was injured at the time. That was awful.

Cheyenne Parker

Atlanta Dream and Virtus Segafredo Bologna (Italy) forward

I was in a hotel — and I don’t wanna say the country because I don’t want to be rude — and I turned the water on and it was brown. I went in to wash my hands, and it was brown and it did not clear up. It stayed brown. That’s the part that was crazy. I just want clean running water. That’s when I was, like, damn, I’m really overseas. And then I started having to use bottled water to wash my face. My face was breaking out, and I couldn’t figure out why and then I thought … it’s the water.

Tearia McCowan

Dallas Wings and Galatasaray (Turkey) center

It’s waking up and rolling over and looking out the window and being like, I’m really overseas. For one, the bed is small. Like my ankles are hanging out the bed. (Editor’s note: McCowan is 6-foot-7.) I’m like, yo, I’m really overseas. I probably think about that every day. I have a properly fitted bed at home. Here, it’s take it or leave it. On the road, it’s like if I even turn over, I’m falling off the bed.

Natasha Howard

Dallas Wings forward, most recently overseas with Fenerbahçe (Turkey)

I’m in the hotel on the road somewhere in Turkey, just on the phone and stuff, texting friends and family, and next…

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