With the conclusion of the Olympics and the continuation of the WNBA regular season, the Chicago Sky are re-focusing on the goal of bringing Chicago a WNBA championship. Erika de Souza and Clarissa Dos Santos both represented their home country of Brazil in the 2016 Olympics. Retuning to their hometown and reuniting with their roots, these ladies were able to honor Brazil proudly as they both played basketball on familiar ground in Rio de Janeiro.
This being the third time she has participated in the Olympics, Erika de Souza enjoyed the experience of playing at home; it was also a more touching one for her because she got to experience it before her family.
“It was the best, because I never played in front of my family, friends or town before. Our national team didn’t do as good but that’s ok, it was so cool for me and Clarissa to go back and play in Brazil.”
While in Rio, de Souza and Dos Santos did not have much time to maneuver the city and actually catch up with people. De Souza commented, “I didn’t have a lot of time, because I had practice, and stayed inside the villa. I had a little bit of time with my Grandma, and brothers.”
With a huge smile, she continued: “It was so cool; my grandmother is 85 years; she’s old, but she was so happy to watch me play live. ”
An eleven hour flight, took Clarissa and Erika back to their roots, where it all started for the two. Despite the long travel time, both were ecstatic to be able to play at home.
Clarissa expressed similar sentiments as Erika: “It was really nice being there, to have all your friends, and family their, country cheering for you, they have this energy,” Dos Santos explained. “You could feel the energy from the Brazilians fans; it was a lot of fun.”
Like de Souza, Dos Santos was happy to see members of her family that she has not seen in a while. “I was able to go home and visit if practice wasn’t going on; I was able to see my mom and grandma, and I couldn’t see everybody because my family is to big.”
Both players had one memorable moment from the Olympics.
“After the first game [against Australia] I cried because I never played in my town with my family and friends and national team, I was so nervous excited, and happy,” de Souza said.
“We didn’t get to go to the opening and closing ceremonies because we had games the next day, but the first game was when it really hit me like it was real, I wasn’t nervous but I was happy excited.” Dos Santos continued, “We’ve worked hard to get to this. We lost all the games, but we grew a lot.”
The Olympics was an extra push for the ladies to return focused and ready to go head-to-head with their WNBA opponents as they finish out the second half of the season.
“I am back here, ready to do more.” de Souza said. “I need to do more for my team, more rebounds, more screens. For me this is the start right now. As a team we need to play together…be strong.”
When asked about the rest of the season Dos Santos said: “I had a lot of playing time, different situations that helped me figure out some things that I can prepare for. ”
With both players back in Chicago, they are fixated on the next stage of the season – the playoffs.
De Souza had one word – “Championship.”
Catch the Sky in action Friday, September 2 when the Seattle Storm visits Allstate Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT and the game can be viewed on The UToo Sports. Take advantage of 20 percent off all single-game tickets with the WNBA Super20. Visit www.WNBASuper20.com/sky for more information.