Beginning her third season in the WNBA, former Gophers star Amanda Zahui B. said in a conference call today her confidence level is at its highest since she entered the league as the second overall pick – by Tulsa – in the 2015 draft.
The biggest reason? A very strong season overseas.
“My overseas experience was great,’’ she said. “I had a coach who pushed me, helped me a lot with my confidence and helped develop my game. We ran a lot; I’m in better shape that I was in my previous years.’’
Zahui B., acquired by the New York Liberty in a trade prior to last season, was part of a conference call with reporters in advance of Thursday’s Liberty-Minnesota Lynx game in New York. Both teams are 1-0 and both teams have legitimate championship aspirations.
Zahui B. is a backup post player for the Liberty.
As a rookie Zahui B. averaged just 9.7 minutes and 3.4 points. Last season with New York she averaged 5.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per game. She played 6 minutes in the Liberty’s season opener.
It’s going to be tough to get minutes when you’re a backup on a team with such a strong post presence – Tina Charles is one of the league’s best players. But Zahui B., who was still learning the game when she entered the WNBA, sounded Wednesday like she was ready for her career to take off. Playing for the Russian team Nadezhda Orenburg over the winter, she was an all-EuroLeague honorable mention after scoring 14.9 points with 9.3 rebounds per game.
“I’m coming in with more confidence, and a better understanding of the game,’’ Zahui B. said. I’m trying to transfer that into this team here. … Last year the struggle went into my head a lot. Tina Charles told me to be slow to anger and quick to listen. That’s something I took to heart. My role is to do the small things. Rebound, box out, play defense, whatever minutes I play.’’