On Monday, the social media accounts of various WNBA players were full of less-than-enthusiastic reviews of their living arrangements as they arrived at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. — site of this year’s 22-game season-in-a-bubble.
On Tuesday, two of the Lynx captains, Sylvia Fowles and Napheesa Collier, presented a different message:
Their accommodations and experiences so far have been fine, and they have confidence that anything that has been less than ideal will either be handled in short order or is not something about which to complain about in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s really nice, and I like where we’re staying,” said Collier, who said she is staying in the villas part of the compound, while acknowledging there have been wider issues.
“It’s just Day 2. … We had a call earlier today where they addressed a lot of our concerns, which was really good.”
Fowles, at 34 easily the oldest Lynx player, said she is staying in the lodge and hasn’t had any issues.
“I’m just pretty easygoing. It don’t take much to please me,” Fowles said. “I just want to make sure I’m not trying to complain as much. Not everybody is going to be happy. … We’re just in Day 2, and we’ll see how this thing pans out.”
Fowles said a positive attitude will play a role in how the Lynx — coming off back-to-back 18-16 seasons and with several new additions to the roster — are able to adapt in a season that is anything but normal.
“It’s not normal for anyone. But you pretty much have to roll with it,” Fowles said. “If you’re positive about it, things will happen for you. If you just sit and complain, things won’t work out. We don’t want to be that team that complains.”
Collier said the environment reminds her a little of college basketball, while Fowles dug even deeper into her memory in comparing it to AAU ball.
Some semblance of normalcy will return once players are on the court ramping up for games expected to begin in a couple weeks (the revised league schedule has not yet been set).
For most of this week, players are quarantined. Collier said they will be tested for the virus every day for the next couple weeks.
She noted that while there is a golf course and a pool on the premises, there’s “probably a lot of Netflix in our futures” as they stay in the bubble. Fowles plans to occupy herself with online coursework as she continues to work toward a degree in mortuary science.
Beyond that, it’s about staying safe and playing basketball. Players have an eye on both, particularly as positive test results increase in Florida — raising questions about the viability of starting and completing the season there.
“It’s obviously still a possibility that it could happen with all the numbers spiking,” Collier said regarding the season being threatened.
“But the league is taking every precaution … If it’s possible for us to have a season, I think we will. We’re taking all the necessary precautions, so everyone is really optimistic for it. We’re excited to get started.”