WNBA: All-Star Kayla McBride Has Adjusted Well in Her Second Pro Year With San Antonio
WASHINGTON – Being away from her sanctuary proved to be a blessing in disguise for San Antonio second year guard Kayla McBride.
While playing overseas in Hungary with UE Sopron, McBride suffered a season-ending injury. Despite being limited to 14 games, McBride was impactful, averaging16.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 27.4 minutes.
“That was hard for me,” McBride said following the Silver Stars’ 66-63 loss to Washington Wednesday night at the Verizon Center.
“I had to come home. It was the first time in my life where I hadn’t played basketball in a long time. I was going for about three years straight without a break. It gave me a mental break and put things in perspective for me.”
Though nobody likes being hurt, it helped ease her frustration earlier this season when she missed five games with a foot injury.
McBride hasn’t slowed down since returning. With a 14.2 point per game average, McBride leads the Silver Stars in scoring and is one of four players averaging double figures for her team.
The native of Erie (Pa.) shined at Notre Dame and was a central figure in one of the greatest eras in the Fighting Irish’s storied women’s basketball history.
Now, she’s doing the same thing in the WNBA as her recent selection to the All-Star Game confirmed.
At 23, McBride was the youngest All-Star in this year’s game. She had a blast in Connecticut, scoring 18 points to help her Western All-Stars claim a 117-112 victory.
McBride was always confident that one day she would be considered one of the elite women’s basketball players on the planet.
With a quick release complemented by robotic-like accuracy, McBride could probably beat Steph Curry in a few games of H-O-R-S-E.
“It was special,” McBride said when she was informed of her All-Star status. “I know I worked hard for it and making the all-star team was one of my goals coming into the league.
"Being able to go with one of my teammates (Danielle Robinson), meant a lot to me. It was a cool experience because everybody is in a pretty chill environment. It was a lot of fun to get to know each other off the court. To me, that was the coolest part of everything.”
Another change in McBride’s game this season was her off court preparation thanks to playing overseas last offseason.
“It’s is a lifestyle,” McBride said of her overseas experiences. “I mean how you eat, sleep and take care of your body. Coming out of college where things are set up for you; you have to take responsibility in your own hands for everything.
"I tried to do that coming into this year. I changed how I eat. I am learning how to rest, instead of going all the time. I also learned that with my injury too.”
The focus has yielded huge rewards as McBride is comfortable this season. Even though she averaged 13 points per game and earned a spot on the WNBA All-Rookie team, McBride really didn’t find a groove.
This season, she came in determined to add to her game, specifically rebounding. McBride is averaging 3.2 rebounds per game while still lighting up the scoreboard.
Against the Mystics on Wednesday, McBride finished with 18 points. She also grabbed five rebounds, the third time this season she pulled down at least five caroms. For the season, McBride has scored in double figures 13 times and hit for 20 or more points three times.
“Rebounding is something I wanted to do more of this year,” McBride said. “I think I am also more comfortable in catch-and-shoot situations. I think last year, I did it more because I had to. I’m a shooter and scorer. That’s my role and what my team needs me to do every night.”
Even though the Silver Stars are in the midst of a four-game losing streak heading into Saturday’s critical home game against the Seattle Storm, they remain confident in their ability to return to the playoffs.
The Stars are in fifth place behind the surging Los Angeles Sparks in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Seven of San Antonio’s final 12 games are against Tulsa, Los Angeles and Seattle.
McBride was part of a sizzling triumvirate featuring Jia Perkins and Sophia Young-Malcolm that combined for 58 of San Antonio’s points against Washington.
“Against Washington, we found our identity in the first half,” McBride said. “We were aggressive, the ball was moving and we played confidently. We don’t have a superstar that’s going to drop 30 a night. When we’re at our best, we’re the smartest and toughest team on the floor especially when the ball moves around.”
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