July 17, 2014
Sugar Rodgers is in her second WNBA season and first with the New York Liberty. The 2013 Georgetown graduate was traded from the Minnesota Lynx, who Rodgers won a WNBA title with a season ago. Through 21 games this season, she is averaging 6.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 15.4 minutes per game. Rodgers graduated as the Hoyas’ all-time scoring leader, setting the BIG EAST Tournament single-game record for points in her final showing at the conference tourney. Including the 42 points she scored against Villanova that night, Rodgers tallied 2,518 career points while wearing the Blue & Grey, including 1,196 in BIG EAST games alone to rank ninth in league history.
You were drafted by and spent your first WNBA season with the Minnesota Lynx – talk about the transition from the college game to the pro ranks.
Playing in the BIG EAST really helped me. You’re going against the best competition every night and going to the pros is no different. Every night you need to bring your ‘A game’ – if you don’t, you’ll lose.
In April you were traded from the Lynx to the New York Liberty – what was that call like?
My agent called me and told me I’d been traded. At first I thought, “Oh man, I have to start over with a new team.” But at the end of the day it’s a job and it was all about building new relationships. It was cool though. The transition has been smooth – the Liberty run some of the same things we ran in Minnesota, so it hasn’t been too difficult.
What is it like to be able to call Madison Square Garden your home arena?
It’s the most famous gym in the world – the fans themselves, the city of New York. It’s just amazing. To be playing right in the center of one of the greatest cities, it’s unbelievable.
Your last time in the BIG EAST Tournament you set the scoring record with 42 points – what was it like to sort of end your time in the BIG EAST with a bang like that?
What was your favorite memory in a Georgetown uniform?
I wish as a team we could have gone further in the Tournament, but it was still pretty cool. Just to know about all the other players who were there before me and have their names in the record book, to break a record that is so big to a conference that’s so strong, there’s no way to describe it; there are just no words.
I don’t remember the exact date, but when I broke Kris Witfill’s Georgetown scoring record; also when I was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. Those two were big moments.
Are there any players you loved going against in college that you enjoy doing so in the pro game as well?
I love playing against everybody – I see them all the time. Maya Moore, Skylar Diggins. Now I’m teammates with Tina Charles. I even told Tina about the time she blocked my shot in college. I told her it was the hardest my shot has ever been blocked! I also love playing against my old team, the Lynx. Seimone Augustus, who I got close with during my time there. Monica Wright. To play against them and then go out to eat with them after, it’s all about having those relationships.
What have you learned about yourself after having one WNBA season under your belt?
Not being able to play my first year – you get drafted and think you’re going to play and then it doesn’t happen. I was on a great team, the best in the league - we won the WNBA Championship. You just learn that you have to be patient – your turn will come. It’s a process. Each year I’m going to get better and I know that.
Any plans to play overseas in the WNBA offseason?
Last year I went to Israel and France. I don’t know about this season because I have a book coming out – A Bitter Sweet Life: Overcoming the Odds. I’ll probably be promoting it. It’s about my life, growing up and the roadblocks that I’ve overcome to get to the WNBA. It will come out in August.
Anyone in particular you credit with building your game?
I don’t think I can single out one person. There are a lot people. Plenty of times I go back home to Virginia and a guy will just say “I watched your game and you’re not following your shot.” I listen to that and learn from it.