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What I Know: Tully Bevilaqua Of The Indiana Fever

A former point guard with the Indiana Fever, Tully Bevilaqua grew up in the town of Merredin in Western Australia. On the court, the hustling defensive specialist made a living of dusting the floor with her jersey.
The following as-told-to was the product of an interview Bevilaqua, then 37, gave to IM before the start of her final season as a player with the Fever. In April 2017, she joined the team’s coaching staff.
I can’t pinpoint the moment when I realized basketball was my game. But I’m sure it didn’t have anything to do with offense. It was probably a charge that I took.
People focus on the score sheet and say, “So-and-so scored so many points, she obviously had a great game.” But another player may have picked up five loose balls, or deflected five passes that went to her teammates.
A lot of the plays that change the course of a game don’t show up on a score sheet.
My dad was a farmer. When I was 12, I got stampeded by sheep. I still sport a scar on my lip.
I guess I’m regarded as a blue-collar worker on the basketball court. I see my dad as someone who has been a blue-collar worker all his life.
There is probably some correlation there.
Basketball is supposedly a tall person’s game. When you are my height (5’7″), you need to bring something different.
When I arrived at my first WNBA training camp, in Cleveland, I was an outsider, and I could feel the eyes as I walked through the door.
I went out there and focused on the little things. I didn’t try to be anything but who I am, which is a hustling kind of player. After a couple of days, I earned the nickname “Little Dingo.”
I grew up with two older brothers, and we played sports together, including Aussie-rules football. I guess my toughness came from having to hold my own against them.
Sometimes I’ll go a couple of days without eating a Vegemite sandwich, but then I’ll go through a phase when I have a Vegemite sandwich every day.
I won a WNBA championship with the Seattle Storm in 2004. It’s a player’s dream to see that confetti coming down from the rafters.
The Fever had a small taste of that by winning the Eastern Conference championship last year. I said to my teammates, “If you’re enjoying this moment, wait ’til we get the overall championship.”
 

Since first joining Indianapolis Monthly in 2000, West has written about a wide range of subjects including crime, history, arts and entertainment, pop culture, politics, and food. His feature stories have twice been noted in the Best American Sports Writing anthology and have received top honors from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The Collapse,” West’s account of the 2011 Indiana State Fair tragedy, was a 2013 National City and Regional Magazine Awards finalist in the category of Best Reporting. He lives on the near-east side.
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