What I Know: Tully Bevilaqua Of The Indiana Fever

The former WNBA guard and scrappy Aussie defensive specialist—aka “Little Dingo”—on hoops, farming, and Vegemite.
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.”