Rachel Jarry. Photo: Joe Armao
Australian star Rachel Jarry should be getting ready for Melbourne Boomers' WNBL season-opener against Sydney University on Sunday.
Instead she will be in Minnesota, preparing for a slightly bigger task - playing for the WNBA championship.
Jarry's Minnesota Lynx takes on the Atlanta Dream in game one of the WNBA finals, starting on Monday morning Australian time.
The best-of-five series will decide the champion of the WNBA and could run until October 18 if it stretches the full five matches, leaving the Boomers without their star player.
The 22-year-old forward spoke to Fairfax Media from Minnesota, where the team is preparing to play in front of a possible sellout crowd for game one of the finals. ''It's been an amazing season, I couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable transition to the WNBA,'' Jarry said.
''Being a rookie from Australia, the other girls didn't owe me anything but they have all been fantastic, this has been one of the best teams I've been a part of, we have had so much fun.
''We had 50 or so fans waiting for us when we arrived back in Minnesota after winning the Western Conference finals. I can't wait for game one.''
The Lynx, led by US superstar Maya Moore and tested veterans Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus, have also won plenty of games, topping the league. They lost to Indiana Fever, whose team includes Australia's Erin Phillips, in last year's finals.
As a rookie, Jarry has been used sparingly during the season. She sat out the majority of the play-offs but knows an injury or foul trouble to one of the Lynx forwards could result in her being thrown into the action.
''While I haven't played a lot, I know I've improved my game and working with players like Moore and Augustus every day has been amazing for me,'' Jarry said.
The Boomers have undergone a major transformation since last season, moving to the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South, adopting the Melbourne name and also the new colours of purple and gold, as well as a new coach in Guy Molloy.
Jarry said she had remained in contact with Molloy and her Boomers' teammates and looked forward to jumping straight into the WNBL season once the Lynx completed the WNBA finals. ''It will be a change coming back from the US but I'm definitely ready to go,'' Jarry said.
''I've been working hard outside of games to get myself ready. It's definitely a big change but I'm looking forward to helping sell our game to a new area of Melbourne and [to] bring more supporters to our team.''
Dandenong Rangers start their season on Saturday night when they host Logan Thunder at Dandenong Stadium, with WNBA star Jenna O'Hea expected to play for the Rangers after returning home this week.
Bendigo Spirit, which has kept the core of its championship-winning squad, has added rising star Sara Blicavs, sister of Geelong ruckman Mark Blicavs, and opens its season in Townsville on Friday night.