Marianna Tolo stepped onto the court to guard Lauren Jackson at practice and wondered "what the hell am I going to do here?"
She couldn't just give her the shot, because Jackson would drain it. Tolo couldn't get too close, because LJ would blow right past her.
That's what made the Canberra Capitals great stand head and shoulders above the rest - and now she is being recognised for it.
Jackson has been named as one of 12 finalists for the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and her glittering resume has no shortage of highlights.
Six WNBL championships, four WNBL most valuable player awards, four Olympic Games appearances and the leading scorer in the tournament's history. Two WNBA titles, three WNBA MVP awards and seven All Star appearances.
Not a bad person to learn from back in the day then?
"She was definitely really hard to guard at practice and that made me a better player, for sure," Tolo said.
MORE CANBERRA SPORT
"She is the best basketballer we've had through this country with regards to what she has been able to achieve for her sport.
"It's great for her to get that recognition, especially since she is still involved in the game now."
Now it's Tolo's time on the court and it was a tough outing on Friday night as the Capitals suffered a 102-69 drubbing in Townsville.
The loss came after Tolo was named in Sandy Brondello's Opals squad for the final step towards qualification for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Capitals centre will likely collide with Canberra teammate Olivia Epoupa who will suit up for France on their home court at the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament, which runs from February 7-10.
The WNBL will go on a two-week hiatus between the final round and the first semi-final to accommodate the international window.
The Opals need to finish in the top three of their group, which includes France, Puerto Rico and Brazil, to book their tickets to Tokyo.
Australia's No. 2 world ranking suggests they should find their way there unless disaster strikes against the three lower-ranked sides - France sit at 5th, Brazil at 15th and Puerto Rico at 23rd.
Tolo says the Opals will not take anybody lightly - especially Epoupa's French team having got a taste of what she can do this season.
"That'll be funny. It'll be good playing against her, especially after sharing such a good connection with her over the past few months," Tolo said.
"That's the beauty of basketball, you get to play against some of your friends at different times.
"I know when we step onto the court, it'll just be like we're playing against each other.
"I don't think there will be any love lost between us, but at the same time once we come back to Canberra we'll be friends again.
"It's going to be a really important one for us in February. It's going to be a tough one, France are a really tough team and they've beaten us in big tournaments before."
Australian Opals squad: Marianna Tolo, Rebecca Allen, Liz Cambage, Katie-Rae Ebzery, Cayla George, Ezi Magbegor, Leilani Mitchell, Lauren Nicholson, Jenna O'Hea, Nicole Seekamp, Alanna Smith, Stepahnie Talbot.