Elisa Penna: the CBT as a present for my senior year at Wake Forest

Elisa Penna is going to be the protagonist of an interesting clash when in August she will face her teammates when Wake Forest plays the Italian National Team at the CBT (August 18th in Vicenza). Here is here the translation of her interview to the CBT.

So, this is your third year in the Italian national selection. Has it come as a surprise?
Yes, this isn’t the first time they’ve called me for the national selection, but, actually, I never take it for granted. Being selected for the national team is always a great joy and a chance that very few players receive. I don’t think that the emotion of getting that call can ever diminish. Wearing the blue jersey of the Italian national team is the dream of any player and it is also a sum of emotions and experiences that gets inside your bones and will never disappear. Wearing it is a dream come true.

Elisa Penna con la maglia della nazionale italiana
Elisa Penna con la maglia della nazionale italiana

How would you describe your last season at Wake Forest?
My last season at Wake Forest was positive, all in all. It’s true, we lost more matches than we should have in order to reach the postseason, but we showed we at least had a chance of winning against every other team. In some matches what we lacked was a bit of experience: In fact, often we only lost in the final minutes of the game. But it’s fundamental to look for the positive side. I think that the last season proved to us that our team has great potential and that reaching the NCAAA Tournament is not impossible. We want to improve so bad and I believe that this Italian tour will be a great opportunity to set the foundations for a great season. 
Personally, it was a season of ups and downs. A bad injury forced me to miss several matches, but even here I want to see the positive side of it: I had the chance to face a new situation (I had never been off the court for such a long period of time) and I think I learnt a lot both as an athlete and as a person. Sure, I still need to work on several aspects of my game, but you know, you never stop learning and improving.

So, in August you will go back to Italy to take part to a series of scrimmage games versus the Italian National Team. As you reacted to the news?
My coach explained to me that the tour is a sort of present for me, as they wished to bring me back home before my senior year at Wake Forest.I will never forget the moment when I was told that we would go in Italy in August. I was both shocked and trilled by the idea! I’m looking forward to showing my American family where I come from, to introducing them to my real Italian family and my friends, and immersing them in my culture. I have already started teaching my teammates some useful words such as “buongiorno, Buonasera, grazie, prego” and others that they can use when they . They’re good students and learn fast! 
In July, they will attend a course on Italian culture and I’m sure it will be very useful for them.

Elisa Penna in azione con la maglia di Wake Forest
Elisa Penna in azione con la maglia di Wake Forest

Women’s basketball in Italy is not very popular, while in the US it has many fans and supporters How do you explain it?
Here, in general, both men’s and women’s sport is very popular. I think this is a pure American attitude. All sports have great coverage and on TV you can watch any sport. People have a genuine passion for sport in general: basketball, football, volleyball, baseball. Many even follow different sports. The main difference with Italy and Europe is that here in the US sports are seasonal. They start and end in different periods of the year: for instance, basketball is a winter sport, and so people follow it from November to March. During the summer, we play and watch tennis, golf and baseball. Autumn is the season of football. So people can easily follow their favorite sport and others without having to chose.

Elisa Penna a Wake Forest
Elisa Penna a Wake Forest

What about your summer? Do you have any plan before going back to your country?
I will spend the whole summer here in Wake Forest. I have some courses to follow and in the meanwhile I’m going to train with my teammates (both individually and with the team) before going back to Italy in August. And I’m sure I will enjoy the weekends by visiting North Carolina and some of the towns nearby.