AT&T CENTER – If the San Antonio Spurs Western Conference Semifinals series against the Portland Trailblazers ends tonight, one member of the San Antonio Stars will likely be relieved and have a bit of a bittersweet feeling.
Kayla McBride, the Notre Dame guard the Stars selected with their 2014 third overall pick, is close friends with Blazers guard Wesley Matthews, which makes this series interesting for her since she plays for the Spurs’ WNBA affiliate and she’s now a San Antonio resident.
“I’m kind of torn a little bit. Wesley Matthews is actually one of my good friends, my mentors, somebody that I look up to,” McBride said. “He went undrafted in 2009 and he has a great work ethic so I think that’s someone to admire, and we’ve become close friends over the years.”
But McBride has no problem explaining where her loyalties lie in this series.
“You know I’m here in San Antonio and I’m playing for the Stars, so I’m cheering for the Spurs,” McBride added.
But McBride wasn’t the only Stars rookie watching intently as this series unfolded.
Jessica Kuster, who went undrafted, was invited to Stars training camp. San Antonio is Kuster’s hometown, and she starred at Reagan High School before going on to break scoring records (for Men and Women) at Rice.
During Stars media day, which was the day after Game 2, Kuster said the early blowouts were good for her after a tough first round against Dallas.
“I’m glad that basically both the games have been blowouts because it’s a lot less stressful on me, and I have enough stress going on right now with training camp. I don’t need the additional stress,” Kuster said.
Kuster said while she followed the Spurs closely throughout her childhood, she wasn’t aware she truly was a Spurs fan until she moved to Houston to study at Rice.
“I actually didn’t know I was a fan until I went to school. I followed them a little bit, or a lot a bit I guess, and then I went to school in Houston and I found myself just super excited when Spurs games came on and all that so that’s when I realized I’m definitely a Spurs fan,” Kuster added.
While interviewing players during media day, I found that another player, Carolyn David, who was just recently waived, also followed the Spurs, and especially one player in general.
“I love Tim Duncan. He’s one of my favorite basketball players so it’s awesome to be here,” Davis said. “It was awesome (playing in the AT&T Center). When we pulled in, I was like, I wonder what spot is Tim Duncan’s spot. It’s really awesome to be in this environment.”
While all three players come from different areas and follow the Spurs for different reasons, they’ll likely all be watching tonight as the Spurs look for the closeout in Game 5.
On Saturday, McBride, Kuster and the rest of the Stars will be looking for similar results at the AT&T Center in their home opener against the Tulsa Shock.
For more on the Stars, visit Project Spurs’ sister site, StarsHoops.net.