Half-Court Press: Paulina Hersler


15. Paulina Hersler (Sweden)
U18 European Championship Women leading scorer Paulina Hersler still considers the first game she played at the top level her best ever - she had 18 points and hasn't stopped scoring since

Paulina Hersler of Sweden has been one of the stand-out players at the U18 European Championship Women and now the leading scorer of the tournament must tackle a Half-Court Press from FIBA

The center has attracted plenty of plaudits for her assured performances and she is the only player to have scored more than 20 points per game - something which brought Sweden close to a quarter-final place, but they fell short in their final Second Round game against Russia. What's your first basketball memory?
Pauline Hersler: My first basketball memory was when the first team I played in got the opportunity to play together with another team in our club that we didn't like. At the beginning we all hated each other but then we got to know them and became the best team in the south of our country in our age.

Why did you want to become a basketball player?
I wanted to try it because I had some friends that were playing and my dad has also played when he was younger. I have also always been tall, so it was a good reason to start playing basketball.

If you were at the Olympics but not as a basketball player, which other sport do you think it would be fun to win a gold medal in?
It would probably be handball, it's a team sport and a lot like basketball, or athletics because I tested it a while before I started playing basketball.

What would be a perfect weekend for you if money was not a problem?
Then I would bring my best friends to a warm place in Europe for relaxing, shopping and just have some fun.

If you could only listen to one song again for the rest of your life what would it be?
Oh it's a tough question to only choose one, but it would be something with Chris Brown, like ‘Forever'.

Which Swedish senior team player do you admire the most and why?
Louice Halvarsson because she is a really good player at my position as a power forward/center and plays against the best in Europe. She is also one of the key players in the senior national team.

What does Sweden reaching the finals of Eurobasket Women in France next summer mean for women's basketball in your country?
It should mean a lot since we haven't played at a Eurobasket Women since 1987 and as basketball is not such a big sport in Sweden, I think that by being in the finals, it will definitely get more attention from the media and attract people to start playing.

Who is the most sensible of your team-mates and who is the craziest and why?
The most sensible girl is Evelina (Iris) Strömberg. She is clever and takes good decisions. The craziest one is Jaithe Darbo. She's so funny and makes us all laugh. Our physio is also crazy, he likes to scream and dance in front of people.

Do you know how to cook? If you were cooking a meal for the coach what would it be?
(She laughs) I would cook something easy because he just wants basic food and no vegetables. So I would cook pasta with meatballs and then I would buy a bottle of ketchup, his favourite sauce!

When you had your serious injury, how did you cope with not playing?
I knew that I had no choice. I really needed to do my rehab and be mentally strong, that was the only way to get back onto the court.

What's your best quality as a player and as a person and what is the worst?
It's that I'm diverse even if I am tall. I can score in different ways and as a person, I'm someone you can really trust. My weakness is to play tight defence on smaller players and as a person I am a ‘time optimist', I always think I have more time than I really do.

What is the best basketball game you have played in and why?
My best game was the first time I ever played in the Swedish women's League. I was 16 years old, scored 18 points and I shot 100 percent!

What are your favourite other sports and which teams do you follow?
I don't follow any other sports besides basketball. I just follow soccer and hockey when the national team plays.

What are the most important things for a basketball player to have?
It is to be able to read and understand the game, have split vision and a good shot.

There's only two seconds on the shot clock, do you pass or shoot?
I would shoot the ball.


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