Sylvia Smiling After Barca Bow

02 December 2003
By Paul Giblin, PA International

Sylvia Crawley was pleased with her debut for Barcelona after helping her new club to an 82-65 win over Arranz Acinas.

Although the American only played 10 minutes of the game as she eased into the rigours of the Spanish League, she still managed to contribute seven points and collect two rebounds.

"It wasn't a fantastic performance, but we won the game and that's the most important thing,'' said Crawley, who was brought to the club to replace Bosnian Razija Brcaninovic, who departed after a falling out with coach Carmen Lluveras.

"I am adapting bit by bit and I need a bit of time to get into my best possible shape, but my

When will I score a slam-dunk? Well, I have to get fully fit, but I promise I'll try soon.
Sylvia Crawley
companions have accepted me very well and the coach is helping me a lot."

Crawley is a big name in American basketball circles. She was the women's player of the year in 1995.

In fact, she has a lot in common with Michael Jordan.

Crawley, like Jordan, attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and both won national titles.

In 1994, twelve years after Jordan's late heroics in New Orleans lifted the Tar Heels to victory over Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas, Crawley was a leading player on the Carolina women's team that captured the NCAA crown over Louisiana Tech.

In an ending that may never be surpassed in the title game, the Heels inbounded the ball with less than a second on the clock to Charlotte Smith and she buried a three-pointer for a one-point win over Louisiana Tech.

World sprint star Marion Jones was a point guard for that Heels team.

And Crawley she is also like Jordan because of her high-flying skills. Crawley won the slam dunk contest at the 1998 ABL All-Star Game with a blindfolded dunk.

Later that year, she was featured in a Sports Illustrated for Women story on how to dunk.

Dunking, in fact, is something she was asked about after her debut for Barcelona.

"When will I score a slam-dunk?" she said, "well, I have to get fully fit, but I promise I'll try soon.''

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