OFF TOPIC with Minnesota basketball’s Kay Sylva

Mark Heise

Minnesota women’s basketball senior guard Kay Sylva sat down with me this week… twice… to go Off Topic for your enjoyment. So sit back, relax, and learn a little more about the Gophers’ defensive specialist.


Name: Kay Sylva
Year: Senior
Position: Guard
Number: 10
Full Bio: Gophersports Bio


Mark Heise: Kay, first off, in the media guide, you mentioned that on the team’s recent trip to Italy, you had to pay to use the bathroom. What was that all about?


Kay Sylva:  First of all, our Charter bus sits 40 people, no bathroom whatsoever. So right away I was thinking, are you serious? We didn’t know we’d have to wait to use the bathroom at gas stations. So we’ve been on the bus for four hours, we all had to use the bathroom. So we go in, and head straight to the bathroom. We try to walk in, and there’s a woman sitting outside and she’s like “hey hey!” She didn’t speak any English. So she’s just like “hey hey!” and she’s pointing down. We’re looking at her like, ok, we see a tin can, what do you want us to do with that? So we just kept going, but then Pam (Borton) comes around the corner and tells us we have to pay to use the bathroom. And we were thinking… what? So we asked how much, and she said a Euro. Do you know how much that is in American money? And so some people paid it and some people were like, I’m not paying a Euro, I’ll go somewhere else. It was pretty crazy.


MH: You’re taking Portuguese, which is interesting, because women’s volleyball player Pamela Luiz is from Brazil, and lives in your building. Can you talk to her in Portuguese yet?


KS: I’m definitely not there yet, I don’t understand a lot of if. Pam has been a big help though, she’s been awesome. I found out she spoke Portuguese and she found that I was taking Portuguese so she’s been helping me out. She has me listening to a lot of music, watching a lot of videos. Mainly the conversations are very short and simple. When we go to the grocery store we’ll start out where I’ll say nouns to her that I know, and she’ll teach me how to use it in different contexts. And then I’ll try to start forming sentences and she’ll correct me. She’s corrected some of my essays, and we do a lot of reading together. Slowly but surely, my grammar is getting better.


MH: Women’s soccer started the NCAA tournament with a couple of wins. Did you get to see any of their games yet?


KS: I went to four of their games with my teammates, especially the Border Battle at home against Wisconsin, so I got to see that win. I think that was the last game that I actually went to. I didn’t get to see any of their playoff games since we were in California, but I know they’re playing at Notre Dame Friday (Minnesota lost 1-0 in overtime) so we just made a poster downstairs for them. I’d say soccer and volleyball are the two teams we’re really close with.


MH: Can you play soccer?


KS: I’ve actually played since I was three years old. I was actually better at soccer but I liked basketball more. But yeah, I can definitely play some football.


MH: Have you ever used a fire estinguisher?


KS: No, never in my life.


MH: Probably a good thing.


KS: Yeah I’m ok with it.


MH: You can be on any game show… what game show would you be on?


KS: I’d be on the Price is Right. It’s the only game show I really know, but they have a lot of cool prizes and you can keep going and going and get to the showcase. That’d be an awesome game show to be on.


MH:  No one has said Deal or No Deal yet… you understand you can get a lot of money just for picking numbers, right?


KS: I’ve seen that show, we actually did that for our Hoopla thing. I guess I wouldn’t pick it because I don’t watch it a lot. There’s another show, maybe you remember what it’s called, it’s the one with the Truth questions…


MH: With the Lie detector?


KS: Yeah


MH: I can’t remember the name… (Found out later it was “The Moment of Truth”)


KS: I would go on that show.


MH: According to the media guide, you’re also a self-proclaimed cook


KS: Yeah, I know how to cook. I have to eat some way.


MH: What’s your specialty?


KS: Last year I cooked quite a bit of vegetarian stuff that my teammates liked. I cooked vegetarian fajitas with soy meat, which is like a steak but it’s soy instead of meat… I cooked Cajon cheese eggs, and make breakfast burritos out of that with red and green onions… I’m a pretty decent cook.


MH: Thoughts on bottled water?


KS: It’s good, there’s really no taste to it, so I guess it’s better than faucet water.


MH: Ok, I always thought it seemed a little bitter


KS: You think it’s bitter? Well Oregon has really good faucet water so I don’t drink a lot of bottled water there, but here since we have Dasani, I might as well use it.


MH: you said you were planning on going ice fishing some time before graduation… I take that to assume you haven’t done a lot of winter activities yet?


KS:  No, I’m not a winter sports person. I’ve gone snowboarding a couple of times, skiing a couple times, got in a couple snow fights, and have gone ice skating indoors in Oregon, but never have really done much winter stuff, I don’t really like snow. But I’m looking forward to going ice fishing because I’ve heard a lot of people do it here in Minnesota, and it was one of the things they were talking about when they recruited me.


MH: Question of the year: Men’s basketball player Travis Busch and Gophersports writer Zach Eisendrath have an online TV show called The What Else? Show, where they sit around and talk about current events, or things they’ve seen recently… It’s kind of random, but entertaining nonetheless. The question is, if you had your own online TV blog, what would it be about and what would you call it?


KS: I’d probably just call it The Gossip, and I’d do what Travis does and talk about anything that comes to mind, try to keep it related to what people my age want to talk about. For instance, the political campaigns this year, a lot of younger people were involved, so that’d be a topic that would come up.


MH: First guest you’d have?


KS: I’d try to get Kevin Garnett or Lisa Leslie on the show, but if I can’t pull that, I’d get Paul Carter from the men’s basketball team.


MH: Why him?


KS: He’s a very interesting person, if you ever get a chance to sit down and talk with him. It’s very interesting where he’s been, how he’s progressed and where he’s come from. He’s got a lot of stories, and is a very cool person.


MH: Supposedly, you can tell how far away the lightning is away from how long it takes to hear the thunder, the closer the lightning gets, the sooner you hear the thunder. If you get struck by lightning, do you hear the thunder at the same time?


KS: No I don’t think so! You probably don’t even remember it if you do get struck!


MH: Kay, thanks for your time. As a reward, you now can nominate your next teammate to go Off Topic, and can pick a question to ask her.


KS: The next person I would like to see on here is my buddy Zoe Harper, and I want you to ask her… what is her biggest dream or fantasy.



And there it is. Two down, and hopefully I can find one more for you today to make three. Thanks for reading!