Gallasová adjusting to basketball in Green Bay
By Greg Bates
GREEN BAY – When Patricia Gallasová moved to Green Bay in mid-2018, there were many unknowns.
Coming from Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, Gallasová didn’t speak English very well.
On top of that, she moved to a country where she didn’t know anybody.
One thing she was confident with was her basketball skills.
A former EuroLeague player and member of the U20/U21 Czech Republic Women’s National Team, Gallasová wanted to bring her game to the Green Bay women’s basketball team.
Now, early in her redshirt freshman season, Gallasová is showing why Phoenix head coach Kevin Borseth wanted to bring aboard the Czech star.
“She brings a different type of play we’re not used to seeing,” said Green Bay teammate Madison Wolf. “I believe in Europe, they have a different style of play, especially for the guards. Her passes are phenomenal, and she’s a hard worker. I’m excited to see how she gets better as time goes on. She’s made quite a leap from last year.”
After redshirting in 2018-19, she showed the fans a glimpse into her court prowess against Chicago State Nov. 23.
She netted her first career field goal and ended up with two points, four assists, two steals and one offensive rebound in 15 minutes of action.
“She’s learning lots, learning fast and doing well,” teammate Frankie Wurtz said. “She sees the court well. When she’s in full-court transition, she’s really good. I’m excited to continue to see how she keeps growing.”
Gallasová, who is a point guard, is starting to get accustomed to the United States’ brand of basketball, which is different than what she saw in Europe.
“It’s faster, and it’s more physical here,” Gallasová said. “Under the basket, I need to be tough and strong. This is what I need to work on the most.”
The biggest transition for Gallasová has been hitting the weight room.
“I’d never really lifted before, so that was hard to get on track and lift,” she said. “My English has gotten better because when I first got here, it was not good. I could understand some words with one person, but if it was a conversation at the same time with others, it was hard. Also, with coach Borseth, he has his own language with basketball.”
After graduating from Gymnasium Jiriho-Gutha Jarskovskeho, Gallasová played domestically for Slovanka MB for two seasons.
During the 2016-17 season, Gallasová put up 19.4 points and 3.4 assists per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field.
The following season, she played for one of the top Czech Republic teams, Nymburk, and helped lead the squad to a third-place finish.
Gallasová has carried over some of her EuroLeague-style play to the United States and has implemented that in her game with the Phoenix.
“I always want to play fast breaks because it’s the easiest way to score,” Gallasová said. “That’s how we want to play, so that’s good.”
Gallasová is the first player ever from the Czech Republic to suit up for the Phoenix.
“It’s pretty cool,” she said. “I love it, and I’m glad I’m here.”
Gallasová had an interesting connection to get to Green Bay.
She met Tim Sension, whose daughter, Stephanie, played in the Phoenix program from 2009-13.
“I told her dad I wanted to play in the United States because I wanted to play at the highest level and also study,” Gallasová said. “In Europe, you can’t play and study because you have practices every day – it’s hard.”
Tim Sension put some feelers to Borseth and his coaching staff, and Gallasová was asked to come in for a tryout in June 2018.
She impressed the coaches with her play and was asked to be part of the 2018 recruiting class.
“When you come here – even for me as a freshman – there is so much to learn,” Wurtz said. “Not only is she coming to a new system, but she’s coming to a new country. I’m amazed by her and how well she transitioned. She misses home, but you wouldn’t think it because she’s always happy and smiling. That’s what I love about her.”
Wurtz has gotten to know Gallasová well and is one of her roommates at an off-campus house.
The two have shared a bond away from the basketball court.
“It’s cool to learn about her country, where she comes from and her family,” Wurtz said. “It’s cool to see how things are different from here to where she is from.”
As a redshirt last season, Gallasová was able to practice and travel with the team, but she couldn’t play in games.
This year, Gallasová said she is watching intently from the bench when she’s not in the game.
“I’m trying to watch everything – mostly the defense, how to move and helping position,” Gallasová said. “On offense, I need to see everything on the floor because I’m a point guard.”
As a teenager in the EuroLeague, she was one of her team’s top scorers.
Now, as a freshman, she’s a role player.
“It was different, but I’m used to it now,” said the 21-year-old Gallasová. “It was my decision to redshirt last year, so I didn’t play the whole year. When I came here, I knew I wasn’t going to be a starter right away – I needed to work. When I get better, I can play more.”
Gallasová is starting to earn more playing time this season because of her improvement, and she’s also taking advantage of filling in due to injuries.
“With injuries, we’ve lost some guards, so she’s going to step in,” Wurtz said. “She has to do what she does and stick to her game.”