Being the veteran of international play that she is, Kayla McBride landed in Los Angeles early in the afternoon Monday, her travel from Turkey complete, and forced herself to stay up, not to sleep, until later that evening.
No jet lag for her.
"Then I slept 10 hours last night,'' McBride said via phone after Lynx shootaround Tuesday. "You get used to it.''
The Lynx hope so. McBride will play her first game with the Lynx on Tuesday night against the Sparks. Her playoff run in Turkey ended with a league title Sunday. She rejoins the Lynx battling jet lag, in shape because of her competitive season overseas, eager to help the team win its first game after an 0-4 start.
"I'm pretty familiar with the system here,'' she said. "I know what Cheryl [Lynx coach Reeve] wants. It was easy to reacclimate myself.''
McBride did this last year, too. It was her first season with the Lynx after signing as a free agent. She finished up season overseas, got through COVID protocol and joined the Lynx hours before their 2021 season opener, scoring 17 points despite not having practiced with the team.
This time it's a little easier. She knows Reeve's system. She knows most, but not all, of the players. "I have a comfort in that,'' she said. "I'd like to have some more rest. But I'd rather be with my teammates.''
One player she didn't have to get to know is recently signed point guard Moriah Jefferson. Jefferson will be playing in her second game with the Lynx on Tuesday night. But McBride and Jefferson were teammates for three years, starting in San Antonio in 2016 and running through the 2018 season in Las Vegas.
"The familiarity there makes the transition easier,'' McBride said. "Layshia [Clarendon] was great for us, Crystal [Dangerfield] was great. With the changes, though, it's nice to have that familiarity. Moriah is competitive, she understands the game at a high level. She comes from a great program at UConn. She's a winner. Those are the biggest things. She can play, man.''
McBride was the Lynx's third-leading scorer last season (13.7) and the best three-point shooter (37.9%). Perhaps even more important was her ability to defend on the ball at the perimeter, often being assigned the opponent's top wing player.
All of those skills are welcome on a team that is 11th in the WNBA in three-point shooting (26.8%) and has struggled to defend at times during the 0-4 start.
For McBride? Some of her family will be in L.A. for the game. When McBride took the court for the morning shootaround Tuesday, she said it felt like the first day of school.
"It's exciting,'' she said. "I haven't seen these people for months. I always feel at home with the Lynx. But there were definitely some first-day-of-school jitters. But I'll come in and be as confident as I can be.''