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Satou Sabally plays for the Dallas Wings of the WNBA. The No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft, Sabally was named to the AP All-Rookie team after completing her first season in the historic WNBA bubble. During the season, Sabally became the only rookie to serve in a leadership role on the WNBA Social Justice Council. 

Sabally spoke with JWS about her recent work with Orreco, a sports performance company partnering with Wasserman athletes to better understand the effects of the menstrual cycle on athletic performance. To read more about the partnership, click here

How did you first hear about the Orreco x Wasserman partnership and what was your reaction? 

I was put into contact with them through my agency. My team knew how important it was for me to know my body and every single aspect of it. I was very excited since I’ve heard athletes like Megan Rapinoe talk about the effects of hormones and periods before, but I never really knew the science about it.

How knowledgeable were you already about the science regarding how the menstrual cycle affects athletic performance?

I only knew about my cycle from biology and sex education in school. That was it. The only thing I thought I knew was that having your period on game days is a bad thing. But I know now that this is not the case, and the science behind it proves it.

What’s the biggest insight that you’ve learned? 

With every cycle, there are different phases in which I can change my nutrition to further increase my recovery, performance, and progress. What I found most interesting is the intake of antioxidants to reduce inflammation, especially the week before my period starts.

More and more athletes and teams are discussing the need to track the menstrual cycle in order to maximize performance, but what needs to happen to bring this conversation into the mainstream? 

People need to be able to access open conversations around this topic, like we’re doing now. It needs to be so normal to talk openly about your cycle so that no one is ashamed of something so natural. Of course, it always helps if athletes with big names speak about it and make it interesting to know about. Teenagers especially need to see this so that they can talk amongst each other, and their coaches as well

Do you see this partnership as being part of a broader effort to normalize the discussion? 

Yes, through my social media channels I try to be as open as possible and give people access to the resources I have. If I am able to normalize this topic for one person, I am convinced that this will have a trickle-down effect to her/his/their circle and friend group. If coaches see how important this topic is, they can open up this conversation with their athletes as well after finding more out about it.

You’re a few months removed from the WNBA bubble. What will you remember most about your rookie season?

That my body is the foundation for my success. I have to take care of it every single day and do the right things to maintain my health. Being around so many top athletes really showed me that the sky’s the limit.

What are the biggest parts of your game you want to work on this offseason?

I have to improve my mid-range game, being able to finish faster and in different ways without having to go all the way to the rim. After this summer I realized that this will save me a lot more energy on the court (haha).

What are your goals for season 2, and how will this partnership help you achieve them?

My goal for season 2 is to be in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I know it will help me with endurance and preventing injuries since I struggled with one this past summer. This partnership will help me to do exactly that. I found one more way to become a better athlete who understands her body.

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