SEATTLE, JULY 31 -- There will be no lopsided basketballs, no stuffing the ball under an opponent's shirt, no 50-foot jumpers through the rafters for Lynette Woodard this time.
Woodard used to play for laughs. Now she's playing for gold at the Goodwill Games. Her days as a Harlem Globetrotters are long behind her.
"I really liked it," she said. "I wanted to continue, but I had a contract problem. The seasons I played were only six months long. They wanted to extend it to nine months. I didn't feel the compensation was enough."
Woodard, after a remarkable college career at Kansas, became the first woman Globetrotter, playing from 1985 to 1987.
No more Washington Generals games for Woodard. Tonight she and her U.S. teammates opened the Goodwill Games tournament against South Korea.
Woodard returned to international competition last year when FIBA, the sport's world governing body, followed the lead of the International Olympic Committee and opened competition to professionals.
She has played the past three seasons in Italy and Spain and plans to continue her professional career next year in Japan to take advantage of the shorter seasons.
"I feel very fortunate to be back with the U.S. team because of the ruling about professionals," she said. "It's a real blessing."
It's been a real blessing for the rest of the players too. At 30, she brings 12 years of international experience to a team formed in June. Two weeks ago, the team successfully defended its world championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a gold-medal victory over Yugoslavia, 88-78.
She came to this team, however, not as its star but as a role player. In the eight-game world championships, for example, she averaged 12 minutes and 6.3 points per game, although she had a single-game high of 21 points.
She's also become a role model.
"I didn't know a lot of the players when I came here," she said. "I guess some of them knew me. Some of them were in awe of my Globetrotters' experience. But we've gotten to know each other.
"It's easy to get along with this team. Of course, we've been winning, and that's been great too."
Woodard, a 6-foot forward, finished her college career in 1981, one of only three women players to be all-American four straight years. She was player of the year in 1981, and she set 20 school records, including most points (3,649) and rebounds (1,714). Twice she was an academic All-American.
While playing professionally in Europe, she also has been a member of the Kansas coaching staff since 1987.
She got her first international experience as a freshman, playing with a USA Select team that toured Asia in 1978. She was a member of the 1980 and '84 U.S. Olympic teams and went to Spartakiade in 1979.
"Women's basketball has come a long way in this country," she said. "It's grown tremendously."
Her one regret has been the inability of professional women's basketball to take off in the United States.
"I wish it was possible," she said. "But you have to deal with what you've got."