NEW YORK, July 11 -- Before they take the floor for the fifth annual WNBA All-Star Game on July 12, the All-Stars have busy All-Star Game eve. They are taken from place to place, from interview to interview, from practice to photo shoot. This Friday was no different.

Despite their whirlwind All-Star lifestyles, many of the 2003 All-Stars sat down with WNBA.com to answer questions from you, the fans.

Here is what the Eastern and Western Conference All-Stars had to say about your questions on WNBA All-Star 2003 eve:


Swoopes takes to the airwaves.
Sheryl, now that you're back from injury, do you feel the Comets can get on a winning streak? I have not seen Houston under .500 since the WNBA came alive. Congrats on your All-Star appearance. True love for ya!
-- BJ (Greenbelt, Md.)

Sheryl Swoopes: "I definitely feel we're heading in that direction. We just won four in a row before the All-Star break. Obviously, we feel very confident right now. We have a long road ahead of us. It'll be very tough. But I definitely believe we have what it takes."


What teammate on the Western Conference All-Star team gives you the most trouble during the regular season?
-- Franco (Orlando, Fla.)

Sheryl Swoopes: "Probably Lisa [Leslie]. There are so many things she can do. She can take it outside and shoot. She can put it on the floor. Anytime you have a player like that who is playing inside and you have to double-team her, it will be very tough to beat that team. She does a great job of recgonizing the double team and passing out of it. And because she has so many great players around her, it makes it that much tougher to guard her."

What is the best thing about being an All-Star?
-- Etty (Edwards, Calif.)

Sheryl Swoopes: "The fans! I think it's great to come here. First of all, it's because of these fans we're here. They all voted for us and if they didn't, we wouldn't be here. So to be able to perform in front of these fans and to see how excited they are and to see how much they enjoy seeing us, that's what makes it a lot of fun to be here."


Sue Bird
Sue, is it overwhelming at all to be the top vote-getter for the West guards over all the veterans? Thanks, and I'm glad you're a starter!
-- Sophia (Baltimore)

Sue Bird: "Hey, Sophia, what's up? No, it's not that overwhelming, it's mostly an honor to represent the West guards in the All-Star Game as a starter and I'm just excited. I'm happy to be coming back to New York, it's the place where I grew up and there's a little extra meaning for me."

Sue, how does it feel to start off such a successful career in the WNBA with being in two WNBA All-Star Games?
-- Melissa (Belleville, N.J.)

Sue Bird: "It's just an honor to be here. The All-Star Game brings together the top players in the league. To be among that group, especially when this league is the best in the world, that's just an honor in itself. At the same time, it's a chance to meet other players, a chance to experience the whole All-Star atmosphere."


Staley goes on the record.
Dawn, I think you're the best point guard ever to play the game. You have been someone I have looked up to for years, and modeled my game after. How do you balance yourself from being a coach, then a player? And how has it helped you as a player?
-- Dee (Largo, Fla.)

Dawn Staley: "The biggest thing is how I handle myself. I surround myself with people that I truly trust. So when I'm away from Temple and I'm doing the WNBA I have people in the office, my assistant coaches that I would trust with my life to handle the business there. The lines of communication are always open between the coaches as well as the players. We e-mail, regularly. And that's the way I keep on top of things."

What is the best thing about being an All-Star?

Dawn Staley: "Being an All-Star has always meant that the fans really appreciate what you've given to the game. And I've always wanted to leave an impression on the game. And the only way you can truly tell is through the people who come to watch it."


Cynthia Cooper
Cynthia, congratulations on being picked as an All-Star. How have been feeling and do you believe that your rehab will go well enough for you to come back even if it's during the playoffs?
-- Dee-Dee (Houston)

Cynthia Cooper: "I feel great. Thank you all for voting me in. It's a great honor for me to be here. My shoulder feels great and I'm going through physical therapy now and it will definitely be ready for next season and hopefully, hopefully, God willing, a miracle happens, I'll be ready for the playoffs."

Cynthia, how does it feel just coming out of retirement and being voted as a starter in the WNBA All-Star Game?
-- C (Los Angeles)

Cynthia Cooper: "Well, C, it feels great! It's a tremendous honor to be in the All-Star game, but to be voted in as a starter especially after playing only four games and being injured, it feels great. The fans showed my a lot of love and I'll forever be grateful. Much love, much respect. And I feel the love and respect. That made me feel good and makes physical therapy a lot easier."


Spoon gives an assist to Hammon.
Hey, Teresa, how does it feel to be in your fifth All-Star Game?
-- Michele (New York)

Teresa Weatherspoon: "It's the greatest feeling for me because, not just to play in it, but because the fans voted me in. It's an awesome feeling. I still can't really find the words for it. I love them so much, I just want them to know how much I appreciate the support."

Spoon, I wanted to know why sometimes you have on short socks and at other times you wear knee socks?
-- Biff (Welch's Creek, Ky.)

Teresa Weatherspoon: "Just something that I do [laughs]. I appreciate them noticing! Whatever socks that are in my bag, that's what I wear."

What teammate on the Eastern Conference All-Star team gives you the most trouble during the regular season?

Teresa Weatherspoon: "Tamika Catchings. She plays every aspect of the game hard for 40 minutes. She never gives up, no matter what the score."


Lisa Leslie
Lisa, I've been a fan of yours for years now and I even patent my game from yours. How do you continue to get better every year?
-- Edrick (Jackson, Miss.)

Lisa Leslie: "I continue to get better because I'm always watching other players and choosing something from their game that I really like, whatever makes them successful and adding it to me. Whether its men or women. Or kids!

"Sometimes you can learn a lot from little kids, learn the basic fundamentals. I was in a gym watching some little kids and they were learning how to dribble jump-stop and step through. And I've been able to do that, but I just never really realized that when you dribble and jump-stop with two feet how much more effective it is because you have another step to get. And I learned this from kids and it was a little piece that I added to my game.

"I was surprised. I was watching them dribble through cones and they were all lined up, they all just jump-stopped and did their layups and I said, 'Hey, I can do that.'"

What is the best thing about being voted as a starter in the All-Star Game?

Lisa Leslie: "Knowing that the fans appreciate our talent. I think for me it's hard for me to be the leading vote-getter just because, while I'm considered to be one of the more popular players, at center you vote for one and with guard you vote for two, so the odds are better for the guards.

"I don't think I'll ever be the top vote-getter, but it's great being here and getting as many votes as I did. Thank you!"


Tamika meets the press.
Tamika, you've really been having an awesome year this year and I would like to know who your role models are because you are one of mine?
-- Bridget (Manchester, Conn.)

Tamika Catchings: "Aw, thank you Bridget from Connecticut! My role models when I was growing up have always been my parents. They've always supported me through everything and that to me was the most important thing to have that support and knowing that they're always right there by my side."

What's the biggest difference between last year's game and this year's All-Star Game?
-- Rob (New York)

Tamika Catchings: "Last year was my first All-Star Game and I think it meant a lot more for me because I was coming back from my injury. I had a great season last year and I was having so much fun. Obviously this year, I'm still so excited, but I think coming off of injury, it was like, 'Man, nobody thought I would be here and here I am.' This year, it feels really good because I was the top vote getter [in the East]. And just feels really good that people love the way I play."