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All-Star Q&A: Kara Braxton

Playing on a team full of stars didn't prevent Detroit's Kara Braxton from sticking out in the eyes of All-Star voters. In just her third WNBA season, Braxton earned her first career All-Star nod by being voted as the starting Eastern Conference center by a sizable margin over second-place Tammy Sutton-Brown of Indiana. And Braxton will be bringing some friends from Detroit with her, as she is one of three Shock players (along with Deanna Nolan and Cheryl Ford) starting for the East, who will be headed up by Shock coach Bill Laimbeer.

WNBA.com's Mark Bodenrader talked with Braxton about her first-time selection, the Shock-heavy East lineup and what she expects in D.C.

Q: What was your initial reaction when you found out you were voted as a starter for the All-Star Game – your first All-Star selection?
BRAXTON: “I was totally surprised because there are so many good centers and players in the league. I was grateful just to have my name amongst the other names on the ballot. But to be voted as a starter and to have the most votes at my position in the conference, I was really shocked.”

Q: How exactly did you find out?
BRAXTON: “My coaches told us all in a team huddle. I wasn’t even expecting it. I mean, I knew about the All-Star Game and I knew about the selections and the votes were going on, but I had no idea how well I was doing. (Coach Bill Laimbeer) just updated us like, ‘Oh yeah, Kara, you’re leading in votes,’ and I was like, ‘huh?’ So it was kind of funny.”

Q: Does it make it any more special to know that the fans voted you into your first All-Star Game?
BRAXTON: “Yes, that’s great. That just shows how much support that I have throughout our city and all the fans we have just for our Detroit team.”

Q: Have you talked to the other members of the Shock that were named All-Star starters?
BRAXTON: “Of course. They’re my teammates (laughs). We’re all excited and it should be very special having our coach coaching. And to have the other girls from our team playing with me is going to be very special.”

Q: Is there much All-Star talk among the Shock players in the locker room? Did you follow the voting results?
BRAXTON: “I didn’t follow any of it, to tell you the truth. Like I said, I was just grateful to have my name on the ballot. It was really breathtaking when I found out I actually made the team, and I was a starter at that.”

Q: What's it like playing on a team that will likely send a handful of players to the All-Star Game?
BRAXTON: “We’re very grateful. We’re very fortunate. We love that we’re in that position. We just try to get better every day, so next year we could probably have five All-Stars (laughs).”

Q: Was making the All-Star team a goal of yours this year?
BRAXTON: “No. Just being successful with my team is my main goal. Being selected to the All-Star team was just a plus.”

Q: Where does starting an All-Star Game rank among your career accomplishments?
BRAXTON: “Of course it has to be pretty high. Just to be named to an All-Star team is a great accomplishment, but actually being a starter on one, that tops it.”

Q: What aspect of your game have you improved the most this season?
BRAXTON: “Being more patient. Letting the game come to me instead of being so anxious and trying to get things done so fast.”

Q: How will you approach the All-Star Game? Are you heading down to DC to show what you can do against the best players in the world or are you just looking to have fun?
BRAXTON: “Of course, I’m going to take it pretty seriously because it’s going to be serious, period. The East hasn’t won it too many times. So we’re going to take it seriously. There’s a bunch of us Shock players and our coach coaching, so it’s going to feel like playing with all my teammates. But I also just want to relax, enjoy myself, enjoying being in the atmosphere and around everybody, and just enjoy the time that I am spending there.”

Q: The Shock have hit a bit of skid lately, losing three of four. How can you guys turn it around and get to the way you were playing earlier in the season?
BRAXTON: “We’ve lost those three, four games or whatever and that’s totally behind us. We’re just coming into practice every day, executing and working on all the things we need to get better at and sharpening up all the things we need to do so we can come out successful in our next game.”

Q: What are your goals for the second half of 2007?
BRAXTON: “Be world champions.”

Q: Do you have any personal goals?
BRAXTON: “Get at least five offensive rebounds a game.”

Kara Braxton drives to the hoop against the Connecticut Sun.
D. Lippitt/Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images