Mystics rookie guard stops by for a chat

One-on-One With Stacey Dales-Schumann

Stacey Dales-Schuman's life has been a non-stop roller coaster for the past month. First, she helped lead the Oklahoma Sooners women's basketball team to the NCAA Championship game. Two weeks later, on April 13, she married her long-time boyfriend Chris Schuman. Six days after that she was drafted third overall in the WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics.

Stacey Dales-Schuman and her husband Chris at their wedding on April 13. (Photo by Richard Dodgen, Oklahoma City, OK)

During her senior year at Oklahoma, Dales-Schuman averaged 17 points, five rebounds and 4.9 assists in 36 regular season games. She led the Sooners to the NCAA Championship game and averaged 15.3 points, 4.7 assists and five rebounds in six NCAA Tournament games. In her four-year career as a Sooner, Dales-Schuman averaged 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game while shooting 44 percent from the field.

"She can play point guard, shooting guard or small forward," Mystics Head Coach Marianne Stanley said. "She's big, she's smart and you don't have to worry about what she's going to give you."

Dales-Schuman garnered many accolades in her college career, including being named Big 12 Conference Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002. She was also named to the Kodak All-American First Team in 2001 and 2002, All-Big 12 Conference First Team in 2001 and 2002, WBCA All-Star team in 2002, AP All-America First Team in 2002 and is the Big 12 all-time career assist leader (764). In addition, she played on the 2000 Canadian Women's Olympic Basketball team and led the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game.

Stacey dropped by for a live chat on Tuesday, April 30. Here's what she had to say:

Y. J. (DC): Hi Stacey. Welcome to DC! After the first day of the Mystics training camp, how do you feel about it? Is it more intense than the practices at OU? Tell me how do you feel about your new coaches and teammates? Thanks!

Stacey Dales-Schuman: That's a great question. It's certainly a different transition coming from college into the pro level. The intensity levels are fairly equal, but at the pro level it's five hours per day on the court and draining. You have to take care of your body, stay hydrated, and do everything you can to put yourself in the best position to play.

The competition is excellent, and there's a wealth of talent on the Mystics' team. I have been impressed by coach Stanley. She brings confidence, enthusiasm, positivity and demand when she steps on the floor and those are necessary components for every team to be successful at this level. Coming to DC is exciting. Washington has the best fans in the U.S. and I'm so excited to be here because they love their women's basketball.

Tony L (WashDC): I know you'll play "where ever the coach puts you," but in your opinion, would you best help the Mystics at the 1 or 2 guard position, and why?

Stacey Dales-Schuman: Truthfully, I'm very confident and either position. If I can play on the floor with great players, I'm happy. I'm naturally a wing player, however, I love to have the ball in my hands because I can do so many things to help the team.

If, therefore, I get the ball at the point position, that's great because I can create. If I get the ball on the wing, that's not so bad either because I can create at the wing as well. Hopefully that answered your question.

Lori (Norman): Stacey - you came here to Norman and literally turned this program around. Now being drafted to one of the worst teams, how excited are you to (with help) take them to the next level? You are joined by some awesome players that you can really team up with! I can't wait till the season starts.

Stacey Dales-Schuman: First of all, thank you so much to my Norman people and to Lori for "typing in." I am so eager to help this program turn around. Being in the position I once was at Oklahoma, remembering that our record was 5-22 (that's 22 losses!) when I joined the program, I felt that struggle. It's a similar feeling now. I went to Oklahoma because it was struggling and I wanted to make a difference.

I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity than Washington. I have a great deal of desire to help this program turn around. We have a great coaching staff and the returning players are motivated to see this program turn around.

Tie (Los Altos, CA): Hi, Stacey! You're an awesome student-athlete who I admire for your successful recovery from an ACL tear. What is your favorite Molly Shannon-Sally O'Mally sketch? Thanks and best wishes this season. :)

Stacey Dales-Schuman: (laughs) That's a tough call! I will choose the runway skit in which Sally was entertaining modeling at a point in her life and she was doing her stretching ... ! That is my favorite one, I have it on tape and make everyone who comes over to my apartment watch it!

Dana: How is married life treating ya?

Stacey Dales-Schuman: Married life is wonderful, however, I haven't seen my husband in a week. He'll be here Thursday. I am anxiously awaiting his arrival and I miss him a lot. Married life is wonderful and it's everything I hoped it would be.

Emily, Houston: What does your new husband think of going to Washington and what will he do when you travel for games? Will he come with you or stay? Thanks and have fun!

Stacey Dales-Schuman: First of all, he is from Houston, so that's interesting. He's unbelievably excited to venture into this relationship together in a new city. We are both very excited to start something new somewhere. You couldn't ask for a better city than DC. It's gorgeous and reminds me of being in a beautiful Canadian city. It's great.

The best thing about it is that I have the most supportive husband you can hope for. He's wanted to make this move with me since the draft and since the WNBA has been a possiblity in my life.

David LaFountain (Mountain Home, ID): Stacey, congratulations on being drafted into the WNBA. I saw you here in Boise for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 and became an instant fan. My question is now that you are in the WNBA, what expectations do you have for yourself in your rookie season?

Stacey Dales-Schuman: That's a great question. Right now, I am simply trying to feel everything out and get a taste of everything. It's hard to make hard-core goals at this point, but I would ultimately love to see our team win an Eastern Conference championship. I know that's team's main objective. I can only comment on team goals and that's the essence of our purpose. If I play my game and do what I can to help the team, personal gains will come. I'm not concerned with that, though. I'm concerned with seeing the Mystics go somewhere special.

Ottawa, Canada - DAD: Congrats! You're a big hit here in Canada. You've made us all proud! Canadian girls kick (butt)!

Stacey Dales-Schuman: I have to give another shoutout to my Canadian people! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Canadian girls do kick (butt)! We're awesome ... just kidding! If this really is my dad, I love you and I'll call you later.

Shelley Raymond (Spicer), Brockville: Hey Stacey. Just wanted to say congratulations on your wedding and your accomplishments in the rest of your life! I coached the Minor Bantam Blazers this year and all of my girls truly look up to you as a role model in all aspects of life. I'm sure that you get so much of that now that you have accomplished what you have! Good luck! We are very proud!

Stacey Dales-Schuman: Thanks so much to Shelley, who I played with in high school. I commend you for taking ownership of the Brockville Blazers and I commend you for giving them an avenue to develop. I encourage all of the girls under Shelley's leadership and on the other teams to work hard, have fun, and chase your dreams because the opportunities are out there, you just have to steal them.

Brittany (NC): Hey Stacey! I really enjoyed watching you play at Oklahoma and can't wait to see you kickin' it in the WNBA. Of all the great basketball players you will face over the next year, who are you looking forward to facing the most? Thanks and best of luck to ya!

Stacey Dales-Schuman: Another great question! I have to tell you the best player I've every played against, and I haven't faced them all, I'd have to say is Janeth Arcain from Brazil. While she's an amazing athlete and player, and there are so many around the league. I use her as an example, but I can't wait to face those challenges in the near future.

Anaheim: First of all, congrats on such an awesome year! My question is, what changes, if any, will you have to make to play on this level?

Stacey Dales-Schuman: You certainly have to take care of your body. That's one of the most important changes. Although I took care of my body in college, I reiterate that we are practacing five hours per day. So maintiaining hydration, consistent eating habits and spending time in the weight room are very necessary for a successful transition.

Coming from a great program at Oklahoma I was able to become a strong leader and develop mental toughness. Those elements must carry over to the professional level and must continue to improve.

Sarah*: What's the one thing about you that would surprise people the most?

Stacey Dales-Schuman: Another great question! I think what would surprise people the most is that when people see me, they see a very intense, dramatic individual, particularly on the court. Friends would say that I'm a "drama queen." What people don't know is that I'm very sensitive, very emotional and I value my family more than anything.

BBallgirl: Congratulations on getting married. Even though U-Conn beat you in the championship game for college, are you still excited about playing on the same team as Asjha Jones?

Stacey Dales-Schuman: I couldn't ask for a better person to enter the professional level and make this transition to this level than Asjha Jones. She's an incredible person, an amazing player and an extremely grounded individual.

Meg [Boston]: Of all the others entering the draft, who have you made the best connection to and had the most fun with?

Stacey Dales-Schuman: Asjha Jones! Hands down! She's an awesome person. She's a lot of fun, she's a very honest person and she's really pretty funny. She laughs at my jokes, so that goes a long way! We've adapted well to each other and we're excited to do this Mystics thing together.

77Sooner (Norman): Hi Stacey. As an ex-player at OU and one of those who played in front of 65 fans, I just want to say thanks for putting us on the map. I cannot tell you how proud I am of you and the whole team for what you accomplished in your careers. God bless Marita Hynes!!

Stacey Dales-Schuman: To 77Sooner, please understand that this wasn't something exclusive. We had an incredible stint and I did over the course of my career. However, all the players that came before us made a remarkable difference in how this program has evolved. Whether you played in the 70s, 80s, 90s or during this most recent time, you are a part of what we did.

Ashlee (Baltimore): Do you think you are going to have any fun playing with one of the best players in the women's game in Chamique Holdsclaw?

Stacey Dales-Schuman: Absolutely. What a great honor it is to get to play with one of the very best to play the women's game. Chamique is, as I've come to realize, another great person, great basketball player and great leader. She possesses a consistency and demeanor that says "come follow me." When you play with great players, you yourself can only improve. So, obviously, I'm thrilled to play with her!

Chris, Oakville, Ontario: In a recent article, Coach Stanley said that she planned on making you the point guard for the team, even though you're not a "pure" point guard. As a rookie, how will you prepare yourself to lead the team's offense?

Stacey Dales-Schuman: I'll prepare by being the leader that I am. I'll prepare by being the confident player that I am. Basketball is a game of confidence and you can do anything that you set your mind to. If they want me to be the point guard, then so be it! With those intangibles, anyone can do what they want to do if asked.

T. Chapman (Dallas): Hi Stacey. Congrats on your new marriage and new team. With all the new players on this team, how soon do you expect to have true team chemistry? And does it arrive soon enough to clinch a playoff berth this year?

Stacey Dales-Schuman: Absolutely. Chemistry starts the day you meet everyone, and is based on first impressions. We stepped on the floor yesterday and passed and caught -- that was the start of developing our chemistry. It takes a lot of time and effort from everybody. The seed has been planted and the chemistry has started to grow. We had a great practice this morning and played a lot of live ball. There's a certain chemistry you feel when you make a great pass and that was felt. Everyone has a positive, willing, confident attitude and when that is shared, you can be really good.

Thanks to all those who typed in their questions and responses! To those Mystics fans out there -- get ready for an eventful season!