Inside the minds of WNBA players

This is Our Game:
Ticha Penicheiro

You cannot have a conversation about the best players in WNBA history and leave out the name of Monarchs guard Ticha Penicheiro. Highly touted as a brash, young guard coming out of Old Dominion in 1998, the Portugese star led the WNBA in assists in each of her first six seasons and is the unquestionable leader in WNBA history in total assists. A four-time WNBA All-Star, Ticha was a 1999 All-WNBA First Team honoree and All-WNBA Second Team in 2001 and 2002. But the crowning moment of her WNBA career was her first career WNBA championship in 2005. Along with teammate Yolanda Griffith, she forms one of the greatest 1-2 combinations in the league. She travels all year round and never seems to slow down. So just what makes Ticha Penicheiro tick?

Q. What is your motivation when don't feel like working out, running that extra mile, or waking up early?
"Knowing that somebody is doing it, and if I don't, then they will have the advantage on me. That's what motivated me."

WNBA Champion Ticha Penicheiro
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
Q. Was there a time in your career or lifetime of playing basketball when you thought about giving up the game?
"I never ever felt that way. I think people question themselves when they have big injuries or because they are not successful. Thank God I have not had any major injuries and have been successful. I've been blessed and have never wanted to throw in the towel. I still love the game like I did when I was six-years old and started playing. I loved it then and they didn't have to pay me. I would play now without pay, but don't tell anyone thatů"

Q. So what else drives you? Do you have other goals you've set for yourselves off the court?
"Every year, I get another year older and know that my basketball career is eventually going to be over. That's when you start thinking about what you're going to do next. I majored in communications in college, so no matter what I do when I retire, I still want to be close to the game of basketball. There are a few things that could be ideal for me, whether it is broadcasting, coaching or being an agent. But I will never be able to turn my back on basketball because it has been a huge part of my life basically since I was born. Broadcasting is probably my top choice."