Lynx center Vanessa Hayden took time after practice on Thursday to answer questions submitted by fans. Here's what she had to say.

July 29, 2004

How are you enjoying the WNBA?
Steve (Oviedo, Florida)

I'm really enjoying it. I love my team. My city is awesome it's beautiful here in Minneapolis. I'm learning a lot and I'm getting myself back into the game. Just learning the game more is just awesome.

What kind of conditioning program do you do? It would be great to hear from "THE GATOR"!! Enjoyed watching the game on ESPN2.
Karin (gainesville, florida)

I work out with the team during practice and do 20 minutes extra cardiovascular after practice; I try to do that everyday. I also hit the weights twice a week with Missy, our strength coach.

What's up V, I played ball against you in summer league (Columbia High Tigers) and I also coached you during team camp when your team came to U.A.B.'s summer camp. I wanted to say that I am proud of you and it's a joy watching you on the court because I am 6'5" and I know that it was hard at times for the big girls on the court. Now that you are in the WNBA, what is the hardest part of being a basketball player?
Marlenia (Lake City, FL)

I think the hardest part of being a basketball player in the WNBA is the freedom that you have. You're not in college anymore, so you have the opportunities to make your own decisions. You have to be wise about your eating habits and working out and getting to bed because you practice and then you have the entire day to yourself unlike college, where everything is scheduled and set up for you.

Hey Vanessa! I love the way you play you are such a good player. Who is your favorite WNBA player? Thanks a lot.
Marcus (Orleans, Nebraska)

My favorite WNBA player is Delisha Milton because she played at the University of Florida. She is the person I looked up to when I was in college and high school and wanted to play basketball.

Vanessa, I've been a life-long season ticket holder. Been through the good and the bad. It is just wonderful to see how the team is gelling and coming together over this season. You are a big part of that team effort. How did it feel to have a six-game winning streak?
Rebecca (St. Croix Falls, WI)

I think it is awesome. You come into the locker room after a victory and it is just happy feeling it feels so good to win. Especially since we are not a favorite and kind of like the underdog in the West, so it feels good to go out and beat teams and prove everybody wrong.

Vanessa, you are a great guard. I've been watching you all season and cheering for you. Some of us have nicknamed you 'Shaq' do you mind that name?
Lois Carlson (Mpls)

No, I don't. I think it's a great honor. Shaq may be the best post player in the NBA, so I don't deserve that quite yet! But I don't mind that he is an awesome player and if I can be anywhere close to that and dominant, it would be awesome.

what would you say to kids who want to be in the wnba when they grow up? thanx
Katherine (brooklyncenter, mn)

Never take anything for granted and work hard all the time. I can think back to where I have taken plays off and it takes a lot away from your game. I think you should just work hard every time and have patience.

Lynx Links
Hayden photo gallery
Hayden's playerfile
Feature story: Adjusting to the WNBA
More Lynx mailboxes and features