Musings From "Maz"'s favorite blogger, Kelly Mazzante, continues to share her thoughts and experiences with Mercury fans throughout the offseason. The Penn State grad, who majored in public relations, will continue to provide an inside look at the life of a professional basketball player.

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Feb. 2, 2009

X Factor, its Maz checking in! It has been awhile, so I thought I would fill you in on all the latest. Let’s recap the Christmas holidays. It was a good one to say the least. I had the opportunity to be at home for more than 2 weeks and enjoy a lot of family time! I spent most of the time in PA and a little time in NYC visiting some friends! Santa was really good to me, bringing me lots of clothes, gadgets, etc., and it was fun to spoil the family myself! I swear my mom and I had the shopping routine down to a science, wasting no time in and out of the stores, checking off the list, and always have time for coffee breaks in between! I think that is one of my favorite things about being home…having ENDLESS amounts of coffee! I also had a chance to head up to PSU to practice and see a game and I was so happy to see Tanisha Wright, and many former friends from my college days!!

I am going to list some of my favorite things about being home and the best laughs I had during this break....

Starting at 1. The argument my mother and I have every Christmas…I always want colored lights on the tree because when I was little we would just sit there and turn off the TV and all the lights and stare at the tree and play the game, "Guess what color I am looking at?" Well, the past 3 years she has put only white lights on the tree and even though it may seem simple to you, not playing that game really makes me upset!  Soooo, I tried to fight for the colored lights via Skype when I was in Hungary, but guess who won that bet? 

2. Eating endless amounts of Papa Maz's venison (deer) jerky. It has become quite a hit, for all non--vegetarians, but I think the funniest part about it is HOW my dad goes about getting it. My mom and I laugh all the time about how my dad has nearly 15 tree stands up in the woods on the land he owns, each having their own heater, ladder, cushions, you name it!(I call them the Westin tree stands). Mind you, there is a 6 hour time difference from PA to Hungary, and my phone will ring around 5 am PA time and it will be my dad, sitting all warm in his tree stands, whispering to me about how my day is going and my gosh I crack up! He also has a camera up there digitally taking pictures of the deer as they eat what he plants for them to eat, and it sends an email to our computer as its happening. So, I will be sitting on the couch all comfy and I will hear "Kel, come quick and look!" And I swear it’s the same deer I saw 100 times, but of course I love the end product (THE JERKY), so I don't make fun TOO much.

3. There is nothing better than being at home, turning on ESPN, watching college football, basketball, Ellen, etc. I quickly got into the routine of getting up, lifting, watching Ellen, working out, and bothering my dad as he worked. The Wii also entered into the routine, and I can't believe I let my mom beat me in a set playing tennis. She nearly threw her back out and broke the light in my brother's living room that he warned her not to hit, but it was hilarious to say the least.

4. Working out at home is not always an easy task, but I managed to get in the gym a lot, and had a treadmill and weight room that I used at my high school pretty much whenever I wanted. The best part was dragging my dad down every day and making him rebound for me. The first day it was really "Bad News Bears” style. I was trying to do some full court sprints and have him pass it to me for layups and jump shots and seriously he threw it too far in front of me, way behind me, and pretty much everywhere BUT my hands!! At first we would laugh, and I would encourage him to hit my hands, saying, "It isn't that hard, just make a simple pass Dad!" I knew he was doing me a favor, but try sprinting over and over and NOT getting the ball 1 out of 2 times. I feel as though he was having flashbacks of his hoop days and he would try and go behind the back and be all fancy. To make a long story short, by the end of the 2 weeks, he was a pro, making passes Allen Iverson style.

But, the inevitable happened and it was time to get back to Hungary! My break was amazing though and I was ready to go. We came back and got right into the Euroleague, advancing to the Final 8! The newest member of the Mercury, Nicole Ohlde, is on my team and she is so excited to join us this summer. I will miss Miller-time, but based on what I’ve seen from Nicole, she’s going to be an amazing addition. She really fits our system and in our game the other day, she was eating everyone’s lunch! It was great!

I can't believe it is already February, and that I am 27 years old! Wow, how did I get so old!  But I would like to thank everyone for all the wonderful birthday wishes and it truly made me happy to get them!!!!SOOOOOO, no matter where I am or what I am doing, Phoenix is always in the back of my mind and knowing I will be there in a few months is enough motivation to keep me going!!! I will check in soon!


Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Nov. 20, 2008

Hey X-Factor, its Maz here checking in from Pecs, Hungary. I thought I would say hello and fill you in on the latest! Things are going pretty well here, considering we won our last 2 Euroleague games, winning one in Russia and the other at home against a good French team in Bourges. We have been playing 2 games a week, adding in a Hungarian game every weekend, so we’ve been staying pretty busy to say the least. And since we have been traveling, I thought I would share some funny overseas travel stories, starting with our trip to Orenburg Russia!

First off, we played an away game on a Sunday, stayed over in a hotel in Budapest that night, then the next morning flew to Moscow, where we had a 10 hour layover, so decided to practice there and spend the day! This is actually where I played last year, so being in my gym from last winter and seeing everything again was kind of fun!  We spent all day there and then flew out to Orenburg that night, which is when the delirium struck.

All of us starting getting a little crazy. Some of my teammates decided to read the magazine in the back of the seat pockets of the plane and saw a picture of a lady that started making them laugh uncontrollably and we all decided she could be the Princess of Orenburg. Something so silly and stupid turned into a BIG thing and soon Ludmila became our good luck charm of the team. She came everywhere with us, gave us pregame talks, and where our team went, Ludmila went.

We finally landed in Orenburg, and I kid you not, the baggage claim was something I have never witnessed in my life. It was somewhat of a raggidty, dilapidated shack, outside, in the cold, being monitored by 2 Russian women police officers and I swear there was some kind of crop being grown by it as well!

We got our bags, which was a miracle, and journeyed across the parking lot to this bus that was so old and had drapes hanging inside that looked like the curtains Maria used in the Sound of Music to make the kids clothes. In the end though, we did come out with a big win, literally walked a half mile through a few inches of snow to get to the plane, said a prayer, and flew back to Hungary.

Another adventure we just had is from an event we had to do as a team for sponsors. Our team got invited to the theatre to watch a performance, so we all had to get dressed up and went to support the event. It was fun seeing everyone all dolled up and of course, I had to borrow some stuff since I was not prepared to be in something other than jeans or sweats, but I managed to get an outfit together with the help of my teammates. So the performance begins with music, dancing and singing and of course, it is in the Hungarian language. Brooke (Queenan, my American teammate) and I are whispering the whole time, trying to guess what we think is really happening. Side note: we are at the waaaaaaaay top of the theatre, so all of us are so hot and have nowhere to put our knees, so we are somewhat struggling during all this. Two hours later, Brooke and I stand up and start clapping, thinking it is over, just to find out it is intermission and there’s more to come. The look on our faces was priceless.

So, we end up staying almost 4 hours, watching everything from Ballet to musicians to what seemed to be the Hungarian version of the Backstreet Boys, and to a famous Hungarian singer (who looked like the twin of Richard Simmons) singing "We Will Rock You.” It was quite an event.

In other news, I’ve had the chance to see some Americans playing in the Euroleague, which has been nice. It’s hard to believe it is mid-November and Christmas CDs will be coming out soon ! I have my Mariah Carey and Judds Xmas jamz all ready on my iPod! I’m always looking forward to this time of year and of course I am starting to shop online for presents and gifts! I love that flight home, knowing I’m going to spend Xmas with the family and see my house all done up!

Well I hope everyone is doing well at home and I will check back in soon!



Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Nov. 4, 2008

Hey X-Factor,

Just wanted to check in and say hello!

I’m starting to get settled and unpacked here! As some of you may know, I am known for my over packing abilities and I wish I could have taken a picture of the guy's face when he picked me up at the airport. I really thought I was only going to check three bags this year, but I accidentally made a carry on too big because I grabbed the wrong size bag, so I ended up checking four monsters. It is just so hard to leave that one pair of jeans, or sweats, or bag at home…a girl needs options!! :)

I always send over a box or two in the first month with food or other necessities I know I won't be able to find over here. It is a long time to be here, so I guess sometimes you have to bring Wal-Mart to you. I can't leave behind a lot of things, and the thing I wish so much I could carry on with me is my bed!!!

We actually had a game on my first day with the team, so I rode the bus with them and had a chance to meet everyone. I probably got introduced to easily 20 people all at once and maybe remembered one or two names!! A lot of ciaos and my name is so and so, but I had an English speaking teammate who didn't play, so during the game she kind of gave me the low down on everyone! They are all so nice and that makes the transition here easier!

You will find many of the girls and people with the team speak English or some form of broken English, so the language barrier usually isn't too much of an issue. I have to admit, it is kind of nice when the coach isn't fluent in English! I occasionally will hear, "Maz, SPRIIIINNNTTT," or "Maz, shoot when open, if possible." It is really cute to hear fragmented sentences and then have a teammate tell you what he said!

I really miss all of my Mercury teammates though. Since its part of this profession, I have somewhat gotten used to playing the summers with one team, then playing somewhere new overseas. It’s just hard because basketball and the way of life are so different in the U.S. compared to overseas, but I guess it is just part of the whole process. It is nice that I know I will be back in Phoenix for the next few seasons, and hopefully I can find a spot overseas with some consistency. Between Skype, AIM, MSN, Sidekicks, Blackberry’s, MySpace, Facebook, ETC., the girls and I all somehow find a way to communicate to each other when we are gone! :)

Well I have to get going, but stay tuned for more to come in the life of Maz!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Oct. 22, 2008

Hey X-Factor! I'm here! Yes, I finally got to Hungary, but leaving Phoenix has become more of a challenge because I love being there... it has really turned into home for me! Obviously, it was disappointing, since we didn't have the success like we had planned on, but we know how this feels and I'm pretty sure will do everything to make sure it doesn't happen again!!

I was lucky to have the opportunity to travel back to PA before leaving. I spent a week at home, enjoying my family, taking my huge summer bags downstairs for storage, and getting out my winter bags to take overseas. Thanks Bridget for letting me keep all that stuff in your garage! I think it is time I really get a place for myself, huh?

So, at home I had the chance to take my cousins shopping, spend time with the family, and do those little things before I got on the plane to Hungary. One Saturday I traveled about an hour away to Philipsburg and did a morning/afternoon shooting clinic, then spent the day at PSU, giving a championship jersey to the team from last season and watching 110,000 Penn State fans during the night game that evening. It was a great day and I was happy to get up there, see everyone and share with them some of things that I have been going through since I left.

It felt really nice to be honored and to see the changes that have happened since I have been gone, but knowing that the class I was in helped to create what is there now is a good feeling! They had a lot of pictures and banners up from my 4 years there, and I just let myself go back to my days at Happy Valley (some morning practices did come back, which didn't seem so happy, but I survived.

So in the car I went to drive to JFK for my night flight to Hungary. No matter how many times you do it, there are always so many thoughts and emotions running through your head. I drive there because Montoursville has the smallest airport, and I would literally have to take 2 small flights just to get to JFK. So being the PSU grad that I am, I just get a ride there! I¡¦ll check in again soon as soon as I recover from the jet-lag! Promise!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 14, 2008

I'm back X Factor and I thought I'd take this chance to fill everyone in on how the Olympic break is going! I am actualy writing this blog with half my body in a cold tank sitting at a steaming hot temperature at 55 degrees!

So, that is a good way to give you a small insight on how practices are going -- HARD!

But first off, we all had a chance for a vacation, and everyone left Phoenix to see family and friends, and the break was really nice. I actually flew back East, spent a few days with my family in Montoursville, which was so amazing to sit on the patio, get bug bites, and just be with the amazing family that I have.

After a few days there, I was off to NYC with some friends, and had a chance to behave and enjoy some nice restaurants and places in the city. I can only handle one or two nights there, so being the nomad that I felt this break, I then headed off to the Jersey Shore for two days to spend time on the beach with some more family and friends!

That was so relaxing and the first time I took a long bike ride in a while! I got to see shooting stars, made a few wishes (sorry can't share, because I REALLY want them to come true) and generally enjoyed the whole experience. Obviosusly, I should have soaked up that time even more, because since arriving back in Phoenix, Corey has us working really, really, REALLY hard.

We know that Dee and Cappa are over working hard and representing in Beijing, so we have to be here preparing for the final stretch and a playoff run.

I will give you a Top 10 funny things that have happened in the first week and a half of practice...

1. Some of us ran so much, we literally lost control and accidentally... Well, let's just say we should have been wearing depends! ;)

2. Ben (our weight trainer) is in charge of the clock,and two times in one day he messed it up, and every single one of us yelled at him so badly, we saw a tear stroll down his face!

3. You can sense a small anxiety before every practice, so definitely Bridgett's Lebron James impression! I know you guys can't visualize it, but we can!

4. Us figuring out every possible way to get through a drill easier without Corey knowing, ie. Kicking a cone closer to we can run just a little less, or figuring a way to not die! This is technically just cheating, just using our college degrees!

5. Welcoming Olympia Scott back makes the Top 10, and her dying the first figure eight drill we did on day one. HAHA All love, but we definitely laughed about it the next day.

6. LaToya Pringle doing 10 layups in a minute then just fallling out - BAM - down she went! We all picked her up though, and she is still alive to tell her story.

7. Quiggly and I playing 1-on-1 against Coach Gaines in practice, and really thinking we had a chance!

8. Tamara Poole (head athletic trainer) doing a 'Baywatch-type' run down the stairs to the practice court because Olympia dislocated her finger and she needed assistance. Never saw "T" run so fast, and couldn't believe how calm "O" was with her finger going two different directions.

9. Doing a photoshoot for this new machine called the Skorcher (no pun intended with that big bad mascot of ours) and sitting with one leg on the machine, the other leg feelings like it shouldn't be doing what it was doing, my back and posture uncomfortably straight up. My mom would have been happy because she says I slouch a lot, and just laughing the whole time! But can't wait to see those final photos.

And number 10 is...

Honestly..WE ARE ALL PRETTY MUCH TOO TIRED TO LAUGH! So that's all I have...

So, other than practice and doing appearances, we have just been working hard and I have really enjoyed watching the Olympics. I usually get home and sit on my couch, and I will watch the replay of the basketball on my computer, the Live events on NBC, etc. I will be back once it gets sooner to the first game back!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: June 29, 2008

The road trip felt like home for Maz, as her parents followed the team to every game on the trip.
UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Hello X-Factor!

How nice it is to write this blog on a three-game winning streak! We had yet another great win today against Connecticut, and things are really coming together for us. Yes, everyone still likes to talk about our slow start, but we knew all along how talented we are and what we are capable of, so we just have to keep improving, which we are, and we will continue to get W's!

Obviously, Dee and Cappa have played so well this entire trip, but I feel like different people have stepped up at different times and really played well, which is a huge reason for our recent success. Today, Tan was unstoppable, Le¡¦Coe has been playing great, ¡§Barbie¡¨ (My nickname for Barb Farris. It always sends me back to my childhood days with Ken and Barbie) has played well, too.

Personally, I have been struggling a little with my shooting lately. But fear not, I haven't lost my confidence and will keep shooting. You can count on that!

I think this five-game trip has been huge for us. It has helped continue to bring us together and solidified our chemistry, and helped us learn how to win on the road. Disregarding the New York trip, we have just practiced harder, played better, and are believing in each other.

Some of the girls got to go home when we were in Chicago and they were able to sleep in their own beds (Tan, Allie and Cappa). My parents have been to every game on this trip, so it was almost like being home for me, as well And speaking of family, I've also gotten to see other family and friends too. My Aunt Anne and Mary, Cousin Morgan, Molly and Franks (BUCKNELL Bison who?) and a huge bus from my hometown came to New York, as well.

This is really the only time we travel to the East this season, so seeing everyone has made the trip so much better. It¡¦s a good thing that we are playing so many games and running a lot, because my lovely mom has brought me sweets every trip, including homemade fudge, chocolate chip cookies, etc. I finally told her NOT to bring anything to Connecticut because when they are in my room, I want to kill them all! I think Julie was also happy I made that decision too! I have to give a shout out to by far the best cupcake I have ever eaten, from Kitty in New York. Pink icing 2 inches thick! That was a fantastic moment! :)

So, tomorrow morning, we practice here at the Mohegan, and then head to Atlanta for the final game of this LONG trip on Tuesday. I hope everyone will be tuning in on ESPN 2 to watch! You can also listen to the game right here on General Manager Ann Meyers Drysdale will be stepping in for Kevin Ray for the online radio broadcast.

Nothing else much to report, but I know we are eager to get this last win, and head back to Phoenix to play in front of our OWN fans again!

See you soon!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: June 23, 2008

Maz and Mercury communications manager Eric Barkyoumb watch President Bush following the championship ceremony at The White House on Monday, June 23.
Hey everyone back in the lovely, and I'm sure intensely hot Phoenix, Arizona. Just thought I would check in and give a few updates about how this trip is going so far. Let¡¦s just skip game 1, because there isn't too much to say there, and dive right into the morning/day we had today!

It started with a somewhat of an early wake-up call, since we arrived in DC kind of late last night. Our trainer Tamara Poole told us we all had to be downstairs by 9:15 ¡§dressed to impress¡¨ since we were meeting the President today.

The early wake-up call included many of us fixing our hair (which for me, doesn't happen too often, i.e. wearing my hair down) but I thought today might be a time I should put some effort into to! :) That fun bun is just way too easy. Well, I walked out of my room and literally Jen D was a mirror image of me! We looked at each other and had almost identical outfits, so that was a good laugh to start the morning.

Off we went to the White House, where we got a tour and the cameras were all capturing each moment. It was pretty cool. I am not sure if I really ever thought I would actually meet the president of our country. That in itself is somewhat surreal. It was truly an honor for myself and my teammates. I was very grateful to be a part of history for this small moment in time.

Speaking of history, the walls of the White House are lined with it every step. The thing that probably stood out most to me was the corridor of paintings of all the first ladies from our history. Being female athletes in the WNBA, we realize the strength and determination it took those before us to pave the way for our sport.

On a much grander scale you realize what all the women of our past have sacrificed in ways we still probably do not grasp, in order to help women in our country be so free to follow their dreams and passions. It was pretty cool to see Hilary Rodham Clinton painted on the wall as a first lady, having seen her recently vying for the democratic presidential nomination.

When we met President Bush they gave us no specific instructions or guidelines on how to act with him. He was extremely personable and talked to us as if he had known us for years. He made a concerted effort to ask each one of us where we went to college and to make us feel very welcome. Seeing as how our team this year is not exactly the same as last year¡¦s team, only the returning players were up on stage. All of our newcomers were sitting off stage, but he made the gesture for them to come on stage and meet him, as well. It felt as comfortable as a barbecue back in Montoursville, PA.

During the ceremony, President Bush spoke and congratulated our team, city, and just overall spoke about Women's sports, etc. Mind you, we are outside, and its hot and humid here, the sun beaming on all of us, so trying NOT to sweat was task #1. Task 2, was trying not to laugh when the president really messed up Dee's last name. I do believe he said ¡§TOR-E-ZI.¡¨

Then Annie Meyers spoke, giving thanks on behalf of our organization, and Dee and Cappie presented him with his very own Mercury jersey, and a replica of the championship banner that's hanging in US Airways Center!

I think everyone really enjoyed the trip, and without a doubt, the funniest moment of all was the interview with Coach, Cappie and myself. I am sorry, Cappie, to call you out, but it is too funny to resist. The first question for both of us was to just give our thoughts about the day, and Cappie said, and I quote, "It was an honor to be here today, and have a chance to meet George Washington." :) Enough said!

Lastly, President Bush did say he expects us to be back next year, even though he won't be in office, so the bottom line is, repeat time is here!

After the event, we grabbed some lunch, and unfortunately all the team is suffering from whiplash because this bus driver we have has some SERIOUS lead foot, and is also break happy. But other than that, practice went well today, and we¡¦ll be back at it tomorrow. Game 2 of this road trip against Washington, and for sure the outcome will be different! So that is the update from me, I will be back in touch soon.

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: May 21, 2008

Maz tipped off the 2008 season by posing with WNBA President Donna Orender, Mercury Managing Partner Robert Sarver and her 2007 WNBA Championship ring.

Well Mercury fans, this is my first blog of the new season, and I thought I'd give you a rundown of the events that occurred during my first week back in the Valley leading up to Championship Saturday. Let¡¦s just start by saying it¡¦s been amazing being back here, and I'm extremely excited about this season and defending our title. I've been out doing some appearances, and they have been quite eventful.

First of all, I've never seen so much coffee consumed in one hour at a Starbucks. Last Monday¡KVERY early¡K I was out at the Starbucks on Adams in downtown Phoenix. We were handing out free coffees and promoting Championship Saturday. I joined in the fun and also had three huge coffees before 10am, so needless to say I was energized that whole day!

It is truly amazing how faces change and listen to what you are saying once the word FREE is mentioned! Frowns turned into smiles once they realized their Monday morning coffee was complimentary thanks to the Mercury! But then again, who wouldn't be excited about that?

I personally love how the workers SCREAM at the top of their lungs, ¡§Venti caramel macchiato with soy milk, extra hot, no whipped, extra caramel¡¨ so everyone can hear. What if you want a little coffee privacy in the mornings? If you do, it¡¦s definitely not happening, AND people still somehow take the wrong coffee! I'll never forget being at a Starbucks at 6am once, and I was the ONLY person in the airport I felt, and they still yelled out my order, just in case! It was hilarious to me, but on to the next appearance¡K

That same morning< I headed back to the arena to do an interview with Channel 3¡¦s Brad Perry and speaking of energy, he is non-stop enthusiasm and energy! It was great to talk to him, but unfortunately, the daisy dukes he was wearing threw my half court shot waaaaaaay off. If I hit one, he was going to buy me a steak dinner! BUUUUUT I was distracted and fighting nausea seeing those legs. Miller Time hit the shot last year against him and she told me I could take her dinner, so that I will. Thanks Miller Time, such an unselfish point guard!

Then on Thursday morning, I was off to serve at McDonald¡¦s, and now I know I have a job to fall back on just in case this basketball thing doesn't work out! I didn't realize how hard it was to work the drive thru window! I was weaving in and out of workers, getting out those complimentary chicken biscuits and iced coffees! And someone looked at me and asked for ¡§blue sugar.¡¨ It took me a minute, but thanks to my Penn State education, I realized he wanted Equal!

I was slightly disappointed I couldn't rock the McDonald¡¦s visor, but they weren't ¡§bang permitting¡¨ so I didn't want to hurt Miller Time's feelings and wear one since she couldn't. I obviously didn't want to make her jealous. Needless to say, we still had a great time!

Wow, all these events led up to such an amazing ceremony on Saturday, when we took a look to last year, and enjoyed the accomplishment of winning the championship. With replica rings, and the massive trophy the size of the entire arena, it really felt great to celebrate with our fans, and to receive that bling bling.

A lot of people had family and friends there, and for me, it was so nice to see Papa Maz sitting in the stands, watching me get my ring! Sorry to those sitting by him, because he sure likes to talk! Dad, no one wants to hear those AAU stories! :) Just kidding! Of course, I was so glad you were there! And how great would it be if the X-Factor rolled 13,000 deep EVERY GAME! I think we should try and do that. What you think!?

So now, we are on the bus headed back to Phoenix. Unfortunately, we are off to an 0-2 start, but I think we are looking forward to getting in the ¡§W¡¨ column this Thursday, and then we have some time to gel and get some kinks worked out with a full week of practice. We have so much talent, and are excited and confident about what we can do this season! We will see everyone Thursday when we take on Seattle!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: March 26, 2008

Maz in Israel with Tanisha Wright and Sue Bird.

Hello Phoenix! A lot has happened since we last touched base, but the biggest news of all¡K (drum roll please) I¡¦m going to be a member of the Mercury for at least four more years! I¡¦m so excited to be a part of this great organization and am certainly committed both on and off the court to make a difference. I¡¦m looking forward to playing for Corey and defending our title for several years to come.

Since I¡¦m going to be in Phoenix for awhile, I am now condo-shopping in the Valley. It¡¦s quite a process, but I¡¦ve got some people in Phoenix and of course Louie (my dad!) helping me as well. Should be fun, but man are there a lot of options. I¡¦m all about the pool and it has to have at least two bedrooms because it¡¦s a revolving door in the summer with all my visitors. The schedule is already booked for this season!

I am going for something modern with high ceilings, lots of windows and of course a nice kitchen. I¡¦m not really a chef, despite being Italian, but maybe if the kitchen is nice enough, I¡¦ll be able to talk someone into cooking for me. Maybe we should have an online auction X-Factor. Cook for Kelly!! Although while I¡¦ve been overseas, I have mastered the egg white omelet and the shrimp salad. Those are my staples¡K And did I mention the pool? Ha! That¡¦s a biggie for me.

My team (Spartak) is playing well. We are in the Final 4 of the Euroleague, which takes place in mid-April in the Czech Republic. Check out this link for all the latest news and scores. Right now we are playing the Russian Cup. It¡¦s kind of like the conference tournaments in the US for colleges. We beat Penny¡¦s team, which was the home team and higher seed last weekend. It was a great win!

Off the court, I¡¦m just enjoying my time over here. My apartment is great, although when I went shopping to fill it with all the basics, I went to two stores, loaded up the cart and then was told I couldn¡¦t pay with a credit card. Once I pulled some money from the ATM, I was able to purchase everything I needed and my driver, who speaks no English and has an old time mustache and wears a top hat (you almost need to see it to believe it), helped me haul it all to the car¡K.the turquoise Volvo! No lie. This thing glows in the dark.

I also spent a week in Israel a few weeks ago and it is just gorgeous. I enjoyed some time on the beach with my good friends Sue Bird and Tanisha Wright, did some shopping and then went floating in the Dead Sea. It was quite an experience. (Note to self and the X-Factor: Never go into the Dead Sea after shaving your legs. NOT a pleasant experience.)

Maz celebrating her birthday

I also had a birthday on February 2, so I went out and celebrated with a few people from the States, including Becky Hammon and Nicole Powell. We had a great time. Hit a little sushi joint that reminds me (but could never quite compare to) Zen32. I can¡¦t wait to get back to Phoenix and trust me, the day I land, I¡¦m headed straight for Zen!

Last weekend, our team hosted the Euroleague All-Star game and it looked a lot like the WNBA All-Star game. Cappie, Tangela, my good friend Janel McCarville¡ was so good to see everyone! Kelis performed¡Kyou know who she is¡K ¡§My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard¡K ¡§ Now that will be stuck in your head the rest of the day! Check out the video on youtube¡K

I ventured out to get my hair done last week too. I thought the word highlight was universal. Guess not. I thought I could get it done without having my translator tell the hair dresser what to do. I said ¡§highlight,¡¨ showed him the roots¡Kha ha¡K and where the blonde ended. So when he started doing the foil, I thought we were good. I was sure he knew what he was doing.

After three long hours of reading Russian magazines, he unveiled his creation and it wasn¡¦t even that much lighter. I should have just left, but unfortunately, he continued and added more color, it started drying and I was blinded by BLONDE. The rest is history. You thought I was a blonde before? Well, I¡¦m rockin¡¦ the Barbie blonde now.

The hair is not the only glitch since I¡¦ve been here. I was without Internet for a few weeks and talk about readjusting! I¡¦ve been writing postcards home. Ok, it¡¦s not that bad, but I¡¦m a gadget freak¡Kalways on my sidekick¡Kand that took some adjusting. I suppose it¡¦s good for me though.

That¡¦s all for now X-Factor. I¡¦m looking forward to getting back there to the Valley of the Sun. I¡¦m so excited for opening night¡Kto see the banner unveiling and of course get my championship ring! Diamonds are a girl¡¦s best friend without a doubt. Take care and see you soon!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Jan. 10, 2008

Hello X-Factor! I hope you had a great holiday season. It¡¦s been awhile since I last checked in, so now that the holiday rush is over, I thought I would drop in and fill you in on what I¡¦ve been up to since we last connected.

Maz spent some time with her family for the holidays before heading to Russia to join Spartak
After spending some time at home following the championship, I was off to Russia to start my second season with Spartak. I have been waiting on this Italian passport stuff to be finished, so I went over anyways to practice with the team, get used to living in Russia, and enjoy the niiiice hotel they put me up in! There are some perks about living in a hotel¡Kroom service, the maid to clean my room (I am organized though, don't worry mom), and some of the other girls stayed there too, so we got to spend some time together. My hotel was close to everything, including a great sushi restaurant (although nothing beats my favorite sushi spot in Phoenix) and the mall. At the sushi restaurant, they hit a gong when someone new walks in. What made me mad was they individually gonged people as they walked in, but for some reason, our group got just 1 gong instead! I felt like we got shafted, but anyways, I am going to stop saying gong now!

My only other overseas experience has been 2 years in Slovakia. I enjoyed my time there so much, but my team in Russia definitely is a different experience for me thus far. I have a personal driver that takes me everywhere, but I think he gets frustrated with me because of the language barrier. If anyone could see us, I¡¦m sure they would think we were playing a game of charades. I have to shadow shoot in the back seat to tell him I want to go the gym, act like I¡¦m cutting my hair to go to the salon and eat an imaginary sandwich to get to the grocery store. It¡¦s pretty funny, but Andre and I have a good time!

I know all of you in Phoenix are loving the weather right now. I get a little jealous when I check the forecast in the paper and see that you¡¦re hitting 60-70 degrees in December and January. Needless to say, I¡¦m stocked with all my cold gear, Ugg boots and stocking caps. The t-shirts and shorts are packed away in the basement with PHX written on the bags.

I did get back to Pennsylvania for a few days in December and it was nice to be with my family for the holidays. We have a pretty big family. My mom has five brothers and five sisters and my dad has two brothers and a sister. It tends to get a little loud when we all get together. Hard to believe with a bunch of Italians, huh?? Of course my little cousins are the best part about the holidays. They get so excited and I love playing Santa to them. Santa was pretty good to me too. I got some clothes, a watch and movies, which are great for the long flights. I also got the Sopranos series, which I¡¦m really excited about. I¡¦ve never watched an episode, but when my dad goes out with his long trench coat, people always ask if he¡¦s in the Italian Mafia (Tanisha Wright haha). They are kidding of course. At least I think they are. I¡¦ll let you know what I think in my next blog.

Being home also means getting to watch some sports on tv, and of course I got addicted to some shows when I was home. Don¡¦t take it for granted X-Factor! You would miss it if you couldn¡¦t turn on SportsCenter. And of course the Dunkin Donuts coffee¡Kmy favorite treat when I¡¦m home. Since I missed Thanksgiving, I got two great meals in one at Christmas and enjoyed my favorite dish, baked corn. YUUUUM.

With all the great food, I had to make it a point to workout pretty frequently. I¡¦ve got to stay in shape for running and gunning with Coach Gaines next summer! And by the way, I¡¦m so happy Corey is getting this opportunity. He is going to be a fantastic head coach and I speak for many of my teammates when I say that we all truly believe we won¡¦t miss a beat with him running the show.

Back to the workouts¡K some days I headed to my high school gym and others, I went to a local workout facility to lift and do some cardio. But some days, I just wanted to get a little running in, so I would head to my aunt¡¦s basement where she keeps her treadmill¡Kfacing a brick wall. Do you know how boring it is to run while you¡¦re staring at a brick wall? For all of you looking to change your workout routine in the New Year, I do not recommend this tactic. You will quit after day one.

I did head over to Penn State for a practice while I was home. That was definitely a good time. It¡¦s always good to go back to my alma mater, and of course to get some gear to rock overseas!! I also got to see an old teammate from college who now coaches at St. Francis College, and that really made me feel old!!

I did have a funny encounter with one of my high school teammates too. I was doing a little grocery shopping when I ran into her and when I glanced in her cart, there was the Wheaties box with our faces on it! So funny. She said she couldn¡¦t resist picking it up. I wonder if she actually ate the Wheaties. Can you eat the cereal and the box still be considered commemorative? It¡¦s like collectible action figures or Barbies¡Kif you take them out of the box, they aren¡¦t worth anything. Is it the same with the cereal? Do you eat the cereal X-Factor?

So I¡¦m back in Russia and ready to get moved into my apartment, which is right up the road from Dee, Miller Time, Sue (Bird), Lauren (Jackson) and Tina (Thompson). They are tearing it up and I can¡¦t tell you how ready I am to get on the court and start contributing.

It¡¦s always hard leaving home after the holidays, but I¡¦m happy to be playing again. I think my mom is happy as well. She was getting tired of her dining room being used as my storage area! Just kidding Mom!!

Seriously, I do have a couple of New Year¡¦s resolutions. I need to stop knee driving. All of you world champion texters out there know what I¡¦m talking about. And finally, the most important one of all, I want to repeat as WNBA Champions in 2008!

Thanks for reading and I¡¦ll check in again soon. The new Mercury season will be here before you know it. I can¡¦t wait. Take care X-Factor!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Oct. 25, 2007

Hello to everyone back in Phoenix! I thought I would check in and give you an update about what I am doing. I am actually in Russia right now and it¡¦s currently almost 1 a.m. where you are and almost 11 a.m. where I am! Being ahead 10 hours¡K that's what you call a time difference, huh? Before I get into Russia, I thought I would bring you up to speed on my three weeks of vacation at home after the season.

Something felt a little different packing my bags in Phoenix this summer and heading home. I wasn¡¦t quite sure what it was and then I realized how nice it was to fly home knowing we won the championship!

It was a great feeling being greeted once I landed in the huge metropolitan city of Montoursville, Pa. The first week at home, I really just relaxed, didn¡¦t work out or anything, just visited family and friends and talked about the summer and everything that happened. Everyone was so excited about it.

Kelly Mazzante helped the Mercury win the WNBA title and her home town decided to throw a parade in her honor.
Being a small town girl, everyone had the chance to follow the Mercury and watch all the playoff games, so naturally they were so happy about us winning! So happy, they decided to do a parade in my honor! HAHA! I am sure some of you saw the pictures from it and it was definitely a great event. It was a chance for my town to enjoy and share in the championship.

They also honored me uptown in Williamsport too and like I said, it was just nice to get out and see everyone and talk about how it felt winning the whole thing. I also did a video/commercial for our local Habitat for Humanity organization. That turned out to be a nice event too. Lastly, I ran a clinic in a city called Philipsburg and about 80 kids and high schoolers were there to participate. I was really excited doing that. I learned so much doing the Diana Taurasi camp earlier this summer and I wanted a chance to apply my skills!

To say the least, I was pretty busy when I was home, but I knew I had to start putting the summer bags down in the basement, and start packing the down jackets, hats, scarves, thermals etc. for the trip over to Moscow.

This is actually my fourth day in Russia and the trip over wasn¡¦t too bad at all. I flew out of JFK in New York and got here in about 11 hours. The first week is always the toughest, especially when no one you know is here and you have to meet all new people! But that¡¦s been the story of most of our lives, so you just do it.

Packing is always a treat and I know I talked about that earlier in a blog during the season. But trying to figure out what you need for seven months in another country isn¡¦t easy. It¡¦s hard to leave THAT ONE shirt at home or THAT ONE pair of shoes that you KNOW you won¡¦t wear, but you just have to take it. So, I make piles that consist of the following:

    1. I am taking this because without a doubt I will wear it, so that is a ¡§DEFINITELY GOING¡¨ pile.

    2. Hmm, good chance I will wear that once or twice, so that makes the ¡§MOST LIKELY¡¨ to take pile.

    3. I am not sure how many times this article of clothing has made the trip back and forth Europe to the US, so this goes in the ¡§SALVATION ARMY¡¨ pile.

    4. This is usually the smallest pile, but this goes to the ¡§WOW! Did I really buy this?¡¨ pile, and is discarded immediately.

So, the next task is fitting everything into huge bags and making sure they aren¡¦t overweight, etc., but fortunately flying business class allows for some breathing room, so my Dad and I literally sat and squeezed three HUGE bags shut, filled with everything I thought I might need over here. Plus, I¡¦ve got two big carry-ons with stuff just in case my bags got lost, so needless to say, I made it with everything I wanted to take. I was so happy when everything arrived along with me. There have been times when my bags have taken days to weeks to make it and that just isn¡¦t fun at all!

The first few days have been good. I¡¦m getting used to the city and practicing with a new team. Most of the other girls ¡V Sue (Bird), Diana, Lauren (Jackson), and Tina (Thompson) won¡¦t come until later next month, so that will make it all a lot better once they arrive. Miller Time (Kelly Miller) is here though and it was nice to see her. I¡¦ll get to run 100 miles again with her everyday!

That is all I have for now! I will be back periodically to fill you in on everything, but I hope everyone is good back in Phoenix, and we will do our best to represent the Mercury in Russia!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Sept. 17, 2007

Well, well, well! The last blog of the season and I couldn't be happier to write this one! Yesterday's game was just an amazing day, from beginning to end. Twenty thousand plus fan screaming against us (except our fans we had that were there supporting us and made us feel great), on the defending champs home court, knowing no one has ever won on the road...we just knew that it was our time to do it. From the opening tip to the closing seconds, we were focused and determined and it was so fun to be a part of! I'm not sure it's completely sunk in yet, but we are so excited about bringing the championship to Phoenix!

We have been a team all season that has supported each other through thick and thin and there was no doubt you could see that chemistry on the court. We definitely had our challenges, but everything came together at the right time and I'm just so happy to be a part of this!

Maz celebrates the Mercury's WNBA Championship with her father after Game 5.
(WNBA Photos/Getty Images)
And to bring the first trophy to Phoenix, to fans that have supported us all season, feels great! We couldn't have done it without everyone from top to bottom and we definitely knew everyone believed in us!

A lot of great things happened in the game, especially when Dee and Cappie started off the game the way they did, we knew it was going to be our night. Penny was perfect from the free throw line and Miller Time did her usual work. I had an open left-handed lay-up, but knew Coach wanted me to spot up behind the arc, so I made sure I got there! Everyone contributed to secure the win.

It really felt like there was no one in the gym but us, just focused on what we needed to do and then afterwards the celebration began! We were cooped up in this little room for the trophy presentation. (I sweat more from how hot it was in there then I did in the game.) Everything happened so fast, but was enjoyed. Congrats to MVP Cappie, who carried us on her back a lot this season!

I'd like to thank my parents for coming to the game. It's only the second time my mom has flown in about 20 years. It was really special having them there in the stands and afterwards, the locker room celebration was crazy. Having everyone's family, friends, our staff, etc. made it so much more special. I'm surprised I can even open my eyes to type this from the champagne burning them! But well worth the "blood-shotness."

We are almost back to Phoenix and will celebrate the next few days, pack the bags and head home. This season has been so fun. I don't want it to end. But now I will head home to PA for a few weeks before I head to Russia. I just want to thank everyone for an amazing season and can't wait to be back next summer! One city, one team, one goal and we successfully completed it! All I can say is "WOW!"

See everyone at the rally tomorrow!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Sept. 14, 2007

Hi everyone! We just landed in Detroit (it¡¦s a little chilly, so bring a jacket if you¡¦re headed out here for Game 5) and are still feeling good about last night¡¦s win. It tops my list so far in my career. Of course a win on Sunday would move to the very top of the list!

Our place was rockin¡¦ last night ¡V all the signs and black fingernails. X-Factor, you really gave us a huge boost. You were LOUD. You definitely kept us in it when Detroit took the lead toward the end of the game. The support has been amazing. Our sidekicks and phones have been blowing up!

Going into the game, we knew our backs were against the wall. At halftime, we decided if we were going down, we were going down playing our game. We knew if we played with a lot of energy, good things would happen for us. We never stopped believing in each other¡Keven when we were down by nine with a few minutes left¡Kand there was some clutch plays at the end - Kelly Miller hit some big shots, Dee knocked down a big three and CP hit some sick, sick shots. Ooooooooh-weeeeeee. What a great win.

Even though we got the W, we really didn¡¦t play our best, especially offensively. Really the last two games. We¡¦re due for a good shooting night. To win Game 5, we¡¦ve got to rebound, run and make shots.

Detroit has shut down our fast break more than any other team this season, but at this point, we¡¦re not going to make many adjustments. We¡¦re getting good looks. We just need to execute.

We¡¦re confident going into Game 5. We know that no road team has ever won a championship. But we know we can win on their court. We did it in Game 2. It will be a crazy game. A great game. You know the All-Stars from both teams will show up. Could be an instant ESPN Classic.

Rest up X-Factor. You¡¦re going to need your energy for Sunday. Until then, I¡¦m going to stick to my usual road routine. Get a little dinner, lay it down and rent a movie.

Until next time¡K

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Sept. 12 2007

Well, X-Factor, last night was a tough one. We appreciate everyone coming out ¡V what a great crowd. Lots of stars too with Kurt Warner, Coach D¡¦Antoni, Steve Kerr and Grant Hill. It was disappointing that we couldn¡¦t pull out a win for you though. I can almost guarantee that if you come back tomorrow, it will be a different story.

We had a short practice today...a little film, some shooting drills and some time with the media. There¡¦s no time to dwell on yesterday. We are only focused on tomorrow.

We¡¦ve lost two games in this series and haven¡¦t shot the ball well in either of those two losses. We missed 40 plus shots last night and I feel pretty good about that not happening again.

Every other phase of our game was strong. We played well defensively and outrebounded them. And despite our poor shooting, and great games by Katie and Deana, we were down by only three points at the end with a chance to tie it up.

We know we can beat them and that¡¦s the most frustrating part¡Kcoming up short, but we believe we can win two in a row. No doubts. We know we can win in Detroit. We already did that in Game 2. This team is still together and believes that we can get this done.

Today, we¡¦re all just getting a little rest and tomorrow night, we will come out firing! We will play our game¡Kaggressive and fast! We know if just a few more shots fall, we¡¦ll be headed to Detroit for Game 5!

See you tomorrow night!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Sept. 9, 2007

Good morning Phoenix!

It's 8:30 a.m. and we are on the bus headed to the airport to FINALLY get back home. It was an amazing day yesterday for us because we got back to playing the type of basketball we have been playing all year and everyone stepped up and contributed. We know this series is far from over, but we knew we had to at least split, which we did and we are happy to have the next two at home.

We did have a good cheering section in Detroit though, and they were pretty loud, so we felt that support. I can't imagine how loud it will be on Tuesday and Thursday for Games 3 and 4!

The difference between Game 1 and 2 was definitely our aggressive play on defense and the fact that we committed to playing our type of basketball and executed. Tan hit some huge shots, Dee played how she is capable, Cap made some huge plays and Miller Time is just a machine.

It's so fun to watch even sitting on the bench, because we have so much talent and we all believe in one another. We are focused and know we have two more to win before anyone is close to being satisfied.

Funny things always happen during the game, but by far the funniest event that has taken place so far happened to Coach. I think Jen Lacy and I are the most observant people on the team, always noticing everything little thing.

So as I'm sitting there looking at the pregame notes on the board before Game 1 and Coach is 'pitter pattying' his feet, rubbing his hair back, all his usual pregame antics, I look down and notice he has on different shoes. Very similar in color, yet one has a buckle (a Leprechaun-ish one to say the least) and the other doesn't. It just has a design of some sort.

I instantly smiled inside and couldn't wait to tell someone, but had to wait until he was done talking. (Don't worry. I still managed to pay attention though to the game plan.) So I told Jen D and Dee and we laughed and that was pretty much it. We all kind of forgot about it until Game 2 came around and it was the same thing! Two different shoes again! Cappie decided to call him out about it, and needless to say it got a pretty good laugh from everyone!

Coach has the best sense of humor and after all was said and done he said, "Hey when you grow up in Philly, you're lucky to even have shoes."

We are about at the airport, so I will check back in before Game 3. Everyone get ready to pack the house and help us bring home the Championship! Ciao!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Sept. 7, 2007

I'm back for a non-basketball related blog! Thought we would talk about the overcast weather in Detroit, which is making me miss that Phoenix sun and those hot, hot days.

I¡¦m so NOT used to seeing clouds and a light rain, which definitely sets the mood differently for the day. For some reason, it makes me want to lie in bed, watch movie after movie and drink some hot tea. I've only shied away from the coffee because the tea in this hotel is on point, but I'll be back to the caramel macchiatos soon.

It is going to take me a long time to even remember the last 10 movies I have seen, but I am to go into deep thought. You might as well call me Dori from Finding Nemo because my short term memory is kind of non-existent. Someone once told me I look like Dori, but I¡¦m not sure I see the resemblance.

Let¡¦s see... I've seen...

  • Ocean's 13 - Seen one, seen ¡¥em all.

  • Tristan and Isolde - Tristan could be one of my favorite names of all times.

  • The Painted Veil - For some reason I have seen the whole movie except for the last 20 minutes¡K.TWICE! I can't seem to finish it.

  • Breach - Watched this myself and actually understood it. Shocker.

  • Breaking and Entering - Definitely movie surfed through the hotel choices and made a random choice on this one. Not bad though. It killed two hours.

  • Fracture ¡V Rather suspenseful with a twist at the end.

  • Disturbia ¡V Disturbing.

  • The Fountain ¡V Very visually stimulating. Do I sound like a movie critic or what?

  • Notes On a Scandal - Good movie here. I recommend it.

  • Blow - I tend to miss good movies and watch them years after they come out. Living in Pleasantville doesn't help.
I will actually probably catch another movie today! I will be back after Game 2. Have a good day everyone!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Sept. 6, 2007

Tough one last night X-Factor. We¡¦ve been cruising for awhile, so it was a different feeling in the locker room last night after a loss.

It was just one of those games though ¡V Dee got into foul trouble and even though we jumped out to a good lead early on, we weren¡¦t really playing our style. They threw a few things at us, but the important thing is we still had a chance to win the game. We¡¦ve got two days to watch film and make some adjustments. We will be ready Saturday!

They are a big and physical team. No doubt about that. Rebounding is huge. We can¡¦t run without that. Anytime we did get a defensive rebound, we were able to run our game. Our guards have to do a better job blocking out. Positioning is a key in our zone defense.

We¡¦ve got to be more aggressive in our rover defense too. Maybe the foul trouble played a part in that, but we need to force them into some bad shots so we can get our break started.

Last night¡¦s loss definitely doesn¡¦t shake us. It just increases our focus even more. This team is together¡Kwe were up late last night talking about what we need to do to get the job done individually and as a whole. We know where we made our mistakes and we will come out differently on Saturday.

Bottom line, we have to beat Detroit at least once on their home floor to win a championship. And we don¡¦t want to fly back here for game five. We would love to get Saturday and are confident that we can. We have to stay within ourselves and play our game.

It¡¦s an overcast day in Detroit, so not much on the agenda for today or tomorrow. We¡¦ve got practice and then media. Everyone will probably just lay low and stay focused on the task ahead. Maybe a movie or a trip to the mall, but that¡¦s about it.

And as far as my jaw goes, I did take a pretty good hit from Katie¡¦s elbow. At first I thought I couldn¡¦t close my mouth, but it¡¦s fine¡Kjust hurts a little and a bit swollen. And luckily it doesn¡¦t hurt my ability to blog! And Coach¡¦s quote was ¡§Hey, some good things still happened. Maz is talking less.¡¨ HA!

That¡¦s all for now X-Factor. Keep believing! We¡¦ve got this!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Sept. 5, 2007

Hey Phoenix! We arrived in Detroit last night after a three and a half hour flight. We checked into the hotel, headed to practice, media availability, and then back to the hotel. Life on the road doesn¡¦t change whether you¡¦re in the finals or just going through the regular season. The only difference is more media following us and we¡¦re here for five days!

It¡¦s a strange ride through the playoffs. The first two rounds really felt connected playing Seattle and San Antonio. But this feels like we¡¦re starting over. After the celebration on Saturday night, it was back to the business to get ready for this longer series.

And talk about strange rides - it¡¦s been quite a trip for me, too. I was instantly excited when I was selected in the dispersal draft by Phoenix. I was nervous and curious to be in a new city, but I couldn¡¦t have asked for more. Obviously on the court, playing with Dee and Cappie in Coach¡¦s system was very exciting. What shooter wouldn¡¦t love the green light to let it go when you¡¦re open? And you know those two plus Miller Time will find you anytime you¡¦re open!

Off the court, Phoenix has been just as good. Playing with this team has been an amazing experience and I¡¦ve developed some lifelong friendships. I believe fate is a big part of life and the biggest challenge is accepting what is meant to be and being open to people and opportunities. I was fortunate that fate brought me here¡Kit couldn¡¦t have worked out better.

As far as this series goes, a lot of people have asked about us going 0-2 against Detroit in the regular season. I think when you get to this point that all goes out the window. Both of our losses came before the All-Star break - before we really hit our stride - and one loss was without Cappie.

That being said, we know it¡¦s going to be a challenging series. They have been to the Finals before, but we¡¦ve got champions on this team, too. They like to slow it down and pound the ball inside, but we believe they can¡¦t be physical with us if they can¡¦t catch us.

Going into each series, I try to do whatever is asked of me, and everyone on the team has the same approach. I know I¡¦m in there to shoot, but against San Antonio I was asked to focus more on defense. Everyone respects what Coach says, even if it¡¦s unexpected, you just do it.

The extra day off should benefit our starters, but it won¡¦t effect our rhythm. We¡¦ve got a good routine going: day off, practice, shootaround, game.

Now we¡¦re finally at game day! Cheer us on, X-Factor. I¡¦ll catch up with you after the game, hopefully chatting with you about a win!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Sept. 2, 2007

Today will just be short thought about how excited everyone is right now on this team. It was an incredible atmosphere yesterday and we played a heck of game!

We are just three games away from bringing the championship to Phoenix and we all believe we can do it. There's nothing that can stop us.

It's an amazing feeling to be Western Conference champs, especially with how hard we have worked, but we know our run isn't over. We all enjoyed it last night ¡V a little bubbly in the locker room and a celebratory dinner. We will all be ready to get at it tomorrow at practice.

That's really all I have for today! We are all watching and waiting to see who we will be playing. Detroit or Indy, it doesn't matter. We are just ready to get going!

X-Factor, keep supporting us and staying behind us. Bring your friends, co-workers and neighbors; we need the whole city behind us! Hopefully within a week we will be holding another trophy! I'll be back soon.

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 31, 2007

One game away from the WNBA Finals sounds pretty good coming out of everyone's mouths. It was a hard fought game last night and we put ourselves in a situation to win, which did happen!

So many things occurred, good and bad, but we kept it together, hit some huge free throws and pulled it out on the road. San Antonio played some great basketball. It just seemed that we couldn't get a lead more than five points, because they would score, we would answer, and so on. The energy level was crazy there with 14,000 screaming fans against us. When we get in those situations, it¡¦s just all about us sticking together, communicating and trying to get the job done.

I'm sure all you Mercury fans were on the edge of your seats, but take a deep breath because we got that win and now we are headed back to can play in front of our home crowd! We know the X-Factor is going to be as hyped and loud as you have been all season, so we are excited to have our ¡§sixth man¡¨ behind us.

It was crazy though, because we were in a good situation with a minute to go. It goes to show you that anything can happen and it is not over until that final buzzer goes off. For some reason, Dee got shot by a tazer gun and lost all control of her lower half during a crucial time, but we all know things just happen. But at the end of the day, Cappie made some huge free throws, a little luck went our way and we are 1-0 in this series.

That's pretty much all I have for you today. Our flight leaves at 9 a.m., so we will be back to Phoenix pretty early and probably have the day to recover and recoup. We will be ready for another battle on Saturday.

It feels like a ¡§spending money¡¨ day, so I think I will hit up the mall some, and just lay low. I encourage everyone to paint their nails black, bring your energy and be ready to help us win tomorrow and punch our ticket to the Finals. See you all soon!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 30, 2007

I woke up this morning just ready to go. Some of us were awakened in the middle of night to receive our luggage that was lost. Interesting how we check in and have one flight, but only half the bags made it... But now everyone has their stuff, and we are ready to go.

The beds last night definitely lived up to their 'heavenly' status, so I got a good night's sleep, and ready for shootaround.

This is definitely a big, big game today. First game of the series, and it is just important for us to stick to our game plan and come out ready to go. We know they are going to come out firing and their crowd will be behind them, but we will have our black nail polish on and our fire will be there.

Here comes Bridget to the back of the bus for her high fives and continuous "do its" for the morning. She never gets on the bus without "doing it."

It's funny how everyone has rituals and things they do the same everyday. My pregame ritual consists of ordering my room service (meals vary depending on hotel), packing my clothes for the game, getting my wake up call, and trying to lay down for about two hours. I get up and shower and head to the bus! That's been pretty consistent since being in the league. The college routine was a lot more hectic and time consuming, but I won't even go there! So that's all for that.

So I'm sure everyone will be watching tonight! We will be back sometime tomorrow.

Oh and Dee and Lacy made the half court shots today. Snelly and I figured we would let a few others get a little "half court shine!".


Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 29, 2007

And it begins again!

We had a 6 a.m. wake-up call this morning because of a 9 a.m. flight. We just got to San Antonio. The flight wasn't so great¡K kind of long and the plane was full and it just felt slightly claustrophobic the whole time.

Maz grabbed a Starbucks after a long and tiring trip to San Antonio.
(Steven J. Koek/
So two hours of that mixed in with turbulence and people snoring made this into a long day. But we are here safely and waiting on bags and will practice tonight and get ready for a big one tomorrow. We are definitely going to have our hands full with San Antonio. We did have some success during the regular season, going 3-1, but we know it will be a battle this series, and we're ready for it.

Obviously, they have some great players in Becky, Sophia, etc., and stopping them will be a task in itself. But hey, we have great players too. We will have a game plan and are just going to stick with it. We know it will be a hostile environment tomorrow night, but the bottom line is, on the road especially, we will stick together and compete. We are ready for the challenge.

I would like to say Happy Birthday to Helen Darling today! I am excited I get to see her on her big day. But tonight will be a ¡§laying low¡¨ kind of night because it was an early morning and a big day tomorrow!

The good thing is these trips are short, as compared to the regular season where we would be gone for days. But it seems I still pack three bags, because there are just must haves for every trip. I always have my DVD player, two brushes (one for brushing through and one for smoothing out), Carmex, four chargers (DVD, phone, Sidekick, IGO), 3 packs of hair ties (you just never know), a magazine, my iPod, Orbit (spearmint), digital camera, and so on! It is funny how I never seem to forget these things, maybe because I kind of never unpack completely, but those are must have travel items.

Back to the whole airplane issue, I feel there is just certain airplane etiquette that people should follow. But for some reason, every trip ends up having someone just make you SO mad because of what they do or don't do when traveling.

So here are my top 10 biggest pet peeves when flying on an no particular order.

  • 10. When people behind you try and get off the airplane before you do.
  • 9. People but their seatbacks right into your knees and sometimes before the plane even takes off.
  • 8. A middle seat occupant who takes both armrests.
  • 7. A window seat occupant leaving the window open through Arizona desert hoping to get a glimpse of the Grand Canyon.
  • 6. The bear hug to the back of your seat when the person behind you gets up to use the restroom.
  • 5. When someone 5'2'' is sitting in the emergency exit row.
  • 4. When someone is breathing down your neck trying to catch a sneak peak of your Hollywood blockbuster hit bootlegged by Tan Smith.
  • 3. As we are boarding US Airways flight 704 connecting through Charlotte to Phoenix, you hear first class passenger¡¦s snide remarks of "Doesn't the WNBA charter flights?'
  • 2. Seeing 24F on your ticket and wondering how big the plane is and fearing it means the non reclining seat in the back of the plane, along with the bathroom smell paraphernalia.
  • 1. (This happened for the first time today) When you all the sudden have a hot flash and realize the person next to you has stolen your air vent.
Well that is all for now! I will be back tomorrow with a quick update before the game!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 27, 2007

Two games down and five to go!

What a game yesterday! Being up 22 at one point, having Seattle come back and tie it at 85, Dee hitting a huge three to get back our momentum, and then eventually winning the game.

Just want to thank the X-Factor for supporting us, and making the atmosphere awesome at the game! There's nothing better than playing in front of our home crowd.

It was a good game for us because we got tested big time, and Seattle fought back in the game, but we kept it together and made some big plays down the stretch. Everyone stayed positive in the huddle and we knew we would still win even though they made that run. I think everyone kind of held their breath when Dee shot that 3, because it was deep and at a crucial time, but once that went in, we all knew the game was over!

So now we all sit and watch and wait for our next opponent. I am not sure which team we would rather play, even though it doesn't really matter. But it will be interesting to see who we get.

We have had success against both teams in the regular season, and just played Sac twice to finish the season. That got a little physical so I think that could potentially be a good match-up.

San Antonio is a very good team as well, so either way, it will be tough and an exciting series. The biggest pro of going to Sac is the amazing Sushi restaurant, Mikuni. It¡¦s so good that every bite Penny took the last time we ate there she literally pounded her fist into the table of excitement!

San Antonio gives you the Riverwalk, but that isn't as exciting, and everything is usually closed by the time our game is over. But I always love seeing good ol' Helen Darling. So either city will work!

This is a little different feeling for me today writing to you all, because I get to sit in my air conditioned apartment, on my couch, with my sweats on, instead of traveling through the airport on my sidekick.

We have the day off, so I got up and headed to IHOP for breakfast, sat at the pool a little, and am waiting for the games to come on this afternoon. We all celebrated last night with dinner at Postino's. It was really good, but unfortunately there were too many people there so we had to sit outside (yes, outside) so pretty much the whole dinner we were all trying not to move so we wouldn't sweat. Other than that, it was a good time!

Next up, a few days of practice, and then the Western Conference finals begin! I will keep you updated every step of the way so stay tuned.

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 25, 2007

Good morning Phoenix!

We are at the airport in Seattle getting ready to head back to Phoenix and it sure was a good feeling waking up this morning realizing how well we played yesterday as a team!

Maz and her teammates pose with NBA legend Bill Russell after Friday night's big win in Seattle.
(Steven J. Koek/
It's amazing how together we are right now, playing as ONE, everyone doing what it takes to win, no matter what. We all decided to wear black nail polish, whether it be on our fingers or toes, to represent our unity and it just shows how focused we are right now as a group.

Mine, unfortunately, is chipped and smeared because Olympia thought she was professional manicurist, and tried painting mine on the bus, but it will be fixed for next game.

It was Cappie's idea and everyone followed through with it and it will be that way through the whole playoff run!

So obviously Game 2 is tomorrow and we know that the X-Factor will be there ready to cheer us on. Nothing like having a chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals in front of the home crowd!

We know how intense the crowd was last night for Seattle and the playoff atmosphere was awesome. It will be nice to have that in our favor!

There was a lot of funny stuff that happened last night, in particular a few moments involving me. I got an offensive rebound during the third quarter (I actually got a small rebounding lesson from Kelly Miller before the game) and Coach Westhead was screaming at me to pull the ball back out.

I already had in my mind I was going to shoot it, so when I made it, I looked over and just smiled at him. He told me in a timeout, "Just shoot when you're open and well, shoot it when you're not open."

I told him I can handle that!

Two times during the game he told me to pull it out, and I was thinking, I thought ¡§Paul Ball¡¨ was about just letting it go! Since when does he want anyone to pull it out!? We had a good laugh about it!

Another little ¡§mistake¡¨ I had in the game was I thought there was a timeout called and I literally was on the floor ready to slap everyone's hands and everyone screamed at me to get off the floor because there really wasn't a break in play. I even fooled the water girl because she thought I was coming out of the game and gave me a towel and Gatorade. I had to explain I jumped the gun.

After the game was a pretty cool experience for us because Hall of Famer Bill Russell came in to say a few words to us about being a champion. Everyone hung onto every word he said! We took a picture with him, and now we will do what we can to do what he told us!

Nothing could have spoiled this trip to Seattle ¡V not even the beds that weren't as heavenly as advertised or the dinner that was in the elevator with me, someone's regurgitated dinner that is!! Gross!

Can't wait to see everyone tomorrow at the game! Bring everyone you know!

ONE team, ONE city, ONE goal!!!!!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 24, 2007

What a beautiful morning today in Seattle. I just got up a little bit ago and I¡¦m ready for the day ahead!

We got to sleep in a little which was good, since we don't have shootaround until 11 a.m. today! I have my cup of coffee in me and I'm ready to go.

I got to see my former Penn Stater last night - Tanisha Wright - and surprisingly there wasn't too much talk at all about the playoff series. We talked about other teams, other things, but it did spark my memory of my college days and the good times we had there.

In particular it took me to our senior season when we played Purdue at home for the Big Ten championship and we were down 14 at halftime and all of our faces were so dejected.

Tanisha really pumped everyone up and we started out the second half with a 14-0 run, and ended up winning it in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,000 people.

Tanisha made some huge plays and one time, she celebrated and busted out a Walter Brennan move which was soooo funny. I had to ask my mom who that was because she called her out on it, and I guess he was an actor from back in the day, maybe some of you will know who that is? I have to say I didn't!

Maz with teammates Diana Taurasi and
Tangela Smith.
Photo: Steven J. Koek/
And since I cracked on ¡§T¡¨ a little, she would be quick to laugh at me about this one game, when I hit a few 3s and ran back so pumped that I flexed my muscles (little as they may be) like the Hulk, and I never ever lived that one down!

So back to reality and to today. I was asked a few times why I rock the socks and ankle braces that I do. Kind of random, but it is definitely something people recognize.

Whether its high tube socks (Dee, Tan), the mid socks (Me, Shue, whose calves still bulge, Jen D., etc.) and the low socks (Miller Time, Cappie, etc.), everyone has their own look and sticks with it. Even what we wear to practice and shootarounds is the same!

It's safe to say we are all a little superstitious in a way with the routine we stay in. But I stuck with the ankle braces because taping just takes awhile (not to discredit the amazing job Tamara does ¡V I¡¦ve heard she's the best taper and trainer in the WNBA!), but I just keep it consistent, and even though Dee says ankle braces have been outdated since the early 90s, I still rock them.

The really important subject is the game tonight and as I type this inside the wonderful Key Arena, I think the 'key' for us is to play our game, and do what we have been doing all season.

We just had a good shootaround. Everyone was hyped and ready, and just has the itch to get the game rolling.

I'm quickly going to hit the last routine of the day, the half court shot at the end of each shootaround.

I have many thoughts on this because some things upset me a little. Some of our post players (not going say names but they start with an O and a T) never shoot theirs and always pick a guard to shoot it for them. They pick Snelly (which hurts just a little because, well¡K um¡K last time I checked I'm a shooter, too), but I will have to say her shooting percentage is rather on the high side!

So Snelly hit "hers" today and did one heck of a celebration dance and the reason I put "hers" in quotes is because she missed her first one, and her second shot counts for her partner in crime, O.

So I just waited patiently for my turn and NAILED mine and stole her thunder just a little! No one seemed to be cheering for me except ME, but that's ok, I'll take it!

So Snelly and I are 1-1 in the playoffs and that's all folks! I will be back tomorrow!

Enjoy the game!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 23, 2007

There is a definite excitement about today as we are all getting ready to head to Seattle for the first game tomorrow night. We had a great week of practice and everyone was focused, excited and just ready for the postseason to start.

Kelly and Diana Taurasi are ready to jet.
Photo: Steven J. Koek/
Everyone seems to be ready, injury free (knock on wood) and mentally ready for the task at hand. It¡¦s such a different feeling this time on the bus though, because of the importance of this game one. It¡¦s definitely interesting how the WNBA does the format. Obviously, having home court advantage is really important, but playing on the road makes game one so important.

Regardless, we know how to win at home and on the road, so no matter what the circumstances, we have to just continue to play fearless and as a unit, and everything will happen as it should.

I would like to say just a little about the X-Factor and how amazing all the fans have been all season and especially the last game of the season! I wish there was a way to pack the X-Factor in our bags and bring them with us. How great would that be!

Speaking of support, we¡¦re sitting here on the bus and all those who work in the offices came down to cheer us on before we left, and wow! It sent chills through all of us! It¡¦s so nice knowing that everyone believes in us, and that kind of support and belief will help us big time!

We actually get to Seattle pretty early and I wish I didn't live on the East Coast so I could get some family time. But I know my mom, dad, aunts, uncles and so on will be tuning it to follow us during the playoffs! And of course I am going get to the Westin (yes, yes Heavenly Bed time) unpack my stuff and get some sushi and just lay low tonight!

Quick side note, I was looking at us on the bus and a lot of us are rocking purple today. Ironic, huh?

That¡¦s all for now! We¡¦re off to the airport. Everyone¡¦s excited and like the theme goes, ¡§ONE team, ONE city, ONE goal!¡¨ I¡¦ll be back again soon.

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 8, 2007

Nothing like a 6:30 a.m. wake-up call this morning to head back home!

It¡¦s amazing. You get to the airport and there is a section with only 10 gates and one Starbucks line. It is busy and we think, ¡§Hmmmm. Will there be another Starbucks closer to the gate with no line?¡¨ YES! Try every 10 steps there is one, with a long line of people trying to get that caffeine for the morning!

And we definitely all hit it up, so I just put my down my caramel macchiato to do this last blog of the trip! I'm happy to type it because we finished our road trip off with a big win in LA to get back the top spot on the West, and we are finally headed back to Phoenix!

It was such a tough game, because we started off so well and LA fought back to take the lead going into halftime. At the half, there was just a sense of urgency and not many words were even said because we all knew what we had to do.

They took the lead but we kept it together and kept it close and had some big time hustle plays and got the win! To say the least, we've played a lot of good basketball as of late, and are ready to finish out these last four games and head into the playoffs!

So, we will be in Phoenix within the next hour or so, and I can't wait to unpack finally and do some laundry and not live out of a suitcase! I have some friends coming to town this week, so I'm excited to see them and add them into the X-factor over the next few home games!

I will definitely get to the pool today and get a little sun and after that, some dinner and relaxation! Thanks to everyone for tuning in during this trip. I had a lot of fun and maybe I¡¦ll be back during the playoffs! Can't wait to see you all tomorrow at the game! Ciao :)

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 7, 2007

Good afternoon everyone! I'm on the bus headed to -- yes, you guessed it -- shootaround! The usual! We are playing our final game on this road trip tonight and are ready to get this win and get back to Phoenix. It¡¦s an important game because we know LA is a good team, so we will have our hands full!

I know during one of the blogs, I touched on how quickly the season goes, so I thought I'd talk about the life that most of us live, playing in the WNBA, going overseas and trying to find family time in between.

For me, this year I'm headed to Russia to play on Spartak and I'm excited about being there. Once the WNBA season is over and after we win the championship :), I'll get a chance to go home to good ol' Pennsylvania for a little while and spend time with my family.

Most of my family is from Pennsylvania, so I get to see everyone when I'm home and I love it! It is crazy that I get home pretty much twice a year, at Christmas and after the season.

I also will be doing my second basketball shooting camp during that time, which I loved the first time around. Now that I know my routine as far as when I'm off during seasons, I can make it an annual event.

I might try to do some stuff in Phoenix during this time if I get the chance to, and going to an island is on my list if I can find the time. Anyone out there have an extra month that I can borrow? ;)

Then I will head over to Russia for the winter and its crazy how different the lifestyle will be. Nothing like being in the hottest city during the summer (like an oven hitting your face every time you walk outside) to Russia, the coldest, most frigid city of all!

But that's no problem. I will order some winter coats, long underwear, ski goggles, a huge pair of boots, and be on my way! So that's a little summary of what my life is going to be like this year, so thanks for reading! I¡¦ll be back for one more blog after tonight¡¦s game! See you soon.

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 6, 2007

Hey everyone! I'm suffering from a little ¡§blog block¡¨ today, because I'm not sure what I want to talk about with you all! So, I decided to start off with a little visual of our bus so you can get an idea of what goes on during our rides. We are heading to practice and it's funny how everyone has their '¡¨assigned seats¡¨ and no one can sit anywhere else.

All the coaches sit in the front and it¡¦s forbidden for anyone to enter into their circle. Bridget Pettis is what I would call the ¡§bus floater¡¨ because she never sits down and is always entertaining us in some way. We see her walking back to us and just know something sarcastic or funny is going to come out of her mouth.

Our lovely and wonderful PR man Vince Kozar once in awhile makes his way to the back also, and usually is requesting something for Cappie or Dee, even though one of these days he is going to need something from me, I just know it!

I can guarantee everyone has their bipods, sidekicks and cell phones, and most of the time there is just silence because everyone is in their own little worlds!

Obviously, L.A. is the city that many people make careers, become stars and even though I haven't seen any Hollywood actors so far, one did cross my path that could be a future star. Where else would you see someone in a thong with a fanny pack and Air Force Ones and NOTHING else except Venice Beach!

So since we are close to Hollywood, I thought I would talk about who has the best chance of ¡§making it¡¨ from our team. We have a lot of special talents, those who can sing, dance, rap. etc. There's no doubt in my mind that Bridget has the best chance, because of her triple threat qualities. She can rap on the spot, she dances like no one is watching, and she can always jump in the middle and take over at a dance club!

Our pregame chant has some future stars in it as well! Penny by far has the best clapping rhythm, always on beat with what is going on. The white girls (me, Shu, Miller Time, Jen D.) know that we have all the qualities and skills to lead the cheer, but unfortunately, we don't get the chance to showcase our talents because Cappie, Dee, and O got it covered.

We scream about ¡§602¡¨ and what were trying to do, and Dee has added a scream -- could be compared to a wild bird or a tortured animal of some sort -- that added even more spice to the cheer! So I think it¡¦s safe to say, we all can fall back on these skills when basketball is over!

Practice is over and we are headed back to the hotel! It¡¦s only 3 p.m. here, so the night is young! I will be back with more to come from L.A.!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 5, 2007

Another early morning, another jet, and another city where we landed safely! Unfortunately, we didn't have the same result vs. Seattle as we have had on this trip vs. the rest of the West, but it was just a game that we couldn't get to go our way.

Seattle came out on fire, making pretty much everything they put up, and even though we were down by as many as 20 or more, we fought the entire game and still played well the final three quarters. Every huddle was full of energy and positive words, regardless of what the scoreboard said.

We still have one more game on this trip, and now our focus turns to L.A. and beating them, which would top off a pretty successful road trip!

We have two days until that game for practices and some down time. Too bad we're not on the East coast so I could see my family! But I think the beach is calling my name, possibly more shopping, and just enjoying the city while we can.

I'd like to say happy birthday to Olympia today!

Time flies! It's amazing that we have five games left and that the playoffs are right around the corner. Seems like yesterday my quads were falling off from training camp, and here we are at August 5th, fighting for the top spot in the West.

There are so many games in such a short period of time that we get into a routine of practice, games, traveling, and before you know it, its over.

That is all I have for today. I am starting to develop a small case of carpal tunnel from typing on this sidekick, but it is worth it to share the details of this trip with everyone.

I am going to go unpack for the fourth time this week and enjoy LA, so I will be back soon! I miss Phoenix!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 4, 2007

Here we are, in beautiful Seattle, and it definitely was a long day yesterday! We flew from San Antonio to Dallas and had an hour layover and didn't change planes, so most of us just stayed on the plane until we left to Seattle.

The flight took about three and a half hours, but for some reason, it felt a lot longer! But we made it, and once I got situated it was shopping, dinner and movie time.

Niketown was the first place to go and the front desk told us it would be about 10 minutes for a taxi, so off we went on foot since it was so nice out. Since Penn State and Connecticut were such high class Division I universities, Dee and I were fortunate enough to be able to read the city map the front desk gave us, and guide our way there without getting lost!

I really didn't get to do much shopping, because my bag already requires me to do a WWF move and sit on it just to zip it shut everytime I pack, so I just looked around and waiting patiently to eat some dinner. We hit up Palomino, an Italian restaurant which was good, and that was pretty much it for the night.

So we found out last night that we clinched a playoff spot when LA lost, and that was pretty exciting! We just have to keep focused on each game, take one at a time, and keep playing the type of team basketball we are.

We all believe in one another and what we are here to do, so if we keep that mentality, we will do some big things! We know that Seattle is a tough matchup for us, but with them coming off a game last night, hopefully we can take advantage and play well tonight!

That's is all for now. Stay tuned!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 3, 2007

Maz hunkers down to file another blog entry.
(NBAE Photos)
Can you say #1 in the West? Wow! We are coming off yet another great road win against San Antonio and everyone is just beyond excited about the quality of basketball we are playing, and how we are able to get these wins on the road.

Dee hit four 3s in a row at one point in the 2nd half that separated us from them, but we knew they were going to fight back and challenge us which they did. Fortunately, we played aggressive defensive and gave them nothing easy down the stretch, and Penny made some free throws that helped seal the win.

Right now we are playing with this 'refuse to lose' attitude, and whether we are up 10 or down 10, we know we have a chance to come up with a win. I think we are going to play each game one at a time, and as long as we play hard and consistent, being in the top spot will continue to take care of itself!

We know that going into Seattle will be such a tough game for us, and being 1-1 this season shows we have yet another big road game coming up!

It's time to reflect now to the days where I had a short haircut with horrible bangs and braces, the stage in most of our lives when only our mothers thought we were cute. Back to my childhood where, at the age of 7, I started playing church basketball and my passion for the game started. My 2 moms used to drive me every Sunday....STOP! STOP! REWIND.....

For everyone out there, I DO NOT HAVE 2 moms! This is how the rumor started. At Connecticut my mom and my AUNT came to the game and accidentally introduced both of themselves as my mother. This accident turned into an even bigger rumor, especially after it got to some of my teammates! Just so you all know, I have a wonderful mother AND father and many aunts and uncles! Just wanted to clarify!

Anyway, I just continued playing through high school and college, and even though tennis (I played four years in high school) and other sports were enjoyable to play, basketball just stuck.

That is all for now, we are about to head to beautiful Seattle, so I will be back to fill you in once we get there! Ciao!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 2, 2007

Head Coach Paul Westhead gathers up the Mercury at shootaround in San Antonio in advance of their big game against their Western Conference rival Silver Stars.
(NBAE Photos)
Well, here we are in San Antonio, staying at another Westin, which is wonderful because of the Heavenly Beds.

It's amazing how many times we pack and unpack and repack. Every time I get to the hotels I always try and get everything organized right away that way all I have to do the rest of the day is relax and lay in the bed or do whatever the city has to offer.

When I arrived here, I actually got to spend some time with my good friend Helen Darling, who I played with for one season in Charlotte! So she picked me up and we just hung out, got some dinner and pretty much laughed the whole time! It was really good to see her, but I told her to watch out because were coming here to beat them tomorrow! It is a very big game for us and could be a potential playoff situation, so we are just ready to get out on the floor. We have won here before, so it should be an exciting night!

For me, this is a position that I haven't been in yet during my WNBA career. I'm on a playoff caliber team and I am just really excited to be a part of it. I love being in Phoenix and especially being surrounded by these teammates and the Mercury organization has made the transition so much easier.

Since my Betty Crocker skills aren't quite where I wish they were, I've had a chance to get out and eat at a lot of different restaurants. Some of my favorites are Zen32, Houston¡¦s, Steamers, Fez, and of course, Majerle's.

A pre-game ritual is grabbing a bite with some of the girls at a local restaurant, and I just can't seem to not order the spicy Cajun chicken fettuccine. Every time the waitress sees us come in she automatically brings 3 extra servings of that garlic bread. That's because she knows Schu's eyes light up when she brings it! So other than that, I'm loving Phoenix and the experience I'm having so far!

Right now we are on the bus heading to shootaround before a big game tonight! I'm just listening to my ipod, eating an apple, mentally preparing for the day ahead.

Before shootaround, I'm always listening to chill music, just to get the day started. Some laid back songs are ¡§Worth Taking¡¨ by Rob Blackledge, ¡§Storm¡¨ by Lifehouse, or ¡§Apologize¡¨ by Timbaland. That's just a few of the new songs I have on my ipod.

I know everyone is ready for this game and we know they have great players like Becky Hammon and Sophia Young so we are going to have our hands full tonight. But I have to go for now, so check back later for more!

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: Aug. 1, 2007

Hello again! Well, we started off the road trip with a big win in Houston and right now everyone is loving this five-game win streak! We are learning how to win under any circumstance, and everyone is contributing when they need to.

We did experience some Deja Vu being down 12-0 in the beginning of the game last night, but we all looked at each other, including Coach, and didn't seem too worried because we knew it would come back to us.

There were some big plays made by everyone. One in particular was Penny's reverse 360 left handed scoop shot that had everyone - including the Houston fans - wooing it. Dee threw some dimes and blocked some shots that were pretty big too and Cappie had some amazing takes and ¡§and 1's¡¨ that were huge and Tan sent a few shots to the stands!

Our bench came in too and contributed, so it was really good to see everyone do their thing to help us win! The best part about the excitement is that Olympia managed to 'break' her finger helping someone off the court, and now it looks like a sausage finger, so that just how intense it can be!

As far as my role on the team, I just try and be ready for whenever my number is called (unfortunately it is #33, and it proved my blackmailing skills didn't work because Penny didn't seem to bite when I asked for a trade for #13).

Every game and situation is different, so when I go in, I just try to hit a shot, get a steal, or just bring some energy. Last night I was fortunate to get a couple shots off in the 4th quarter, and I just need to be confident and be ready no matter what is going on in the game. I am known for my 3 pt shot, and my teammates know that's where I will be when they look for me.

Right now we are all sitting in the airport waiting to get on the short flight to San Antonio. We are going to get there early in the day, so we are all on our sidekicks and IPhones checking out movie times and different restaurants. We are all on our 2nd and 3rd coffees already, so our caffeine buzz is in full effect! I am definitely a coffee drinker. My favorite is a caramel macchiato with nonfat milk extra hot. They just don't make it hot enough. That's an important part of the order. I always make sure I have eye contact with them so they hear me. My second cup is just a regular coffee with 2 Splendas and cream.

It is funny how everyone has a different airport routine. First of all, no one ever sees Kelly Miller once we get to the airport and then all the sudden they announce we can board and she is the first one on the plane.

Dee is always online shopping, ordering 5 more pairs of jeans, identical to the ones she has on. We have different groups, including the Iphoners, the movie watchers, the chit chatters, those who eat breakfast and lunch before the plane takes off, those who always buy the magazines for everyone else to read, and those who just sit and wait for the plane to take off.

So that's a little insight about our airport rituals and we are about to take off. I'll be back once we are in San Antonio.

Posted by Kelly Mazzante: July 31, 2007

Well, our long road trip begins in the wonderful state of Texas.

Our flight was pretty uneventful and about two-and-a-half hours en route, but with the two-hour time difference we still didn't get to the hotel until around 9:00, which only gave us time for dinner and going to bed.

We are staying at the Westin Galleria, which of course has shopping connected to it, and definitely accounts into our daily schedule - trying to figure out how to have time to spend money in between eating, sleeping, practice and game time! I think everyone leaves extra room in their bags for purchases on the road. It's a must!

I woke up this morning and ran down to get some breakfast, looked at the stores for a few minutes to see what I want to buy after shootaround, then headed to the bus. I'm thinking about heading to Gucci, Saks and a few others just to see what they have.

I room by myself on the road. I got my own room in the rotation once and just decided I would put everyone else out of their misery and stay by myself. Hopefully I'm not a bad roommate, but it was just easier to do that. so I don't really have any good stories about my teammates to share with you.

Last night, a couple of us decided to head to Mikaylo, a Sushi restaurant nearby and it hit the spot to say the least. I promise, the four of us ordered so much food that the waitress had to use another table and the window sill just to have places to put it all! After dinner we just went to the hotel to get a good night¡¦s sleep.

We just finished with shootaround and are ready to get the first win of this trip! Right now the morale is high, since we are riding this four-game winning streak and want to make it four more!

Now it is time for my pre-game routine which usually doesn't change too much at all. I head back to the hotel, order room service, get everything ready for the game, watch a little tv, of course talk on my sidekick for awhile, then take a nice loooong nap! After that, I'm mentally ready to get the game started.

I would have to say the hardest challenge before the game is deciding how to wear my hair. Here is my situation, and it is rather complicated. I can wear my hair three ways. The first is a side-parted low bun, the second is pulled all the way up into what is known as the 'fun bun' (Olympia always rates my fun buns on a scale of 1 to 10 before each game depending on its 'funness') and then the third is the ponytail, which I only wore once this season.

Personally, the fun bun is the easiest and my mom seems to think it¡¦s what I should wear when I am playing basketball. The ponytail got some good reviews, but unfortunately drying and straightening my hair doesn't fit into the pre-game ritual stated above. So therefore, the fun bun usually wins each and every game!

So that's all for now, but I¡¦ll be back to fill you in later!