One-on-One with Ann Strother

By Andrew Nicholson,
Posted: April 25, 2006

Ann Strother was selected 15th overall in the 2006 WNBA draft by the Houston Comets before the Mercury acquired her in a draft day trade. The Univeristy of Connectucut product averaged 14 points, nearly five rebounds, and over three assists her senior campaign and was named to the All-Senior All-America first team. Coming from one of the strongest programs in womenís college basketball history, Strother is looking forward to doing whatever it takes to help the Mercury win this season. caught up with the 6-2 versatile forward and talked to her about the draft day experience and what she expects from her first season in the WNBA. What was going through your mind on Draft day? First being selected by Houston and then being traded to Phoenix.

Mercury forward Ann Strother: More excitement than anything, at first I got drafted by Houston, never been there, didnít really know anything about it I was still excited. I think anytime youíre drafted by a team youíre excited about it. To find out I was traded to Phoenix about 3 minutes later, was the best thing for me. Because I know Dee and this is as close as I can get to my home in CO. I was excited. Were you happy when you found out you were traded to Phoenix?

Strother: I was. Iím sure it would have been awesome (in Houston) too, but I was really excited (I got traded). Have you ever been to Phoenix before?

Strother: I played down here (Phoenix) in high school, that was the only time Iíve been down here, it was the Nike tournament of Champions, my senior year. My parents are thinking of retiring down here, so it was really an unbelievable opportunity for our whole family. Speaking of your parents retiring here, would you want to live with them?

Strother: No, No, I donít think so. Theyíre a good distance, they are two hours away, thatís a good distance for them to be away, but no I donít think I would move in with them. Do you think you will be able to handle the Phoenix summers?

Strother: I love the heat, I love the sun, so everything about it. I really couldnít have asked for anything more. In college you were known as the player who wanted to take the last shot- talk about your desire to have the ball in your hands with the game on the line.

Strother: Thatís just the feeling of confidence, I feel like if the game is coming down to the line and someone needs to take a shot, I know I am going to step up and make it. Itís just a confident mentality. I played with Dee for two years and if there was a game winning shot, she was going to take it and she was going to make it. Cappie is the same way- sheís a great player and she did the same thing for her team last year. I know there are a bunch of really good players on this team so I am just going to come in and do whatever I need to do to be a good team player. Do you think it will be hard to get used to playing with your formal Big East rival- Cappie Pondexter?

Strother: No, Iíve played with her a couple of other times with USA basketball and we see each other everywhere, so Iím just glad weíre on the same team finally. What do you feel are your biggest assets that you bring to the Mercury?

Strother: I think they recruited me as someone who doesnít get tired and has a lot of endurance and as a shooter. But more than anything I want to win and Iím a good team player and I am going to do whatever it takes for our team to be good. You and Diana played for two years together at the University of Connecticut, tell us about your relationship.

Strother: I played on a team with her when I was in high school, it was a USA team and when she was in college as well. Sheís been someone that I really respect and look up to and someone I absolutely love playing with. Iím just thrilled with the opportunity to be with her again. Can you tell us any funny stories about Dee?

Strother: There are plenty of stories! Iíll have to think about it and get back to you. When did you first dream of being a professional basketball player?

Strother: I think it was actually before there even was a WNBA. When I was really little- 3rd, 4th grade I was friends with all the boys and I would play with them outside at school and weíd always watch the NBA together. I was a big tom-boy. I always loved the NBA and I was always like, Ďif there wasnít a WNBA I was going to be in the NBA!í When they started the ABL they had a team in Colorado- the Explosion and I would watch some of those games, so Iíve (dreamt of playing professionally) for a long time. Tell us about the importance of having a good coach.

Strother: At Connecticut they have a system and you buy into it and learn from it. Heís (Head Coach Geno Auriemma) one of the best there is and he taught me so much on and off the court. And to have another chance to play for a championship coach (Head Coach Paul Westhead) is going to teach me so much. Iíve been really lucky and fortunate to have the coaches that Iíve had. What are your first impressions of the fast break offensive style?

Strother: Iím excited, I came from UConn where there is a lot of running and stuff like that, but this is another level and itís a lot of running! Growing up in Colorado did you participate in any winter sports?

Strother: I used to ski. I grew up, until I was in 8th grade, in Iowa and then I moved to Colorado. So I skied a little bit, but when I started playing competitive basketball I didnít really have time for skiing. Who influenced you to play basketball when you were young?

Strother: My dad, he played at Northern Iowa for a semester and then he quit. But he grew up on a farm so he had to help out with stuff at home. He was the one who got me started. Who was your favorite player growing up?

Strother: I used to watch Michael Jordan, but thatís everyoneís favorite. What advice would you give to young kids who want to take their game to the next level?

Strother: Work hard. There are a lot of people who are blessed with talent whether it be- size, quickness or whatever it is, but I think the difference between great players and your average players is that they put a lot of time and effort into it and work hardĒ How did 43 become your lucky jersey number as a UConn Husky? Do hope to wear 43 with the Mercury?

Strother: Iíve had 43 since I was little. My dad was number 44 and when I first picked my number I couldnít be number 44 so I went with the closest thing to him. I hope I can keep my number here.