Monarchs Answer Finals Questions
Nicole Powell, Kara Lawson, Chelsea Newton and Kristin Haynie checked in to answer some questions from their WNBA.com Finals mailboxes. Here's what they had to say during the Monarchs' first-ever tip to the Finals.
Nicole Powell, Sacramento Monarchs
I just want to tell you that you are the best thing to the Monarchs this year! You have become one of my favorite players. My question is, what goes through your mind when your playing defense? I love your passes, and keep shooting those threeís and youíll see me at game 3. P.s. congrats on being the most improved player!
Powell: "Iím always just trying to keep the man with the ball and just be in the right position. Iím just thinking about our team defense and just making sure I get set in the right spot and knowing whatís going on."
Now that your in the finals, what are the three things sacramento has to do to win your first championship.
Powell: "We have to do so much more than three things. Obviously our defense is huge; itís the reason weíre here. Itís the reason weíve been successful. So we just need to stick with that. Just keep up our level of intensity. Because at this point, every possession counts; you canít jeopardize anything because it could be the difference in the game. I would just say keep trusting each other and just play like we have all season. Weíre not going to change so weíve just got to keep doing our thing."
Kara Lawson, Sacramento Monarchs
Hi Kara, I know that you catch a lot of flack from the CT fans because of the Tennessee connection. But we do know our basketball, and you are the real deal. I read something about you one that said that you could bench press two hundred pounds.
Lawson: "Yeah, when I was a senior in high school, I bench pressed 235 one time. I donít really do bench anymore. I kind of changed my workout when I got to college and, of course, when I got to the professional level. But, yeah, thatís the highest Iíve bench pressed in my life."
What is your favorite sport other than basketball?
Lawson: "Football. Itís my favorite sport. It always has been. Ever since I was a kid growing up, I just loved watching the NFL and college football."
What do you think made a difference between making it to the Finals this year, from last year?
Lawson: "My hometown! I think chemistry on our team. The team, although we have a lot of the same veterans, we have a lot of new players. So, we just kind of blend well together. And, I just think a desire to get there, Having had the opportunity to get there and not succeed, I think this group was really determined to get past that point and hopefully go even farther. But, I think our team is successful because of our desire to play for each other and our chemistry."
Chelsea Newton, Sacramento Monarchs
Chelsea, for a rookie you have some very smart and tough defense- one of the key defenders on your team. Who on the Sun roster do you think itís most important for you and the rest of the team to defend and contain?
Newton: "Oh wow! Theyíre all very important, but on every team, the head of the offense starts with the point guard. If the point guard has no pressure, she can run the offense so smoothly, so it starts with the point guard Ė whether it be Lindsay Whalen or her backup. So, itís just about getting pressure on the point guard."
Good job defending Sheryl Swoopes. How did that feel? I followed your career at Rutgers, you are an incredible player.
Newton: "It felt great. Itís hard though because sheís still scoring; she still got her 20-plus points. Everybodyís like, ďOh, great job.Ē But, Iím like, ďShe scored 20 points.Ē I made it tough for her to score, but she still got her points. I still feel a little good. I just tried to make it as tough as possible. Her shooting percentage wasnít as good, but she still did well. Just make it tough and, at the end of the game, make sure sheís worn out so she doesnít want to go get the ball."
Kristin Haynie, Sacramento Monarchs
How does it feel to reach the Finals in your first season in the league? And what are your plans for the off-season?
Haynie: "You canít ask for anything better than this. Being with the best women in the world, the best teams in the world are competing this week and next week, so theyíre going to be good games. "
Hi, I was just wondering how much did you practice when you were playing in HS. I mean did you play all of the time, or just when you had team practices? I was also wondering if you played any other sports. Good luck!
Haynie: "In high school, I would, in the season, basically just practice during the practice time. Then when the season was over I always would play AAU ball. And when classes were out I would always go to the gym and shoot after classes because I didnít play anything in the winter. If I wasnít playing soccer, definitely I was in the gym shooting."
Hey Kristin! My question to you is how does it feel to have played in a championship just a few months ago in college, and now you are back and again in the finals? And is there anything you learned from your loss to Baylor that you would do differently now? Go Monarchs!
Haynie: "Itís been a whirlwind. Not many athletes actually go to a national championship game in college and then turn around a couple months later and play in the world championship. You canít complain. Iíve definitely been blessed.
"Every game you learn something new, even if you win or lose. So, Baylor, they had a great team and they wanted it more when it came down to it. Our team just had a very successful year. No one expected us at all to get even to the Final Four. So, it was a great season for us."