While getting ready to face each other in the 2006 WNBA Finals, players from the Detroit Shock and the Sacramento Monarchs took time out to answer your questions. Hear what some of the WNBA's best had to say about topics such as getting prepared mentally for a game, which member of the opposing squad presents the greatest individual challenge, and even what kind of music they listen to in order to get ready to play in the Finals.

Deanna Nolan

Deanna Nolan, being that this year you are in pursuit of your second title is it any more exciting than the first WNBA finals game you participated in? Also how would you respond if someone called you the Allen Iverson of the WNBA?
- Lil Bit, FL

“I think it’s more gratifying this time just because as the years go on the league has gotten better, teams change, and we’re back here. I don’t think everybody expected us to be here, but here we are. I don’t really think I play like him, but I take note of what he does, his moves, and everything, and not only him but other NBA players.”

Hey tweety, First question. how do you elevate so much, you are not that tall but you sure can jump very high?
- Hanee, Malaysia

“It's just a natural gift.”

Katie Smith

This is a question for Katie Smith: Katie who do you think your toughest match up will be while playing against the Monarchs? Thanks.
- Alexandra, East Greenbush, NY

“I think it would be their post players, they’re kind of guards slash post players, they’re real agile, they put the ball on the floor and use a lot of pump fakes, they’re just a little unpredictable in a way. They’re kind of crafty, and it’s hard to get a handle on them. There’s a lot of them and they are all kind of similar, I think Yo uses the least amount of fakes and whatnot, but I just think their post players are a different matchup, they just bring a different feel to the game.”

Kristin Haynie

Hi, my name is Edward. I am deaf. I am a big fan of the Sacramento Monarchs and Los Angeles Sparks. I am glad that Monarchs still keep you to play well since two years. Are you excited to play in Detriot where you live near Lansing? Will your family and friends will watch you at Detriot?
- Edward Leon Killian, Pasadena, CA

“Oh yes, every time I come here I’m excited. We have a lot of good fan support at Michigan State, and it seems they come out here every time we play. It’s nice, it’s like we’re playing an away game but we are home as well.”

Erin Buescher

Erin Buescher, I remember watching you play at UCSB. Now you've won the most improved player award. I've loved watching you all season. Congratulations on the award and going back to the finals. We're so proud of the Monarchs! How do you prepare physically and mentally for the finals?
- Jan, Buellton, CA

“Well physically there’s not much you can do at this point, but mentally you really have to sit down and say, okay, I mean you can tell that different teams show up and play hard, and all that’s all the mental game. I mean you’re playing to go home with the trophy, and you just have to bring it to a different level.”

Yolanda Griffith

I have a question for Yolanda Griffith.How did you first get started into basketball?
- Alexandria, Male, LA

“I started messing around when I was about six, just kind of dilly-dallying around because I used to get in so much trouble, and I just wanted to find something that would keep me out of trouble. I started when I was six, not being really serious about just an activity to keep me out of butt-whippings when I was younger.”

Hey Yolanda! I would just like to say that I love you so much and you are my role model for life. I love watching you play. my question is how come you always have your fingers taped up? Good luck in the finals and I'll be rooting for you! Much love from your #1 fan.
- Tiffany, Chicago, IL

"My fingers are jacked up; they’re all bruised and swollen from playing so much. I’m going to have surgery on one when I’m done. This one is getting taped because in practice I stuck my finger where the ball needed to be and it got all swollen. It’s just something I’ve been doing for a minute now. It’s just something you have to get used to, I have to get taped or I won’t be playing this game.”

Question for Yolanda Griffith- I am looking forward to the finals and wish you the best of luck. What do you think your team has to do to win this series and another title.
- Hersee, Cleveland, OH

“We have to play smart basketball. We can’t have a lot of turnovers; they capitalize on all the mistakes that a team makes. We have to crash the boards, knock our shots down, we have to play defense, OUR defense, not somebody else’s defense. We have to play our white-line, we have to step out, help, do all the things that helped us get to this point.”

General Questions

For anyone on the Shock or Monarchs, who is the toughest player that you will be matching up against in the WNBA Finals?
- Jen, Lansing, MI

Ruth Riley:

"Well I think their post players are really talented, they bring a wave of people, their bench is so good whether it’s Yo, who is one of the best players in our league, everyone’s a little different, DeMya’s very versatile, Rebekkah Brunson is a great athlete, Erin is just a hustle player, so take your pick they have a lot of them coming at you."

Cheryl Ford:

"Yolanda Griffith."

Erin Buescher:

"I think Cheryl Ford is tough, she is just so strong and her raw strength is pretty much unmatched in the game right now. And her ability to feel and get position to rebound is pretty tough, so you have to get ready mentally and know what you are going to do early. When you play against her it’s really incredible how strong she is.”

Kristin Haynie:

“Well Deanna Nolan, she is basically the quickest player in the league, so she will be toughest. I mean Katie Smith is tough as well, she is one of the strongest guards in the league, so I mean all of their guards are good and they are going to be tough.”

What do you do to get mentally ready for a big game?
– John, Philadelphia, PA

Ruth Riley:

"At this point just try to go over plays, remember the adjustments you are trying to make, go over your gameplan, I think the team that executes their gameplan the most is going to win."

Cheryl Ford

“Just have a pre-game meal, go home, take a nap.”

Katie Smith

“Obviously we watch film; we have a little playbook of obviously what Sacramento might do, their tendencies, play calls and what we can do against them. But obviously just kind of relax a little bit, trying to not get too anxious and too excited, and understand its another game, but also get yourself prepared for how hard it’s going to be.”

Do any players have any superstitions or rituals that they do before a game?
– Lisa, Bronx, NY

Deanna Nolan

“No, the only ritual is really shootaround, especially being at home, most of us every game we eat at the Olive Garden, take a nap and come to the arena. Also before every game we have to listen to a certain song.”

Cheryl Ford

"I have to wrap at the same time."

Katie Smith

“I don’t really have too, too many. I get a cup of coffee before I go to a game, on my way and probably the order of things that I do, it’s not really set in stone. I’ve learned over the past that these routines don’t really last long, sometimes I’ll stick with a pair of socks or sneakers, but definitely coffee is what has stuck over the years.”

Erin Buescher

“I’m not a superstitious person, I go to chapel before every game, but that’s about it.”

Kristin Haynie

"I don't really have any superstitions, I pray four times before every game, but that's about it."

What kind of music do WNBA players listen to before their games?
– Renee, Sacramento, CA

Ruth Riley

"Well in the locker room we don’t really have a choice, but its pretty much what the team puts on, so its hip hop, rap, so I learn a little bit of dancing skills to get loose."

Cheryl Ford

"Rap and R&B."

Katie Smith

"Well in the locker room I really just listen to what my teammates have on, but in the car I’m more of an R&B and rap type of person, but then when I get there it’s all about the game."

Erin Buescher

“I like reggae, not just before a game but pretty much all around. Bob Marley, and I like Bunny Wailer, I have a lot of favorites.”

Kristin Haynie

"Rap and R&B, my favorite artist right now is Avant."