Storm Guard Felicia Ragland Prepares For Second WNBA Season

The socks and headband are back Storm fans! You know who weíre talking about. Thatís right, Storm guard Felicia Ragland has been in town since January making numerous community appearances for ďStorminí the SoundĒ and working out in preparation for her second year in the WNBA.

Last season, Ragland, who had her number 34 jersey retired at Oregon State University in January, averaged 4.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 31 games last season as a rookie. Drafted by the Storm in the second round (28th pick overall) of the 2002 WNBA Draft, Ragland scored a season-high-tying 19 points, including five three-points) in a huge win over the defending champion L.A. Sparks on July 11.

In between her community appearances and offseason workouts, Ragland, who recently finished her degree in health promotion and education and plans on attending graduation at Oregon State in June, took some time to talk about her rookie season and the upcoming summer with the Storm.

STORM.WNBA.COM: What was your favorite memory from your rookie season?
Ragland: For me, it was when we beat the Los Angeles Sparks at home (79-60 at KeyArena on July 11). I hit five three-pointers in that game. So it was a very exciting game that provided great momentum to the team. Beating L.A. by that many was amazing. The crowd was really into the game and that really helped carried us for the rest of the season.

STORM.WNBA.COM: What did you learn the most about the rigors of being a professional basketball player?
Ragland: I learned not to dwell too much on the losses and the mistakes that were made in a game. Since itís a very short season, you donít have time to reflect. The most important thing is to move on and stay focused. You have to play hard every chance you get while staying confident, and that really carried me.

STORM.WNBA.COM: Did anything surprise you in the transition from college basketball to the WNBA?
Ragland: Not really. I wasnít really expecting a lot to be different. Nothing really surprised me. The travel was sometimes tough, but Iíd been traveling for four years so that wasnít anything new to me. So everything went smoothly for me in my first year.

STORM.WNBA.COM: Is there any particular part of your game that you wanted to work on during the offseason?
Ragland: From what the coaches told me, I needed to work on my ballhandling and taking care of the ball. I also wanted to work on making moves off the dribble and have that ability to create more scoring opportunities. From my standpoint, I want to continue to work on everything from shooting to being a better defender.

STORM.WNBA.COM: How do you feel now that training camp is fast approaching?
Ragland: Iím definitely ready to get going. Iíve been working all aspects of my game since I got back in Seattle in January. Iím in good shape and Iíll be ready for training camp.

STORM.WNBA.COM: What has it been like to be back early and participating in the ďStorminí the SoundĒ community outreach program?
Ragland: Itís gone real well. Iíve been here for a few months making a lot of appearances out in the community promoting the team and the upcoming season. Itís been fun getting my name and my face out there and being recognized by fans. Iím also balancing an internship with my appearances and workouts. So Iíve been real busy for the last three months, but itís working out well.

STORM.WNBA.COM: What have you learned from being involved in the ďStorminí the SoundĒ program?
Ragland: Iíve learned a lot. Iím able to speak better in front of large groups of people. Iím not as scared anymore. Making the appearance has helped me express myself a lot more. To see the kids get excited when professional players speak to them makes you feel good, too. Weíre role models to them and they have someone to emulate in the future as far as basketball. Itís fun to see the kids ask questions about your career. Itís rewarding to me.

STORM.WNBA.COM: What were you doing last fall prior to returning to Seattle in January?
Ragland: I went back to Oregon State to finish some of my coursework. I had a couple of classes there for three months. I was also working out and helping the womenís basketball team. It was fun watching them grow a little bit. It was great to go back and see my former team after playing in Seattle as a rookie.

STORM.WNBA.COM: What are you looking forward to the most in your second season with the Storm?
Ragland: Iím looking forward to having another great year. Iím excited about being a veteran now. Iím looking forward to having everybody back playing together again under a new coaching staff. I want to build off that momentum that we had last summer as well as bring something new to the team. Iím just glad to be back and Iím having a blast, so Iím trying to take advantage of the opportunities that I get. I love Seattle. Itís a beautiful city and I feel comfortable here.

STORM.WNBA.COM: What is your goal for the season?
Ragland: I always want to come out and play hard and focus in every minute I get, whether itís in practices or games. Iím confident in myself and want to always help the team out. I want to be a positive player on this team and pick people up. When you cheer for your teammates, it makes you work even harder. Thatís what I try to do on this team.

STORM.WNBA.COM: What would you say to incoming rookies in the WNBA?
Ragland: I would tell them to stay confident because you may not get a chance to get in there and show what you can do. Always stay confident in yourself and your teammates. That will get you in there sometime to contribute. Donít hang your head when you make mistakes in practices and games. You have to take criticism and remain positive.

STORM.WNBA.COM: Are you ready to get back in KeyArena?
Ragland: Itís great to play in KeyArena. Weíll have more fans this summer. The more fans we can get, the better weíre going to play. Itís always fun to see the crowd get into the game and cheer us on. Hopefully, they can give us momentum as we try to get back in the playoffs again.