Head Coach Bill Laimbeer, Detroit Shock
Q: How important is it for the WNBA All-Stars to win this game?
Laimbeer: I don't know about how important it is. I think we want to be competitive. We'd like to win. It's professional sports. You don't suit up, put your sneakers and uniform on to go out there and just have fun. You go out there and play to win. That's what we're going to try to do. They're playing against a very talented ball club, obviously, but they haven't had any practices like we have either. And we're playing with a big ball. It's going to be an interesting thing to watch.
Q: What will it be like coaching against your own players - Swin Cash and Ruth Riley?
Laimbeer: Well, our game plan is to get in there and anybody that played for the Sparks or the Comets, stop them. And anybody that plays for the Shock, let them score. That's our game plan. So we're not going to guard Ruth and we're not going to guard Swin. We're going to triple-team everybody else.
Q: Do you get a sense among your players that they'll take pride in preparing the USA Basketball team to go overseas and win a gold medal?
Laimbeer: Maybe. We haven't really talked about that. We've only been together for this practice and the bus ride over, so it'll be more of an individual question to them. I know I'm going to throw stuff at them defensive-wise that they'll probably see over in Athens.
Q: For that reason, or will that just happen?
Laimbeer: I think that the best way to beat a team like the U.S. is to keep them confused.
Anna DeForge, Phoenix Mercury
Q: Have you ever played on a stage before?
DeForge: I've never played on a stage before, but I think it's going to be exciting. I was in kick-line and dance growing up, but never on a stage quite this big or this famous. It should be fun.
Q: What type of adjustments will you have to make playing on a court like this?
DeForge: I think the biggest adjustment is going to be the lighting. It's a lot brighter. Whenever you shoot, if you look at the lights, forget it. You can barely see the rim.
Q: Do you expect things to be pretty serious?
DeForge: I think it will be a good test for our Olympic team and a good chance for some of us to show what we can do. I'm very honored to be a part of it, to help our Olympic team before they head off to Greece.
Allison Feaster, Charlotte Sting
Q: Who do you think the toughest competition will be on USA Basketball?
Feaster: Tamika Catchings is at the top of my list for the obvious reasons. She's a complete hustle player 100 percent of the time. But I'm going to have to go with my teammate, Dawn Staley, because she's been through a lot injury-wise, and still -- at the tender, ripe age of 34 -- she gives it her all.
Q: How do you think this break will affect the rest of the season?
Feaster: I think you're going to see a lot more teams in better shape. I think we've had an opportunity to study ourselves, study our team during the first part of the season, and the second part you won't see a lot of the same mistakes being made.
Q: How do you feel about the first half of the season?
Feaster: At different points of the season I felt very confident about our team, and at other points our good play has wavered, to say the least. I think the fact that we lost to Seattle by 30 points in our last game heading into the break means that we have our work cut out for us. The month of September is going to be key for us. We just need to regroup and be ready to make the playoffs. We will definitely make the playoffs.
Cheryl Ford, Detroit Shock
Q: What's it going to be like to help this talented team prepare for Athens?
Ford: It's going to be fun. It's going to be exciting. We're small. I did not know we were this small, but it's going to be okay. We're just going to go out and have fun and give the fans a nice little show.
Q: Will you attempt to defeat the Olympic squad?
Ford: Oh, we're definitely going out to win. We're going to play to win.
Q: How's it going to be playing against your teammates, Swin Cash and Ruth Riley?
Ford: It's going to be different because I'm used to playing with them. I've played against Ruth. Coach has asked us to change jerseys in practice and I've played against Ruth. Ruth is very physical. She is a very physical player and she's strong. I didn't know she's that strong. It's going to be fun.
Q: You've played one game at Radio City Music Hall already. What's it like playing here?
Ford: It's a little different, we're on stage. Deanna Nolan said it's like we're on the Apollo show; we're up here and the audience is sitting out there watching. It's fun. And we've got the bigger ball, too, that I like.
Becky Hammon, New York Liberty
Q: You've played on almost every stage. What's it like to play on the real stage at Radio City Music Hall?
Hammon: This is a little different. I think just the whole atmosphere, the whole setting - it's a very intimate setting. Our dressing room is more like a primping room. You've got vanity mirrors everywhere and lights and stuff, so it's different. But it's great. I think the Liberty have done an incredible job turning it into a comfortable atmosphere for everybody, putting in the big screens so everybody can see what's going on. They've just done a tremendous job moving this stuff in and out. Now the fun part is just being able to say you've played here and it's something you're going to be able to tell your kids.
Q: Is the goal of the WNBA All-Stars to defeat the U.S. team tomorrow?
Hammon: I think anybody can beat anybody, as you saw with the guys, the Italian men and the USA We're going to come out - and everybody's here to have fun and wish the Olympic team well - but I think you come down to those last five or six minutes, I think people are going to be trying to win.
Mwadi Mabika, Los Angeles Sparks
Q: What do you think playing against Lisa Leslie is going to be like?
Mabika: It's going to be fun, just her being on the other team. Of course, I'm going to try not to bang on her or hurt her. But, I'm going to try my best to defend her. She is tough to defend.
Q: How seriously will the WNBA All-Stars take tomorrow's game?
Mabika: I'm sure we are going to be serious, because Coach (Bill) Laimbeer gave us like 100 plays. So he's serious. I think everybody is serious, because we want them to do well in the Olympics, so we are going to try to give them some competition.
Q: What do you think about this venue?
Mabika: It's weird, especially when you are shooting on the left side of the court, because the lights are in your eyes. We have to make sure to shoot on one side of the court. But, I'm sure it will be different when it's full and the fans are cheering. I'm sure we'll get into it when that happens.
Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Connecticut Sun
Q: What are your thoughts about this game?
McWilliams-Franklin: It's nice. It's my first time being on stage. Basketball is not really considered stage work. I'm kind of excited. I can't wait to waive and bow to the crowd. I might try to kick my feet up like the Rockettes, but I'm not sure if I can get them high enough.
Q: Is playing in this setting going to require an adjustment?
McWilliams-Franklin: The perception is off. At one of the baselines, when you look up at the rim, you see lights. Other than that, everything is the same dimensions. After you get over the initial shock of being on stage, it's pretty easy.
Q: What's the mindset of the WNBA All-Star team?
McWilliams-Franklin: It's important to us. We really want to compete. And it's really exciting for the women's game to be able to have a game like this.
Deanna Nolan, Detroit Shock
Q: What is it going to be like to be on an All-Star team playing against this talented squad headed to Athens?
Nolan: It's going to be a good experience. It's going to be like an All-Star All-Star team, because you have of course the best players in the U.S. on their team. We're going in and try to win. We're a little undersized. We have three true post players, but we're going to look at our undersized to our advantage and run. We have a lot of shooters. It's going to be a good experience I think, just to help them prepare for a long journey, and, hopefully, easy games over there when they play.
Q: What will it be like to play against your own teammates?
Nolan: A little weird because we've never played against each other outside of drills in practice. Just to play against them in a game and a whole different competition on a different level is going to be a little weird, but at the same time fun.
Q: Is the WNBA team looking for a victory tomorrow?
Nolan: We're not planning on stopping any individual players. We're just trying to contend them a little bit, slow them down and try to work things to our advantage a little bit. Show them a little defense, get them sidetracked.
Nykesha Sales, Connecticut Sun
Q: How does it feel to have some Connecticut teammates here with you?
Sales: It means a lot. We're playing some really good basketball. We have a lot of players that have stepped up, and it's an honor for us to be chosen to play against Team USA, and we'll represent our team and our league well.
Q: Were you surprised when Lindsay Nolan got selected?
Sales: No, I wasn't surprised. She's definitely deserving and I'm sure she'll represent herself well. This is a great experience for her and I'm sure she'll have fun.
Q: What are your thoughts about playing at Radio City?
Sales: It's very cool. It's a very historic building. It's an honor to be playing here. They did a great job setting it up. It feels like a normal court, except for the audience only being on one side. Obviously, you can't fit as many people in a building like this, but ESPN picked it up and we thank them for doing that.
Nikki Teasley, Los Angeles Sparks
Q: What's it going to be like playing against teammate Lisa Leslie tomorrow?
Teasley: It's going to be weird. I know what a tough competitor she is and now she has alongside her the best players in the world.
Q: How hard are you going to go at them?
Teasley: We're going to go hard. We're going to play to win. We understand the main cause, the USA Basketball team. But we want to win. We don't like to lose. Coach (Bill) Laimbeer stressed at practice that we are going to win this game, so we're going to come out and play hard.
Q: Have you ever played in a setup this unique?
Teasley: No. I was looking around, this is beautiful. I've never seen anything like this. I'm just honored and blessed to be in a situation like, to be part of something like this. I wish the game was tonight because I'm excited.
Lindsay Whalen, Connecticut Sun
Q: What sort of expectations do you have as the only rookie on the squad?
Whalen: Being here at Radio City, here with these great players and playing against the Olympic Team is a great honor. I'm just excited to see what the game is like. We're going to go out and play hard and just try to compete. It should be fun.
Q: What do you think of playing at Radio City?
Whalen: We played here on Saturday night against the Liberty, and it's pretty nice. It's a good setting for shooters with the black backdrop behind the baskets. You don't really think about the stage once you're out there playing. At Minnesota the court also had a drop-off and it was a lot closer, so the stage part doesn't really bother me too much.
Q: You were the only player voted in by fans for this event. What does that mean to you?
Whalen: It's definitely an honor to be voted in by fans. We play to create a good product, and when the fans like that product, it keeps everything rolling. I'm honored and thrilled that the fans picked me out of everyone. There are a lot of great players in this league - I've been able to figure that out firsthand during the first half of the season - so for me to get picked by the fans is a tremendous honor. I'm very thankful for it and glad to be here.
Natalie Williams, Indiana Fever
Q: You come into this All-Star game kind of an underdog. Will you try to shock the USA Basketball squad?v
Williams: Oh, of course we'd like to beat them. Hopefully we'll be the best competition they see, that's what we hope because the Americans play the Americans and then no one else can even come close. That's what we want to see. We're going to go out there and play hard. We're a little smaller than them in the post; they're pretty stacked in there. I think we have a great shooting squad on the outside so we'll see what we can do.
Q: What's it like playing against your own teammate, Tamika Catchings?
Williams: I have to play against her sometimes in practice and she's tough. She hustles 100 percent. She runs the floor well, she shoots, she drives, she does everything and she's going to continue to get better. I just wish her the best and hope she does a good job over in Athens.
Q: What are your thoughts on playing in Radio City Music Hall?
Williams: It's kind of an optical illusion. It is weird having nothing on one side and having the other side completely open. But, it's going to be fun. It's going to feel like a play, like we're performing. I like it. I think it's a great environment. It's perfect for this type of a game.