Quotes from Selected Picks
Lauren Jackson | Kelly Miller | Tamika Catchings | Jackie Stiles | Ruth Riley |Svetlana Abrosimova | Marie Ferdinand | Coco Miller | Katie Douglas | LaQuanda Barksdale | Camille Cooper | Tammy Sutton-Brown | Niele Ivey
Q: Could you talk about your last 72 hours?
Jackson: It's been quite a long process, but I think I'm ready to play and I'm looking forward to the up and coming season, obviously, so I think the main focus for me coming was just to play, get out there and play hoop.
Q: Have you gotten much sleep the last couple of days?
Jackson: Look at my eyes. No, actually, I didn't sleep a wink last night. Neither did my mother. We're jet-lagged and we're going home soon, anyway. I'm a bit tired, but the adrenaline has just kept me going and going, fortunately.
Q: What does it mean for you to be the No. 1 pick, and what are you looking forward to this year?
Jackson: I'm not actually sure. It hasn't hit home yet. I'm still really nervous, actually, for some reason. I don't know why. But I'm really excited about playing and being in Seattle. I've never lived in America before, so I think the next few months are going to be a real big test for me, but hopefully I'll be able to rise to the change.
Q: How do you think your international experience will help you in the WNBA?
Jackson: Obviously, the Americans are the best team in the world. They're great. It's really exciting playing against them and playing with them. I don't know what to expect yet, but hopefully it'll be fun.
Q: Was your mother able to offer you any perspective?
Jackson: Yeah. Mom said I'll just love it and I'll cherish and remember every moment, basically, which I will. It'll be a new experience - I've only played in the Australian leagues, so it's a different style of game, and hopefully I can adjust.
Q: What will be the biggest difference for you on the court?
Jackson: I think the American game is a lot faster than the Australian game, so I guess running up and down the court, and just the physicality. It's just a bigger, stronger, more athletic game.
Q: Do you have a timetable for yourself to get to the level you want to play at?
Jackson: No. Probably after the first couple of weeks, yeah, but I don't know what to expect yet. I haven't played in it. I'm going to go out and play my hardest every single second and hopefully that'll be good enough.
Q: How does it feel to able to play with a legendary guard in Dawn Staley?
Miller: That's going to very nice for me, I think. I can learn a lot from her because she's such a great player and she can teach me a lot, especially at the point guard position, because she has so much experience there. So, that will be really nice, I think.
Q: How will it feel to be playing without your sister for the first time?
Miller: As far as being on different teams, this will be the first time. At camps we've done it, but that's a little different. It's going to be weird at first, but I think we'll adjust fine.
Q: Is there a positive aspect to being on your own for the first time?
Miller: I love playing with Coco, so I think the best would be playing together, but obviously that probably won't happen, so, I'm looking forward to it anyway.
Q: Were you surprised at all to be selected second in the draft?
Miller: I didn't really expect myself to go anywhere. I'm just thrilled to be picked No. 2. This is a dream come true, really.
Q: Is it harder being in this draft, having to worry about yourself and Coco?
Miller: Yeah, I'm nervous for both of us, I guess I was, and I'm nervous for Coco too.
Q: How does your knee feel?
Catchings: My knee feels really well. I'm going to rehab every day and hopefully get back within the next couple of months so I can join my team. I feel great, though. If it were up to me, I probably would be playing right around now.
Q: Can you put a percentage on where you are physically?
Catchings: Probably anywhere between 60 and 70 percent right now.
Q: Will you be ready to go by the start of the season?
Catchings: Hopefully by the start of the season, but I'm not trying to rush it, so we're looking at maybe the beginning of the season, maybe a month into it.
Q: Can you talk about the high expectations that people have always had for you as a basketball player?
Catchings: I've really grown up, my first goal was to play in the NBA before the WNBA came around, and obviously when the WNBA came, I was really excited about the opportunity to play here. As far as for people watching me, I just think going to Tennessee was probably the best decision that I ever made, and put in a spotlight like that, I'm really just excited for the position I've been in and for the opportunity to play in the WNBA.
Q: What did you learn from your (WNBA) internship?
Catchings: It helped me decide that I don't want to work in an office, but other than that, it gave me a lot of experience being around the players, and just being able to talk to them and trying to get some information on what to expect in my first year, what to do, what not to do. Working there, I got to learn a different aspect from working in an office on the business side and working as a player. So I'm excited to actually be a part of it now.
Q: Was your dad a big influence on you growing up?
Catchings: I think both of my parents - they really allowed me and my sister and brother just to play anything that we wanted to. They never really stressed basketball, but obviously, me being the person that I am, and the tomboy that I was, I always followed me dad and wanted to play basketball. He always took me to the gym and I'd have to bribe my sister to go with us so I'd somebody to play with. But he never really pressured us into playing. He just stuck to basketball, and I was the one who grabbed it.
Q: Were you really not sure if you would be picked, as you said before?
Stiles: Well, you never know what's going to happen on draft day, and I was just hoping and praying somebody would take me and my dreams would become reality and I would get the opportunity to play in the WNBA.
Q: How has your life changed in the past few weeks?
Stiles: My life has changed dramatically the last couple of weeks. It's been very hectic, but also a lot of fun, and I've got to have a lot of great opportunities. You still never know on draft day, but, I've definitely, in the last couple of weeks, had to pinch myself, say, "Is this really happening to me?" It's just a credit to so many special people I've been surrounded by during my career.
Q: Were you focused on becoming a WNBA player at the beginning of the season?
Stiles: My main focus at the start of the season was basically to have the best senior year possible for Southwest Missouri State. I really didn't take into consideration the draft that much. I just wanted to help my team win basketball games. Once our season run was over, that's when I really started looking into where I might be going, or if I would go anywhere, so that's when I really started focusing on the next step.
Q: Has what you accomplished this season started to sink in?
Stiles: Actually, I haven't had a lot of time to reflect back on the season, because my life has been a whirlwind for the last couple of weeks. It was an honor and a privilege to play at Southwest Missouri State and it was the best decision of my life. We were living a dream by making the Final Four in St. Louis. Of course, we wish we would have played better in our final game. I wish I would have played better in my final game as a Lady Bear too, but you can't dwell on the past and you've got to move forward. So, I just had an incredible experience, all-around, playing at Southwest Missouri State.
Q: You seemed to take things very hard when you lost in the Final Four.
Stiles: It was definitely very devastating. For one, we felt like we could have played a lot better than we did. We didn't perform to our potential. And two, it's just the realization that that's the last game of your career. You don't want something so good to end. I had so many memorable moments playing at SMS. So, it was just a lot of mixed emotions at the time, when you find out that's your last game as a Lady Bear.
Q: It's been quite a year for you, hasn't it?
Riley: Yeah, it really has. It's been so busy ever since St. Louis, getting back, so much celebration, things going on, then coming out here. It's been chaos, but it's been a lot of fun as well.
Q: Have you come down off your cloud yet after winning the national championship?
Riley: If I did, I'm right back up there today. So I think it's just exciting to be a part of this, because basketball has brought me so much.
Q: Did you have any preferences where you wanted to go?
Riley: I really tried not to pay attention to that too much, because it's kind of out of my control. I was just looking forward to the opportunity and anxious to see what team was going to pick me. Being in Indiana would have been nice because so many people are there, but I think everyone who supported me is going to support me wherever I go. Coming out of high school, I did want to stay near home, and Notre Dame was the best opportunity for me at that time. I was really open to going anywhere. I'm excited about the opportunity, and what better place than Miami?
Q: Can you talk about all the emotions you've felt this season?
Riley: There was all the excitement and emotions tied up in the Final Four and the championship game there, and to come out here, it's really hard to describe, but it's been a lot of fun.
Q: You're going to the White House soon, aren't you?
Riley: Yeah, we leave on Sunday and we meet President Bush on Monday, so I think our whole team's looking forward to that.
Abrosimova: I'm really happy, because finally it happened, and I'm really relaxed right now because I know where I'm going, who I'm going to play for, because I was really anxious to see what team was going to pick me. I'm just really happy to finally be on a team.
Q: How do you feel physically?
Abrosimova: I can't really say I'm really 100 percent yet. I'm probably going to have my surgery next week, and after that I start doing rehab, and I'm going to be able to play in the middle of June.
Q: Can you describe your surgery?
Abrosimova: Right now I have a plate in my foot and they're just going to take it out and take the screws out. It's going to totally depend on how it feels because it's a new procedure. They don't really know how long it's going to take. It might take two weeks, it might take three weeks. Right now, they are surprised how well it has healed.
Q: What was it like for you to be out injured?
Abrosimova: I still was a part of the team. Just because I didn't wear a uniform, it was different. But I still supported my teammates, I still wanted to be part of the team. I'm happy, but I'm sad at the same time, because today's officially like I'm done with Coach and I'm not a Connecticut player anymore. I'm really sad about that because I can't consider Coach Auriemma my coach anymore. I have a new coach right now. Just playing for him, I learned a lot and I just want to take it to the next level.
Q: Did you have any feeling as to which team would select you?
Abrosimova: I didn't know anything. They don't tell players anything. They just find out today. I didn't really want to ask people about that, because I knew whatever happens, it happens, and I can't change anything, I can't control anything. I'm happy they announced my name and I'm going to play in this league, because it's the best league in the world. I know my parents are really happy and proud. Hopefully they'll know about this, since it takes like 10 hours.
Q: How familiar are you with the Minnesota Lynx?
Abrosimova: I've never seen them play, because every summer I go back to Russia, and the only team I see playing are the Houston Comets because they're in the playoffs all the time. But I know he (Brian Agler) is a great coach and their team is really well-organized.
Ferdinand: It's a great feeling. I mean, I'm excited. I never though it would be a day where I would be drafted. I grew up watching the NBA Draft and for me to be here, getting drafted, I'm just excited and thrilled and honored.
Q: What do you know about the Starzz?
Ferdinand: I don't know much about them yet, but I know they have a great post player by the name of Natalie Williams and I'm just looking forward to playing with her.
Q: Can you describe your game and what you will bring to the WNBA?
Ferdinand: I think athleticism, a good work ethic, and just an up-tempo style of play.
Q: Did you ever think you would play professionally?
Ferdinand: Growing up, before this league got started, I thought two things: Either I was going to be the first female player to play in the NBA, or I had to play professional ball in Europe or overseas somewhere. I never thought I'd be able to play professional ball in the United States and I'm just happy and thankful for this league.
Q: When did you start to recognize that you could play in the WNBA?
Ferdinand: Probably after my sophomore year in college, after I started getting a lot of recognition from coaches and I started getting calls. When I started to play like I've been playing, it all came into mind, and I knew that if I continued to work, the day would come.
Q: We asked Kelly the same thing: What's it going to be like playing without your sister for the first time in your life?
Miller: I love playing with Kelly, but I think we've developed our own games, so we're certainly capable of playing apart. I wish we could play together, but this is the way it works out, and it's going to be fun no matter what.
Q: Can you talk about the fact three Georgia players went in the first nine picks?
Miller: Deanna Nolan is a spectacular player, and I knew she'd be right up there. She decided to enter the WNBA Draft, and I'm just really, really happy for her, and obviously for Kelly, and it's great that we represented Georgia pretty well.
Q: What will it be like to actually play against your sister?
Miller: It's going to be nice to see each other when we play each other, that's for sure. We haven't really spent too many nights apart, but it's going to be different and I think it's definitely going to be fun to see a familiar face. It won't be much fun to guard her, but it'll be fun to play against her team and everything. This was a dream of ours, ever since we were small, so I'm just really excited we're going to get this opportunity.
Douglas: I'm definitely excited to get back down there with Coach Peck. It's a great opportunity and Orlando is a great, young franchise, and I'm very excited to be reunited with Coach Peck.
Q: Were you hoping to land in this spot?
Douglas: Definitely. I had two "tops" that I wanted to go to and Orlando was right up there, along with Indiana. But, I'm very excited about going to Orlando.
Q: It almost seems like it was meant to work out this way.
Douglas: It does. It makes the sophomore year, the hurt, and I guess the pain of losing your coach, after coming off a national championship, and having your coach go to the WNBA and go professional, and then to get the opportunity to play with her again and to be reunited with her is very special.
Q: Can you talk about the perspective you have gained from the adversity in your life?
Douglas: I just think I take a regular perspective, but at the same time, I've had ups and downs, so I don't really bear myself down if I make a mistake. I'm always going to go out and try to work hard, but little things that players might get down about, I just try to pick myself back up, because I know there are bigger things in life than those little mistakes I make.
Opening statement: I just want to say that I am very, very excited to be able to play in the WNBA and to go to Portland, which I think is a great city.
Q: It said in your bio that at camp, you played on a team that beat Michael Jordan's team in five-on-five. Can you tell us about that?
Barksdale: I was invited to be a counselor at his camp a couple of years ago, and they have a counselor game and he played for the other team. And, my team beat his team, like 7-5. It was a great experience.
Q: Can you talk about your involvement in Girls and Women in Sports?
Barksdale: It means a lot, just to be able to share my story with other girls, because when I was growing up, it wasn't cool to play basketball. Now, it's kind of the thing to do and it keeps a lot of girls out of trouble and it's a very positive thing to play sports and then have something positive to occupy your time.
Q: What do you bring to the Fire?
Barksdale: Athleticism. I think I'm very coachable. And I think that I will definitely take on any role that my coach wants me to take on, in order for my team to win.
Cooper: I'm very excited. Getting the opportunity to play is a dream come true. I'm excited about the opportunity to go to L.A. also.
Q: L.A. isn't a bad place for a first job.
Cooper: Not at all. I've been out there before. My teammate from college is out there, so I'm really looking forward to it. I know there's a lot of things I need to work on as far as playing at this level and I'm learning from the best behind Lisa Leslie. So, I'm extremely happy about their decision to pick me.
Q: Can you talk about what you can learn playing behind Lisa Leslie?
Cooper: I think will learn a lot of things from her, on and off the court. She's a classy individual and one of the best athletes. Her game is all-around; she can step out on the perimeter and definitely go inside, so it's something I look forward to learning from and I think I'll be in a good position practicing against her.
Sutton-Brown: It's funny, because I was sitting right beside Tasha, and I wasn't nervous, just very anxious about this whole thing - a lot of anxiety to know where I'll be for the next three months.
Q: How did you help yourself at the combine?
Sutton-Brown: It was great. I think the combine for myself, [and Rutgers teammates] Tasha and Karlita [Washington], was very productive. I think it was probably the best thing for us to do and I think it helped all three of us out a lot. So, it went really well.
Q: When you were picked, what's the first thing that went through your mind?
Sutton-Brown: It's funny, because there's no words that can really explain exactly how you feel, so to speak, if that makes any sense whatsoever. It's just excitement, knowing that you've been through four years and it's finally paying off right now.
Ivey: It's been very exciting, especially with the championship and everything. We had a lot of support at Notre Dame, so we've had an awesome time since then. So, it's been fun.
Q: What do you know about the Fever, and what is it like playing in the same state as in college?
Ivey: I'm learning a lot. I don't really know too much, but it's close to home, it's close to Notre Dame, so I'm excited that I'll be two hours from Notre Dame. A lot of people, a lot of family can be there. I have a lot of family in Indianapolis, so I'm excited.