Live 2004 WNBA Draft Chat Transcript
Tamika Williams was on-hand to help host the live chat.
Many of the top picks, including Diana Taurasi, Alana Beard, Nicole Powell and Lindsay Whalen stopped by immediately after they have been chosen. Minnesota Lynx center Tamika Williams, the sixth overall pick by Minnesota in 2002, will co-hosted the live chat and answered your questions throughout the day as well. Other guests will also stop by, including WNBA President Val Ackerman.
Moderator: Send in your questions for Alana Beard, Rebekkah Brunson, Shameka Christon, Vanessa Hayden, Chandi Jones, Kelly Mazzante, Nicole Ohlde, Nicole Powell, Diana Taurasi, Iciss Tillis and Lindsay Whalen... and of course Tamika Williams and Val Ackerman!
Moderator: Coming to you live from Secaucus, N.J., welcome to the 2004 WNBA Draft. Tamika is in the house and we are almost ready for your questions...
Tamika Williams: Hey everyone - I'm so excited to be here and can't wait to get started.
VJ4MVP: Let's here some perdictions, who do the Liberty take at #5? I'm hoping Brunson or Christon!
Tamika Williams: Let me think... I think the Liberty will take Vanessa Hayden to groom her behind their veterans in the post.
Cannon Falls : Hi Tamika would you like to play with minnesota gopher lindsay whalen
Tamika Williams: Yes! Yes! Yes! and Yes!
Chaz-East Haven Ct: Hi Tamika, I was just wondering how your parents are doing? I sat near them several times at games and chatted a bit. They are the nicest people. Hope they are doing well.
Tamika Williams: My parents are living the retired life, loving each other and happy.
Fresno,CA: HI Tamika! I read in the newspaper that your sister is headed to fresno state. I just want to know how you fill about her not going to UCONN?
Tamika Williams: I'm sad, but it's a great decision for her. She loves the coaches and the university. And I have a great place to vacation...
Moderator: And the Mercury are on the clock...
Inyene. Norman, OK: Hey Tamika, how do you think Diana will contibute to the mercury???? Also, what position do u think she will play. Good luck
Tamika Williams: I think she'll play some point and some shooting guard. She'll make a winning impact on the Mercury franchise.
Bethany (Logan, IA): Tamika, Hi! Do you think coaching at Ohio St. this year will change the way you play in the WNBA or how you look at the game? Thanks and best wishes on another awesome season!
Tamika Williams: Coach Foster is a professor on the floor and I've been in his class the entire year.
Moderator: And the first pick is... Diana Taurasi!!!
Moderator: Taurasi to chat in a minute.
Moderator: And we have Diana here.
Lisbon,Iowa: Hey,Diana Taurasi, How is it be a #1 Pick?
Diana Taurasi: It feels good. As a little kid, I never imagined being in this situation. Magic and Larry. I'm just glad I don't have a suit as bad as Charles Barkley.
nicole (florida): diana- will u miss the connecticut environment and the fans??
Diana Taurasi: Oh yeah. Being there for 4 years and knowing everyone, it was incomparable. In this new situation, hopefully it will be that good,
Tina - Cincinnati, OH: Diana -- Congratulations on all the championships and the number one pick. So has Herbal Essences contacted you about being a spokesperson yet?
Diana Taurasi: I think I put another good bid in today. My hair looks great today thanks to Herbal Essences.
Jeff (Scottsdale): Hello Diana. We all know you're going to shine here in the valley, but are you ready for 110+ degree weather??
Diana Taurasi: I grew up in Cali when, in the summer, it got pretty hot. I'm ready. A little sunscreen and a light tan.
Cris (CT) : Diana do you think you are going to have a target on your back going into the league with all of the hype and publicity you're getting right now? Congratulations on getting chosen, I'll be rooting for you!
Diana Taurasi: Probably. Whenever you get into a new situation, you just do your best and I'm excited... See you soon, Phoenix!
Moderator: Alana Beard is here now...
Xavier , Dallas : I have a question for Alana beard, how will you adjust your game on a different level with alot of Talent on each team ?
Alana Beard: I think the most important thing is that the critics say that I am not effective from the outside. I will work on that the most...
Sherrie , Dallas : My question is for alana beard. If you had to play with any of your fellow seniors , who would it be and who would be the toughest to play against?
Alana Beard: I would love to play with Nicole Powell. She is great and gets her teammates involved really well. In terms of going up against, it would be Rebekkah Brunson. she is so tough and physical.
Terry (Andrews, NC): Alana, How does it feel to be the first woman to recieve the John Wooden award and then turn around and become a top pick in WNBA draft (all in the same week)? Also, good luck in all that you do!
Alana Beard: The Wooden Award is something you can't really express in words. to be mentioned in the same breath with a legend like him is an honor. It is so exciting for me. I'm definitely blessed and ready.
Katie Cooper Somerville Mass.: Alana Beard: What was your most difficult obsticle to over come in college basketball? and what do you think will be the toughest to overcome in the WNBA ?
Alana Beard: In college, being away from home was tough. But I'm sort of used to that now. Going into the league, the schedule will be tough. Traveling, back-to-back games... But I'm grateful.
Up next... Nicole Powell, who is sitting down as we speak...
Tanya (Palo Alto, CA): Welcome to the League, Nicole Powell! So we know you can play a few positions, but if you had your choice, what position would you play in the WNBA?
Nicole Powell: I feel like I am better suited on the perimeter, and that is what I am expecting. I'm just looking forward to being whatever my team needs - and I'm excited.
Nicole Powell: Wow - this is so exciting. Lindsay just went...
Katie Cooper Somerville Mass.: Nicole Powell: Do you think the heart break from your final loss playing for stanford will effect your ability to play as well in the wnba as you did in college?
Nicole Powell: No. It was a tough game, but I am looking forward to playing at the next level.
Mikey, Palo Alto: Nicole Powell, you've been a fixture here at Stanford, and you have quite the following. How easy will you find making the transition into professional basketball, and what are your plans for the offseason?
Nicole Powell: Making the transition will be a challenge, but it is one that I'm ready for. As for the offseason, I'm looking forward to going back to Stanford, getting my degree, and we'll see what happens after that. Take care.
And Lindsay Whalen is here...
Carmen (: Lindsay,What do you think you will bring to your new team? Keep representin'!!!
Lindsay Whalen: I think i'm gonna bring intensity and the fire i like to play ball with. I'm gonna bring the same kind of enjoyment that i play with...
PJ: For Lindsay Whalen: It's been a sincere pleasure watching you play and break records at Minnesota the last four years; if you had to choose, what do you feel your greatest accomplishment has been during your college basketball career at Minnesota?
Lindsay Whalen: Making it to the final four this year. in comparison to where we came from my freshman year, the journey was a great accomplishment.
Katie Cooper Somerville Mass.: Lindsey Whalen: Are you going to miss playing in Minnesota ? and which one of your team mates from the golphers will you miss the most?
Lindsay Whalen: I'm going to miss it, yeah. A great community and city. I will miss all of my teammates. I have played with some for three- four years. I will miss them all.
Moderator: And Lindsay is off to meet the press. But Shameka Christon is in the house.
Shanice (Orlando, Florida): Shameka, a lot of people are talking about how you could be the big surprise next year? How do you feel about that and what will you do to make it happen?
Shameka Christon: I feel really great about that. Going in as the underdog, there is no pressure. I can relax and go in and play. I will bring a lot of energy, I think. Working out hard, being educated...
Tribune, Kansas: Shameka how does it feel to be drafted?
Shameka Christon: It is very exciting. This entire week has been a conundrm. I was tired of waiting. This is just a relief, but it is exciting and I'm ready to get it started.
Candy (Little Rock): Hi Shameka - How much will your Arkansas program miss you next year? How do you think they will do?
Shameka Christon: I think the SEC's recruiting class was outstanding, so Arkansas is still in the process of recruiting some good players. They will me, I think, but they will step it up. They don't have a choice now. It will be a struggle, but they have a fight in them. Anyone's game any night.
Moderator: Up next, Nicole Ohlde...
Tamika Williams: Thanks for a center!
Tanzania, Columbus, Ohio: Nicole, I'm excited that you're going to the Lynks; how excited are you to play with Olympian Katie Smith and Tamika Williams?
Nicole Ohlde: Definitely excited. Two of the best players in the league in minnesota and i'm excited about this opportunity.
Mercedes Waker (Manhattan, Ks: Hey Nicole Ohlde! How do you feel right now? We all miss you here in Kansas. Have fun in the WNBA!:)
Nicole Ohlde: I'm really excited right now. A lot of anxiety and nervousness before, but i'm so happy right now.
Becca (Tulsa, OK): For Nicole Ohlde: How do you think you will match up against some of the bigger centers in the WNBA? Are you ready for their physical style of play?
Nicole Ohlde: I'm definitely ready. there are a lot of things to work on, but i am ready to get in the gym and start working towards it.
Zim : I love Nicole Ohlde!! What is your favorite basketball moment??
Nicole Ohlde: my favorite moment besides this right now is going to the sweet 16 my sophomore year as well as winning the Big 12 this year.
Nicole Ohlde: I am so excited. And a shout out to K-State and my teammates.
NC: Vanessa..How do you think that you will fit in with your new and improved Minn. Lynx team?
Tamika Williams: Another teammate, Vanessa is here...
Vanessa Hayden: They have a veteran in Teresa Edwards who is very smart. they have great post players - Nicole Ohlde, and Tamika Williams. I am really excited because our inside game is awesome. And coach serio is a great coach.
lexit. tulsa: hey Vanessa. congrats! How will it be playing with Tamika?
Vanessa Hayden: Wow - it's gonna be awesome. She is a part of that dynasty that was so great at UConn, so it should be a lot of fun. she is physical...
Tamika Williams: I don't think i'm as physical as she is.
Jason: Vanessa do you think your foot will be heeled up and ready to play this year at full force
Vanessa Hayden: Oh yeah, definitely. i have four more weeks. it's a matter of getting out of the boot and getting in the gym again. and riding the bike. but i'll be ready.
James (Wrexham): Vanessa - Do you think you and Nicole will work well together as teammates?
Vanessa Hayden: I think we will. there is a great high-low situation there. she is an awesome player- she runs the floor well. but we bring different aspects of the game. i am a physical player and that's my thing.
katie cooper: vanessa what do you think will be the hardest thing to overcome in the wnba?
Vanessa Hayden: Fear and anxiety - it will be an adjustment. getting used to it, a different game from college, will be tough, but i have someone like tamika to help, so i'm excited. Thanks!
Tamika Williams: Chandi Jones! Congrats, Miss thang.
WNBA Fan: Chandi..First off congrats. Secondly, how does it feel to potentially be a part of the best future backcourt in the nation with Diana?
Chandi Jones: I feel like it will be a great opportunity for both of us. We are some of the top players out of our class, and we'll bring intensity to the team and help them win games.
Jessica Dickson (Tampa): Hi Chandi Jones, How do you feel about going into the WNBA are you nervous? Also I would like to say congratulations and maybe in the future you think we can play one on one?
Chandi Jones: I'm not nervous to go. Anxious to test my skills -- I am looking forward to going up against some of the great competition.
Tamika Williams: Chandi - how will it feel to be playing without you're dad as coach for the first time?
Chandi Jones: I think it will be a great transition moving on. It has been a great experience and I will miss him a lot, but he has taught me a lot - about basketball and life - and that will help me move on in life.
Memphis: Congrats Chandi, how does it feel to be a pro and what advise would you give young female players hoping to come to the WNBA
Chandi Jones: i think it is a great accomplishment to be named a pro athlete. you just have to believe in yourself and work hard - keep focused to fulfill your dreams.
Tamika Williams: Thanks, Chandi, and congrats
Tamika Williams: Who's cell phone is that rining in the studio?
Chandi Jones: Ooops - it's Chandi's mom.
Tamika Williams: I'm surprised Rebecca Brunson just went -- they have Tangela Smith, they have Yo, Anderson and Walker. We'll see what happens...
Beth (Landover, MD): Hi Rebecca - We're so happy for you. How quickly do you think you will be able to come in and make an impact for your new team?
Rebekkah Brunson: Well i'll try to do as much as i can asap. There is a lot to learn and i think there will be some great people there to help me adjust.
Sally (georgia): Hi Rebekkah, what position do you see yourself playing in the W? Thanks, and good luck!
Rebekkah Brunson: I think i will be a 3/4 slasher. i have been a post player throughout my time at georgetown, but i think i can adjust well. I'm excited.
oklahomarush21: Congrats Rebekkah! how will it be playing with Kara Lawson?
Rebekkah Brunson: it will be good. coming into the wnba, i have gotten to see her a lot growing up. i played against her in aau -- she is a tremendous guard and i look forward to playing with her.
dan the man costa rica: Congrats Rebekkah, Who is your favorite WNBA player?
Rebekkah Brunson: Tamika Catchings.
Tamika Williams: Mine too
Tamika Williams: You'll be well taken care of in Sacramanto. I'm not worried about you playing behind Yo, Smith will help her transition.
Moderator: Up next, Iciss Tillis... of the Detroit Shock
beckychristofferson, South Dakota: Hello Iciss, Congrats on your pick. How does it feel to be part of the WNBA now? Are you nervous at all to be playing? Congrats Again!!
Iciss Tillis: Yes, i am very nervous. It's a whole new thing -- they tell you who you are playing for. In college, i got to choose. but this is new and exciting. Nervous - but you get to see them play and see the coach, so it will be nervous and exciting.
Audrey(Greenville Illinois): Hey Iciss you and Alana Beard in my eyes seemed unstopable at Duke, what will it be like for you to go up against your former teamate? I mean will you welcome her with open arms or will you tell her to bring it? In a lets show them how us Dukies play way.
Iciss Tillis: Alana needs to bring it. even in practice we were on the same time. But i'm excited for her. we knew we weren't going to be playing with each other here. Those four years were fun, but it's hard. i'll miss her.
T: How do you think you fit in with the frontcourt of the Detroit Shock? How does it feel to be selected by the defending national champions?
Iciss Tillis: i don't know how i will fit just yet. They are so deep and stacked. I will have to work hard to prove myself, and i have a lot of people to prove wrong. But it is an honor to be selected by the defending world champions. They must think highly of me.
tiffany (mass): hey iciss congrats on your pick you must be very excited to be playing in the wnba.What team/person do you most look forawrd to playing against
Iciss Tillis: i have always wanted to play against Lisa Leslie. When i was young, she always inspired me.
Hope (Norman, OK): Hello Iciss and welcome - what skills are you looking to showcase when you enter the league?
Iciss Tillis: A little bit of the skills i showed in college, but stepped up a notch. I can handle the ball well, but i am ready for a new chance. in college, i was in one position, but now i am looking forward to doing a lot of things.
Tamika Williams: I think iciss will do well there because she can stretch out their triangle offense. She can spread it out in the open court with Swin and Cheryl Ford on the block.
k_carte#15: Hi Iciss, how do u feel about playing with Swin Cash
Iciss Tillis: She is awesome. When I watch her play, I learn a lot. they transition so well. I watched them play a game last year and they were making layups all day. It was fun to watch and she is a big part of that.
Iciss Tillis: Thanks - take care everyone.
Moderator: And that's the end of the first round - Shereka Wright from Purdie closes it out...
Moderator: Tamika will give us her thoughts on the first round...
Amy (Chicago): Tamika, What advice would you give the rookies about the WNBA and any adjustments that may be needed?
Tamika Williams: Come into your situation open. Work hard. The toughest thing for a rookie to do is to come in and find their role on the team. The quicker they find their role, the easier the transition will be. Example: Cheryl Ford, who was a tremendous rebounder in college and carried it over to the league as well.
Moderator: With us now is Chandi Jones' aunt... Deborah Hill
Tamika Williams: Miss Hill, what does Chandi call you?
Debrorah Hill: She calls me "nana."
Tamika Williams: Any fun, short stories about Chandi?
Debrorah Hill: When she was small, she loved me to read to her. One time, she wanted to read to me. So she started "reading," but the book was upside down. Just to be stubborn, she read the book upside down just to spite us all. She was two or three, but she would not let anyone turn the book the right way. I think she was doing it from memory...
Moderator: Stay tuned for the second round...
Moderator: President Val Ackerman will be joining us shortly to talk about the draft, so keep your questions coming...
Tamika Williams: Wow, this is fun!
Tamika Williams: And tiring.
Tamika Williams: And we're back...
Moderator: ...for the second round.
Megan Nh: Tamika: What advice would you give to the people who don't make it in the 1st round?
Tamika Williams: I would tell them to use this as an opportunity to prove everyone wrong.
Moderator: and we have a trade...
Moderator: Chandi Jones and Shereka Wright trading places... Phoenix and Detroit
north wales: Tamika who do you think will win the wnba rookie of the year.
Tamika Williams: Let me think... our two new rookies. Ohlde and Hayden - they'll split it.
Tara-MN: Tamika, How do you feel about your new teammates? who would have you picked for the Lynx?
Tamika Williams: I think it's great. We need more power in the post position. We got better players and we needed that as well.
Romell (West Covina, Ca): hi tamika how are you doin? Do you think Diana Taurasi can change the way the womens game is played?
Tamika Williams: I think she will help the game because of players like Leslie, Swoopes, Edwards - it is going to be hard for her to change it by herself. There are some great players in the league and she still needs to prove herself.
Libby CA: Who do u think is the most underrated player in next yrs graduating class?
Tamika Williams: Jessica Moore - the Huskies! Even though she will be going through some tough situations, she was the X-factor for Connecticut's winning tradition the past two years?
Jean, Fairfield, CT: Tamika- First of all thanks, my 12 year old daughter, Emily met you in New Orleans and you were very sweet to her. How is the WNBA different than your college experience?
Tamika Williams: Wow, that was SOOO far back. Definitely more physical and the players are more talented.
Tamika Williams: Oh, and you miss the charter flights and pre-game meals.
VJ4MVP: Tamika, what do you think the Monarchs are up to picking a post? Are they going to trade some of their post?
Tamika Williams: I don't know if they are going to trade, but they run a tough triangle now with Walker, Yo and Smith, so maybe they want to make that triangle stronger with another post.
Scott WV: Tamika who do you think will be the sleeper in this years draft
Tamika Williams: It could be Christi Thomas. With Milton's health a question, I think she can do the dirty work opposite Leslie until Milton returns.
Moderator: We have Kelly Mazzante with us now...
Cory(Pontiac,MI): My question is for Kelly, What are you expecting to see this year in the WNBA that's different from college?
Kelly Mazzante: I think the speed, intensity and the overall game will be at a different level than in college.
Pittaburgh: Kelly what are you going to miss most about Penn State? Good Luck!!!!!
Kelly Mazzante: I am going to miss my teammates the most. But the WNBA is only for the summer, but I'll get to go back and finish up in the fall.
Kip (Tuscaloosa): Kelly, you have a lightning-quick release. Are you going to have to change any part of your game to adjust to the bigger, faster WNBA players?
Kelly Mazzante: i think there will be a lot of adjustments to be made. my release is something that i will use, but there will be things i will have to learn and adjust in the next level.
stingbk: What will be your biggest challenge as a rookie in the WNBA?
Kelly Mazzante: Just making the transition - the one from high school to college was tough, but i'll make this and i am excited.
Tamika Williams: I think both for Kelly and Nicole coming into Charlotte - a veteran team - that always helps out the rookies.
penn: How do you feel about playing with Stinson and Scott-Richardson?
Kelly Mazzante: I get a great opportunity to learn from veteran players, and the weather won't be bad either...
Moderator: And we're back with Tamika.
Moderator: Joining us now is WNBA President Val Ackerman...
DMize (Phoenix): Hey Val- How exciting a day is this for you and the WNBA? How great is it for you to have this Draft covered for all to see on ESPN?
Val Ackerman: We are thrilled to have the first round of the draft broadcast live on ESPN for the first time -- it is very fitting given the dominant position that ESPN has with women's college basketball. Overall, it's truly a great day for the WNBA, and I believe the League will greatly benefit from the high profile that many of today's draftees will bring to the league this summer.
Lauren (Hoboken, NJ): President Ackerman, how can we help build up the great potential (friendly) rivalry between the top two picks? Is Phoenix-Washington of the WNBA the next Lakers-Celtics of the 1980's NBA??
Val Ackerman: I do believe that the Alana-Diana rivalry is a rivalry in the making and hope that the relationship they have developed and the competition between them will be of great interest to old and new fans alike as they move on to the next level.
Cory (Pontiac ,MI): For Val: When do you see a high school player selection taken place in the future WNBA drafts?
Val Ackerman: Under our collective bargaining agreement with our players association, players are no eligible to play in the WNBA until four years after their high school class has graduated, so I do not foresee that happening.
Darren(Birmingham): Val, will the WNBA be expanding in the future maybe to New Orleans,Chicago,Boston,and Philadelphia?
Val Ackerman: I think all of those cities are potential expansion cities for the WNBA. While we do not have specifics, I envision that we will be adding at least one team in 2005 or 2006.
Jenny (phx): How will Diana impact the league?
Val Ackerman: The most immediate affect she will have is the visiblity that she will bring both to Phoenix and the league at large because so many fans have followed her career until now. What seems to set her apart is not only her great skill but also her unbridled enthusiasm for the game of basketball and the game. She and the other members of the class are very poised, very professional, and accustomed to dealing with the rigors of being in the spotlight, and so from everything we can tell, the transition to the WNBA, while difficult in some ways, will be much easier than it was, perhaps, for players coming out of college in the early years.
Walker(atlanta): How do you think Alana will play on the next level?
Val Ackerman: I think she will make an immediate impact in Washington because she is very athletic and seems extremely dangerous in the open court, which is an important skill in the WNBA. I think it will be very exciting to see her playing with Chamique and together with the addition of Michael Adams as head coach, Alana certainly gives Washington fans a lot to look forward to this season.
Tara-MN: Val, Do you ever expect the WNBA to be as big as the NBA? Is there going to be more coverage of the WNBA this year than there was last Year?
Val Ackerman: Yes, I believe we can approach being to the women's game what the NBA means to the men's game, but it will take time. The good news is that women's sports are growing on many levels, girls are playing team sports in growing numbers, and fans are recognizing the entertainment value of women's basketball in ways that were unimagineable a decade ago. The landscape is very favorable, and we simply have to do our jobs to manage the business and capitalize on the other great things happening in basketball in order to move the WNBA forward.
Katie: Val, whats your opinion on Lindsay Whalen?
Val Ackerman: She had an incredible career at Minnesota and did an extraordinary job of energizing people in her home state on the subject of women's basketball, and as best I can tell, she has a bright future ahead as a pro. We are looking forward to some big crowds at the Target Center whenever she is back in town.
Val Ackerman: The WNBA's fans are the best in sports! Thanks to all of you for logging in today -- between the regular season, which will be extremely competitive this year, the Olympics, which will involve so many of our top players, and the 2004 WNBA Playoffs, we expect this season to be our best ever. We hope all of you will be with us for every minute of it. Tune in on May 22nd for our opening game on ABC!
Moderator: We are back with Tamika to close out our live chat...
Tara-MN: Tamika, Which rookie are you most excited to play against?
Tamika Williams: All of the players that play the power forward position (because my dream came true - I am no longer a center for the Minnesota and can play my true position!! YESSS!!!).
Amy (Roseville, MN): Tamika, will you be at the Wolves game tommorrow night? And, do you think you can wrap up a number one seed with the picks that you have aquired?
Tamika Williams: I wish I could be there to rep my boy, KG, but I will be in Columbus, OH for another week. But every game they play at the Target center after May 25, I'll be there. As for the second part of your question, there are a lot of veteran players in the Western conference. Our youth will help us, but I don't know if it will help us enough to get a top seed. They still need to guard Leslie, LJ, Yo, etc. etc. etc. etc.
Robyn (Rockville, MD): Hey Tamika! This event sure does bring memories from two years ago :) What do you think about this draft, and are you happy with your team's pick?
Tamika Williams: I think not only was this year's Draft talented, but DEEP and talented. As for our picks, I am feeling utter jubilation with all of the young talent... which is funny coming from me because I just turned 24 on Monday.
Tamika Williams: I would like to say hello to my Buckeye family and to Swin, Sue, and Asjha.
Tamika Williams: So make sure you tune in this season to watch all of the new and great players. I am looking forward to the season and come out to the games and support us.
Moderator: Thanks for tuning in. Keep watching NBA TV for live coverage, and check back on WNBA.com for complete post-draft coverage.