Ask Nancy: March 7, 2007

Basketball Hall-of-Famer and ESPN analyst Nancy Lieberman answers your questions and emails throughout the year. Click here to submit a question of your own.


Hi Nancy, now is the time of year when you need to educate us WNBA fans on who we should be watching in the NCAA Tournament. If you have to pick a few players who the average fan might not know about, who do you think we should be watching?
-Renee, Dix Hills, N.Y.

"To be honest, it's going to be tough to make the WNBA if you're not a major player, because the rosters are getting more and more difficult to make. That said, Renee Taylor from Miami is a really good guard. She's the total package: she's high-scoring, she's quick, she can hit the three and she gets to the foul line. She can come at you. Another one to take a look at is Armintie Price, the guard from Mississippi. I think she could come into the WNBA and be an All-Defense first-teamer. That's how good she is defensively. And she can score."

Nancy, Nancy, Nancy! Let the debate begin! Who will be a better point guard in the WNBA: Duke's Lindsay Harding or UNC's Ivory Latta? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each?
-Cameron Crazy Olivia, Fayetteville, N.C.

"They are both exceptional leaders for their basketball team. Ivory has deeper 3-point range than Lindsey, but Lindsey has worked so hard on making her offense a focal point of her game. They're both very good distributors. Lindsey is more of a set-up person, while Ivory is more of a scoring guard. Lindsey has been the better defender, but that's not to say that Ivory cannot defend. But defense is really Lindsey's strong point, and her offense has matured over time. I think they'll both be good pros because of their speed and their quickness.

"It will also depend on which team takes them. If you put Ivory Latta on a team like Phoenix, it would be a perfect situation for her. To put her on a team that walks it up the court, that would be more challenging. Harding, on the other hand, could probably be comfortable in either setting. It will depend on who drafts them."

I think that Jessica Davenport is the best available post player in the country leading up to the Draft. With Sylvia Fowles and Courtney Paris on the horizon, the future is bright for bigs in the WNBA. How do you see Davenport matching up against some of the best power forwards and centers at the next level? I'm not saying she could keep up with Tina Thompson or L.J., but who can? Do you think she can be an All-Star like a Sophia Young or Candice Dupree?
-Selena, Provo, Utah

"Everybody knows that Jess Davenport is one of the most dominant posts in college basketball. She's shown consistency, she's very well coached, she's got power moves and she's a great finisher around the basket. She's always at the top when it comes to field-goal percentage in the nation. There are a lot of great post players in the WNBA, some of the best in the world. (Davenport) will be coming into the league not having that level of experience, but she has her desire, she has her skill set. I think that if she goes to (a team in) the East, she'll have a chance to step in and start. The West to me is a little more difficult, but nevertheless, she's going to be a factor on a team. I see her as being one of the top two or three picks in the Draft."

As a Mercury fan, is it time to give up on the dream of hoping that Candace Parker will be available in the Draft? I know you have a direct line to Pat Summitt's office, so what's the latest word? Thanks and I'm so excited for the next few months of women's basketball excitement!
-Kiera, Phoenix, Ariz.

"I think Pat's still singing Rocky Top. (Laughs) But seriously, she's probably more concerned right now that Tennessee lost (to LSU) as the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament. I think it's going to be a situation that comes down to the end of the season. Whatever happens to Tennessee (in the Tournament), Pat, Candace and Sarah, Candace's mom, will sit down and make a decision based on what's best for her at that time. I personally don't think she could go wrong either way. The interest in her is unprecedented. There's never been a player in this situation before."

Why isn't Shay Doron being talked about as a legit WNBA prospect? What does she still need to prove to WNBA general managers and coaches?
-Janey, College Park, Md.

"I haven't heard anyone say that Shay Doron is not a legit WNBA prospect. She can shoot the basketball, and I think everybody is well aware of her leadership qualities. She's always in amazing condition. They said that about Megan Duffy a year ago, and look what she did with Minnesota. This talk is only fueling Shay's competitiveness and desire. She's going to be an 'I'll prove you wrong' type of player and I think she'll get a look at a camp."

So Nancy, how have all the trades in the WNBA so far affected how the Draft will play out? I think San Antonio is greatly improved, and with a top pick, I cannot imagine how much better they will be in 2007.
-Taylor, Middle View, Texas

"I like San Antonio's team. I love how (coach) Dan Hughes operates. He's a class guy and a very astute coach. I think that Ruth Riley, if she can regain her confidence, can be very important to them. San Antonio also picked up Sandora Irvin.

"Indiana picked up Sheri Sam in the Dispersal Draft, they're very deep and they're pretty protected at every position. So I think they'll compete in the East.

"Also, Taj McWilliams-Franklin was a GREAT pickup by L.A. with Lisa (Leslie) being pregnant."

Do you think Alison Bales has the skills to succeed as a center in the WNBA?
-Irene, Durham, N.C.

"Absolutely. If Katie Feenstra, who I think is very skilled, can play, I see Alison Bales as a very similar player, but with more big-time experience at the same point coming out (of college). I think Alison Bales will be a terrific addition to anybody's WNBA team. She can box out, she can score, she can run the floor better than people think and she's a good passer."

As a Shock fan and a Nancy Lieberman fan, I'm sorry you weren't here long enough to see us turn into a championship powerhouse but I do love watching you all year long on the NBA, WNBA and college broadcasts. So if you were still running things in Detroit, would you start Kara Braxton or Katie Feenstra? I'm not sure we've seen the best of either one yet and really think the future is bright for the Shock again. Is there any way this team loses the WNBA championship this year?
-Penny, Birmingham, Mich.

"Thanks for the compliment. The Shock were fortunate to win the championship last year… let's start with that. They have a very talented team, but at times, they didn't play up to their capability. (Coach) Bill (Laimbeer) is a really good motivator and he got them fired up at the right time - thanks to Doris Burke and myself (laughs) - but we'll have to wait and see (on this season). Kara Braxton has off-the-chart talent, but she hasn't shown a lot of consistency the last couple of years. I have to believe that as a coach, Bill is waiting for the day that the mental catches up with the physical with Braxton. Then nobody else would see a minute on the court. That would be her job. But if Katie comes in and works hard and plays within the system and Kara doesn't raise her game on a consistent basis, Katie will get minutes. Braxton can run, she's got great footwork, she can shoot, she can jump out of the gym, she's a really nice person. She has 'star' written all over her.

"As far as winning the title in 2007, I can't predict that. I can't predict who's going to win the NCAA Championship… in fact, I can't even predict who's in my Final Four. Now you want me to look ahead to September? Stop putting pressure on a girl!"


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