Nine of the top newcomers get their first taste of the mailbag

Rookies Answer Fan Mail at Orientation

You sent in the questions and we asked them to nine of the top rookies selected in the 2006 Draft at WNBA Player Orientation in Chicago. Their responses are below:

Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx

This question is for the number 1 Draft pic, Seimone Augustus. How does it feel to be the number 1 pick in the 2006 draft? Now that you are in the WNBA what are you mainly focus at this point of your career?
-Brooklyn Balla BABY, North Lauderdale, FL

"It feels great to be the number one pick, just to be able to say that all my hard work paid off over the years and the only thing I'm really focusing on is getting better, knowing my teammates, and trying to be as successful as possible in Minnesota."

Cappie Pondexter was chosen second overall by the Phoenix Mercury.
J. Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images
This question is directly to Seimone Augustus my favorite player. But the question is... How does the WNBA feel compared to LSU? If you saw my room, you are everywhere! And, yes, I'm a boy. But go, Mone!
-Norman, Baton Rouge, LA

"The only difference is the fact that it's a business, we're actually on our own know, where before everything was a team, you'd eat as a team, you'd do this as a team, where now you're all grown up and have to make decisions on your own, where in college you had people to predetermine your decisions."

Seimone,what do you hope to accomplish in your first year as a WNBA player?
-The Alaskan TigerFan, Soldotna, AK

"Just get in and get my confidence level to the point where I'm comfortable and I think that should work out during training camp, getting to know my teammates, my coaching staff, and once the season hits it will be an easy transition, it will be a different style of ball, but we're still playing basketball and that's something that I can adapt to."

What has Coach Pokey taught you on and off the court that you think will transfer and help you in the WNBA? I love your style of play and wish you nothing but the best in your career.
- Shaluan, Dallas , TX

"On and off the court coach taught us how to be a lady, be respectful, always carry yourself with pride and dignity, on the court, just being a mentally tough player, not letting anything get to me, staying within my system and staying within the game."

Cappie Pondexter, Phoenix Mercury

It's really awesome that you play for my favorite team. So my question is how does it feel to be playing with Diana Taurasi, and what got you into the MJ craze?
- Kieran, Bear Lake, MI

"It's great, she's a great player and there's a lot that I can learn from her, and we can help each other out, she hasn't been to the playoffs yet so it would be a good thing whatever I can add to help us get over the hump."

My questions are; how do you feel to come into the WNBA as the 2nd pick? And how are you going to fit into that key roll that phoenix needs? good luck with your career!
-Ryan, Lake Mary, FL
"It feels good, but when you think about it, it doesn't really matter because it's about how you perform on the court, but at the same time I feel honored. I think its going to be an easy transition for me because that's the kind of style that I play my game, I like to get out, fast tempo, and find others in the open court."

Ann Strother, Phoenix Mercury

How exicted are you to be reunited with Diana? I can't wait to see Phoenix play the Sun!!
-Gail, Wethersfield, CT

"I'm unbelievably excited, I'd hoped to be playing with someone from Connecticut, and the experience I've had with Dee I'm going into just about the best situation I could have possibly hoped for."

How did you feel when you found out about the Phoenix trade?
-Dillon, Houston, TX

"It was kind of haphazard, I was doing interviews for Houston, and Barbara was like, Ann you just got traded, I didn't really know what to think, I think the first thing that came to mind was just that's really the perfect kind of situation for me, knowing that Dee is down there, knowing the way they play, and I know my parents are excited, that's about as close as they could get and come see me, it's a great opportunity."

Have you recovered from the plantar fascitous you encountered this past season? Or are you just toughing through?
Best wishes,
-Walt, Capitola, CA

"It feels a little better, its something that comes and goes, so I'm just dealing with it and doing whatever I can to keep it under control, and not let it get too bad."

Shona Thorburn, Minnesota Lynx

Is there enough interest to warrant a WNBA team in Canada?
-Art, Fayetteville, GA

"I would like to think so, but honestly right now, no, maybe Toronto in a few years from now, I don't think they would have the money and I don't think they would put fans in the stands right now, where the country is and how much they're putting towards women's basketball.

Shona Thorburn went seventh to the Minnesota Lynx.
D. Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images

I would love to know how happy you are getting to play along side Ms. Amber Jacobs and Adrian Williams. Then what team are you most looking forward to play against? Then what player on that team?
-Lauren, Brownsburg, IN

"I am excited to play against Sacramento and see Kim Smith, we've never played against each other, so it will be interesting.

Lisa Willis, Los Angeles Sparks

SINCE YOU PLAYED AGAINST STANFORD I WILL ASK YOU THIS QUESTION!!! DO YOU SEE BROOK SMITH AS A FIRST ROUND PICK NEXT YEAR? WHY OR WHY NOT? IN TWO YEARS MOST LIKELY CANDACE WIGGINS OF STANFORD WILL PLAY IN THE WNBA,CAN SHE BE A TOP 3 PICK???WHY OR WHY NOT..THANK YOU SO MUCH,....FROM ROBERT
-Robert, Petaluma, CA

"Definitely, her hook shot that's her signature, a hook shot is hard to block, unless you bring it down by her ankles, it's hard to block, and she's a great player, she has good defense, she rebounds well also, but she's known for her hook and that's not a bad thing to be known for.

Nikki Blue, Washington Mystics

We will miss you in Los Angeles. Your mom attended all your home games, and frequently travelled to away games. How hard will it be for you to play so far from home, where she may not be able to attend as regularly?
-Gail, Northridge, CA

"Its not going to be that difficult, because I know she will be there in spirit, she'll be watching all the games on WNBA.com, so she will get to as many games as possible."

What are the biggest obstacles you had to overcome, in order to get to where you are today? How did you handle these obstacles?
-Shannon, Hartford City, IN

"I just think along the way there were some people that doubted me and said I was too small to go out there and compete collegiately, and make it to the WNBA, but I have proved that my heart is bigger than my height, and that's one of the reasons I've succeeded, I have a great support system that has helped me out along the way, my mom and her sisters and her brother, they have been there for me the whole way, and I'm just here representing for them, representing Bakersfield, and representing the west coast."

Monique Currie, Charlotte Sting

My question is for Monquie Currie Who or what do you think will be your greatest and most difficult challenge in the pros? How is the WNBA different from playing at Duke?
-Brooklyn Balla BABY, North Lauderdale, FL

"Adjusting to the game, playing against better players, a more physical game, a faster game, so that adjustment.

Hi Monique how are you? First off congrats on a wonderful season at duke, and making it to the WNBA. Couple of questions. What kind of music to you listen to, and is their any NBA player you would like to play one on one?
-Karisa, Lancaster, CA

"Music I listen to is definitely slow music, R&B, I like to be relaxed, and players I would like to play one-on-one against, Shaq, because I would think it would be impossible to defend him.

Monique, Welcome to the WNBA! What are you looking forward to most in your professional career?
-Shirley, Ft. Washington, MD

"It's a dream of mine finally coming true, and hopefully to become a winning franchise and help as much as I can, hopefully win a championship."

This is for Monique Currie: How much did your collegiate experience help you prepare for the WNBA? On May 23, when the WNBA season tips off, what will be going through your mind? Do you like being the underdogg? How do you feel going against one of your good friends and former teammate Alana Beard? Monique Currie I wish you well and a tremendous WNBA career...and I said it, "Monique Currie is the 2006 Rookie of the year."
-Nacole, New Iberia, LA

"I think it helps a lot, because we were an elite program and we were playing against some of the best college players in the country, and I think that will prepare me somewhat for playing against some other great players and players I've seen when they were in college. When the league tips off, excitement, sense of accomplishment to finally be at the top level of women's basketball. Yes, I hope that will make us hungrier and make us want it more than someone who has the fat cat syndrome as my old coach used to say. That would be fun, I guess I went against her a lot in practice, that was a while ago, but she's a great player and she'll compete and so will I. Thank you for saying that, that's a goal of mine, and I'm going to do all that I can to make that goal come true."

Scholanda Hoston, Sacramento Monarchs

Scholanda my gurl, congrats on coming 2 Sac! Trust me, you're going to love it, best fans in the League! :) So, coming into your rookie year, what is your main goal or focus?
-Monarchs Fan, Cali

"The main goal is just to do whatever is necessary to help my team, to get better, improve upon my defense, the reason I was drafted there, elevate my offensive game, just to able to contribute in any way I'm needed.

How does it feel to know that u are most likely going to be able to play with the players that u have grown up watching on television.
-Britney, Bowie, MD

"Its exciting, that's the overwhelming feeling, just trying to go in and not be starstruck, just because you've seen them play for so long, and people that you've got a lot of admiration for, trying to look up to and use as role models, pattern your game after, you want to follow behind the best." - Scholanda Hoston

Since you are rookies I thought I'd ask an appropriate question, who do you think should be the "Rookie of the Year" this season?
-TNT1, San Antonio, TX

"Whoever goes out and performs to the best of their ability and plays on top of their game all year, should be the rookie of the year. I'm a little partial, my teammate Seimone, I have a lot of confidence in her game."

Tamara James, Washington Mystics

What was your favorite defense to play in college?
-Mary Ellen, Atlanta, GA

"Man-to-man because I feel like it gives me a challenge when I'm guarding somebody, I have goal to stop them and not let them score, and I take it more personal than playing a zone."

Now that you are about to start training camp, do you think that it will be different for college? Why?
-Future WNBA All-Star, Brooklyn, NY

"Most definitely, you're competing to be on the payroll, and that's different from college because a lot of times you get a scholarship, and also I think its going to be more exciting for me than college because this is my actual dream, I've always wanted to play in the WNBA, and you get here and you have to do your best and compete at your best because you don't want to let your team down."

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