Megan Vogel has come a long way. The Minnesota native came to South Dakota State University in 2003, a season after the Jackrabbits won the Division II national championship. The squad moved up to Division I the following year, and Vogel has led the program to national prominence. The Jackrabbits made it to the 2007 WNIT quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Wyoming. At the end of her senior season, Vogel earned her second straight All-Division I Independent First Team honor and was the 19th overall pick by the Washington Mystics in the 2007 WNBA Draft. Vogel will be blogging for WNBA.com throughout the preseason. Click here to send her a question.

Farewell... For Now
-Posted by Megan Vogel - May 22, 2007, 8:03 a.m. ET

Good morning. I would like to apologize for the delay in posting this, but the past few days have been very hard for me. I have taken some time to relax and think about the options I have in front of me.

As most of you know I have officially been waived by the Washington Mystics. While it is obviously disappointing, I really felt as though I played my heart out, so I have no regrets. Every day I played hard and gave nothing less than my very best. Even Coach A said it was extremely close and that he knows I have a future in the league. He told me I had good skills, but experience in the league was more of the issue. Since experience is something I cannot change, it is hard for me to think I could have done anything differently.

Does it still hurt? No question! It hurts more than anything I have ever experienced. After all, this isn't a job to me, it is my dream. However, it is these types of experiences that shape who you are as a person. I am the type of person who takes this, sees an opportunity to work nonstop and I'll return a more complete player in the future.

As for what is next? Well, the Mystics have extended me a very gracious opportunity for an internship here in D.C. Essentially, I will practice with the team every day, allowing me to get the experience they felt I did not have. I'll also be charged with doing some of the responsibilities of an assistant coach like breaking down film and scouting. This opportunity will allow me to play every day against the best players in the world, improve my game and get ready for another try at making the team next year when I am older, stronger, better and more experienced. I could not be more thankful that Washington is willing to extend this opportunity to me and I plan to accept their internship. I know I will add the things I need to in my game over the next year and come back to training camp more prepared and ready to make a WNBA roster.

I still find myself looking down at my phone just praying someone will give me a shot to show them how hard I will work for their program and team, but I know my time will come when God thinks I am ready.

I have a quote which I keep inside of my Bible (and I have a frame of it that used to sit in my locker at South Dakota State). I look at it every day. It reads:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

--Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

In really thinking about this opportunity and the way things turned out, I can honestly sit here and know my road has not come to its end. Is it the easiest or most common road into the WNBA? Definitely not. However, I have never taken the common road. I seem to enjoy the one less traveled because it is who I am. So, here I go embarking on a new "road less traveled," but do not forget, I WILL make a roster, because until I do, this feeling in the bottom of my stomach will not go away.

I have enjoyed writing this blog and hope all of you have enjoyed reading it. Who knows, maybe I'll get to write another blog in the future (once I make a roster, that is :) ). Until then, thank you again for all of your comments, well wishes and support. This Jackrabbit is not ready to give up yet, so keep your eyes open!

Making Up on Media Day
-Posted by Megan Vogel - May 15, 2007, 11:17 p.m. ET

Charm, the Mystics old mascot.
Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images
I was responding to a few e-mails after getting home from practice tonight and found out that the Mystics used to have a rabbit named Charm as their mascot. I even found a picture of it! I was beyond excited to see it, and I really wish it was still around. I am taking it as a sign that I am in the right place!

Last week we went through media day. It was filled with pictures, interviews and anything and everything else you can think of that will be used to promote the Mystics and the WNBA. Coach Meadors thought it was funny to see me standing in front of a white screen, in a white jersey, with no tan. She didn't think I would even show up in the picture.

We also had to do a "green screen" station where we performed basketball moves, passes and dribbling skills. Anyway, before you were able to go up in front of the green screen, you had to get some makeup applied. Now for those of you who don't know me, I usually don't wear any makeup. I prefer to get the extra five minutes of sleep. Still, when the nice woman told me to come over, I thought, "Well, a little makeup might not be bad." I sat calmly in the chair and didn't say a word until she tried to put some lipstick on me. I had to stop her. "Sorry, I only wear chap stick." I am not kidding, though… I couldn't move my face when I stood up to get out of the chair. She did a great job, but right after I finished the green screen, I made a mad dash for the locker room to wash it all off!

The Mystics' final cuts are taking place in the next couple of days. While it is nerve racking, I have been trying to pray about the situation and really feel like whatever is in God's plan will happen for me. I was reading the Bible tonight before I started writing and came across one of my favorite verses: "Ask, and God will give to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will open for you. Yes, everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And everyone who knocks will have the door opened," (Matthew 7:7). It is amazing to me how God really does speak to you if you listen.

One question I wanted to answer:

Nate from Minnesota writes: Do you have any advice that I can give the 12 year old girls I coach?

First of all, it's great to hear from you! Two things I can tell you that helped me when I was younger: First, keep dreaming. The wonderful thing about having dreams is that they help drive you from within. No matter what others say you can or cannot do, always follow your dreams, because you are the one who decides if they come true or not. I cannot tell you how many people told me when I was younger that playing in college would never happen. And playing professionally was not even in the conversation. Second, I am going to give you a quote that has stuck with me since I heard it. It is the reason I spend so much time working in the weight room and gym: "When you don't practice, know that someone else somewhere is practicing, and when you meet them, they will beat you." That might not be as effective for your youngsters as it is for me, but maybe it will stick with one or two of your players.

Oh, one last funny story for you. Tonight my sister called me to tell me she was freezing. Apparently, she was sitting at the computer in her long johns all wrapped up in a blanket. She lives in Minnesota, so many of you are thinking, "Well… of course it's cold there!" Believe it or not, it is actually warm there for about four months of the year. Anyway, she told me that she, her boyfriend Dave and my father all decided to go for a motorcycle ride, as my dad just got a new Harley that he absolutely loves. Yes, it does cool down at night, and I can only imagine what it would feel like to be cruising down the highway at 60 mph. Still, I told her she was nuts and proceeded to laugh for a good five minutes. She was not laughing on the other end. Ha.

Again, early practice in the morning. Off to get some shut eye.

Rowdy Bagpipers, New Offense and No More Toothpaste
-Posted by Megan Vogel - May 14, 2007, 11:47 p.m. ET

I cannot tell you how much I enjoy listening to bagpipes when I'm trying to fall asleep… OK, just kidding.

I bet I had you thinking, though… "Are you serious?" No, for the record, I am not a huge fan of bagpipes. However, it is police week here in D.C. (believe me, I am very thankful for all the men and women who put their lives on the line each day) where almost 70,000 police officers from all over the country have come together. But for some reason, some of the officers have been outside our hotel playing bagpipes until 4 a.m. for each of the past few days. I am ever thankful for my iPod, which has provided ample interference.

Tonight I was able to reconnect with some familiar faces from back home. There was an alumni event here in D.C., and SDSU asked if I would be able to attend. Since practice didn't interfere, I was eager to meet some fellow Jackrabbits in the area (and yes, if you are wondering, we're the only school in the country with such an amazing mascot!). Many young graduates from the past five years are working at the Capitol here in town. It was great to meet them and exchange information. Meeting new people and friends makes Washington feel a little more like home. All of the other alumni were great as well. Many offered to allow me into their homes for a nice home-cooked meal, although I am not sure they know how much I eat…. If they knew, I wonder if the offer would still be on the table? : Almost none of them have been to a Mystics game before, but of course they're now very interested in attending after tonight. I encouraged them to come watch us play, especially with my family being so far away. The feeling you have when you know someone in the stands is pretty wonderful.

Back to the basketball court, our exhibition season is officially over. Our last game against the Israeli team went pretty well. We finally had everyone back in a Mystic jersey and we won pretty handily. Laurie Koehn proved once again that she's simply not human, going 8-for-9 from downtown. I was really disappointed with myself afterwards because I didn't play my best. In fact, I'm not sure I have played that poorly since my freshman year in college.

Right now I am just trying to learn as much as I can and be a sponge, absorbing everything around me. Coach A's system is almost the complete opposite from our system in college, so I am taking completely different shots at different points within the offense. It is forcing me to expand my game and learn a whole new scheme, which is really great for my game. However, it's not going to happen overnight (which I seem to learn the hard way each time), which means I haven't been as successful as I expect to be. But I am learning to be patient, take it all in and keep working as hard as possible.

I knew I was past the "vacation stay" here in Washington when I finished off an entire tube of toothpaste. Seriously, I had no idea I had been here that long. But tonight I went to brush my teeth and could barely get anything out of the tube.

On an exciting note, my Mom and Dad are coming out to Washington this weekend. I could not be more excited to have them here and show them around a bit. Yes, yes, I said I will be showing them around… Let's just hope I don't get them lost. If so, at least I won't be lost alone this time, right?

Off to bed.

Dinner at the Embassy
-Posted by Megan Vogel - May 10, 2007, 11:24 p.m. ET

Megan Vogel, lover of hummus.
Photo: Courtesy of DC BasketCases
There are certain sporting events I really enjoy watching on television. First would be March Madness (both men's and women's), then the Masters, and also the NBA playoffs. I am not a longtime fanatic about any one team, but right now, I happen to like Golden State (even though they are down 2-0 in the series… I love underdogs!), and my other favorite is Phoenix because of my main man Steve Nash. So here I am typing away, with the playoffs on TV in the background. I also decided that Charles Barkley and company have the greatest jobs in the world (second, of course, to playing). Color commentary for basketball games? Where do I sign up?

We (the Mystics… man, it feels weird to say that… but a GREAT kind of weird) just returned from a dinner tonight at the Israeli Embassy here in D.C. We were there with our coaches, Mystics season ticket holders, other important people and the Israeli national team. Thankfully, I was not the only one who forgot my ID, which of course we needed to get into the event -- Laurie Koehn, Coco Miller and Nikki Blue were all in the same boat. I am not sure why I didn't think I would need my ID to get into an embassy. However, I just snuck into the middle of our pack, smiled nicely and they seemed to be OK with it.

I had a few season ticket holders come up to me and offer to teach me more about the layout of the city, maybe in hopes of helping my future explorations here in the District. They probably read my blog and felt sorry for me. I would not have thought much of it if it was just a person or two, but there was a handful of wonderfully helpful people willing to drop some knowledge on this small-town rookie. After tonight, I probably know more about this city then some who have lived here for years. :)

Also, Linda Hargrove -- or "Ms. Linda" as everyone calls her -- somehow convinced me to try hummus. She told me it was smashed up peas. It was late in the afternoon, I was hungry and tired, and yes, my guard was down. But somehow she got me to thinking it was a great idea. Thanks, Ms. Linda, for the effort, but I don't think I'll be adding hummus to the list of things I regularly eat.

On another note, it is always great meeting people who are huge fans of women's basketball. I remember meeting some of our season ticket holders at SDSU for the first time, and one thing is for sure, while they may not know each other personally, both of them are great fans and great people. ;)

The fan feedback is great. Hearing from so many of you with the congratulations and wishes of good luck brings just a huge smile to my face.

More basketball stories to come next time. Also, I'll try to answer a few questions.

My first media day is tomorrow. Wish me luck. Goodnight!

Dirty Laundry
-Posted by Megan Vogel - May 8, 2007, 10:32 p.m. ET

Megan Vogel, college graduate.
Welcome to another edition of… Wait, this really does not have a specific title… so welcome to another blog… brought to you by yours truly! I am currently writing from Laurie Koehn's apartment (you know, the one who I'm still not convinced is human because of her ability to shoot the ball?). She was willing to take me in for the night, allowing me to do laundry at her place because I couldn't put it off anymore (and because I was too scared to try and find a laundromat). I had already bought two pairs of new socks to get me through our last road trip, so I could almost hear my wallet saying, "DO YOUR LAUNDRY!"

Sometimes it's nice to get out of the hotel for a while. I am one of those people who needs space every now and then, so living in a hotel room for an extended period of time hasn't been a bad thing. But it's been a learning experience.

I'm still a little giddy from graduation back in Brookings. It was great… well worth the trip back. You cannot explain the feeling you get walking across the stage, picking up your diploma and knowing you just received a college degree. Of course, my actual degree was not inside. I'm told they mail you the real thing… I hope I am not the only one they said that to… Ha.

It also felt wonderful to go home, even if it was only for a few hours. I needed it. I missed my family and friends. A bunch of my college teammates came over to my apartment that my roommate had decorated with balloons for me (she is the best roommate someone can have and of course my best friend). We got to talking, and before I knew it, I had to leave.

Apparently, we left Brookings a little late, leaving only about 25 minutes until take-off when I arrived at the airport in Sioux Falls. That was a huge stressor to my father, but I shook it off because in Sioux Falls it takes less than 10 minutes to get through security. I made it through in time. Heck, I was even able to grab a quick Diet Mountain Dew before I hopped onto the flight. Then the emotions hit. I had to turn off my cell phone, and I suddenly felt sad and emotional about leaving. But I sat there and reminded myself what an amazing opportunity I have in front of me. After all, this is my dream at my fingertips and there is no way I am going to let it go without giving it everything I have.

On my flight back to Columbus, I was exhausted. So as soon as I sat down in my seat, I was out. The plane was empty and the seat next to me was open, so I had two seats to myself. But when I woke up, I wasn't laying against the window like I remembered. My head and arms had fallen over into the seat next to me, but my rear end was still in my original seat… I am still not sure when or how I switched to that position!

Anyway, back to basketball. Our first two exhibition games were real learning experiences for me. We still are missing a few post players, so we were very small in both games. I think we learned a lot about each other and about the things we need to do to make sure we perform better the next time we step on the floor.

I have not been playing very well the past couple days. This style is very different from my college style, so each day I try to learn more and more. I have to make sure to stay positive with myself -- I am a bit of a perfectionist -- and just be a sponge to everything around me. I know I will work as hard as I can, and God will take care of the rest.

Now that I am done with school, my daily routine has changed. And I could not be happier with it. Eat, practice, eat, nap, shoot, eat, sleep… and of course write a blog or two every now and again.

Time to sleep.

-Vogel

Hoops, Z's and Automobiles
-Posted by Megan Vogel - May 5, 2007, 4:08 a.m. CT

The time is currently 4:08 a.m. on Saturday morning. I am writing to you on my road trip back to Brookings, S.D. -- otherwise known as B-Town to us locals -- where in a couple of hours, I'll be graduating from college.

My first WNBA game is officially in the books. Well, not OFFICIALLY… since preseason games really don't count toward our win/loss record, but it still feels good to have the first one under my belt.

The bad news? We lost by three last night. I hate losing. For some reason, it just gets me deep down. I find myself replaying the game in my head, and the only thing that makes me feel better is getting back into the gym to work on my game. Still, this game was good for us because I think it helped teach us the areas in which we need to improve. Simple things like communication, matchups and blocking out are all areas we need to improve upon. Preseason games are always tough at any level because you are trying to find your niche and gel as a team. You never hit on all cylinders in the first game, but I think our team has the potential to do unbelievable things this year.

My college coaches AJ and Melum came to the game tonight. I could not believe they actually drove eight hours to Milwaukee to come to my game, and then turned right around and headed back to Brookings. Remember that idea of family I discussed earlier? This is a great example of what I was talking about. How many coaches would drive 16 hours for a basketball game without a potential recruit in mind? I can't tell them how much it meant to me. So if you guys are reading this… THANKS!

Back to our drive. The setting? Well, for the first couple of hours, I slept. I have a thing with cars and buses where I am just out like a light as soon as the wheels start turning. Funny story: When I was a kid, my parents used to drive me around in the car to put me to sleep because sometimes it was the only thing that worked. As soon as they figured that out, they decided to try to outsmart me, the 1-year-old child. They put me in my car seat, sat me on top of the dryer and turned it on. Same effect as the car. And this chubby (when I say chubby, I mean very chubby!) kid didn't know the difference. I was out. And for some reason, the car thing has stuck with me, and I can still be asleep in minutes. This trip, though, I am trying to change my ways and make it through. Stay tuned for the conclusion… ha!

By the way, you should see how prepared my mom was for this road trip. Snacks, water, pillows, blankets and everything else that moms never seem to forget. Is there some special website or meeting place where all mothers exchange information with each other? Moms just seem to remember everything! How is that possible?

Just did another quick swap of drivers. No one seemed to want me to drive. I'm thinking my parents have been reading my blogs about getting lost in the big city. They have lost faith in my navigational skills.

My eyes are getting heavy. I think I know the conclusion to the story above… Sorry, everyone. I'll work on staying awake on the next road trip.

A Concussion, Lost Keys and Warm Cookies
-Posted by Megan Vogel - May 4, 2007, 12:28 a.m. CT

Megan poses for a photo on Mystics media day.
Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images
Just settling into the hotel room for the night. We have made the trip to Milwaukee and play our first exhibition game Friday against Chicago. We had a short practice today before heading to the airport for our trip.

So I ACCIDENTALLY gave one of my teammates a concussion two days ago. I felt horrible. Especially since a few days before we were both diving for a loose ball and she cut open her chin so deeply, she had to get a plastic surgeon to stitch her up. Linda (Hargrove, our general manager) saw me walking down on the court the other day and made a wide circle. "I am going to steer clear of you," she said. "I don't want a black eye, concussion or cut-open chin." It was all in good fun, though. She said she was just kidding.

Just before we left for Milwaukee, in another minor mishap, I was told I would need to move my car as it was blocking someone else in. And I apparently forgot to leave my keys in the car. Of course, this was just before our trip. And guess what I forgot to pack in my bag? You guessed it… my keys. So here I am dressed in khakis and a nice shirt, sprinting back to the hotel to ensure I didn't miss the bus and my chance to go on the trip altogether. I felt like one of those people in the movies sprinting to catch the bus in their nice "business attire." Let me tell you though, if I had been in heels (OK, I have only worn them maybe twice in my life, but let's just say for the sake of argument…) I would never have made it. I even got some weird looks from people on the street. But if they knew the reason I was sprinting, I'm sure they would understand.

The flight out here was great, mostly because we were served WARM chocolate chip cookies on the plane! It was by far the best airplane snack I ever had. The funny part of this story is that I was sleeping when they started passing out the cookies, so if it weren't for my keen sense of smell, I would not have gotten to enjoy the experience. Literally, when I was half-asleep/half-awake, I thought I smelled something great, but I figured I might be leaning more toward dreaming and the half-asleep side. I woke up just enough to adjust my sleeping position and BAM… I spotted the cookies! I was darn sure I was awake when the cart made its way back to my seat!

***

The feedback from everyone is great. It feels good to get the messages of congratulations and good luck. It's fun to hear from people I have not been able to see since I left for college! Thank you!

A couple answers to the questions…

Megan from S.D. writes:

When did you start playing basketball and how hard did you have to work to get to the WNBA. Also, I love your name!!!

I started playing basketball around 3rd or 4th grade. I originally wanted to play hockey but my mom vetoed it, so I picked up basketball and fell in love with it. I had to work really hard (and still do) to get to where I am today. I was definitely not the most athletic basketball player as a kid (and this holds true as an adult now) and had to spend countless hours working on my game. I loved going to camps when I was little. I used to ask for money for my birthday so I could go to more camps. One great piece of advice I learned from a great coach, Bob Erdman, was to focus on what you put into the hours rather than how many hours you put in.
P.S. I really like your name as well!

Jordan from California writes:

Hey Megan do you think you will get used to the new environment?

Yes, I do think I will get used to the new environment. Every day I seem to experience something new and "spread my wings" as they say. The difficult part for me right now is being away from my family and friends back home. Right now I am focusing on taking things one day at a time and before I know it, one day turns into one week and so on and so forth. I am doing my best to make a roster right now, so I do not have much time to think about anything other than that one goal, which also helps.

Steven from California writes:

What is your favorite restaurant?

By far my favorite restaurant is my mom or grandma's cooking. My sister's boyfriend is also a chef, so I cannot leave him out of this equation either. But by far, any meal my mom or grandma cooks is my favorite. But I'm guessing that is not the answer you were looking for, so if I had to pick some of my favorite restaurants they would be Chipotle and Olive Garden (wow, that made me hungry just typing that… I wonder if there is one around our hotel… mmmmmm).

I will be enjoying a wonderful road trip back to Brookings with my parents after the game to make it to my graduation on Saturday morning, so I will fill you in soon on the game, graduation and, of course, another wonderful day of travel! Until next time…

-Vogel

The Changing of the Guard
-Posted by Megan Vogel - April 29, 2007, 11:15 p.m. ET

Hello again from the nation's capital! We are back in action after our day off Saturday. I think it did everyone good to have a day to get away and get their legs back. How did I spend my day, you ask?

I heard that the "Changing of the Guard" at Arlington National Cemetery is nothing short of amazing, so I embarked on a small journey to see it for myself. I knew that the Wizards-Cavs playoff game was that night, so driving back into downtown (and especially getting into the Verizon Center for parking) would be a mess, so I decided to take "The Metro"… a.k.a. the subway! I have never taken any public transportation like this, so I figured I'd chalk it up to new experience number 15 or so by now.

I was on the phone with my mom when I hopped on the escalator down underground to the Metro. I was telling her about my latest adventure, when all of a sudden it was:

"Mom? Mom? Are you there?"

Yep, I lost the signal. I knew she would most likely be freaking out on the other end, so I made sure to call as soon as I got my signal back.

"I am fine Mom… just lost my signal." (I added a nice chuckle in there at the end… although I am pretty sure she did not find it quite as comical… love ya, Mom!)

Anyway, back to the trip. First, Arlington Cemetery is much larger than I ever imagined. It was just a shock to the system and made me realize how I should be grateful everyday for those soldiers, past and present, who put their lives on the line for my freedom. The changing of the guard was spectacular (read the description here). Everything was done exactly right and with such precision. It was hard not just to keep watching it over and over again.

But I have a question: What if they had an itch? I am not trying to be stupid, but seriously, you know when your nose itches or you just have to scratch your arm? How annoying is it when you can't? It's the worst feeling! Now imagine that you have to wait an entire hour before you have the freedom to make that feeling go away? Now that's discipline!

After that, AB (Alana Beard) had us out to her place for some "soul food" according to her and TJ. (Of course, I had to ask what "soul food" technically is.) TJ is the cook of our team, and a darn good one, too! AB has a great place with an unbelievable shoe collection. Remember I told you about all of the sneakers in my closet? Well, I have a bit of a problem when it comes to shoes. If you ask the people who know me, they'd tell you it's more than "a bit of a problem" and more like an "obsession." But the good news for me is that AB is my same shoe size!!! Could I be luckier? I told her to feel free to hand down any she does not like or want!

I have gotten a few questions from you fans, so I thought I would answer a couple:

IB from California writes:

Could you write about specific drills you do and about the process of learning defense and offense with Mystics?

I think a big misconception people have when it comes to moving up a level is that they think you have to "re-invent the wheel." In other words, individually you have to do the same things (have a great work ethic, fight for loose balls, rebound, hustle, etc.) that got you to that point. The same thing goes with drills. The majority of the drills we do here are the same ones I did in college at South Dakota State. Granted there are little variations here and there, but they're nothing major. Learning Coach's offense has been a new experience for me. Looking back, I really have not had to learn a new offense for almost four years, so I am definitely feeling like a "rookie" in that regard. Defensively, it is a bit more one on one, but just like any defense, DON'T LET THE OFFENSE SCORE. :)

Ostarello from S.D. writes:

Vogs... It sounds like you are having a heck of a time! Camp this summer won't be the same without you! Just want to wish you the best of luck and if you could tell me what lifting program you were on, that would be great!

Hey, kiddo! Good to hear from you. Funny you ask about lifting, because I get asked that question a lot. One of my teammates (who I will not name) asked me when I got here: "So, do you bail hay? Is that how you got that ripped?" First, I laughed hysterically. Then I proceeded to tell her that while I am a country girl, I do live in the city and wouldn't even know the first thing about farming! I usually lift three times a week in the offseason, and at least twice a week during the season. I lift hard because once your body adjusts, you won't get as sore and you'll be getting that much stronger. I enjoy the Olympic lifts (power clean, squat, etc.) because I think they are very functional and serve multiple purposes. The biggest thing I can tell you is to find someone who is knowledgeable in the area and see if they are willing to help. Oh, and one more thing, and this is really important: Don't forget about cardio. Remember, it is not always the most talented athlete who gets the job done; it is usually the one who can sustain a high level while being mentally tough enough not to get tired.

Feel free to keep the questions coming. I might not get to them all, but I will do my best!

Goodnight!

-Vogel

Family Matters Back at SDSU
-Posted by Megan Vogel - April 26, 2007, 11:30 p.m. ET

The past two days have been very busy. Yesterday my college coach Aaron Johnston announced he was resigning and taking the head coaching position at UW-Green Bay. Then today, he had a change of heart and decided to stay at South Dakota State. Those people who are outside of the program and system might not understand his decision, but having been a part of the program at South Dakota State, I get it. It's special. We are a family and I think AJ realized he is an integral part of that family. AJ is one of the most influential people in my life. He taught me so many lessons on and off the court and is one of the main reasons I am who and where I am today. I could not be happier that he has decided to stay at SDSU. The hardest part of the situation was not being able to be there to show him my support!

My assistant coach from college (Laurie Melum) called me today! I have not been able to talk with her since I left (with the exception of text messages), so it was great! I love D.C., but I do get a little homesick every now and again.

Practice is going well. We have had five days of training camp and I finally think I'm getting a feel for things. C-Rob (Crystal Robinson) is one of the great leaders of our team. She is also funny and a heck of a baller.

You should see me driving around D.C. like a pro the past two days! Well, maybe I'm not technically a pro… I would say I am going to keep my amateur status for a while… but I do have the route down to Trinity and back (knock on wood). I still have my "security blanket" -- the directions -- in my lap while I'm driving just to make myself feel better.

I found a great market right around the corner from my hotel that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets for a reasonable price. I was walking out to go to practice in the morning, and was I was absolutely STARVING (weird, right? me hungry?). I knew there was nothing on my "regular" (when I say regular, I mean over the past two days) route to the Verizon Center, so I thought I would go around to the other side of the building to check if there was anything… and "Hello, Market-to-Market!" I'm now using a new regular route. I make a regular stop every morning on my way to the arena.

Early practice tomorrow, so I am headed to bed!

-Vogel

Country Girl in the Nation's Capital
-Posted by Megan Vogel - April 24, 2007, 11:04 p.m. ET

My apologies for the brief hiatus. I have spent the last couple days and nights trying to crank out as much schoolwork as possible to keep on pace to graduate. Things have been incredibly busy lately. With all of the travel, I have not had a lot of time to get much done, so the past two days were much needed.

So far I have been through three days of training camp and have a few stories I would like to share. You all like my stories… right?

I have heard of "pure shooters," and I've even seen a few on TV. But I've never actually seen a legit "pure shooter" in person. Well, I have to look no further, because I found one… Laurie Koehn. Literally, the girl makes EVERY shot when she is open and almost every one when she has a hand in her face. So what does she do when people are right on her at the 3-point line? Yeah, she moves back even further and drains it from deep! You have to cover her all the way out to her car!!! But the best part is that she is a SMALL-TOWN KID LIKE ME!

So I managed to get myself lost… AGAIN… only this time I was in downtown D.C. Here is what happened: I was on "H" Street. (By the way, roads here are named after both numbers and letters… yes, letters!?!?!… and the letters don't always remain the same. One might suddenly turn from D to Delaware or something of that nature. Confusing… I know!) Anyway, the road split and my 50/50 guess at staying on the right one failed me. I took the wrong way at the fork and ended up heading toward NE instead of NW. (Also, roads are not named for the direction you are going, but the quadrant of the city you are in.) Now, where I am from, I can just turn on a side street, flip a U and get going back in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, this is tougher in downtown D.C. To make a long story short, I was able to find a turnaround point and make my way back (with the help of one of my coaches… thanks, Coach Meadors!). This time, instead of being scared, I just had to laugh. Then next time it happens (I am willing to go on a limb and say it is going to happen again and again and probably again), maybe I will be able to find my way back on my own.

Back to basketball. Our team is really great. For example, AB (Alana Beard) and TJ (Tamara James) thought it would be funny to quiz me on my hip-hop knowledge before practice today. My grade? F. My excuse? "Hey guys, I am a country girl."

Speaking of being a country girl, there's another related story from Rookie Orientation. In the first session, we were all supposed to get up, introduce ourselves and say where we were from and something about where we came from. I had no idea what to say, so when it was my turn, I came up with this: "Hello, my name is Megan Vogel. I am headed to the Washington Mystics and played college at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. I have never lived anywhere that is not considered a 'small town.' In other words, my sophomore year, a Super Wal-Mart came to Brookings and it was a BIG DEAL!" Everyone chuckled a bit, and the next person took her turn. Leah Rush from Oklahoma backed me up, though. She said she wouldn't know what to do without her Wal-Mart back in Norman. I even received the "Oh, you're the Wal-Mart girl" response a few times. I guess that's what you get for talking off the top of your head.

Until next time (which will be sooner rather than later)…

-Vogel

An Alarming Experience
-Posted by Megan Vogel - April 21, 2007, 11:09 p.m. ET

Well, Rookie Orientation is over. Two sessions this morning and everyone went their separate ways.

I am very thankful for my roommate, Ms. Goring's internal clock that told her she needed to get up this morning. I set my alarm on my cell phone last night for 7:30 a.m. because we were starting at 8:30am. I figured this would give us plenty of time to get everything packed, get dressed, check out and make it down to breakfast to eat, eat and eat some more. Great plan, right? Only my cell phone alarm did not go off. Yes, we overslept. But Gillian woke up at 8 a.m. and thankfully woke me up as well. Otherwise, I would have been knocked out for the entire morning. Not good… not good at all. (I should mention that I still got to eat, eat and eat some more! You have to pick your priorities when you're pressed for time!!! : )

Other than that minor alarm hold-up, the weekend was great! I forgot to mention that yesterday, we had some people speak to us about possible jobs during the offseason, and it was probably one of my favorite parts of the weekend. Apparently, there are opportunities at cool places like ESPN, Fox Sports Net and NBA TV… all of which had me so excited, I wanted to tell whoever I needed to… YES! Sign me up!

There were also many opportunities presented to us for community interaction within our respective cities. I loved doing those types of things in Brookings - especially, for some reason, public speaking… weird, I know! -- and I look forward to those types of events here in D.C.

My trip back to D.C. was normal, although there was a woman in the row behind me and across the aisle who brought her dog on the plane with her. First, I didn't know you could even bring a dog on a plane! Is any animal acceptable as long as "it fits underneath the seat in front of you?" Second, it wasn't your typical ankle-biter, either… it was a regular-sized small dog (if that makes sense). I am unsure if it made any noise, as I was awake only to see it walk by and didn't wake up until the wheels touched down in D.C.

I am actually staying in a hotel in downtown D.C. now. I am next to the Verizon Center, which is great, although we're not going to be there for training camp. We are headed out to Trinity College.

I better get some sleep so I am rested for the first day of practice tomorrow! Remember, no regrets… opportunity of a lifetime… HERE I COME!

Goodnight!

Information Overload at Rookie Orientation
-Posted by Megan Vogel - April 21, 2007, 12:13 a.m. CT

"Renee Brown ... said she liked my suit," writes Vogel. "Good pick, mom!"
NBAE Images
Ctrl + Alt + Del. Have you ever done that to your computer when it's frozen? It usually happens because of an information overload to the hard drive. Well, if there is a way to Ctrl + Alt + Del my brain, feel free to let me know. Today we "rookies" took in about as much information as was humanly possible. All of it was helpful, and we even had a little fun along the way.

First, I would like to say I am incredibly thankful that my father is a CPA. During our financial planning session, we learned about 401k plans, IRAs, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money markets and every other way you can think of to invest your money. Right now, my father does most of my financial planning. Right before I came out we were discussing possible ways to invest. After today, though, I am sold on the idea of investing the max in my 401k… although I do still have one question: Why is it called a 401k? Does anyone know? I did not raise my hand to ask.

We also had a session on media training and Lisa Bercu-Levine was one of the most interesting and fun speakers. It is no mystery why she coaches people on how to speak in public when she does it so well herself.

By far the greatest part of the day was the WNBA panel. Six current and past WNBA players were here to field our questions and to give us advice. After all, who better to learn from than those who have come before us? And the best part? Cynthia Cooper and Jennifer Azzi were on the panel. Yes, two of the biggest legends in women's basketball history were in the same room… AND I WAS THERE, TOO! I had to wipe my eyes just to make sure I wasn't seeing things.

I had quite a few people come up to me today and tell me they had read my blog and laughed about my "business attire" comments. Then I was speaking with Ms. Renee Brown (One of the classiest women I have ever met! She also said she liked my suit. Good pick, mom!), and I was expanding on the story a little bit. She told me I should put it in my blog, so here is a little expansion on my shopping experience:

Shopping for dress clothes is much more difficult than I thought it would be. For example, we (my mom, dad and I) were in a store, and I had already tried on quite a few suit jackets only to find that my shoulders are somewhat large and keep me from bringing my hands together once the suit jacket is on. Well, I could bring them together… only you would then see a large rip down the back of the jacket… usually not a good thing when you don't yet own the clothing. I think stores generally frown upon that approach! Also, I figured walking around with my hands permanently extended out to my sides would not look or feel very "casual." Anyway, after trying on coat after coat after coat, I put one on, and it fit… EVERYWHERE! What a great feeling! We took it!

I'm getting ready to leave Chicago, so I'll have more for you all tomorrow along with a recap of another day of travel back to D.C.

Just a little over a day until training camp starts… I cannot wait! Cynthia Cooper's advice for training camp: "Go out and take advantage of every opportunity that is presented in front of you." That is my plan. No regrets.

Until next time!

-Vogel

Sweet Home... Chicago?
-Posted by Megan Vogel - April 19, 2007, 10:46 p.m. CT

Remember the song On the Road Again, by Willie Nelson? I think it would make a good theme song for me. I do not mind the travel, though. I am having fun and getting to see places I have only dreamed of seeing, so I can't complain!

I'm in Chicago for the Rookie Orientation, and my roommate here is my future teammate with the Mystics, Gillian Goring. She is a great person… very nice and has a cool accent. I wonder if she thinks I have one?

I just finished my first session of the orientation. Dinner was great, and we had two very informational sessions about nutrition and hydration. To say I am a picky eater is a bit of an understatement. If you ask my teammates back home about it, they'd laugh. Simply put, I eat only 10-15 things. Literally. Pizza, pasta (plain, with no sauce! When I went out for dinner Wednesday night in Washington, I ordered the chicken and shrimp broccoli pasta… minus the shrimp, broccoli, sauce and tomatoes. All I wanted were the chicken, noodles and parmesan cheese. Yum!) fruit, granola bars, cereal, meat and potatoes (I am from this Midwest, and it is a cardinal sin not eat both of those). Maybe a few other things, but that is about it. Remember, though, I eat those frequently and in large quantities. The nutritionist gave me her contact info and said she would help set up a program for me.

One of the best parts about this weekend is getting to know all of the other rookies. Even though we all are coming from programs across the country and going to teams all over the nation, there is a common bond and connection between us. After all, we are the class of 2007.

Wake-up call is around 7:15 a.m. tomorrow, so I better head to bed. Remember my snooze problem?

Goodbye, South Dakota... Hello, D.C.!
-Posted by Megan Vogel - April 17, 2007, 9:30 p.m. ET

D.C., Here I come!

6:30 a.m. CT: Wake up call! I should mention that I am not exactly a morning person. I am OK once I get out of bed, but the actual act of getting out of bed is often a slight problem for me. I have a disease known as the "snooze problem." I find myself pushing snooze over and over and over again… usually until it is 10 minutes from the time when I am supposed to be somewhere. I am never late, though! (Well, according to my grandma, on time is technically late. She told me I should always be 10 minutes early… I keep telling her I am working on it.) Luckily for me, I live in Brookings, and you can get anywhere on campus in less than 10 minutes. I am thinking D.C. might be a bit different.

Anyway, I decided to get in a light agility workout this morning with our strength coach since I will be sitting on a plane for most of the day. Some of my teammates were there working out, too. Nice to see they are still hungry and already preparing to rip it up next season!

I cannot wait to get into a gym and get real a basketball workout in. I have not been able to play since Friday because our campus was taken over by the annual FFA convention. What's FFA, you ask? Future Farmers of America! Yes, you're reading correctly. I didn't know anything about it until I came to South Dakota State, but apparently it's a pretty big deal in South Dakota. High schools kids from all over S.D. in navy coats have taken over our campus. Both gyms were being used, which put me out of commission for the weekend. I tend to get antsy when I can't go shoot or play on consecutive days.

8:30 a.m. CT: I had to run a few errands and say one last goodbye before my roommate picked me up and we made the trek down to the Sioux Falls airport. Last night and this morning it's been really hard to say goodbye to the people I love. I know I am going to come back and see them, but anytime you leave home, it takes a little piece of your heart.

11:03 a.m. CT: I have come to the conclusion that flying with my team and flying alone are two completely different experiences. When I fly with the team, all I have to do is follow the pack, show my ID when told to do so, and then someone always wakes me up to make sure I am on the correct flight. Traveling alone is a completely different story. I am too scared to fall asleep at my gate, because I am a SOUND SLEEPER! Most likely, I would wake up a few hours after my flight had left, so to cover that problem, I forced myself to stay awake. Instead of sleeping, I found myself texting away. My parents always chuckle when they tell me how many text messages I went through the previous month. Here is how last night's typical conversation with mom and dad played out:

Mom: "You had 1,500 text messages last month."
Dad: "What happened? That's a down month for you!"

:) Thank goodness for unlimited texting!

Goodbye, South Dakota! I am officially on board, heading to Minneapolis before catching a connecting flight to D.C. It always feels good to touch down in Minnesoooooooota, even if it's just for an hour layover.

12:13 p.m. CT: Landed in Minnesota. First task? FOOD!!! I am starving. You should know that I eat A LOT of food. And when I say a lot, I do not mean a second helping… we are talking third and fourth helpings, not to mention snacks throughout the day. Let's just say I am worried about the day I stop playing and working out so hard, and I can no longer eat 24 hours a day! Ask my sister: She used to tease me and call me "food eyes" when I was younger because she thought I could always spot a good place to eat before anyone.

6:30 p.m. ET: I am officially in my new home! All I can say is… WOW! After landing in D.C., the car service picked me up and drove me to the apartment complex where I will be staying until I leave for Chicago on Thursday. The apartment is nothing short of amazing. First, let's backtrack for a second. Before getting to my apartment, I went to the leasing office to pick up my keys. Within the building there is a fitness center, business center, pool and indoor basketball court! Yes, an indoor basketball court. I asked the nice lady who was showing me around what the hours for the fitness center and gym are. Her response? They're open 24 hours!!! I smiled from ear to ear. "So you are telling me there is a place I can run, lift and shoot 24 hours a day?" I asked. At this point, I could be living in a box and I'd still be happy. But believe me, my apartment is no box. It is the nicest apartment I have ever seen in person. There is even a fireplace in the living room! I am so happy and thankful the Mystics have decided to let me stay in such an incredible place.

8:45 p.m. ET: After getting my things settled, I knew I needed to find some food. (You thought I was kidding when I said I ate a lot? Let's just say that the guy sitting next me on the plane thought I was nuts when he saw that there was one section of my backpack dedicated strictly to snacks!) Being in a new city without knowing anyone is a little scary for me. Correction… it's really scary. I am a small-town kid who grew up in a town of 9,000. Just for reference, in Arlington - where I am staying, just outside of D.C. - the population is just over 200,000. However, this is a part of growing up and spreading my wings, so I embarked on an adventure to find some grub. I took the car, and decided to go get lost. Well, getting lost wasn't really the plan, but I did. I was doing fine for the first few minutes, but then before I knew it, I had a taken a few right turns, along with a couple lefts, and had no idea where I was. The worst part was that I was in another housing district, so I couldn't exactly go up to some stranger's door and ask where I was. I had the dry throat and sweaty palms, and my heart was beating faster and faster. So I stopped my car, said a quick prayer, started backtracking and, before I knew it, I was back on a familiar road. I think from this point on, if I decide to go exploring, I am going to do it during the daylight.

9:30 p.m. ET: I am going to hit up the fitness center for a while, then I am going to get a good night's rest. I am going to go see the Verizon Center tomorrow… I am beyond excited!

Background from Brookings
-Posted by Megan Vogel - April 16, 2007, 7:44 p.m. CT

Vogel impressed at the WNBA Pre-Draft Camp.
Gregory Shamus/NBAE/Getty Images
To start this off, I thought I might introduce myself and give a little background information, since most people outside of Brookings and St. Peter really don't know very much about me, except from what they saw on draft day.

I am originally from St. Peter, Minnesota. It's a small college town in the southern part of the state and is one of those places where everyone looks out for everyone else. You can ride your bike late at night down the street and you can leave your car running when you go into the grocery store to keep it warm during the winter. That's an essential when you live in Minnesoooooooota! (I'm told I have a bit of an accent… so I thought I would let it come through in print as well!) Anyway, it's a nice little town. I like to tell people I grew up there.

Brookings, South Dakota is similar to St. Peter, which is one of the reasons I decided to go to college there. It's another small, college town where the community takes you in as part of their family.

And our fans… I have to tell you about our fans. They are amazing. For one of our WNIT games this year, they sold out Frost Arena in less than four hours. Tickets went on sale at 1 p.m. and there was a line at 10 a.m. In South Dakota. In March. "Amazing" is the only word I can use to describe them.

As for school, I will graduate this May with a degree in Health, Physical Education & Recreation. I would like to attend graduate school this fall to get a master's in Sports Administration. Basically, I am a sports fanatic. I want to be around the game for as long as possible; first as a player, then as a coach!

Now that you know a little background information, let's get to the exciting stuff! I am guessing you are wondering what things have been like since draft day. Well, it has been… CRAZY! Yes, crazy seems like a good word to use. I have had a lot of people come up to me this past week and say, "Well, are you enjoying your time off before you have to leave?" Wait… time off? Haha, I have to chuckle when I hear that. There is no time for a break when training camp starts in two weeks! I am one of those people who will go lift or shoot if I am bored, if I need to waste some time, or, heck, even if I just want to put off doing other things! :)

But, first, I have been taking care of things to ensure that I graduate this spring. Getting my degree is a priority that I take very seriously. To make sure I can accomplish that goal, I have been getting all my work done for the rest of the semester before I take off for Washington this Tuesday.

When I am not getting things in order for school, you can find me in one of two places: the gym or the weight room. (Nancy Lieberman, if you happen to read this… no, I am not working on my tan, but someday I will get to it! By the way, my aunt got me a bottle of self-tanner as a going-away present… I think it was more to make fun of me… but it's all good.) Our strength coach kicked my butt all last week. IT WAS GREAT! I got a lift in on Monday, and when Tuesday morning came, I went to put on my socks, only to find that I couldn't put them on standing up because I couldn't reach down to my feet. No, I am not that old, but I was that sore!

In addition to lifting, my coaches have been nice enough to take me through some individual basketball workouts. Individual workouts are one of my favorite things about being a college basketball player… mostly because you get to either shoot or take it to the rack for an hour straight! Honestly, what's more fun than that? If I am not working out with my coaches, you can usually find me on a shooting machine called "The Gun." It is without a doubt one of my favorite things, right next to my grandma's cooking -- nothing can top grandma's homemade cookies and bread! -- but this machine ranks right up there. You can shoot for hours on end and it rebounds all of your shots and gets you a pass right back. There is nothing better than hooking up my iPod and letting loose on the gun for a while!

That is what my past week and half has consisted of. Sunday, I went shopping down in Sioux Falls to get some dress clothes for Rookie Orientation. Yep, dress clothes! Let's just say this: I am not your typical girly type who dresses up all the time. To give you a mental picture of my closet, it consists of t-shirts, hoodies, sweats, shoes, shoes and more shoes. (Wait, let's rephrase that. By "shoes" I could mean nice black or brown dress shoes… and there is only one pair of each of those! Instead, I'll say sneakers, sneakers and more sneakers.) There is however a small (and I really want to emphasize SMALL) section where I have some "regular" clothes… jeans, khakis, nice shirts, etc. So our task today was to find some "nice business-looking attire," according to my mother. The verdict? Mission accomplished!

It was great to spend time with my mom and dad before I leave. I am very close to my family, so spending time with them before I leave means a lot to me.

Well, I need to start packing. I leave for D.C. on Tuesday!

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