Apr 11, 2023

2023 WNBA Draftee Press Conference Transcript

2023 WNBA Draftee Press Conference Transcript
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The draftees of the 2023 WNBA draft speak. Read the transcript here.

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Moderator (00:00):

With Aliyah Boston, and we’re going to start with questions in the room before turning to Zoom. Aliyah, your first question will come from the first row to your left.

Speaker 1 (00:45):

The mic, to right here. First row.

Doug Feinberg (00:50):

Hey Aliyah, Doug Feinberg with the Associated Press. Congrats on going number one.

Aliyah Boston (00:52):

Thank you.

Doug Feinberg (00:53):

What does it mean to be drafted first? And also I think you’re the first number one pick in Indiana history.

Aliyah Boston (00:58):

Oh, I mean it’s just really special. I’m thankful first to God just for putting me in this position, but also thankful to everybody in Indiana just because they saw something in me and I’m just ready to get there and get to work.

Howard Megdal (01:21):

There we go. Hi Aliyah, Howard Megdal with The Next. Congratulations.

Aliyah Boston (01:25):

Thank you.

Howard Megdal (01:26):

I’m curious what your conversations, if any, have been with Lin Dunn? Obviously you bring a two-way play to this game, but in particular your defensive prowess was above and beyond and something that Indiana definitely needed, so take me through what those conversations have been like.

Aliyah Boston (01:43):

Yeah, we talked quite a few times and she’s just saying that she’s just super excited to get to know me. She was very welcoming and I got to talk to the entire staff and it just almost made me feel at home even before this was a real reality and so I’m just really thankful to everybody there.

Howard Megdal (02:00):

Thank you very much.

Aliyah Boston (02:00):

Of course.

Jackie Powell (02:03):

Oh, Aliyah, right here. Jackie Powell with The Next. First of all, congratulations.

Aliyah Boston (02:06):

Thank you.

Jackie Powell (02:07):

I want to understand the calculation you made and what helped you get here to be in this draft rather than maybe wanting to go back to South Carolina and pursue another season there.

Aliyah Boston (02:21):

Yeah, I mean, first off, everybody that has a COVID year definitely has a tough choice because I mean, you could either be somewhere where you’ve known the system, you’ve been there for four years or however many years it may be, versus coming into this new system, grownups and it’s almost like you’re starting over. But I mean it took a lot of thought because if I could go back to South Carolina again, I absolutely would because it was just so much fun, but I just knew that I had to do what was best for me and I definitely think just coming to the league, and I say that just because I’ve always wanted to do this, I’ve always wanted to be a professional basketball player and I just felt like moment was right. Usually, if I feel any doubt, if I feel any second guessing, I can say I’m just not going to do it, but I was just very confident in myself and so I didn’t want to make a different decision because I’m going to trust my gut.

Moderator (03:16):

Okay, next question.

Kris Rhim (03:16):

Kris Rhim, The New York Times. I heard you and Destiny kind of yelling over to the side. What was that like after when y’all talked and embraced? What was happening?

Aliyah Boston (03:24):

She was like, “We’re reunited and we’re teammates again.” I was like, “And it feels so good.” You know the song, “Reunited and…” Okay. So yeah, so that’s really what it was. But honestly super excited to be with Henny again. It was really great playing with her at South Carolina and so to already have that type of connection I think is really just going to help us.

Moderator (03:45):

Next question, second row to your left.

Alexa Philippou (03:46):

Congratulations, Aliyah.

Moderator (03:48):

Thank you.

Alexa Philippou (03:48):

Alexa Philippou, ESPN. To be able to go to a franchise like The Fever where they haven’t had success as recently, but they look at you as a player who can help get them back to the kind of that historic run that they’ve been able to make. What excites you most about that opportunity and how do you think you can help them reach those heights that they had before?

Aliyah Boston (04:05):

Just being able to learn from everyone that’s there already and then that includes the rookies from last year because they already have that pro life experience, so just being able to learn from them, but also to kind of be who I am and just continue to compete. I think everybody on the Fever now, they’re going to compete and we’re going to work hard and so I’m just really excited to get that started with everyone.

Moderator (04:27):

Aliyah, your next question will come from the first row to your right.

Pepper Persley (04:31):

Hi, Aliyah. Congratulations.

Aliyah Boston (04:32):

Thank you.

Pepper Persley (04:33):

Pepper Persley with Dish with Pepper. I’m just wondering how Coach Daley as a former WNBA player herself was able to prepare you for this moment.

Aliyah Boston (04:40):

Yeah. First of all, I just want to say I love you. I always see you interview people and I’m glad I like I’m here to get that. But she’s helped a lot. I think she’s just helped me to be the player that I am. Right now over the past four years she’s just been able to help guide my steps into what it is to be a pro, guide my habits, and for her to be in the crowd with the rest of our South Carolina crew. It’s just amazing.

Moderator (05:03):

Aliyah, next question, last row in the center.

Jalen Tart (05:06):

Hi Aliyah, Jalen Tart from WRHU. From what you’ve learned through the four years at South Carolina, what is the one thing that you are willing to take from what you learned to the pros?

Aliyah Boston (05:16):

Just being confident and also being confident in your leadership skills. I think that’s going to be the biggest thing. Making sure I’m able to use my voice, talk about what I’m seeing on the court just so I can be able to help my teammates, but also just the physicality that I bring. I’m trying to just be a dominant post player.

Moderator (05:35):

Okay. Next question. The last one from the room will be front row to your right. Front row right here. Sure.

Speaker 2 (05:48):

This is Ron [inaudible 00:05:49] with [inaudible 00:05:51]. Welcome to the WNBA, Aliyah.

Aliyah Boston (05:52):

Thank you.

Speaker 2 (05:53):

I just wanted to ask you, how does it feel to have the opportunity to pick up the legacy down on Tamika Catchings and a bunch of other players that put on an Indiana Fever jersey left off?

Aliyah Boston (06:01):

It feels really good. I’m excited to get in that fever jersey, get with my teammates and really get to work. I think it’s going to be an exciting season. Thank you.

Moderator (06:11):

All right. We’re going to turn to Zoom for a moment and we’re going to go in this order with three questions. We’re going to go to Emily, Megan, and Christos. Emily, go ahead.

Emily (06:21):

Hi, Aliyah. Sorry, you’ll have to forgive my voice. You’re here with three other teammates tonight. Dawn has talked a lot about being the dream merchant for your guys. Just what about South Carolina and the program over the last four years do you think has positioned you guys to all be here together tonight?

Aliyah Boston (06:38):

Yeah, just the way that we compete and the way that we work, I think we have all just put in a lot of work. God has really blessed us bringing us all together at South Carolina and for us all to be at this draft is just something that’s really special and it’s honestly a dream come true because everyone that’s here, not just on South Carolina, has put in so much work. And so Coach Staley and the entire staff has helped us. They’ve developed us into the players that we are, and so it’s exciting for it all to be coming together.

Moderator (07:04):

Our next question will come from Megan. Megan, you’re going to be followed by Christos, Christos and Shai.

Megan (07:09):

Hi, Aliyah. Congratulations on being selected. Do you think the transition to a new team is going to be easier because you have a coach who’s also transitioning to a new team?

Aliyah Boston (07:21):

I mean, maybe in a sense, but I think it’s almost like coming from high school into college because you’re new and everybody has already experienced whether it’s a new coach or not, so I think it’s going to be a little bit different that I’m going to have to adjust to, but I definitely think the coaches are going to be able to help me.

Moderator (07:39):

Christos, you’re up. Shai, next.

Christos (07:43):

Hello, Aliyah, Christos [inaudible 00:07:45]. Congratulations, first of all.

Aliyah Boston (07:46):

Thank you.

Christos (07:47):

How do you see yourself in this league play against the best and what is your main goal for your decision?

Aliyah Boston (07:53):

Yeah, it feels really great to be in the league playing against the best women’s basketball players ever, and I really just hope to continue to grow the Fever basketball. I think we’re going to do really great things this year and I’m just super excited for it.

Moderator (08:08):

Next question, Shai.

Shai (08:11):

Hi, Aliyah. Congratulations.

Aliyah Boston (08:13):

Thank you.

Shai (08:14):

A lot of observers can’t wait to see you free from the double or triple team treatments you had in the NCAA. How confident are you in the fact that your game might be even more impactful at the pro level?

Aliyah Boston (08:27):

I’m pretty confident just because of just simply spacing. I think it’s going to allow me to be able to work a little bit better. Just being able to watch the pros prior to joining the league, you can just see how they can just get to work whether they make the shot or not, but just to be able to have that is just, it’s going to be pretty nice, I think.

Moderator (08:49):

Okay. Mike, we’ll go to Mike.

Mike (08:54):

Hey Aliyah, congratulations on everything. Congratulations on coming to the league. I did want to ask you, obviously we just saw Asia Wilson’s going crazy right now on Twitter. For you, who are you most excited to see in the league at this very moment?

Aliyah Boston (09:07):

Honestly, every single person. One, because I don’t want anybody specific coming for me. But two, just because this has been a dream of mine, and so to be able to compete against people that have a lot of experience, I mean, it can only help me grow, and so I’m really excited for that because I’ve always dreamt of this, and so to be able to be here, be in this moment and almost be on the court with them is pretty crazy.

Moderator (09:36):

Go ahead.

Speaker 3 (09:37):

Hey Aliyah, congratulations on everything. Just wanted to ask you, I know Candace has been a huge fan of yours and you’re a huge fan of her. What do you think it’s going to be playing now against her when the fever go up against the Champion Aces?

Aliyah Boston (09:51):

Yeah, I mean, I’m going to be excited just to do that, but at the same time we’re on the court, so I definitely want to compete and make it really hard for her. But I mean it’s pretty cool to play against people that you look up to, and Candace is somebody that I look up to all the time and so I’m really excited for that.

Moderator (10:07):

Okay, turn. Next question. Last one on Zoom. Faygo. Go ahead, please.

Aliyah Boston (10:18):

You’re on mute.

Moderator (10:19):

I think you’re on mute.

Faygo (10:21):

Hey, what does it mean to you that [inaudible 00:10:25] so many people in your community as well as your peers?

Aliyah Boston (10:28):

It’s really special. I think it’s just cool to see everybody just not cheer me on, but the entire team, everyone that’s here getting drafted, cheering us on. It just feels nice to have a good group of people behind you that want to see you succeed.

Moderator (10:43):

Okay. Anyone else in the room? Second row center, Aliyah.

Isabel Rodriguez (10:52):

Hi, Aliyah. Isabel Rodriguez with The Next. I’m just curious for you what a successful season would look like when you’re going to look back towards the end of the year?

Aliyah Boston (11:01):

That’s a great question. Just knowing me, I’d say winning every single game. And I still think that can happen. I think we’re going to have a great team that’s going to compete. We’re going to continue to play for each other, and so just getting a lot of wins, I think that’s the most important part, but also growing as players.

Moderator (11:20):

Aliyah, thank you.

Aliyah Boston (11:20):

Thank you.

Diamond Miller (16:45):

What’s up with the commotion? What just happened?

Moderator (16:45):


Diamond Miller (16:45):

What happened?

Moderator (16:59):

So apparently we’re going to begin with Diamond’s draft analysis. Okay. Yeah. Okay. We’re going to start right away with questions for Diamond. Diamond, center, second row.

Howard Megdal (17:08):

Hi, Diamond. Howard Megdal, The Next. Good to see you again and congratulations. Just can you take me through what you think your journey at Maryland and working at Maryland helped get you to this moment and this point today with your game?

Diamond Miller (17:22):

Yeah. Maryland was a progress. Starting freshman year thinking I was going to be a star. Yeah, no, it definitely took a progression, but I think all the growing pains made me who I am today and I’m super grateful for it. But just a lot of hard work and determination and having a coach that’s constantly attacking you to get better is something that helps you and motivates you to be who you can be.

Moderator (17:49):

Diamond, your next question will come from the first row to your right.

Pepper Persley (17:53):

Hi, Diamond. Pepper Persley with Dish with Pepper, I’m just wondering what aspect you think of your game will translate the best to The W?

Diamond Miller (18:00):

I think just being a all around player. I mean, I could do multiple things, I feel like. I’m a three level scorer and I also could play on both sides of the court. So just, yeah, I think that could help.

Moderator (18:14):

Diamond, the next question, second row, center.

Jackie Powell (18:18):

Hi, Diamond. Jackie Powell with The Next. What I’m curious about is I want to understand the calculation you made and who and what helped you get there to say, “I want to enter the draft,” rather than returning for another year at school?

Diamond Miller (18:34):

Sometimes in life, you don’t want to stay in one place for too long, and I felt like that’s what I was doing if I stayed at Maryland. It would just be like, because I’m scared to take the next step. I’m not scared. Transitions are always scary, don’t get me wrong, but I think I’m excited and ready for a new journey in life as well.

Moderator (18:53):

Diamond, next question to your left in the third row.

Isabel Rodriguez (18:59):

Hi. So a lot of people when they talk about you athletically and as a player, say that you look like a pro, you’re pro ready from the moment you step on the court, but what is it about your mental game and your mentality that makes you pro ready?

Diamond Miller (19:11):

I think I’m just never satisfied. Even now, I know I have so much more to develop the player you see right now or the last game I played, I’m not going to be in another two years, so I’m just constantly trying to develop and be a sponge to the game and constantly find new things.

Moderator (19:32):

All right. One more question in the room, second row to your left. Diamond, second row to your left.

Diamond Miller (19:37):

Thank you.

Alexa Philippou (19:37):

Congratulations, Diamond. Alexa Philippou with ESPN. What do you know about just the Minnesota Lynx and their legacy winning the championships? Did you watch them growing up?

Diamond Miller (19:45):


Alexa Philippou (19:45):

And also, what have your conversations have been like with Cheryl Reeve so far?

Diamond Miller (19:49):

I just remember watching Maya Moore. I mean, that’s a big shoes to feel, and I’m not filling her shoes by any means. I’m going to be Diamond Miller as soon as I step on the new city. But yeah, Cheryl, she seems tough already, so I’m really excited. We have great talks. And yeah, she’s really passionate and luckily for me, I kind of had a similar coach in college, so I think it’s the transition of coaching styles might be the same, so super excited.

Moderator (20:25):

Okay, we’ll turn to Zoom. We’re going to start with Damon and Dylan. Damon, go ahead.

Damon Brooks (20:30):

Hey, Diamond. Damon Brooks, Testudo Times.

Diamond Miller (20:32):


Damon Brooks (20:35):

Obviously, you went through a lot of adversity at Maryland with your knee injury. How does it feel now to accomplish your dream and be in a W now?

Diamond Miller (20:43):

I just want to say I know he’s from UMD and his story of where he is right now is the reason why people keep going. I mean, you’re one of my reasons why I keep going just because of your situation, and I feel like we just continue to work. You can’t be sat in one place for too long, and somehow you just get back up even when you’re not happy with the situation.

Moderator (21:13):

All right, we’ll turn to Dylan. Dylan, you’re up.

Dylan (21:18):

Hey, Diamond. Congratulations on getting drafted. I’m sure there’s a lot of thoughts going through your head right now. How are you able to just process this moment? I know this has been on your mind all season long, and now it’s finally here. So are you able to articulate your thoughts after all this has happened?

Diamond Miller (21:38):

It’s so funny that you said that because I was just thinking in my head, what is going on right now? I’m still kind of in disbelief, but I think once everything starts settling in and I realize, okay, this is where I’m at right now, I’ll be okay. But right now I still feel like a college student. I’m still in college classes, so. And two, I think that ends. I’m going to be like, all right, I’m a pro.

Moderator (22:01):

All right, next question will come from Mike. Mike, go ahead.

Mike (22:09):

Hey Diamond, congratulations and welcome to The W. I just wanted to ask you, obviously, like you mentioned earlier, with Maya Moore, there’s so many greats that come through this organization. What mark are you expecting to leave with this organization and how excited are you to just get after it?

Diamond Miller (22:25):

My expectations is to be Diamond Miller as every time I step on the court and to continue to be passionate and love the game the way I always did when I was a little kid. So that’s what I want to do.

Moderator (22:40):

All right. We’ll turn next to Christos and Christos. You’ll be followed by CBS if I got that right. Christos, go ahead.

Christos (22:49):

Hello, Diamond. Christos [inaudible 00:22:51]. Congratulations, first of all. What it means this moment for you looking back, what you put in through the years, what it means to be in the WNBA right now?

Diamond Miller (23:02):

I’m sorry, can you repeat that question?

Christos (23:04):

Yeah. What does it mean this moment for you hearing your name from Commissioner to be in the WNBA? What does it mean for your work ethic and the work that you’ve put in through the years?

Diamond Miller (23:17):

I just think it just shows that when you do, when you work hard, success is going to come. Obviously, the journey isn’t smooth sailings as you will like it to be, but when you make it, even with those hard times and the times you feel like things are hard and you make it past those moments, it makes this moment right here a little bit more special because you know how much you went through to be in this moment.

Moderator (23:43):

Next question, and I’m going to go with your address because I’ve going to mispronounce your name. CSPS.

Frank Krukowski (23:50):

Hi there, Frank Krukowski. Congratulations. You’ve had a lot of experience adjusting to new teammates, new situations. Do you think some of the experience you went through this year with what, nine new players at Maryland and having the success you did is going to help you as you make that transition to the WNBA?

Diamond Miller (24:07):

Oh, absolutely. And I think throughout my life I always had those changes. I mean, I did USA, I went from high school to college, transfers and stuff like that. There’s always change going to come. What has to stay solid as your confidence in who you are as a person and what you bring to the table.

Moderator (24:28):

Diamond, thank you.

Diamond Miller (24:30):

Thank you. Thank you.

Stephanie Soares (26:04):

Sorry. Thank you.

Moderator (26:05):

Okay, Stephanie, your first question will come from the last row to your right.

Stephanie Soares (26:10):


Arden (26:10):

Hey, Stephanie. Arden from Ball Players right here. Congratulations on this moment. Now that it’s here, before I ask you how were you feeling about it, but now that it’s here, how do you feel now?

Stephanie Soares (26:21):

Oh, it’s just really, it’s a lot of excitement. I think before I was a little more nervousness. Now it’s just pure excitement just to get ready and get to Dallas.

Moderator (26:31):

Stephanie, next question is second row center.

Howard Megdal (26:35):

Stephanie, Howard Megdal with The Next. Congratulations.

Stephanie Soares (26:37):

Thank you.

Howard Megdal (26:38):

Just can you take me through, it’s obviously an unconventional journey to be here. At what point did this start to feel real to you that the WNBA was not just something possible, but something that was definitely going to happen for you?

Stephanie Soares (26:50):

Yeah, I think once I moved freshman year into college here to the U.S. in California, it was a goal of mine. But then once I think I took that next step to Iowa State, I think the coaches kind of helped me see that view of being able to make it to the league. So, yeah.

Moderator (27:06):

Stephanie, next question, first row to your right.

Speaker 2 (27:10):

This is Ralph [inaudible 00:27:12]. Welcome to the WNBA.

Stephanie Soares (27:14):


Speaker 2 (27:15):

I said this is Ralph [inaudible 00:27:16]. Welcome to the WNBA.

Stephanie Soares (27:18):

Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Speaker 2 (27:19):

I just want to ask you, why don’t you describe the feeling of now you even being drafted, let alone getting to play in the Dallas Wings roster that’s led by Arike Ogunbowale?

Stephanie Soares (27:28):

Yeah, it’s exciting. I mean, you watch them play and now you get to meet them and be alongside them and watch them practice, and I think it’s just a big learning curve that we’ll get to have and be able to develop as a player. But it’s, yeah, pure excitement for sure.

Moderator (27:43):

Stephanie, next question to your left in the second row.

Alexa Philippou (27:46):

Alexa Philippou with ESPN. Congratulations.

Stephanie Soares (27:49):

Thank you.

Alexa Philippou (27:50):

Given your injury from a few months ago, how have you stayed, just positive, upbeat that you know could still come back and fulfill your dreams of being drafted like you have been today?

Stephanie Soares (27:59):

Yeah, I think just the people that have been around just that Iowa always say have been so supportive. Even when I got injured, there was tears, and for every athlete, it’s hard getting injured, but they were like, “Okay, let’s take the next step. What do we got to do next?” So they were always encouraging, supportive, getting me to start working out. I mean, we’re in the gym pretty much all day. But yeah, it’s just been, all the people at Iowa State have been so loved, so great.

Moderator (28:22):

Stephanie, next question, first row to your left.

Doug Feinberg (28:26):

Okay. Stephanie, Doug Feinberg from the AP. Two part question. The first part is how is your rehab coming along from the injury? And the second part is just how does it feel to be drafted by one team and quickly go to another one right within a few minutes, if that long?

Stephanie Soares (28:38):

Yeah. The rehab’s going really well. Iowa State, they have great resources that we have been using throughout this couple, few, couple months. And our trainers, Megan Clark and Mercedes, they’ve been coming alongside me and helping me through every single part, every single part of the process, which is a long process, but it’s been very great and very supportive of them. Yeah, it was a very interesting feeling. I mean, it’s just pure excitement of you going to Washington, but now getting to go to Dallas, it’s just, I mean, yeah, it’s going to be a great next step to the journey.

Moderator (29:12):

We’re going to turn to Zoom. We’re going to get to as many people as possible. We’re going to go starting with Jeff, then Eric. Jeff. Jeff, go ahead.

Jeff (29:28):

Hey Stephanie, congratulations. Obviously, a rollercoaster of a year for you going from NAIA to Iowa State to that knee injury, and now here you are a top five pick. Just what has the last 12 months been like for you?

Stephanie Soares (29:44):

Yeah, they’ve been pretty crazy. I mean, we’ve still got school, so it’s just been working out as well, getting all the workout we need because we know you want to get to better to 100%. So working out with school and now getting ready for the draft, but it’s been a crazy last couple weeks, but it’s — I’ve been enjoying every moment out of it.

Moderator (30:03):

Next question on Zoom. We’re going to go to Eric. Eric, we’re going to… after you, we’re going to come back to the room for a moment. Eric.

Eric (30:10):

Appreciate it. Stephanie, first off, congrats. I know I’m echoing the sentiment of everybody else. My question for you is, during this whole process, you have truly elevated yourself. So my thing is, what are the intangibles that Dallas Wings should expect from you?

Stephanie Soares (30:27):

Just with my length and just being able to help defensively and offensively. Spreading out the defense and offense, playing inside and outside, just the versatility and all of that.

Moderator (30:41):

I’m going to return to the room. Second row to your right.

Meredith Cash (30:46):

Hi. Meredith Cash from Insider. I was going to ask a similar question. What can we expect, if Wing fans aren’t familiar with your game, what can they expect to see from you?

Stephanie Soares (30:56):

Yeah, I mean, very competitive team player. Love to just be every part of… I’m a part the game. I love just to be around my teammates. But yeah, just competitiveness, my length, so hopefully lots of blocks, lots of help on defense.

Moderator (31:13):

All right. We’re going to return to Zoom for a moment. Shai, go ahead. Shai, you’re going to be followed by Megan.

Shai (31:21):

Hi, Stephanie. Congratulations. There has already been a few very good players from Brazil in the WNBA, like Clarissa dos Santo or Damiris Dantas, and in the NBA too, with Barbosa and Varejão. Do these players inspired you or are you on your own path?

Stephanie Soares (31:40):

Oh, no, they for sure inspire me a lot. I think I started playing for the Brazil team five, four, five years ago, so I’ve been able to get to know Clarissa, Érika de Souza, Damiris Dantas, and they’ve kind of helped me through my pathway too, and I love them so much. And yeah, they’ve for sure been a part of my journey.

Moderator (31:59):

Okay. Our last question for Stephanie will come from Zoom. Megan. Megan, go ahead.

Megan (32:07):

Hi, Stephanie, welcome to the WNBA and welcome to Dallas. Can you walk us through what was going through your head when they said you got traded to Dallas instead of being there with Washington? Dallas is a team that’s kind of on the other side of a rebuild, and they’re really just kind of looking for one or two pieces.

Stephanie Soares (32:24):

Yeah, I mean, for sure a surprise. Someone just tapped me, was like, “You got traded. You got traded.” I was like, ” What? That happened so fast.” But yeah, I think I’m just ready to get to Dallas now and start getting to work.

Moderator (32:38):

Stephanie, thank you.

Stephanie Soares (32:39):

Thank you.

Moderator (32:40):

To our media, stay with us. We’ll be joined just in just a moment by Maddy Siegrist. And then we’ll turn to the room for questions.

Maddy Siegrist (33:54):

I just want to say that I’m really grateful to be here. This is unbelievable for me to be doing this right

Speaker 4 (34:00):

… right now, so just very blessed.

Speaker 5 (34:04):

Lou, your first question will come from the first row in the center.

Speaker 6 (34:09):

Lou, first off, congratulations. Just how surreal is it to go from being at a basketball academy in Ireland, sending all of those emails to division one schools, get a chance to now being the fifth overall pick on the WNBA draft?

Speaker 4 (34:22):

It feels surreal. Really didn’t think I would be here one day. I’ve come a long way. Gone through a lot of challenges, but also opportunities and all my steps that I’ve been through have led me to here, so just feels very blessed.

Speaker 5 (34:42):

Also, first row to your right, Lou.

Speaker 7 (34:44):

Hi, Owen Pence with the Winsidr. When you reflect on the people and the moments that have helped you get to this day, what sticks out?

Speaker 4 (34:53):

A lot of people have helped me to get here. It’s just a very exciting moment. My stepdad, my parents helped me every day to get here, to get college, so I’m very grateful for them and just all the people, all the coaches, all the teammates that have trust me along the way to get here.

Speaker 5 (35:15):

Lou, next question. First row to your left.

Speaker 8 (35:17):

Hey Lou, Doug Feinberg, the AP. When did you start thinking, “Hey, I can play in the WNBA.”? I mean you had a great career at Fairfield, and then obviously went to Yukon and had a wonderful year. What did you start to going, “Hey, I belong here and I can play at that level.”?

Speaker 4 (35:30):

I think it started when I went from Fairfield to Yukon when I decided to go in the transfer portal, I heard from other people and I think I started believing more in myself that, by competing at a high level like Yukon, that could help me for my professional career. So it started, I would say a year ago.

Speaker 5 (35:53):

Next question, Lou, center, second row.

Speaker 9 (35:56):

Hi Lou, Howard Megdal at The Next. Congratulations.

Speaker 4 (36:01):

Thank you.

Speaker 9 (36:01):

Just sort of bouncing off of Doug’s question, now that you are in the W, do you have any question about your ability to make an impact and right away?

Speaker 4 (36:10):

I think that I’m just very excited to learn and to play at another level and I hope I can fit in the team that I’m going to and just learning from all the experienced players and try to have an impact at some point.

Speaker 5 (36:26):

We’re going to turn to Zoom and we’re going to start with Shai and then Christos and then we’ll come back to the room.

Speaker 10 (36:42):

[foreign language 00:36:43] So I had a question for you, do you feel that the interest grew real fast this past few weeks from France? And now people are even talking about the French national team and stuff. Did you feel that the interest grew lately?

Speaker 4 (37:02):

Well, first [foreign language 00:37:03], but yes, I think this year my exposure, being at a bigger school helped me, I think and having that impact that I’ve had all year long, it’s something that it’s kind of crazy to realize. But yeah, I’m just very happy to be able to maybe have an opportunity with the French national team and just to be here right now is amazing.

Speaker 5 (37:32):

Next question on Zoom, Christos, and then we’ll return to the room for a question.

Speaker 11 (37:36):

Hey Lou, congratulations first of all [inaudible 00:37:40]. I would like to ask you, what is the biggest goal for you? How do you see yourself in WNBA? What’s the biggest goal that you have about your career in the W?

Speaker 4 (37:49):

I want to win. I’ve always loved to win, whether I was in France, in Ireland, in Fairfield or Yukon. My goals always is to win and always have the best experiences with my teammates, but I’m a very competitive person, so I just want to win.

Speaker 5 (38:11):

Lou, next question. Second row to your left.

Speaker 12 (38:14):

Alexa Philippou, ESPN. Congratulations, Lou. Since you spent the majority of your career collegiately at Fairfield, what does it mean to be the school’s first WNBA pick and to be able to take that representation onto the league stage now?

Speaker 4 (38:26):

It feels great. I think I hope to inspire a lot of other players from mid-major schools that nothing is impossible, as cliche as it sounds, it’s very true. If you put the work in and if you believe, people are always going to give you opportunities like Yukon did, for one year. So even if you’re in the mid-major school, you could always reach higher.

Speaker 5 (38:54):

One more question on Zoom for Lou. We’re going to go to Gigi and then I believe we’ll be joined momentarily by our next player. Gigi, go ahead.

Speaker 13 (39:03):

Hi Lou, congratulations. So excited to see you play in the W and it’s been amazing to follow your career. I want to know if you still have that European style of play that you would call for yourself and how you could see that impact your game in the next level?

Speaker 4 (39:19):

I think I do, and I think that this year at Yukon, it was a way for me to play again, a faster pace, a lot of transition, a lot of motion type of offense. So I think that’s something that they do a lot in Europe and I’m just very excited to transition into the professional level.

Speaker 5 (39:43):

All right, Lou, thank you very much.

Speaker 4 (39:44):

Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 12 (39:45):

Thank you.

Speaker 5 (41:05):

Maddy, your first question will come from the right all the way in the back.

Speaker 15 (41:09):

Hey, Maddy, Eugene Rapay from VU Hoops.com., first off, congrats on being drafted.

Speaker 14 (41:13):

Thank you.

Speaker 15 (41:14):

From section one, small school Lourdes, to one of the biggest stages right now, how do you reflect on your journey and what’s it like hearing your name called on draft day?

Speaker 14 (41:22):

I mean, it’s a dream come true. I can’t even put into words right now. You got a million things going through your mind, but I’ve been surrounded by such good people, good teammates, and I wouldn’t be here without any of them.

Speaker 8 (41:37):

Hey, Maddy, Doug Feinberg, the AP, congratulations. What do you know about Dallas? And I think Greg Bibb told me your dad and he were friends in college?

Speaker 14 (41:47):

Yeah. Yep, they went to Marist together. Fortunately, I was in Dallas last week for the final four, so got to check it out a little bit. I loved it when I was there. I know they’re a young team, really up and coming, so I’m so happy to be a part of it.

Speaker 5 (42:03):

Maddy, next question. Second row, center.

Speaker 9 (42:07):

Hi Maddy. Good to see you. Howard Megdal, at The Next. Congratulations. I’m curious, what was the last time you played basketball where you weren’t double-teamed and how much you’re looking forward to seeing what that’s going to be like once again?

Speaker 14 (42:21):

Oh gosh, USA this summer, three on three, but before then, probably sophomore year.

Speaker 9 (42:32):

And just the other side of it is, so how excited are you to see how your game translates like that?

Speaker 14 (42:37):

Yeah, I’m super excited. I know the Wings have a lot of great players, just to be surrounded by such great players. I’m just excited.

Speaker 5 (42:47):

Next question, first row, center.

Speaker 16 (42:50):

Hey Maddy, congratulations, Hannah Withiam, Just Women’s Sports. You obviously had a record breaking this year from Villanova, led them to the sweet 16. Did you ever consider coming back for a fifth year and what went into your decision to declare for the draft?

Speaker 14 (43:03):

Yeah, for sure. I mean, I love Villanova. That’ll be home forever, but unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and I felt like God had opened a door and it was time for me to walk through.

Speaker 5 (43:16):

Return to Zoom for a moment. We’re going to start with Dorothy. Dorothy, you’ll be followed by Don and then we’ll return to the room. Dorothy?

Speaker 17 (43:26):

Maddy, hi, this is Dorothy from Dallas. Looking forward to seeing you back down here. Talk a little bit about your game and which part of your game you think will translate the best to the W and to the Dallas Wings.

Speaker 14 (43:42):

I think I have a really high motor, so just constantly moving without the ball, moving on both sides of the ball, defense and offense, just going after offense of rebounds and just trying to do all the hustle plays.

Speaker 5 (43:56):

Next question from Zoom also, Don, and then we’ll return to the room. Don, go ahead.

Speaker 18 (44:01):

Maddy, Don Bell at CBS in Philadelphia. First of all, congratulations, we’re very proud of you. I just want to know, you spent, obviously your career at Villanova and you played in Philadelphia. What did you learn here that you believe you will take with you to the W?

Speaker 14 (44:19):

Oh my gosh, I’ve learned so much. Just believe in yourself, surround yourself with good people, and you can achieve anything.

Speaker 5 (44:30):

Don, if you have another question, go ahead, because I know Saul Stokes is going to want to make sure you get your time from a Philly guy. Go ahead.

Speaker 18 (44:37):

That’s right, yeah. If I get a chance to talk to Maddy buckets, I need to make it worthwhile. Obviously it was emotional for you in your last game of playing here. What is it about playing here and what are the things that you’ll miss the most about playing at Villanova as you move on into the next stage for your career?

Speaker 14 (44:55):

Definitely the people, my coaches, my teammates, the administration, all the people at Villanova. It’s such a family, it’s such a community. Just knowing I’m going to have that with me for the rest of my life makes it a little bit easier.

Speaker 5 (45:12):

Maddy, third row to your left.

Speaker 19 (45:15):

Hi Maddy. Congratulations. This is Emily. I’m here from Jezebel. Obviously you’re coming out of this very, I’m sure, exciting and somewhat chaotic NIL era, and I’m really curious to hear how you plan to continue growing your brand, now that you have this platform in the W, both on top of your game and outside of it?

Speaker 14 (45:35):

Yeah, I think the NIL really allowed college athletes to start to build their brand, and I’m fortunate I kind of caught the beginning of that in the last two years. So just continuing use the resources around me using my platform to spread my message and promote my brand.

Speaker 5 (45:53):

Next question, second row to your right.

Speaker 20 (45:56):

Hi Mattie. Congrats. All your family’s here today and I know how close you are with them and how important your dad’s been to your basketball journey. What was it like to share that moment with them?

Speaker 14 (46:06):

I mean, I was holding on to his hand for dear life, just waiting to hear your name called. But to spend it with them, my family’s most important thing to me in the world, and I would not be here without them. The rest of my extended family is at a restaurant down the street, so I can’t wait to go celebrate with them after.

Speaker 5 (46:25):

We have just a couple more questions on Zoom. We’re going to go to Christos. Christos, go ahead.

Speaker 11 (46:31):

Hey Maddy, congratulations, first of all, Christos [inaudible 00:46:33] in Greece. What is the biggest challenge for you going to the WNBA?

Speaker 14 (46:41):

I think the unknown, I haven’t been there yet, so I don’t really know what to expect. So yeah, I guess the unknown.

Speaker 5 (46:51):

All right, next question. I’m sorry, Shai, go ahead.

Speaker 10 (46:57):

Hi Maddy, congratulations. Of course, you were amazing at the power forward position in Villanova, but this position is quite crowded in Dallas. Do you see yourself also maybe playing small forward in the WNBA or whatever it comes at you?

Speaker 14 (47:16):

Yeah, I mean, I’ll play whatever position they need me to play out. We’re fortunate at Villanova, we play a five out, so I played one through five, so I’ll do whatever they need.

Speaker 5 (47:26):

All right, another question from the room, to your left, second row.

Speaker 12 (47:30):

Alexa Philippou, ESPN. Congratulations, Maddy. When did you first start to believe that you could be a WNBA pick and then also, maybe even a lottery pick?

Speaker 14 (47:41):

Probably halfway through my college career is when I realized maybe, you could play in the WNBA. It probably wasn’t until this year when I was like, “Oh, you might get picked pretty high.” I don’t know, I just never looked that far ahead until recently.

Speaker 5 (47:58):

All right, Maddy, thank you.

Speaker 14 (48:00):

Thank you

Speaker 5 (57:04):

For Grace. Grace, if you would, we’re going to start with two questions, both second row, center.

Speaker 9 (57:10):

Grace, hi. Howard Megdal at The Next. Congratulations.

Speaker 20 (57:13):

Thank you.

Speaker 9 (57:14):

Two things, number one, just in terms of how you think you fit into the Indiana offense. Can you take me through that and also just where was Walnut when this happened and what was Walnut’s reaction?

Speaker 20 (57:24):

Okay, so I’ll answer the Walnut question. Walnut is my dog. For those of you that don’t know, he’s actually getting boarded right now. So he is not very happy that he wasn’t invited to New York with me. So I’ll have to buy him some Fever gear to make up for it. But, in terms of what I can bring to Indiana, I just feel like, I don’t know what skills necessarily are going to translate or anything like that. But I do know that my passion for the game, my competitiveness, my grittiness and my willingness to just do whatever the team needs on any given night, will be there and that will translate. So I’m just excited to get there and see what my coaches want from me and just do that to the best of my ability. Thank you.

Speaker 5 (58:05):

Grace. We’re going to stay in the second row, center.

Speaker 21 (58:08):

Hi Grace. I’m Jackie Powell with The Next. So you were a player that decided to take your COVID year, and what I’m curious about is what do you think you were able to accomplish at Indiana for this extra year, and how do you think it’s going to serve you well in the WNBA?

Speaker 20 (58:28):

Yeah, I mean, first off, as a team, we were the first number one seed ever for our team, and we won the most games and everything like that. So we were just, I think, set the program up for a lot of really good success in the future, which means a lot to me. I think as an individual, I was just able to become more mature in my skillset. I played a lot of the point guard this year, which I hadn’t in previous years. So I think I was able to just fine tune some of those skills, the leadership aspect, the handling, the offense, really having the ball in your hands a lot. So, it was I think, the right decision for me.

Speaker 5 (59:13):

Grace, next question. First row to your left.

Speaker 22 (59:16):

This is Rafi, [inaudible 00:59:18] the WNBA.

Speaker 20 (59:20):

Thank you.

Speaker 22 (59:21):

Why don’t you describe the feeling of being drafted into the WNBA, which is something that you dreamed about from when you were younger?

Speaker 20 (59:28):

Yeah, I didn’t really know what it would feel like. I knew it would be amazing, but I think I was more just really grateful, full of emotion when I heard my name called. Especially being there with my dad, who had been taking me to Indiana Fever games since I was 6, 7, 8 years old. It was just two hours up the road from Louisville, Kentucky where I’m from. So we got to go to those games and watch Tamika Catchings, watch Katie Douglas, watch them win that championship. So to get called was surreal, but to get called by a team that you’ve been going to with your dad since you were really little, I think it just made it that much more special.

Speaker 5 (01:00:11):

Grace, your next two questions will come from the left in the third row.

Speaker 8 (01:00:16):

Hey, Grace, Doug Feinberg, the AP. Just to piggyback off that, I’m guessing you know that Fever had been having some hard times the last couple of years and you know about the glory days. What would it mean to sort of restore Indiana what it was when you were there as a fan, as a younger kid?

Speaker 20 (01:00:30):

Yeah, I think it would mean a lot to me. I think I was able to win a good amount in college, so I can bring some of those characteristics over. But I really think, just looking at that roster, some of the young talent on it, that’s just super exciting. You obviously have Aliyah Boston, who we all know is absolutely amazing and going to have such a great impact on the team. And then I think NaLyssa Smith, Queen Egbo, Destiny Henderson, I mean the list goes on and on. So to be able to play with that much talent and that much young talent and come in with them and learn from them and grow with them, I think it’s something that I’m really excited about.

Speaker 5 (01:01:07):

Grace, one more question from the room and then we’ll turn to Zoom second row to your left.

Speaker 12 (01:01:13):

Alexa Philippou at the ESPN. Congratulations.

Speaker 20 (01:01:14):

Thank you.

Speaker 12 (01:01:15):

Can you expand on some of the memories you have going to Fever games and even throughout this process, was there an inkling that maybe they would select you and was that an extra level of excitement just because you grew up watching them?

Speaker 20 (01:01:27):

Yeah, I mean, I knew the Fever were interested, but you never know until draft night obviously happens. So I wasn’t getting my hopes up or anything like that. I was just keeping an open mind. But yeah, I mean, I knew the Fever were team that obviously just playing in Indiana for the past five years, the community’s so special for me, the community’s so excited about women’s basketball. So I was really sad to leave Indiana, but now obviously, I’m staying here, so I’m super grateful for that. And like I said earlier, I mean, yeah, my dad would take me to probably four or five games every summer of the Fever. So I think just to be able to see those strong women’s, like I mentioned, Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas, Briann January, see them and how hard they competed, how tough they were, how much passion they had for the game. I think I really modeled myself off of them and it was just huge and very instrumental in the development of my own game.

Speaker 5 (01:02:26):

We’re going to turn to Zoom for three questions. We’re going to go in this order. Tyler, then Brad, then Seth. Tyler, go ahead.

Speaker 23 (01:02:37):

Grace, [inaudible 01:02:39] with [inaudible 01:02:42] Terry accompanying you, just what has that experience with been with her and just being able to kind of share it with her?

Speaker 20 (01:02:51):

I mean, it was unbelievable to have her here, she means the world to me. She means so much to me and I can’t even begin to state how much of an impact that she’s had on, obviously the player I am. But I think the person I am, the woman that I am. To where I feel really prepared and during this next phase of my life, because I’ve had five years under the best coach, the best leader, the best strong woman that I could possibly look up to. So to be able to share a night with her, it was just really special.

Speaker 5 (01:03:22):

All right, we’re going to go to Brad. Brad, you’ll be followed by Seth.

Speaker 24 (01:03:28):

Grace, Brad Brown, WRTV in Indianapolis. Congratulations, first of all.

Speaker 20 (01:03:31):

Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 24 (01:03:33):

The extra year that you came back to IU, what part of your game gained the most out of having this past season to play?

Speaker 20 (01:03:41):

Yeah, this was the first year that I was the main point guard on the floor. I had the ball in my hands the most. I was running the offense, getting my teammates where they needed to be, and then obviously, just the leadership aspect on both ends of the floor that comes with that. So I think just fine-tuning those point guard skills, using my voice, getting my teammates where they need to be and really being that extended coach on the floor, were the main things.

Speaker 5 (01:04:10):

Okay. Seth, you’re up,

Speaker 25 (01:04:13):

Seth Tow at the Daily Hoosier. Grace, congratulations. Just, you’ve talked about what it means to you personally to be back playing for the Fever and having grown up going to their games. But obviously, there’s a lot of crossover between fans of IU women’s basketball and fans of the Fever. Just what’s it mean to you to be back kind of playing in front of a lot of those same fans?

Speaker 20 (01:04:34):

Yeah, so I think one of the things that was the most special to me in my five years at Indiana was just to see the excitement in the community of women’s basketball grow to where I’m at now. And it just seems like, obviously people are crazy about basketball in Indiana, but they’re crazy about women’s basketball in Indiana. So we were able to kind of build that fan base at Indiana, that was so special to me. And then obviously at the professional level, I think that excitement just takes a next step up. So hopefully we have a lot of the Indiana Hoosier women’s basketball fans that are now, during the summertime, huge Indiana Fever fans.

Speaker 5 (01:05:15):

All right, we have time for one more question on Zoom. We’re going to go to Christos. If we have a second after that, we’ll return to one in the room, but we do have another player on the way. Christos, go ahead.

Speaker 11 (01:05:26):

Hey Grace, congratulations, first of all. You mentioned earlier some of your new teammates at Indiana Fever. How do you see your fit in the team?

Speaker 20 (01:05:37):

What was the question? I’m sorry, I-

Speaker 5 (01:05:39):

I’m sorry. Can you repeat, Christos?

Speaker 11 (01:05:39):

How do you see your fit in the team. You mentioned earlier some of your new teammates, how you see your fit in the team, on the floor?

Speaker 4 (01:05:46):

Yeah, I mean, first of all, as a point guard, who wouldn’t want to have Aliyah Boston to pass to in the post? I mean, that’s about as much of an automatic bucket as you can get. So I’ve played with her before at USA basketball, and I think obviously we all know what she can bring on the court. But just the person that she is off the court, how much she loves the game, how genuine of a person she is, how kind of a person she is. I couldn’t ask for a better person to go on this journey with, so to say I’m excited to be her teammate is definitely an understatement.

Speaker 5 (01:06:18):

All right, we have time for one more question in the room. Center row, second, Grace.

Speaker 9 (01:06:27):

Hi Grace, Howard again at The Next. Just, I know how hard you worked on finishing at the rim, and I just wonder how much you, a, think that made the difference to help you get to where you are today as a first round pick. And just also if you kind of reflected on those hours in the gym over the course of the last couple of days?

Speaker 4 (01:06:47):

Yeah, I mean obviously the mid-range is my favorite shot. Anybody that watches me knows that. But I think a part of my game that I’ve always known I could be good at, is finishing at the rim, And I worked countless hours with Coach Box, our assistant coach at Indiana, on different finishes. Getting to a spot and finishing over bigger, quicker, stronger defenders. And so I think obviously you can’t be a one-dimensional player at the next level. So me getting all the way to the rim, in addition to my mid-range and my three, is just going to hopefully, serve me well in terms of making a roster and contributing. Thank you.

Speaker 5 (01:07:30):

Grace, thank you.

Speaker 20 (01:07:30):

Thank you.

Speaker 5 (01:07:34):

Howard, you’re going to have to move seats or our mic wrangler’s going to need longer arms.

Speaker 26 (01:08:52):

Leticia, we will start in the second row to your right.

Speaker 27 (01:08:56):

Hi, Leticia. Ciara with MTMV Sports, and I just want to know what you’re feeling. Congratulations again into the WNBA, but also what it’s like to have your freshies here with you to have this moment?

Leticia (01:09:09):

It’s amazing experience really, because this group of girls have been through life together. These four years haven’t been only about basketball, but it’s about growing as women together. So being able to be with them on one of our biggest nights has been just amazing experience.

Speaker 26 (01:09:28):

Next question, second row, center.

Speaker 28 (01:09:32):

Leticia, hi. Jackie Powell with The Next. I’m curious, I’ve got a two-parter for you. So the Atlanta Dream, they’re a team that’s really on the rise and they have ownership that’s really about changing the status quo in this league, and so I’m curious how you as a player maybe want to change the status quo as well. And also I’m just curious what your conversations with Dan and Tanisha were like.

Leticia (01:09:59):

Yeah. So I’ve been in a background where winning has been my culture. I’ve been winning for most of my life, obviously very successful at South Carolina. And I want to bring that winning culture to Atlanta, and I know that that is their plan, that is what they’re trying to do. They’re on the rise right now and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to bring a winning culture into the program.

Speaker 26 (01:10:22):

All right. We’re going to turn to Zoom for four questions. We’re going to start with Emily, then Hailey. I’m sorry, I apologize. Back row, center.

Speaker 29 (01:10:33):

Hey Leticia, congratulations. Jaylens Hart with WRHU. What do you know about the City of Atlanta and how excited are you to be playing with Ryan Howard?

Leticia (01:10:42):

Yeah. First of all, thank you. Atlanta’s a great city. I love Atlanta and it’s only about three and a half hours from South Carolina, so I know the Gamecocks are loud and proud. Ryan is a phenomenal player. Obviously she used an SCC and I’ve had multiple opportunities playing against her, and I also played against her I remember in high school. So just phenomenal player and I’m finally excited to be with her instead of playing against her, so that’ll be exciting.

Speaker 26 (01:11:10):

All right. Now we’re going to go to Zoom, and we’re going to go with Emily, Hailey, John, and Gabriela. Emily, go ahead.

Speaker 30 (01:11:17):

Hey, LA.

Leticia (01:11:18):


Speaker 30 (01:11:21):

Coach has described herself as kind of the Dream merchant for you guys. Just how important was she in getting your whole class to this point in preparing you for kind of what the W is like?

Leticia (01:11:33):

Coach Daley is a phenomenal coach. I mean that wholeheartedly, not just as her coaching style, but as a person. She cares so deeply for us. When I came here, I had a vision, but she also had a vision for me. She said, “LA don’t worry.” That’s what she would always say, because obviously I’m not getting as many minutes as I would at a different program. She said, “LA, don’t worry, I got you.” And she bestowed that promise and I’m here now because of her and because of the coaching staff that believed in me. So I’m so thankful for who she is and what she has done for my journey.

Speaker 26 (01:12:09):

Hailey, you’re up. John, you’re on deck.

Speaker 31 (01:12:12):

Hi, Leticia. Hailey McGoldrick, Sportcent.ca. You are the highest Canadian draft pick since Kayla Alexander 10 years ago, and now you’re just one of four Canadians in the league. What does it mean for you knowing that your journey has really headlined the next generation of women’s basketball in Canada?

Leticia (01:12:28):

Wow, I did not know that. That is amazing to hear. Playing on a national team, playing for Canada has been something that I take pride in. Obviously I’m wearing my Olympic necklace, because it just means so much for me. But what means the most to me is those little girls that are looking. I have a nonprofit and building up the women that are underserved and those women that are not getting those exposures, like the powerhouses in the United States and the bigger countries that that, is my biggest goal. So all those Canadians and all those people that are not only Canadian but in West Africa, are in countries that are underserved and that are overlooked, you can make it, I promise you can. Because I was that kid and I’m on the biggest stage now, and I’m really trying to pave a way for all those young women. So yeah, just keep going because trust me, basketball’s on the rise for women.

Speaker 26 (01:13:27):

John, you’re up. And you’re going to be followed by Gabriela.

Speaker 32 (01:13:31):

Leticia, hey. Congratulations to you and your family, from everybody here at ABC News Four. My question for you tonight is what’s it going to feel like playing one of your South Carolina Gamecock teammates in the pros, now that you guys have been selected?

Leticia (01:13:47):

Oh, it’s going to be all business for sure. It’s going to be a lot of trash talking. We are so competitive even in practice, so I can only imagine playing against them. But it’s going to be such a surreal moment to be able to play against your teammates on the highest, level because not a lot of people can say that.

Speaker 26 (01:14:07):

All right. Next question, Gabriela.

Speaker 31 (01:14:12):

Gabrielle Lewis, The Next. So can you just speak to, you’re coming into a program that really prides itself on this defense. You obviously came from a program that prides itself on this defense. Where does your defensive game play into the Dream system?

Leticia (01:14:25):

Defense is my passion, that’s something that I pride myself on. I’m lengthy, I disrupt, and I’m going to go after it. That’s something that I could promise to Atlanta. Whether it’s a night that I get a couple minutes or a lot of minutes, I’m going to go out there and I’m going to give it my all. Because that’s something that I’ve always prided myself on is defense and try to get possessions for my team.

Speaker 26 (01:14:51):

Leticia, thank you.

Leticia (01:14:52):

Thank you, guys. Thank you.

Speaker 26 (01:19:28):

… answer. We’re going to start first row to your right, Hailey.

Speaker 27 (01:19:33):

Hi, Hailey. Congratulations, by the way, Ciara with MTMV Sports. Now I know you listened to Lauryn Hill, so I just wanted to know what did you listen to before you got ready tonight?

Hailey (01:19:43):

Okay. So before I got ready, it was a mix of things. The makeup artist did not believe it was my own playlist. I did my favorite karaoke song ever, ‘Cause I Love You, by Lenny Williams. Best song ever. We had some Sweet Thing, by Mary J. Blige. We had some Anthony Hamilton. We had it all. So it was a good pre-draft readiness.

Speaker 27 (01:20:02):

Good vibe.

Hailey (01:20:02):

Yeah, good vibe.

Speaker 26 (01:20:05):

Hailey, next two questions will come from the front row to your right.

Speaker 33 (01:20:10):

Hi, Hailey. Myles Erlick with Winsider. Congratulations.

Hailey (01:20:13):


Speaker 33 (01:20:13):

A couple of weeks ago, I asked Didi Richards what advice she would have if she could redo her draft day, and she said she wished that she would’ve vlogged the entire thing. And you did that today, you brought a camcorder everywhere.

Hailey (01:20:25):


Speaker 33 (01:20:25):

How have you helped balance just kind of the up and down of an emotional day, with also just kind of taking in the spectacle of this whole experience?

Hailey (01:20:33):

Yeah. The camcorder was the players trivia idea, to kind of accompany the podcast, so it was really fun to have it all day. When I first pulled it out, I saw Aaliyah first. Her room was like two doors down. She’s like, “Girl, what are we doing today?” It took me like an hour to figure it out. Last night I was just looking at the blue screen, so it took me a minute. But it was really cool. The girls all had fun with it and I think for me today, I try not to let the nerves get the best of me. It was really just trying. I can’t control what’s going to happen, and I’m trying not to control the uncontrollable. So it was just being able to enjoy the moment, have my family out there, the people who mean the most to me. So just kind of sink in to the moment and just, I don’t know, have a good time.

Speaker 26 (01:21:15):

Hailey, we’re going to stay in the first row to your right.

Speaker 34 (01:21:18):

Hi, Hailey. Owen Pence with Winsider. What excites you most about joining this Atlanta Dream roster?

Hailey (01:21:23):

A lot excites me. I think especially just it’s a young group and with good veteran pieces as well, but I’m excited just to get to work. They have the new ownership group that’s been in place the past few years, new coaches, so I think that they’re building a really great start right now. And they had a great season last year with that young group, so I’m excited to join it. I think I can impact the team in different ways, so just kind of getting to Atlanta, getting to it. It’s kind of a homecoming in a way. All my mom’s family is from Georgia, so I know my phone is blowing up right now. Probably lots of missed calls, so I’m excited to get out there and just get to work.

Speaker 26 (01:21:59):

Hailey, next two questions will come from the center, second row.

Speaker 35 (01:22:03):

Hi, Hailey. Howard McDough, The Next. Good to see you again. Two of I can. The first one, I’m wondering how encounters this are different for you, having hosted the podcast and whether that feels different to you, and they just had a different one after that?

Hailey (01:22:21):

Yeah. I’m used to being in charge with the questions, so not being ready for what you guys are going to say is a little nerve wracking, but I now see how my guests feel. But it’s fun to be on the other side of things. It’s what I started off doing.

Speaker 35 (01:22:37):

And then just to be at a team that has another Midy player in Danielle Robinson, I just wondered what that means to you to be able to embrace that tradition.

Hailey (01:22:47):

It’s amazing. Every day at practice in high school I saw a D Rob up on the wall. So now that I get to join her on a team with a Midy legend is hard to describe really. It’s somebody that I looked up to. She was the first Midy legend in the women’s basketball program, so now I get to play online alongside her. It’s amazing. I don’t really have any other words to describe it.

Speaker 26 (01:23:10):

Next question, also center, second row. And then I do need to turn to Zoom for some West Coast folks. I’ll try to get back to the room. Go ahead.

Speaker 28 (01:23:17):

Hi, Hailey. Jackie Powell with The Next. You were sort of talking about how the Atlanta Dream is they are on the rise, they have new ownership. How are you looking to come into the league and look to sort of change the status quo as something that the Dream have prided themselves on?

Hailey (01:23:36):

Status quo in terms of basketball or just in general?

Speaker 28 (01:23:40):

The status quo of how the league functions and how the league does things.

Hailey (01:23:47):

I think I’m just looking to come in. The way that I’ve grown a lot from my freshman year until now is I become, I don’t know, I think more outspoken. I like to advocate for things, just kind of be myself, be genuine and authentic. So as I move into the league, I look to do the same things on the court, being open and honest with my teammates, being a sponge ready to learn. And then off the court, speaking up for what I believe in. If changes need to be made, I’m not afraid to say what I think, have the tough conversations. I want to be in those rooms and push the league to the next level. And I think everybody ahead of me has done an amazing job of blazing the trail that now I get to be a part of. And so just kind of continuing to keep the torch flowing and pushing on to the next generation behind me.

Speaker 26 (01:24:30):

All right. We’ll try to return to the room for a couple of questions, but I do need to get to some folks on the West Coast via Zoom. We’re going to go Jason and Alex. Jason, you’re up.

Speaker 36 (01:24:38):

Hey, Hailey, congratulations. Jason Dumas from Crown 4. You came to Stanford with almost unfair expectations, but you ended up living up to all of them and then some. What particularly about your experience at Stanford you think will help set you up for success as you enter your rookie season?

Hailey (01:24:59):

I’m jealous. It’s still bright there on the West Coast. But I think at Stanford I went through a lot of different things. I had an injury my freshman year and then it was Covid season and we won. I’ve won three PAC12 championships, two Final Fours, so it’s a lot of winning. So just having that be the standard, I think I’m going to be able to just kind of bring that energy. But I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how to work with different types of people, how to create relationships off the court, team chemistry, how to have tough conversations, get the best out of your teammates. So I think I can bring a lot of different things, but I’m really just excited to get to Atlanta, meet my new teammates and just kind of get busy, I guess.

Speaker 36 (01:25:41):

We’re really proud of you back here.

Hailey (01:25:42):


Speaker 26 (01:25:43):

All right. Next question will come from Alex. Alex, go ahead.

Speaker 37 (01:25:48):

Hi, Hailey. Alex Simon Bay Area News Group. Congratulations. I was curious, did you have any expectations as to where you were going to go or any reaction to I guess being selected sixth in this draft?

Hailey (01:26:00):

Just excitement really. I’m excited to join the league. I think that there’s so much talent across the league already and of all the draftees. So just to get my name called, sixth pick is amazing. So It’s just full of excitement. There weren’t really any predictions on where I was going to go. I wasn’t going to guess I was going to go someplace and be disappointed. I was just excited for whatever team called my name, and I’m going to take that and get to work there and then give that organization all that I have.

Speaker 26 (01:26:30):

We’re going to return to the room for a moment, and we’re going to start to your right, first row.

Speaker 38 (01:26:34):

Hi, Hailey. Congratulations. There are a lot of people talking about your game, but focusing on what you can’t do. So what message do you have for anyone who questions the impact you can make at this level?

Hailey (01:26:45):

Hi, Pepper. Been a minute. I think, yeah, a lot of people did talk about what I can’t do and downsides of my game, whatever it may be. And I think that I just kind of took that and there’s so many other things that I bring to the game, but it’s also something that I don’t feel I have a lack of. I think that it just wasn’t really my role and where I was, but if that’s something that’s going to be asked of me, I’m going to do what I’ve always done and make the best of my role and impact the game in every way that I can, which I think is in all facets.

Whether I’m rebounding and running, I’m playing off the block, I’m playing off the wing, I’m the one setting the screen, I’m coming off the between whatever it may be. So I think that if that’s going to be asked of me, I’ve been working, I’m prepared to get there to the league and shake things up. So I think people are going to pick and choose what to focus on, but I know what I bring to the table and I’m excited to get to Atlanta and show them why they picked me.

Speaker 26 (01:27:36):

The next question, second row to your left, and then if we have a moment, we’ll go back to Zoom.

Speaker 39 (01:27:43):

This is Ralphi Kuta, welcome to the WNBA.

Hailey (01:27:48):

Oh, thank you.

Speaker 39 (01:27:49):

I just wanted to ask you, why don’t you describe the feeling of being drafted to the WNBA, which is something that you work hard for, since your days being younger and your days being national champion at Stanford, even though it was a few years ago now, and actually playing the WNBA?

Hailey (01:28:05):

Yeah, I’m really excited. I feel like it’s something that I’ve worked for all my life. Basketball has been a part of my family since before I was even around, so I’m really excited to kind of carry the torch that my cousin Delicia had. Next one in the family to get to the league, and I’m going to try to make my impact in whichever way I can. But I’m really excited to get there and learn. There’s so many amazing veteran players. The Dream staff is very experienced and they have a lot of wisdom that they’re going to pass down to me. So I’m excited for training camp. I’m sure I’m going to be tested. I’m sure there’s going to be a reality check there, but I’m just going to take it in stride and pick up any ounce that I can to just get better.

Speaker 26 (01:28:42):

All right. We’re going to return to Zoom for a couple questions. We’re going to start with Gabriela and then Shai.

Speaker 31 (01:28:50):

Hi, Hailey, Gabrielle Lewis from The Next. Leticia just came in here and talked about how she’s from a winning culture, she wants to bring that winning culture to Atlanta. You guys have both won National Championships. What’s it mean to not only come in with her, but also just to bring that National Championship winning energy to the A?

Hailey (01:29:09):

Yeah. Leticia said it best. I think that we both come from winning programs and just kind of a standard of excellence. And I think that the Dream is putting that into place right now. So for us to bring our collegiate experience of winning to the next level, it’s going to be great. And we have a lot to learn as well, but I think we can bring some pieces of knowledge and just kind of bring the same work ethic that we had in college and just boost that to be even greater. It’s really exciting. And you mentioned Leticia, we’ve been rivals for four years now, and so we ran into each other in the photo room. So we’re excited to finally get to play together, throw on the same jersey, and I think that we quite the duo to throw up with people like Naz Hillman, Danielle Robinson, Ryan Howard, the list just goes on and on. So I’m excited to get there and play with everyone.

Speaker 26 (01:29:55):

Okay. Shai, you’re up, and if we have a moment after that, we’ll get to Megan. Shai, go ahead.

Speaker 40 (01:30:01):

Hi, Hailey. Congratulations and congratulations for your podcast. Love it. You have been an amazing all around player for four years at Stanford. You won a title, and MOP. At some point, it seemed like you were the obvious choice for the second pick, but the narrative kind of changed and revolved around your three-point shooting. What do you think happened and how impatient are you to prove your doubters wrong?

Hailey (01:30:28):

I don’t really pay very much attention to the projections and things. I was just kind of excited to get to the league. But to your point, about three-point shooting and things of the sort, I’m just excited to get to the next level and show what I’ve been working on. I think that at Stanford, it wasn’t really my role to three-point shoot, it was to play make, rebound and run, facilitate, run the offense, play out of the high post. And I think that when that was my given role, I played it to the highest extent that I could. And I think we did a lot of great things doing that.

And so now, I was a great three point shooter in high school, and I think now it’s just kind of bringing that back to the arsenal. I don’t think it ever really left, it’s just bringing it back to the forefront. It’s been on standby for a while. So I’m excited to get to the A, bring it there and just kind of, I don’t know, prove people wrong in a way I guess. But that’s not really my focus. My focus is on getting to Atlanta and winning basketball games.

Speaker 26 (01:31:24):

All right. We have two more questions, one from Zoom, one from the room. Going to ask the people in the back of the room if you can keep it down, your colleagues are working up front. We’re going to go to Megan.

Speaker 31 (01:31:36):

Hi, Hailey. Congratulations. In a first round that was full of Dallas Picks, what were your thoughts immediately when you heard ATL? And then also you talked a little bit about this young four there in ATL. What do you think you bring to the table that is Hailey specific, whether it’s on the court or off the court?

Hailey (01:31:56):

Yeah. When I heard ATL and they said Hailey Jones, I was like, “Bet, let’s get it.” That was kind of my attitude about it. I was like, “Let’s get to it. Give my family the hugs. I’m excited to get there.” But yeah, just with the young core, I think that they bring a lot of different things. But I think what I can bring on the court, people always talk about my versatility, and so I think that’s going to be big at the next level. I think being a six one point guard is huge. The vision that you have, the mismatches that you can exploit in a variety of ways, I think being able to rebound the ball and push it and not look for an outlet gives a different look to the game.

I think off the court, I try to just be myself and people usually describe that as compassionate, a lot of times goofy, maybe clumsy. But I think I’m just going to bring just an authenticity about myself. I’m never going to apologize for who I am, the way that I am. I’m proud of who I’ve become, so I’m just going to bring a confident energy, one that’s going to look to have fun, make the game fun, because that’s what it should be. That’s why we all play. So I’m excited to bring that big old personality that I have to Atlanta.

Speaker 26 (01:33:01):

All right. We have one more question before we are joined by Zaya Cook. Hailey, last row to your right.

Speaker 41 (01:33:08):

Hey, Hailey. Meredith Cash from Insider. Congratulations. You mentioned before that your phone’s probably blowing up, you have a lot of missed calls. One of those is from your new coach.

Hailey (01:33:22):

Oh, so sorry, coach. Goodness.

Speaker 41 (01:33:24):

She tweeted, “Hey, girl, just trying to reach you to congratulate you on coming to the A. #pickupyourphone.”

Hailey (01:33:31):

Oh, my God. Well, coach, if you’re listening or if you’re going to see this interview, I’m so sorry. I literally got called, didn’t even think to grab my phone. I hugged my mom and dad and my brother, so when I get to my phone, I’ll call her back immediately. That is the worst first impression to have is missing a call from your new boss. So the second I get to my phone, no matter how many missed calls I have, missed texts, calling her immediately. But I hope she knows how excited I am to get to the A, make an impact, get to training camp, just get ready to work. And I will tell her profusely all of that as soon as we get on the phone. Yeah.

Speaker 26 (01:34:13):

All right. Hailey, thank you. And you can tell Coach, we’ll give you a permission slip from WNBA Communications.

Hailey (01:34:19):

Please, I’m going to need it. Thank you. Thank you, everyone

Speaker 26 (01:35:17):

… with questions for Zaya. And we’re going to start second row to your right.

Speaker 27 (01:35:21):

Congratulations, Zaya. This is Ciara with MTMV Sports. And I just wanted to know this feeling, you’re here with your freshies, your coach. Explain that feeling that you’re feeling right now.

Zaya (01:35:32):

It’s a beautiful feeling. I wasn’t able to watch the whole Draft, but I know my teammates got drafted. So it was testament to coach for being able to bring all these great girls together and make history, and now we’re all living our Dreams. So I’m excited and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us.

Speaker 26 (01:35:51):

Zaya, your next two questions will come from the back row to your left.

Speaker 29 (01:35:56):

Zaya, congratulations. Jaylens Heart with WRHU. What was the hardest lesson you’ve learned in the four years at South Carolina that leads you to this point now?

Zaya (01:36:06):

To find the beauty in your struggle and embrace your journey. I think once I was able to do that, things started to open up for me in the best way possible. And I was able to maintain, I able stay consistent, and I was just happy me. So definitely finding the beauty in my journey and just embracing it.

Speaker 26 (01:36:25):

Also, back row to your left.

Speaker 42 (01:36:28):

Hi, Zaya. D Lab for The Gist. You throw love at Toledo at ever turn.

Zaya (01:36:33):


Speaker 42 (01:36:33):

And you are a long way from Rogers High School court. I would love to hear you talk about your journey as you just spoke from Northwest Ohio.

Zaya (01:36:43):

Yes, Toledo, Ohio. Huge thank you to you guys for supporting me. My city is behind me, they are behind me and I’m going to be so far away, but I know that in my hearts they’re going to be so close. So thank you to Toledo, Ohio. Thank you to Toledo Rogers for leading away from me, and just sticking behind me. So it’s not over with, Toledo. We still in it. So let’s continue to do what we do.

Speaker 26 (01:37:09):

Next question. First row to your right.

Speaker 38 (01:37:11):

Hi, Zaya. Congratulations.

Zaya (01:37:12):

Thank you.

Speaker 38 (01:37:14):

So I remember when I talked to you after you won the National Championship, you said that you dreamed of that moment since you were around my age.

Zaya (01:37:21):


Speaker 38 (01:37:21):

So I’m wondering, after being drafted tonight, is this as much of a dream come true for you? And if so, what message do you have for your younger self?

Zaya (01:37:29):

This is definitely a Dream come true. This is something that I’ve prepared myself for since I was six years old. And I would tell my younger self, I would actually congratulate her. I would tell her how proud I am of her to her parents, number one. For not being a follower, being a leader and being very hardworking. I never quit on myself. So I’m definitely proud of myself.

Speaker 26 (01:37:51):

All right. We’re going to turn to Zoom for a couple questions. We’re going to go with John D, and then John W. John D, you’re up. John D you’re up.

Speaker 43 (01:38:10):

Hi, Zaya, this is John W. Davis with the Orange County Register out here in Los Angeles. What do you know about the Sparks Organization, and what are you looking forward to bringing to us out here in LA?

Zaya (01:38:21):

I definitely know that they’re rebuilding a little bit. I got a chance to talk to their staff and I fell in love with their staff at first sight. The head coach is amazing, the coaching staff is amazing, so I can’t wait to get a chance to go out there. They got some good vets there that I know is going to put me under their wing, and I’m just ready to learn. I’m ready to learn, I’m ready to win and just do whatever I can do to help the team succeed and do what we know we can do.

Speaker 26 (01:38:46):

All right. Next up is John W. John, you’re going to be followed by Tookne. John, go ahead

Speaker 32 (01:38:56):

Hi, Zaya. Congratulations to you and your family on this momentous day, especially from everybody here at ABC News Four in Charleston, South Carolina. I was talking to Leticia earlier and I was asking her what’s it going to be like when you guys are on the court playing against each other. What are those emotions going to be?

Zaya (01:39:13):

Oh, yeah, that’s going to be crazy. See, my teammates are a lot bigger than me, so they spared me a lot. But I know when they playing against me, they won’t spare me. In practice, I got spared. But I think playing against them, they definitely going to show me that they’re there. And I probably won’t be guarding them, so I’m going to make sure my teammates lock them up, because it won’t probably be me. But I’m excited for all of us, everything we’re able to accomplish and I know the sky is the limit for all of us.

Speaker 26 (01:39:41):

All right. Tookne, you are up, and you’re going to be followed by Emily and then we’ll return to the room. Tookne, go ahead.

Speaker 44 (01:39:48):

Hi, Zaya. This is Tookne with the LA Times. Congratulations.

Zaya (01:39:52):

Thank you.

Speaker 44 (01:39:54):

Training camps are always really competitive in W, so what do you hope to bring to the Sparks to earn your spot as they go through, as you said, this rebuilding process?

Zaya (01:40:03):

I know the hard work won’t be a problem for me. What it will be for me is just make sure I’m asking questions and taking pride and I’m going to be a rookie, but I definitely want to use the vets in the best way possible by learning from them, asking them to watch field with me, asking them to workout with me and just taking it all in for those two weeks. Of course, I want to make the team, but I definitely want to get as much knowledge as I can and hopefully when it’s all over, I’ll be on the team for sure.

Speaker 26 (01:40:30):

All right. We’re going to turn return to the room, second row, Center.

Speaker 35 (01:40:38):

Zaya, Howard McDough with The Next. Good to see you again.

Zaya (01:40:40):


Speaker 35 (01:40:41):

Congratulations. I’m curious, you’ve often talked about the impact that Dawn has had. And I remember talking to Destiny Henderson about the fact that when she’s out there, Dawn’s voice is always in her head. Do you expect that to be the same thing? And what parts of Dawn do you expect to take into the lead with you?

Zaya (01:40:58):

I won’t even have to keep her in my head, because I know how she’s a call away. So if I’m feeling anything, I know I could call her and cry, I know I can call her and express how I’m feeling and I know she’s going to always be here for me. So I’m definitely excited to know that I was coached by somebody that will be here for the rest of my life. And I love her for that for sure.

Speaker 26 (01:41:17):

Zaya, thank you.

Zaya (01:41:20):

Oh, thank you.

Speaker 26 (01:41:20):

I’m sorry, Zaya. My apologies. Thank you. And we are going to be joined momentarily by Ashley.

Zaya (01:41:26):

So am I good? All right. Thank you, guys.

Speaker 45 (01:42:38):

We’re going to start second row, center, and then second row, left. Howard? Second row, center, and then second row, left.

Howard Megdal (01:42:49):

Ashley, congratulations. Howard Megdal with The Next. Just take me through, when you think about the way your game translates, what do you think is the skill that was basically most dominant in the minds of the teams that were looking to draft you and ultimately, who selected you?

Ashley Joens (01:43:05):

I think definitely just my hard work, my work ethic going in. I’m a competitor. No one likes to lose, but just going in, I want to get rebounds, I’m aggressive on the boards, just being versatile, being able to score on all three levels. That’s it.

Howard Megdal (01:43:30):

Thank you.

Speaker 45 (01:43:30):

Next question, second row to your left.

Speaker 47 (01:43:36):

This is [inaudible 01:43:39] welcome to the WNBA, first of all. Second of all, what are your overall emotions when being drafted by Dallas Wings and actually having some new teammates this season coming up?

Ashley Joens (01:43:51):

It’s really exciting getting drafted to the Dallas Wings, but to know that Steph’s also going to be there, I got to play with her a little bit this year, so getting the opportunity to play with her again is really exciting. Obviously, with her injury this year, I didn’t get to play with her the full year, but she has a lot of potential and is a great player, great person, so I’m excited to get to play with her again.

Speaker 45 (01:44:16):

Next question will come first row, center and then we’re going to turn to Zoom.

Hannah (01:44:20):

Hey, Ashley. Hannah [inaudible 01:44:21], Just Women Sports. What did you feel you improved about your game or learned about yourself from playing your fifth year at Iowa State?

Ashley Joens (01:44:28):

Yeah, that’s a great question. I think the biggest thing is just learning to compete through challenges. Obviously, we faced a lot of adversity this year with Steph going out, Coach Finley had lost his mom, we had a lot of changes within the program, and so just learning to fight through adversity, continue to battle and adapt to the changes, but also just learning how to handle the ball a little better.

Again, scoring on all three levels. I think all those things helped translate and are able to help me as I move forward here.

Speaker 45 (01:45:02):

All right, we’re going to turn to Zoom for three questions. We’re going to go with Tommy, Dorothy, and Derek. Tommy, you’re up.

Tommy (01:45:12):

Hey, Ashley. I was just wondering what’s the night been like for you, just waiting for the pick to unfold and all that stuff?

Ashley Joens (01:45:26):

You get a little anxious waiting and you want to know where you’re going, but really exciting when you hear your name called. You get to go up on stage, take your picture, and just get to know where you’re going now. Obviously with Steph going there, it’s really exciting. I get to play with her again.

Speaker 45 (01:45:44):

We’re going to go Dorothy and then Derek. Dorothy.

Dorothy (01:45:48):

Hi, Ashley. This is Dorothy live from Dallas and looking forward to meeting you. What will you focus on, or your mindset when you get ready to come down for training camp to make sure that you make this roster? What would be your focus or your mindset?

Ashley Joens (01:46:06):

I’m super excited to get there. Training camp’s going to be tough, but nothing’s ever easy. Nothing’s ever handed to you, you have to work for it, you have to earn it. And so just coming in, being aggressive and competitive, competing and just soaking it all up, learning from the veteran players and going from there.

Speaker 45 (01:46:28):

All right. Next question from Derek.

Derek (01:46:36):

Hey, Ashley. Congratulations. I just wanted to ask, what was your feelings when you heard your name called? What was the feelings when you got drafted?

Ashley Joens (01:46:44):

It’s really exciting when you hear your name called. You’re happy, it’s just all the emotions rush you at once. You’re just excited to get the opportunity to be here, get drafted. Obviously, it’s a hard league and to even be drafted is hard, but making a roster is the next spot, so really excited to be drafted. Excited to get to Dallas and get into training camp.

Speaker 45 (01:47:13):

All right, next question. We’re going to return to the room center row. Howard?

Howard Megdal (01:47:23):

Thanks, Ashley. Howard again. Your rebounding rate was among the best in the country. You were not the biggest one on the court in any game you played this year. How do you account for it and do you feel confident that that ability is going to translate to the next level as well?

Ashley Joens (01:47:42):

Yeah, I’ve never been the biggest or the strongest person on the court, but you have to have the heart and the will to go after the ball, so just knowing when a shooter shoots it, where the ball’s going to come off the rim, reading it that way and going after the ball and just being competitive and battling inside even if you’re not the biggest. I think that’s what helps me rebound a lot.

Speaker 45 (01:48:07):

All right. Staying with Zoom, we’re going to go to Jake and I believe Jason after that, your hand is still raised. We’re going to go Jake, go ahead.

Jake, you may be on mute. That’s a definite, you’re on mute. All right, we’re going to turn to Jason.

All right, we’re going to excuse Ashley and Ashley’s going to continue on the media circuit.

Ashley Joens (01:48:46):

Thank you.

Speaker 45 (01:48:46):

Ashley, thank you.

… For Dorka. We’re going to start, Dorka, second row to your left.

Hannah (01:51:13):

Hi Dorka, congratulations. What does it mean to be able to spend tonight with Lou, for you guys to experience that draft together? You guys have had that close bond all year and to just be able to share that table in all the festivities today?

Dorka (01:51:24):

It means everything to me. I think just being able to experience this being both of us internationals, fifth years coming from Yukon, I think is super special and I’m super happy for her whenever her name was called, I was super excited for her. It’s very special.

I think we had definitely a challenging season that brought us together and we were able to build that connection, that friendship that I think is going to last forever. I couldn’t be happier just to have her by my side.

Speaker 45 (01:51:57):

All right, next question. Also second row to your left.

Meredith Cash (01:52:00):

Hey, Dorka, congratulations. What have your conversations with Minnesota been like and what are you looking forward to going there?

Dorka (01:52:07):

I’m looking forward to just go there. Obviously knowing that Napheesa Collier is there is definitely a huge excitement for me, just learning a lot from her. Whenever I came to Yukon, watching a lot of film on her. How can I be successful in a Yukon jersey, because she was so successful already in Yukon and learning a lot of things from her, just watching her play, but now being there and learning from her, having that leader.

I’m very excited, but even just the whole organization. I’m definitely a very competitive person. I know they are, I know they want to win a WNBA championship, so I’m just excited to go there, learn from there and start to work.

Speaker 45 (01:52:49):

We’re going to stay in the second row for two more questions.

Howard Megdal (01:52:53):

Hi, Dorka. Howard Megdal with The Next. Good to see you again.

Dorka (01:52:54):

Good to see you.

Howard Megdal (01:52:55):

Congratulations. When you think about the way your game translates, obviously it fits a lot of what the modern W has been, and I know we talked about this back in the fall but do you feel like there’s a particular tool, whether it’s your shot block and whether it’s your three point shooting that has best prepared you for making that jump to this level?

Dorka (01:53:15):

I believe it’s not really one specific thing, but more just my versatility of being able to impact the game offensively and defensively a lot of different ways. I was able to come to Yukon and have totally two different seasons.

First season, obviously coming off the bench, just learning the ways I can impact the game, who knows in how many minutes. Some games, I got a lot of minutes, some games, not so much, so I definitely had to take advantage of that and learning a different role. Now this season, more of a leadership role. Playing heavy minutes, I was counted on more offensively, defensively.

Even just these past two years, I think just prepared me for the next level and just showing that versatility. I think just going to Minnesota, I’ve seen a lot of similarities of how they play, how Yukon plays. Just seeing Napheesa playing there, being so successful is definitely very exciting to me and I’m just excited to see how my game can translate into that and what I can bring to the table. It’s definitely just excited to work, excited to just get there and meet everybody and go to work.

Speaker 45 (01:54:30):

Next question. Staying in the second row to your right.

Meredith Cash (01:54:34):

Hi, Dorka. Meredith Cash from Insider. Congratulations. I’m just curious whether you got some advice from the many Yukon alums who are already in the league before you got here tonight and what they had to say.

Dorka (01:54:49):

I think one of the things that they definitely all of them said is just enjoy the moment. They told me to not stress whether I get picked up in first round, second round. It’s definitely where you fit and just enjoy embracing this moment, I think that was the biggest lesson. I feel like I truly embrace it.

I was very excited just to see my name pop up, didn’t matter if it was first round, second round. I’m just excited to be here and I know they’re going to be always around me. I’m always going to be part of the Husky family. I can always go talk to coaches, call them whenever, even the alums. It’s just a big family, so it’s nice to have them as my support group that I can always go to and ask questions about the WNBA. It’s very special and they always supported me and I know they’re very excited as well to see two more Huskies adding into the WNBA.

Speaker 45 (01:55:54):

All right. Dorka, thank you very much. To our media, stay with us. We’re going to be joined by Brea Beal.

Okay, we’re going to start far right, second row and then center, second row. Taylor, to your right in the second row.

Sierra (01:57:19):

Congratulations. Sierra with MTMV Sports. I just want to know, I know there’s a lot of feelings, but if you could describe it in one word, what would it be?

Taylor (01:57:27):

Just blessed more than anything. Just blessed to be here.

Speaker 45 (01:57:32):

Taylor, in the second row, center.

Howard Megdal (01:57:36):

[inaudible 01:57:36]. Coming above. Hi, Howard Megdal with The Next. Just wanted to talk to you about your ability to shoot and how much you are both excited to do that at the W level and just the fact that you’ve always been comfortable with not just threes, but long threes, how that makes it particularly easy to translate to this next level now.

Taylor (01:57:56):

Yeah, that’s something that I’ve always liked to pride myself on, my shooting ability and scoring ability. I’m just excited to get to Indiana and do that. Just be me, basically. I think being a little less athletic, my shooting ability has been something that’s helped offset my lack of athleticism at times, but I’m also just excited to get to Indiana and just be a sponge and find ways that I can get better.

Speaker 45 (01:58:22):

Next question will come from the last row in the center.

Speaker 47 (01:58:27):

Hey, Taylor. You’re joining an Indiana team that seems to be picking up quite a bit of talent. I mean tonight they drafted the Leah Boston, they have Henny Henderson coming back there, they got NaLyssa Smith who just won the MVP. How do you find yourself fitting into this team right off the jump and how much of a impact you think you can have this season?

Taylor (01:58:49):

It’s an incredible list of people you just named and there’s also people on that list you didn’t even name. They have Kelsey Mitchell and other people that are incredibly talented, have been veterans of the league, and I’m excited just to get there and pick their brain in ways that I can help add to the team and be a good addition more than anything, and just be a vocal leader wherever they need me.

Speaker 45 (01:59:09):

Taylor, we’re going to turn to Zoom for questions. We’ve got three lined up. We’re going to go with Dan, then Whitney, then Thomas. Dan, go ahead.

Dan Hope (01:59:18):

Hi Taylor, Dan Hope from Eleven Warriors. Obviously for you, Kelsey Mitchell, someone else who came from Ohio State. How well do you know her and how’s your excitement level just to play with her?

Taylor (01:59:31):

Very excited to play with her and just to get to pick her brain a little bit about the league and just her journey through the W. Got to talk to her a little bit earlier today and she just gave me some advice and told me just to enjoy the moment and just keep being me.

Speaker 45 (01:59:47):

Next question will come from Whitney. Whitney, go ahead. You’re going to be followed by Thomas.

Whitney (01:59:52):

Hey, Taylor. Congratulations. I don’t know if you saw at all the crowd that has amassed and Massillon tonight to watch you get selected. How nice is it that you’re going to be closer to them so your hometown can still come watch you play?

Taylor (02:00:07):

I have not seen that, but I am very excited to see that. My hometown and just my home has meant a lot to me. Just being close to home with Ohio State has meant so much for me to have my family in my backyard, so I’m very excited to be that close to home and have my family ties.

Speaker 45 (02:00:25):

Next question, also Zoom. Thomas.

Thomas Costello (02:00:28):

Thomas Costello, Land-Grant Holy Land. Thanks a lot for the time, Taylor, and congratulations on getting drafted. You and Grace Berger, you’ve battled for the last two years and even further back than that. What does it mean now to go from playing against her and now playing with her with Indiana?

Taylor (02:00:48):

Grace is incredibly talented. We’ve had a lot of battles when she was in Indiana and I was at Ohio State. Even when I was at Maryland, we had some battles. She’s an incredible competitor and I’m excited to be on the other end of that this time.

Speaker 45 (02:01:02):

All right. Taylor, thank you.

Taylor (02:01:03):

Thank you.

Marvin Chambers (02:02:09):

Marvin Chambers, 4.0 Sports Media. First of all, congratulations, Brea. You had a tough season, but you endured through the whole season. Your toughness… What do you think some of your attributes would translate to the next level?

Brea Beal (02:02:20):

Just my ability to learn. I think that’s the biggest compliment when it comes to me. Be able to take in things and listen and just being able to adapt, do things that coaches need from me, teammates need from me. Just be able to be in all different aspects.

Speaker 45 (02:02:39):

All right, next question. Second row to your left.

Speaker 47 (02:02:42):

This is [inaudible 01:42:00]. Won’t you describe the whole feeling of being able to drafted to the WNBA after the type of college season that you had?

Brea Beal (02:02:51):

It definitely shows the hard work that I’ve put in, especially coming into college and you’re expecting a score, you’re expecting to be the leading scorer of a team because that’s what you’re used to, and just being able to establish another role and be great at that, and then build all around character. It shows my growth, my discipline, and my patience, and just to see that the Minnesota Lynx was able to see that. It’s a blessing to be there.

Speaker 45 (02:03:19):

We’re going to go next to South Carolina and Emily. Emily, go ahead.

Emily (02:03:27):

Hey, Brea. I want to ask, with Dawn having four of you guys here tonight, what was it like to have her here with you, and how has she prepared your whole class to be ready for this next level?

Brea Beal (02:03:44):

Just to begin with, she’s somebody we trusted. She’s been through it all, many years of basketball. Her knowledge is through the roof, so we trust everything she says. Just for her to have four of us here, it shows that we trust her. We believed in her, and she believed in us throughout the whole entire way.

Speaker 45 (02:04:08):

Our next question, last row to your left, Brea.

Jalen Tart (02:04:11):

Jalen Tart with WRHU. Brea, I know that you’re very dominant on the defensive end. What is one of the biggest components in your offensive game that you’re looking to improve on going to the next level?

Brea Beal (02:04:25):

Mainly being able to balance both. You get so caught up in getting stops and whatever the case may be, and only taking one or two shots per quarter because you’re just so caught up in getting those stops. So just being level-headed. When there’s games where I’m scoring and making plays on the other end, I’m being passive on defense, so just being able to balance out.

Speaker 45 (02:04:46):

Anybody else? Brea, thank you.

Brea Beal (02:04:46):

Thank you.

Speaker 48 (02:16:00):

[inaudible 02:16:00]. All right, Jordan, your first question will come to your right, in the third row. Thanks.

DJ Ari (02:16:44):

Jordan, first, congratulations.

Jordan (02:16:45):

Thank you.

DJ Ari (02:16:45):

I’m DJ Ari, NewsTalk New England. I just wanted to ask how you feel about getting drafted.

Jordan (02:16:49):

Man, surreal. It’s a surreal feeling. I’m just thankful to God. I give all glory to Him. I wouldn’t be here without Him. All the hard work that I put in allowed me to be in this position. Like I said, I’m just grateful for this opportunity.

Speaker 48 (02:17:07):

Next question. Second row, center.

Howard Megdal (02:17:12):

Hi, Jordan.

Jordan (02:17:13):


Howard Megdal (02:17:13):

Howard Megdal with The Next. Congratulations.

Jordan (02:17:14):

Thank you.

Howard Megdal (02:17:16):

You obviously do so many things effectively on the court. What do you feel like is your carrying tool, the thing that will carry over the most and see right away when you get to the W?

Jordan (02:17:29):

I can be a lockdown defender. Like I said, I’m pretty versatile. Can’t really put me in a box. I’m going to do whatever it takes. Whatever the team needs, I’m going to do it. I work hard. I’m a big guard, so I can guard forwards, bigger guards, smaller guards. But, like I said, I’m really focusing in on bringing that defensive impact. Thank you.

Speaker 48 (02:17:56):

Jordan, we’re going to stay in the second row for your next two questions. Go ahead.

Doug Feinberg (02:17:59):

Hey, Jordan. Doug Feinberg, the AP.

Jordan (02:18:01):

How are you doing?

Doug Feinberg (02:18:02):

Obviously Tennessee has a very rich history of players in the WNBA. Have you talked to any of them-

Jordan (02:18:06):

Oh, yeah.

Doug Feinberg (02:18:07):

… or did they give you any advice over times about what it’s like to play in the W?

Jordan (02:18:09):

I was literally just talking to Tamika Catchings. The first time she texted me, I was starstruck. I was like, “Oh my God. This is Tamika Catchings. She has my number. She knows my name. What the heck?” But, no, she’s been there. She’s been giving me advice and encouraging me. I’m so thankful for her.

Doug Feinberg (02:18:31):

Okay. Just to follow up real quick. Was there anything specific she said to you, like advice-wise, like, do X, do y, don’t do something?

Jordan (02:18:39):

She just told me to be me. She says she knew that I would make it. Just continue to do the things that I’ve been doing. She’s rooting for me. Thank you.

Speaker 48 (02:18:49):

Next question, also second row to your left.

Jackie Powell (02:18:52):

Hi, Jordan.

Jordan (02:18:53):


Jackie Powell (02:18:53):

Jackie Powell with The Next. I’m just curious if you can take us through the calculation you made to decide to come to the draft rather than take another year in college, especially when you had teammates at Tennessee that decided to stay.

Jordan (02:19:09):

Yeah, I mean either way it went, I felt like it was going to be a good situation. It was two really good situations. That’s why it made it even harder for me to decide. But to go back on everything that I’ve worked for is for this moment. I’ve always had aspirations and dreams of playing in the W. I’ve watched it growing up, and I felt like this is my time. It’s the opportunity. God was giving me this opportunity and I felt like I had to jump on it. I’m honestly so happy that I made this decision. I’m a strong believer in everything happens for a reason, and this was meant to happen.

Jackie Powell (02:19:44):

To follow up, who are the players currently in the W that you’re most excited to either play with or play against?

Jordan (02:19:51):

Ooh, I’m excited to play with all my teammates at Seattle. We got another Tennessee Lady Vol over there, so I’m excited about that. Then just stepping out on the court and playing against everybody. Like I said, I’m a big fan at the W. I watched it growing up, all my life, so I look up to a lot of people in the W. So every team that I play against, I’m just honored to be out there.

Jackie Powell (02:20:15):

Thank you.

Jordan (02:20:15):

Thank you.

Speaker 48 (02:20:16):

Jordan, next question to your right, in the second row.

Ciara (02:20:19):

Jordy, hi. Ciara with MTMV Sports. I just want to know, when did this moment become so real for you?

Jordan (02:20:29):

Probably … I would have to say things really set in after my name was called. I was walking out and my nerves was high. I walked out and they pulled me over and they showed me this video of my aunt. Well, my cousin Sylvia, she coached for North Carolina and then also played in the W. She showed me this video of her speaking and it made me tear up. So just realizing the things that I’ve worked… This is what I worked for. She’s always told me that I had what it takes to be in the W and it’s just crazy that it’s finally here. Thank you.

Speaker 48 (02:21:09):

Next question also in the second row to your right, Jordan.

Meredith Cash (02:21:12):

Hi there. Meredith Cash from Insider. Congratulations.

Jordan (02:21:16):

Thank you.

Meredith Cash (02:21:17):

I just want to get your insight on what you think the fit is like with Seattle and playing alongside Jewell Loyd.

Jordan (02:21:22):

Oh, man, I’m so excited. I’m so excited to pick her brain. I’m so excited for her to take me in and to be a part of this. They have a great fan base. I’m just excited to get out there. Like I said, I’m always ready to learn and I’m ready to do whatever it takes to help this team.

Speaker 48 (02:21:42):

All right, we’ve got a bunch of questions on Zoom. We’re going to start our process in the Pacific Northwest and work our way back to Tennessee. We’re going to start with Percy.

Percy (02:21:57):

Hi, Jordan. I’d like to welcome you to Seattle. Just to piggyback off that last question, have you had much conversations with people from the Storm and what do you think about Seattle and what would seem like a chance to get some early playing time?

Jordan (02:22:19):

I’m sorry, can you repeat that first question?

Speaker 48 (02:22:24):

Can you re-ask that question please?

Percy (02:22:25):

Sure. Yeah. Just to … Have you had much conversations with the Storm and what do you think about Seattle and what would seem like a chance to get some early playing time?

Jordan (02:22:40):

Well, actually Seattle was probably one of the only places that I didn’t have a conversation with. I’ve talked with a lot of the coaches on Zoom, and they was actually one of the ones that I didn’t. So I mean I’m so thankful that they saw potential in me. But, like I said, they come from rich history like Sue Bird. She held it down there. And Jewel Lloyd, she’s a dog. I’m just really excited. I’m going to do whatever I need to do. I’m going continue to be me, be a great teammate, be a sponge, be ready to work.

Percy (02:23:25):

Awesome. Thank you.

Jordan (02:23:25):

Thank you.

Speaker 48 (02:23:26):

All right. We’re going to turn to Kevin. Kevin, go ahead.

Kevin Pelton (02:23:29):

Hey, Jordan, Kevin Pelton, espn.com. You were just out in Seattle for the NCAA tournament.

Jordan (02:23:37):

I know.

Kevin Pelton (02:23:38):

What was the city like and did you have any idea at that point that you might be starting your career there?

Jordan (02:23:43):

None. I had no idea where I was going. The city was beautiful. It was amazing. The only thing that I’ve known about Seattle prior to going for the NCAA tournament was Grey’s Anatomy. So I already knew it was a pretty beautiful city. But, no, I did not have any clue on where I was going to end up, so I’m excited to embark that new journey.

Speaker 48 (02:24:15):

Kevin, all set?

Kevin Pelton (02:24:16):


Speaker 48 (02:24:17):

All right. We’re going to turn to Maria, and then Cora, and then Ryan. Maria?

Maria (02:24:26):

Hi, Jordan. Obviously your college career ended in Seattle and now your WNBA career is going to take you in Seattle. I know it’s been a whirlwind since you got drafted. Have you had a chance to even talk with any of the Seattle coaches from there in New York, either via FaceTime or phone?

Jordan (02:24:47):

Yes, actually I did. Hey, Maria. How are you doing? It’s good to see you. But, yeah, I did talk to all the coaches. We got on the phone. They were excited. I was excited. It just made me want to go there right now.

Speaker 48 (02:25:02):

All right. We’re going to turn to Cora. Cora, you’re going to be followed by Ryan.

Cora (02:25:10):

Hey, Jordan. Congratulations. You and Kelly seem to have a pretty special moment once your name was announced. I know you guys just have a really special relationship. Can you talk about what that moment meant and to have her in the building tonight?

Jordan (02:25:23):

Hey, Cora. How are you? It’s good to see you as well. No, but, honestly, the whole drive, I could see coach. She’s like in the corner. So I’m over here hands, palms sweating. Every time I would look at coach, I don’t know, it just brought me a sense of … It calmed me down. So I’ll just look over at coach, she’ll just be looking around, and it’s like, okay, I’m good, I’m good, I’m good. But I mean that just goes to show that she brings me peace. I can be myself with her. I love her so much. I mean she’s done so much for me. Whatever I can do to give back to her, I’m going to jump and do it.

Speaker 48 (02:26:03):

All right, we’re going to go Ryan. Ryan, you’re going to be followed by Caleb. Ryan, you’re up.

Ryan (02:26:09):

Congratulations, Jordan.

Jordan (02:26:13):

Thank you.

Ryan (02:26:14):

I was just wondering if playing at a school like Tennessee prepared you to play at the professional level. I’m also wondering if you’ve talked to Mercedes anytime recently or maybe during the recruiting process.

Jordan (02:26:24):

Definitely playing at Tennessee has prepared me for the next level. I mean you look at Tennessee, you see Candace Parker, you see legends that come out of Tennessee. So I feel like just having those people that came before us, they came back and helped us out. I feel like that’s been a good thing. I feel like also with the coaching staff, they were amazing on and off the court. I feel like they’re the best in the country.

As far as Mercedes. I haven’t spoken to her, but I’m going to get on that real soon. I remember coming on a visit. I don’t remember how old I was, but she was there and I was always looking up to her. So I’m excited to play with her.

Speaker 48 (02:27:21):

Next question … I’m sorry. Caleb. Caleb, you’re going to be followed by Reese and Frank. Caleb, you’re up.

Caleb (02:27:29):

Hey, Jordan. Congratulations.

Jordan (02:27:31):

Thank you.

Caleb (02:27:32):

Adding on to what Ryan said, you joined a long list of Lady Vols who got drafted to the WNBA. What does it mean to not only have your name in the record books at Tennessee, even now added to that list of drafted Lady Vols?

Jordan (02:27:42):

Man, it’s crazy. I still can’t even believe it. Like I said, I have to give all glory to God, because without Him, I wouldn’t be here. My family, the people who supported me. Like I said, it’s still a blur. I probably won’t even realize this until long, long, long down the line. So I’m just trying to take everything in. But I’m just so grateful.

Speaker 48 (02:28:11):

All right.

Reese (02:28:11):

Hey, Jordy. I was just going to ask about the handshake. How much did you and Kellie Harper practice that handshake?

Jordan (02:28:20):

Okay. So we actually made that handshake maybe a week before the draft. But we was like we’re going to be one of those cool people. We’re going to do a handshake. We’re going to be it. So we sold everybody in the office. So we probably did it about 12 times. But it was cool. I think we looked pretty cool. We pulled it off.

Speaker 48 (02:28:51):

All right, next question. Frank, you’re up.

Frank (02:28:53):

Hi, Jordan. Love the suit by the way.

Jordan (02:28:57):

Thank you.

Frank (02:28:58):

So for the third year in a row now, a Lady Vol’s been drafted, ninth overall. Have you talked to Rennia or Rae leading up to this process and what was the advice they gave you looking back on it, being in the exact same position that you are now?

Jordan (02:29:16):

Yeah. Okay. So I actually talked to Rae a couple of weeks before. She was just asking me where my head was and just, “You’re going to be good. Just be you. Go in there, work hard,” just the things that a good teammate would say. Then Rennia texted me today just telling me she’s proud of me and she’s rooting for me.

But that just goes to show that this sisterhood is real. We stay in touch. Like I said, I look up to them. They brought me in and they showed the ropes to me. Hopefully I was able to do that with somebody else. But, like I said, it’s a sisterhood and it means more here at Tennessee.

Speaker 48 (02:30:00):

All right. Maria, your hand is still raised. Not sure if you have another question.

Maria (02:30:05):

Yeah. Jordan, walk us through that fit. How did you pick that out? Because I think you may have won the fashion for the WNBA draft.

Jordan (02:30:12):

You think so? You think? I mean it is nothing too crazy, Maria. It’s nothing too crazy. Actually it was just thrown together last minute. I got it yesterday. So I didn’t want anything too crazy, but I needed something that I had to make a statement. I felt like this was the right fit for me. So I think I pulled it off.

Speaker 49 (02:30:37):

Yeah, swaggy.

Speaker 48 (02:30:41):

All right, Jordan. Thank you.

Jordan (02:30:43):

Thank you. Are we good?

Speaker 48 (02:30:45):

We’re all set.

Jordan (02:30:45):

Thank you all.

Speaker 48 (02:30:45):

All right, we have one more player to go.

Jordan (02:30:46):

Are we good? All right.

Speaker 48 (02:30:47):

We’ll be joined in a little bit by Alexis Morris. We’re going to start to your right, in the third row, or fourth row.

Tiffany Williams (02:31:51):

Thank you. Congratulations, Alexis. Tiffany Williams, NewsTalk New England. How excited are you to be joining the Connecticut Sun?

Alexis Morris (02:31:58):

Was it you? Oh, I’m super excited. God is good. I got the opportunity to play professional. I appreciate the Connecticut Suns offering me and giving me the opportunity. I’m going to take full advantage of it. I’m super thankful and grateful.

Speaker 48 (02:32:17):

Next question to your right, in the second row, Alexis.

Ciara (02:32:21):

Congratulations, Alexis. Ciara with MTMV Sports. Champion, now you’re in the W. Describe it in one word.

Alexis Morris (02:32:32):


Speaker 48 (02:32:36):

Alexis, next two questions will come from the center, second row.

Howard Megdal (02:32:40):

Alexis, Howard Megdal with The Next. Good to see you again and congratulations. This lead is filled with players who have been drafted later than they expected, some not getting drafted at all and making their way into the lead and using it as motivation. Did that happen tonight for you and how are you going to use it as motivation?

Alexis Morris (02:32:59):

Absolutely. I also have history, so I understand why teams may have been skeptical to pick me at first. But, like I said earlier, I’m super grateful for the opportunity. I’m going to take full advantage. You’ve seen me do it with Coach Mulkey at LSU and I came out a national champion. I plan to do that in the WNBA. My will to win is incredible and my competitive nature is outmatched. It can’t be matched. So I’m just grateful, man.

Howard Megdal (02:33:29):

Thank you. You’re welcome.

Alexis Morris (02:33:30):

Thank you.

Speaker 48 (02:33:31):

Alexis, we’re going to stay in the second row, center.

Speaker 50 (02:33:33):

[inaudible 02:33:34]. Sorry.

Doug Feinberg (02:33:36):

Hey, Alexis. Doug Feinberg, the AP. I have two questions for you. I’m a huge comic book fan. So Lex Luthor Twitter handle, is that superhero related or just the opposite?

Alexis Morris (02:33:45):

Yeah, he was a super villain of Superman. He was the archenemy.

Doug Feinberg (02:33:50):

So you’re a super villain is what we should take from that handle?

Alexis Morris (02:33:53):

I’m not saying I’m a super villain. I’m not saying that. But the picture has been painted that way, so I just like to have fun with it and embrace it. Yeah.

Doug Feinberg (02:34:01):

Okay. The second question is what has the last eight days been like for you since winning a title last Sunday to now being drafted eight days later?

Alexis Morris (02:34:11):

There’s only one champ, right? There’s only one champ in the room. I’ve been overwhelmed, but it’s with positive energy, love and joy, support. Everybody just want me to know how proud they are of me.

Speaker 48 (02:34:22):

Is there [inaudible 02:34:24]? Great.

Alexis Morris (02:34:25):

I’m just so happy, like now I can just breathe. I can take everything all in and start preparing for what’s to come.

Speaker 48 (02:34:33):

Alexis, next question to your left, third row.

Speaker 51 (02:34:37):

Hi. Your name came up a lot as people were talking about players who improved their draft stat during the tournament. What do you think it was about your play during March and April that made you, I guess, such a high draft member?

Alexis Morris (02:34:51):

Just showing my ability to score at this height and to be a three-level threat, not just by shooting mid- range but knocking down threes, getting to the paint, facilitating, leading my team, and also thinking just about winning. It helped my draft stat a lot, too. I’ll just say scoring, especially like … I’m considered to be undersized. So it’s more expected out of me being a smaller guard. I think I played to some expectations.

Speaker 48 (02:35:25):

Alexis, another question, second row to your left, and then we’re going to turn to Zoom.

Jackie Powell (02:35:31):

Hi, Alexis.

Alexis Morris (02:35:31):


Jackie Powell (02:35:31):

Jackie Powell with The Next. You’ve obviously been involved in what was such a mainstream moment for your team and LSU. I’m just curious how you think that energy from the college season and your championship can transfer over to the WNBA? What’s so special about the group you were drafted with that allows you all to take that energy and transfer it over?

Alexis Morris (02:36:05):

I’m just going to start with Coach Mulkey. I’m just going to drag along her principles, her discipline, her structure that she supplied for the team, like being on time, being early, being the last one in the gym, tuck my jersey, and the little things. I’m going to just carry those small things over into the league, because that’s what’s been keeping me successful this far. If it’s not broke, there’s nothing to fix. So I’ll just carry the little things over to my new organization, the Connecticut Suns. What was the last part?

Jackie Powell (02:36:39):

I guess just this is a huge moment for women’s basketball.

Alexis Morris (02:36:43):


Jackie Powell (02:36:43):

How you think that energy that’s around the sport from the national championship can transfer now to the WNBA season?

Alexis Morris (02:36:53):

Well, hopefully some of those followers just follow me along. That’s not to be cocky or anything, but I am a national champion. So hopefully that can bring some more attention and viewership to the league. My ultimate goal is to grow this game, and whether I’m a part of it or not, I want to make an impact on the league for the younger generations, for the women coming up under us. So it’s bigger than me. No problem.

Speaker 48 (02:37:24):

One more question from the room, to your right, in the second row, and then we’re going to turn to Zoom.

Meredith Cash (02:37:30):

Hey there. Meredith Cash from Insider. Congratulations.

Alexis Morris (02:37:33):

Thank you.

Meredith Cash (02:37:33):

I just wanted to ask you a little bit about how … I am blanking. I’m so sorry. Can you come back to me?

Alexis Morris (02:37:45):

No, it’s fine. It’s fine.

Speaker 48 (02:37:45):

Do you want to … Come back to you?

Meredith Cash (02:37:45):

Yeah, come back. I’m sorry.

Speaker 48 (02:37:46):

Okay. We’ll come back to Meredith. We’re going to turn to Zoom first. We are going to start with Ocon, then Mark, and finish up with the smiling Christos.

Ocon (02:37:58):

Hey, Alexis.

Alexis Morris (02:37:59):


Ocon (02:37:59):

I saw you guys play last weekend. That was a wonderful start. Congratulations on the LSU win. That was incredible. When you played in SCC, obviously you guys played in a tougher conference, playing against … A majority of the players that were drafted come from SCC. How has that prepared you to the next level? I know a lot of people always overlooked … You looked as the underrated player, but when I saw you play in person, I realized your game is far above some of the other players on the floor. What elevation will you bring to the next level? Because I think that you can contribute to the team right away when you get there.

Alexis Morris (02:38:50):

Okay. As far as the SCC and playing in the conference, the SCC is one of the toughest conferences I’ve ever played in. I’ve been in the big 12, the big 10. It’s the physicality, the pace of the game, and just the competitiveness. The league is just special. The SCC is different.

What I’ve learned is … You said I’m underrated. I’ve never really cared about ratings. So it’s just people’s opinions, right? My opinion of myself is all that matters. When I look in the mirror and when I put in my own required hours, that’s how I rate myself. I don’t rate myself based on other people’s performances or any of those things that’s not conducive to what I’m trying to get done on my basketball journey.

What I plan on bringing to the league is speed, IQ, passion, leadership, being coachable, listening to my vets, learning from my vets, going to play under Skylar. Skylar’s a … She’s a vet in the league. I can learn a lot from her. Not Skylar, sorry. Courtney. I’m going to play under Courtney. So I’m just super excited to go learn from them.

Speaker 52 (02:40:14):

[inaudible 02:40:16].

Alexis Morris (02:40:16):

I be getting them oranges mixed up, you all. I’m sorry.

Speaker 48 (02:40:19):

We’re going to turn to Mark, and then Christos. Mark, go ahead. I’m sorry. I apologize. Matt. Matt, we’re going to go to you. Matt?

Alexis Morris (02:40:35):

Oh, hey. You waiting on some pictures from me?

Matt (02:40:37):

No, I got them.

Alexis Morris (02:40:37):


Matt (02:40:37):

Thank you.

Alexis Morris (02:40:37):


Matt (02:40:42):

Hey, Alexis. I’m sorry if you’ve already been asked this, but we’ve heard and seen you do so much since being at LSU, and everyone wants to keep asking you about you being underrated and stuff. Are you keeping tabs, like all the good ones do, of how many players were picked before you in this draft or just extra motivation this whole night, just more motivation for your … Just perseverance in your basketball career?

Alexis Morris (02:41:16):

As a competitor and in order to keep myself motivated, you have to find little things like that to … I like to find little things that keep me fueled and keep a chip on my shoulder, because I feel like that’s when I perform at my best.

Like I said, as far as being underrated, I really just don’t really care about the opinions. I know the time that I put in towards my craft. Some people will never give me credit just for my height. “She’s 5’6.” “She’s little.” “She’s tiny.” They’ll just never give me credit for that. They can’t see past the height thing. So it’s like I don’t really get into the ratings.

I’m going to congratulate all of those young ladies who went before me and after me. We just made a huge accomplishment. We’re living our dreams right now. But when it comes down to spots, we’re all competing for one. So last man standing.

Matt (02:42:17):

Can you also comment on LaDazhia getting drafted tonight?

Alexis Morris (02:42:20):

Oh, yeah. Big day. Congratulations. Go Tigers. Day was one of my fellow seniors, and I’m super happy. I’m super proud for Day. She’s mild. She’s quiet. She’s laid back. A lot of people didn’t really get to see Day perform because she was in the shadow of Angel. But I think you’ve all seen it later on down the street that she was a key piece to our puzzle, and I’m so happy that she got this opportunity, of course. Thank you, Day.

Speaker 48 (02:42:50):

I’m going to turn to Christos. Christos, you’re going to be followed by Jacqueline, and then Elaine.

Christos (02:42:55):

Hey, Alexis. Congratulations, first of all.

Alexis Morris (02:42:59):

Thank you.

Christos (02:42:59):

I would like to ask you, what was the biggest lesson for you from this season, special season for you and LSU? What does it mean for you to be part of the best league in the world?

Alexis Morris (02:43:17):

What was your first question?

Christos (02:43:19):

What was the biggest lesson for you in such a special season?

Alexis Morris (02:43:27):

Leadership, like learning how important leadership is in order to win at the highest levels. I had been playing important guard position my whole life, but I wasn’t under Coach Mulkey my entire college career. She just pushes and she pulls certain things out of us that we don’t even know that we have in us sometimes. I appreciate coach for that because I value the small things now. Yeah.

Speaker 48 (02:44:02):

The next question will come from Jacqueline. Jacqueline, you’re going to be followed by Elaine.

Jacqueline LeBlanc (02:44:06):

Hi, Alexis. Jacqueline LeBlanc from The Next. I’m just wondering if you have talked to Darius Taylor or Coach White anytime before the draft or after you got drafted tonight?

Alexis Morris (02:44:20):

I didn’t speak to them before the draft, but they did FaceTime me and congratulated me. I thanked them for picking me and giving me an opportunity to live my dream. I plan on calling them after I’m done with all the media and stuff, just to get to know them. This is going to be my new home. So yeah.

Jacqueline LeBlanc (02:44:40):

Just knowing that the Sun roster, most of it’s shored up for heading into training camp. Just what’s your approach to coming into training camp this season and standing out and making an impression?

Alexis Morris (02:44:55):

Go hard every day. Be coachable. Listen to my vets.

Speaker 48 (02:45:01):

One more Zoom.

Alexis Morris (02:45:01):

Just go in there and compete, and leave it all out there and let the pieces fall where they fall. I believe in God. I don’t think He’ll ever just set me up to fail. He didn’t take me this long … He didn’t bring me this far to just leave me hanging. I know that. I know He didn’t do that. So I’m going to leave it all out there in training camp and just let the pieces fall where they fall.

Speaker 48 (02:45:23):

All right. Next question will be our last from Zoom, Eileen, and then we’ll return to the room for one question. Eileen?

Pat (02:45:35):

Hey. Hey, Alexis. Sorry, not Eileen here. It’s Pat over at MPC-33. Just curious, you’ve now joined a long list of LSU athletes who have been taken in the W draft. I think it’s four now in the Kim Mulkey era. Can you speak about what it means to join those legends? Then also how many more do you expect to be seen coming out of Baton Rouge?

Alexis Morris (02:45:56):

I mean you’ve always got to give credit to the legends and the people who came before you because they paved the way for me. So I wouldn’t have been able to see this day if they weren’t my leaders and my role models. So I give a lot of credit to them.

It means a lot to me. Now I’m in that position, so now I have people looking up to me. I’m going to take what I learn from them and apply it in my own way and be a leader. As far as … I forgot you all second question. What’s he saying?

Pat (02:46:31):

I mean plenty more to come under Kim Mulkey, I bet, coming out of Baton Rouge.

Alexis Morris (02:46:34):

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Oh, yeah. Coach Mulkey got a lot. Her pro list is about to extend. She has them coming in easy. Yeah, she got them coming in. She’s going to get them.

Speaker 48 (02:46:52):

All right.

Pat (02:46:52):

Thanks, Alexis.

Speaker 48 (02:46:53):

Last question will come from the room. Second row to your right, Alexis.

Alexis Morris (02:46:57):

We’re good now?

Meredith Cash (02:46:58):

Meredith Cash from Insider. I remembered what I had to ask you.

Alexis Morris (02:47:00):

Okay. Okay. Okay.

Meredith Cash (02:47:03):

So I don’t think it’s any secret, the WNBA is a tough league to get into and a harder one to stay in.

Alexis Morris (02:47:08):


Meredith Cash (02:47:09):

You mentioned your history earlier, and your resilience, obviously, to get to this point. I’m curious how you think that prepares you for this fight to join the league, stay here, and have a fruitful pro career.

Alexis Morris (02:47:22):

Because I’m hungry. I think I said this in Dallas. I’m just super hungry. Everything I lost, I’m going get it. I’m going to take it. With all respect, I lost so much from my freshman year. I know it’s still out there for me to gain. That’s just how I approach everything. But always respectful, though. Always respectful and with love.

Speaker 48 (02:47:53):

Alexis, thank you.

Alexis Morris (02:47:54):

Thank you.

Speaker 48 (02:47:56):

To our media on Zoom and in person, thank you. To our mic wranglers, thank you.

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