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May 4, 2001

"I just hope someone picks me."

This is what Portland's No. 1 draft pick (fourth overall), Jackie Stiles, said after the NCAA Tournament. Like the saying goes, "be careful what you ask for, you just might get it." But this Kodak All-American is up for the challenge.

Jackie is a hometown girl who gained national attention after her performance in this year's NCAA Tournament. But Jackie has been doing her thing with "style" for years at her alma mater of Southwest Missouri State. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades during her tenure at SMS -- Wade Trophy recipient, MVC Player of the Year and Associated Press All-American, to name just a few. Jackie chatted live on WNBA.com Friday, May 4. Read what she had to say about her experience with training camp, her superstitions and driving in Portland.

Michelle from terraworld.net at 5:01pm ET
How does it feel to be living your dream?

Jackie Stiles at 5:01pm ET
Incredible! I just have to keep pinching myself and say, 'Is this really happening to me?' It's definitely amazing to have this opportunity.
Go bruins from [] at 5:02pm ET
Hi Jackie! Wow, congratulations on making it into the WNBA, you are such a great player and a role model for hard work and dedication, and you're SO modest. My question is, although there has been a lot of hype and high expectations, what are your realistic expectations of yourself and your goals for this season?

Jackie Stiles at 5:02pm ET
Thanks for your comments and questions. I know the transition to theWNBA is going to be very tough. I don't expect to do what I did in college my senior year. I want to work as hard as I can every day and do what Coach Hargrove wants me to do and help the team win basketball games.
BrianSMSU from bran.mo.ipa.net at 5:03pm ET
Will No. 10 be your jersey number for the Portland Fire too?

Jackie Stiles at 5:03pm ET
I was very excited, they had No. 10 available. I will be No. 10 for the Portland Fire! It was one of my first questions when I got here.
Ashley from SW Missouri from neo.mo.ipa.net at 5:03pm ET
How does it feel to be playing so far from home?

Jackie Stiles at 5:04pm ET
So far, I've really enjoyed my experience in Portland. The people are really friendly and it's fun. It's hard being away from Springfield and Kansas because I grew very attached, but I know I'll have lots of support throughout the year. I'm living far away from my family, but I have a great support system that will help me. I asked my mom to come out for the first week and she couldn't because of work, and I asked my roommate from Springfield too. But once we start playing, we'll be traveling and I'll be busy.
Springfield Fan from [], at 5:05pm ET
We all miss you here in Springfield already! I'm sure you know that there are several of your fans who are trying everything they can to continue to watch you play in the pros. My question is, how are you doing living on your own for the first time and where should we send the Mexican Villa, Cashew Chicken, and other food care packages to? (We have heard you can't/don't cook!)

Jackie Stiles at 5:06pm ET
Well, I definitely miss Springfield and all the people. I'm very small town, it's hard for me to get around Portland. Cooking is definitely a problem! I've eaten out every meal so far, so I'll definitely accept those care packages every time.
DeWayne Beckemeier from [], at 5:07pm ET
Jackie, I was reading where you were not one to volunteer to drive. I'm sure it was in good fun, but I was wondering, did you drive your new car to Portland alone?

Jackie Stiles at 5:08pm ET
Definitely not! I don't think I could make it 28 hours by myself. It would take me twice as long because I would get lost along the way. But I'm getting better driving in the big city. My problem is that I never pay attention when I'm the passenger!
Sharon Stiles from [] at 5:08pm ET
Hi Jackie! Just wanted to let you know me, Uncle Tim and Trevor are thinking of you and hope your settling in. We send you our love, along with hugs and kisses!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

Jackie Stiles at 5:08pm ET
Thanks for the support! I hope to see you at some Portland Fire games.
Will from pna.philips.com at 5:09pm ET
Jackie, you are obviously a well-conditioned and strong athlete. What does your personal program consist of, and what would you recommend so that a shorter player can successfully compete with bigger athletes?

Jackie Stiles at 5:11pm ET
I think one of the most important things and a huge key to my success is my conditioning. I take pride in being fit. I do alot of track work and a lot of running. Not when I'm in season, but I do that five times a week. And I'm big on lifting weights. I lift four times a week during the offseason. That's why I've been able to stay healthy — knock on wood. I don't want to jinx myself. I'm also big on my repetitions with shooting and such. Right now we have two a days and lifting three times a week, and I do my own shooting. I leave at 7:30 a.m. and don't get back to 10:30 p.m. I haven't even unpacked!
Portland~fan#10 from rconnect.com at 5:11pm ET
Jackie, how is training camp for you so far? Do you think you'll play a big role this year? Thanks

Jackie Stiles at 5:12pm ET
Well, training camp has been tough. There are so many talented and great players here. Competition is very high. I'm doing my best to get adjusted to this level. It's a huge transition at every aspect of the game. I just want to come in here and give it everything I've got!
Freddy from [] at 5:12pm ET
Who amongst your new Fire teammates has impressed you most?

Jackie Stiles at 5:13pm ET
Oh gosh, everybody! Sophia Witherspoon has played in this league a long time and I'm trying to learn from her. She's taken me under her wing and shown me the ropes, what it takes to be successful at this level. I get off the plane, and the first person I guard is Sophia, an All-Star. I'm like, do I belong on this court?
Tom Kujawa from [] at 5:14pm ET
Have you heard from Tara Mitchem since being in camp. How is she doing? I think it would be great if you and Tara played against each other some day.

Jackie Stiles at 5:15pm ET
Well, I haven't actually heard from Tara yet. My schedule has been hectic, I haven't been able to call her. I hope she's having a great experience, it would be great to play against her, but I'd rather play on the same team.
Emily from dialinx.net at 5:15pm ET
Who is your role model?

Jackie Stiles at 5:16pm ET
I've had so many people influence my life. Early on, I really looked up to Melody Howard who was a star at SMS and led them to the Final Four in 92. I've always been a huge Michael Jordan fan. As far as the WNBA, I've always enjoyed watching Cynthia Cooper. Many coaches, my father, my coach Cheryl Burnett at SMS, so many people have helped me with my career.

I read Cynthia's book, I wear her shoes and I walked into pre-draft camp in Chicago and she was there and I was speechless! She talked to me and knew who I was. It was pretty amazing. But I have to get over that -- I'm going to have to be playing against all these people.

StilesFire from dc-g.navipath.net at 5:19pm ET
Jackie, tears coming down, face in your lap, but you still manage to slap every one of your teammates a high five in the closing minutes of the Purdue loss. You are such a spectacular person. What is the one "universal" thing people can do every day to achieve their dreams, whatever they may be? Thanks, and keep being yourself.

Jackie Stiles at 5:20pm ET
I think one of the biggest things is just believing in your dreams and never giving up. Anything that you're looking to accomplish, you're going to come across times of adversity. It will come down to how you handle that, how you bounce back. Believing in my dreams and goals, being coachable and my work ethic are what have helped me succeed.
Betsy from smsu.edu at 5:20pm ET
Wow, what a career you had here at SMS. I was so excited to get to come here for your senior season, I even camped out for tickets to some of your games. Anyway, I was wondering how big of a trasition you think it will be from college to the WNBA, and do you plan to play overseas next fall or come back to SMS to finish your degree?

Jackie Stiles at 5:22pm ET
It's definitely going to be a huge transition for me. I relate it from going from high school to Div. I. This is another step. Offensively and defensively everything is greater. You're learning to play in a new system and with new teammates. Every phase is going to be a tough adjustment, hopefully my coaches and teammates will help me get through it.

I plan to come back and finish my degreee, so I'll be in Springfield and maybe run camps on the weekends. I plan to play overseas in the future, but it's not set in stone.

sandy from springfield from proxy.aol.com at 5:22pm ET
Can you still do all your superstitious things?

Jackie Stiles at 5:24pm ET
Well, this chat's not long enough for me to list all of them, but I'll list a few: I have to chew Big Red gum while I play, I have to wear the same kneepads (I start over each season). I have to try to watch a Larry Bird/Pistol Pete highlight tape before every game. I have to have oatmeal, toast and a Diet Coke for breakfast. I have to be the last one to make a net three before we go in the lockerroom before every game. I wear the same socks. I have so many different superstitions.
G from [], at 5:24pm ET
What are your thoughts about playing for Linda Hargrove, someone who has been watching you since the age of 12? She obviously knows of your reputation and will she let you play the way you did at SMS?

Jackie Stiles at 5:24pm ET
I'm very excited and look forward to playing under Coach Hargrove. I have the utmost respect for her and what she's done for women's basketball. I don't know what my role will be, but I have a great situation here playing for her.
John Ogle from [] at 5:25pm ET
Do you think it will be hard playing for a team that has generally lost more than it has won? You've played on winners most of your career, how do you think you will handle losing more often at the pro level?

Jackie Stiles at 5:26pm ET
Hopefully, we won't lose a lot of games. I'm an optimist, my goals are to win a WNBA Championship. But I know how tough it's going to be. I'm such a competitor, I can't stand losing at board games or anything! Hopefully we'll win a lot of games and I won't have to worry about it.
mark stiles from [], at 5:27pm ET
What are your initial thoughts about the Rose Garden? Does it have a good shooter's background? And, have you lined up someone to get you in after hours? Thanks,
Mark Stiles, SMS Alum

Jackie Stiles at 5:28pm ET
Actually, I haven't had the opportunity to see the Rose Garden yet, as we practice at the Blazers practice facility and a local athletic club, but I am very particular with my shooting. Hopefully I'll be able to get some shots up in a huge arena. I don't have a key to this building, but I'm working on it. I've been able to get my shooting in, and not during crazy hours!
Melanie from proxy.aol.com at 5:28pm ET
Jackie, for being as talented as you are what is one thing in your game that you want to improve on? We all know it isn't your shooting!

Jackie Stiles at 5:29pm ET
I want to improve on every aspect of my game. It kills me in any category to go down. I strive to get better every year. More specifically, I'm working on defense to get better and better. I know a lot of guards will take me down and post me up, so post defense is one area I need to get better at.
Marty from [] at 5:29pm ET
I'm the boy that had the #10 shaved in the back of the head!! Where can I write you? Good luck.

Jackie Stiles at 5:30pm ET
You can always write me at the Fire offices:
One Center Court
Suite 150
Portland, OR 97227

Jackie Stiles at 5:31pm ET
Thanks to everybody who asked the questions. I appreciate the support, and hope you continue to support Portalnd Fire basketball. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone's questions! I wish we had the time! Thank you!