Haynie a game away from 2nd WNBA title
"Last year, we were expected to finish last," Haynie said Tuesday. "Then we kept winning, kept winning and we still didn't have the respect, like it was a fluke.
"It is very similar (to MSU). All throughout my four years at Michigan State, we never got the respect, either. Too bad that is the way it is in the world. You just have to play over it."
The Monarchs lead the Detroit Shock two games to one in the best-of-five WNBA Finals and can close the series out at 9 p.m. tonight in Sacramento.
Who: Sacramento Monarchs vs. Detroit Shock
When: 9 p.m. on ESPN2
Series standings: Monarchs lead 2-1
"It is going to be a blood bash very, very physical," Haynie said. "One and done. If they lose, they're out. We just got to do our stuff, don't change anything. We want to get another ring."
After averaging 21.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists as a senior, Haynie was drafted ninth overall by Sacramento in 2005. She averaged 3.5 points and 1.4 assists a game in a reserve role last season, as the Monarchs won the WNBA title for the first time in franchise history.
"I wear the (championship) ring when we go out to the club, but it's heavy," Haynie said. "I keep it somewhere safe."
Haynie averaged 4.1 points, two assists and two rebounds a game this season, but her role has expanded in the Finals. She had five steals in Game 1, tied a career high with 11 points in Game 2, then followed up with nine points in Game 3.
"The evolution is really fun to watch," MSU head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "It was very rewarding to work with her for four years, to see her just keep taking steps. She is Olympic material. USA Basketball needs to watch her closely."
McCallie has kept in touch with Haynie throughout the playoffs via text messaging and has been watching her games on TV.
"She looks like the same Kristin," McCallie said. "I'm not the least bit surprised by her success. She is a phenomenal point guard one of the best in the country, if not the world. I think she is going to get better and better and better."
The first two games of the finals were a homecoming of sorts for Haynie. Standing on the floor at the Palace of Auburn Hills, she looked up in the crowd and saw several former teammates, including senior forward Katrina Grantham.
"We were yelling to Kristin, cheering her on, and she would give us a smile," Grantham said. "When Kristin is not in the game, you just want her to go in because she is a former teammate and you know what she can do."
Haynie said she was overwhelmed by the support she got when she returned.
"I felt very blessed to come back home and play in front of the fans," Haynie said. "I feel loved to have the fans come back and support us. I see a lot of people wearing Shock jerseys, and they were telling me, 'Good job at Michigan State. We are cheering for you.'
"They are pulling for the Shock, but they are also pulling for me."