All-Star Quotes: East

Adubato | Baranova | McWilliams-Franklin | Phillips | Sales


Richie Adubato, East Head Coach, New York Liberty

Adubato: Obviously, a little too much of Griffith tonight and Lisa Leslie. I Think they both played tremendous games. Between the two of them you are talking 15-for-22 on the floor. So we didn't have any answer for them, and we also realize that in an All-Star Game, people come to see individual performances. People play one-on-one against each other -- that's what it is all about. So it is not like a regular game where you can have some different coverages that you can change to. So, I think the fans got a good look at those two players.

If we could have made some foul shots, we were 12-for-24, then we could have got back in the game, but every time we had a chance to get it to seven or eight, we would miss another two foul shots. But they had a good effort at the end. We were after them, made some steals, scoring and trying to press them and get back in the game. But obviously, they had some excellent performances from their front line people.

I thought that we played better in the second half, but we had no answer in regard to some of their premiere players. I thought we had some, but they didn't perform well tonight. They didn't have very good games, but I was happy with the boards. It was 36-36, which was a real worry coming into the game. So we battled and scrapped and we are even on the boards. Foul line really hurt us tremendously.

Q. Richie, beyond the individual showcase, it seems as though Lisa Leslie was playing with some kind of purpose. Every time she hit a shot she was making a gesture to the crowd. Do you feel she had something to prove?

Adubato: I think she goes out and does that almost every night. We've played against her enough, I've seen enough performances by her to know that she plays the game with a passion. She's out to prove something every night. She's out to lead her team to a championship, and I think she wanted to make a big showing in the All-Star Game, because now you get an opportunity for people maybe to see you that haven't seen you before. She's playing the Eastern Conference and playing against the Orlando Miracle, who they only play two times a year. So, yeah, she plays hard every night. She plays the game with a lot of pride and a lot of passion.

Q. The turnover factor, too, was a big part of that. Leslie credited her guards for doing a good job by getting their offense. But with respect to turnovers?

Adubato: Well, it was 20-19 in turnovers, so we turned them over 19; they turned us over 20. It was a situation where they forced a lot of turnovers on rebounding. When we would get rebounds, they were scrapping the rebounder. Fundamentally you bring the ball down, you have your elbows out and the ball is under your chin. That's a fundamental rebounding technique. We were bringing the ball down, didn't have our elbows out, and gave them a chance to maybe gang us and rip the ball away or free the ball up for someone to pick up.

There were a lot of crucial turnovers after we got rebounds that are fundamental mistakes, so I give them credit for being that aggressive. But if we had understood how to counteract that type of situation, maybe we would not have turned it over as much.

Elena Baranova, Miami Sol


Q: What was the experience like for you?

Baranova: This was my first time. It's hard to be a star. We get the two crazy days, two practices only and Coach shows us the movements and we have to play. It is really hard to feel each other with just two practices. But I am happy and I feel and hope this is not my last All-Star Game, I hope.

Q: Were you nervous?

Baranova: Before I was nervous, especially on the bench. My legs get cold, that's why I was a little bit cold on the court and I lost a couple of defensive positions. It takes a couple of minutes where I start to play and warm up.

Q: Surprisingly, you missed a free throw in the first half.

Baranova: Yes, it was my bad. Maybe just nerves. For one second, I thought about something else and not the ball. It was my bad.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Orlando Miracle

Q: You and T-Spoon hooked up a few times.

McWilliams-Franklin: Spoon is my girl. That's why we both wear the number 11. We are the only two in the All-Star Game with the number 11. So we have a bond. We were getting our groove on.

Q: Were you making eye contact with coach Peck and Pee Wee (Shannon Johnson)?

McWilliams-Franklin: Pee Wee was talking to Nykesha. When we were on the floor she was going, 'Psss, psss.' And she was talking to Dawn(Staley) to make sure she was talking to everyone that was shooting free throws.

Q: What was it like to play at home?

McWilliams-Franklin: The crowd was great tonight. Being at home was just an awesome, icing on the cake for me and for Nykesha, being here at home. Coach Adubato, allowing me to start in front of the home fans, was just an amazing feeling for me.

Tari Phillips, New York Liberty


Q: How was it playing in front of family and friends?

Phillips: It was great. My whole family was there, and it was really great to see everyone. It was a special time.

Q: How many family and friends were here?
Phillips: I don't know. You?re talking family and friends, maybe a couple of hundred.

Q: When did you find out you were going to sing the National Anthem?

Phillips: There were rumors and stuff yesterday afternoon and then I think this morning they said, "OK, we want you to do it." I said, "All righty, then. I guess I'll do it."

Q: How difficult was it to defend Lisa Leslie?

Phillips: I think it was the fact that they are pretty deadly in all the positions. So when we helped, it left some people open and then that also left the position and the possibility of offensive rebounds. With a team like that -- that has that kind of talent -- you can't do that. It makes it that much more difficult to try and win the game.

Nykesha Sales, Orlando Miracle


Q: You played a good game.

Sales: I think a lot of us are use to having good performances, as far as specific nights. But I think the most important thing is to win and play together, so I think it would have made it even better if we had won. I'm glad I played it the way I did inside and outside. I had fun.

Q: In a setting like this, do you really focus on the game?

Sales: I like to take it all in. This isn't as tense as I am during the season, so I definitely enjoy these All-Star breaks.

Q: What was it like playing in front of the hometown fans?

Sales: It was fun. It made me a lot more comfortable than I had been in the past, maturing a little bit and understanding what the experience is like and then having it right here at home where its familiar territory, I'm used to arena. I think it was a lot of fun.


Western Conference All-Stars: Quotes

Leslie Sparks West to All-Star win

Box score:
West 80,
East 72

All-Star 2001 multimedia archive