WNBA All-Star 2003 Postgame Quotes

Eastern Conference All-Stars
Saturday, July 12, 2003

Richie Adubato | Tamika Catchings | Chamique Holdsclaw
Deanna Nolan | Tari Phillips | Teresa Weatherspoon

RICHIE ADUBATO, New York Liberty Head Coach

Adubato: There was a lid on the basket, and this is our court. There's not supposed to be a lid on the basket.

We got 73 shots and we made 30 and we had at least seven or eight down in the hole on the lips that came back out. So we are just not getting any breaks on the basket.

Big play, I thought was about a five-point game or whatever, we went down the other end, we had one of them come out, they went down the other end and they scored and Teasley made a steal, stepped back and hit the 3. The game went from what should have been a four-point game to a nine-point game.

But if you are going to beat this team, we beat them on the boards so I'm proud of that, 41-39. I know Leslie only played 16 minutes so that probably would have been different, but that's all she played.

I thought Tari Phillips played very well for us until she got into foul trouble.

Deanna Nolan is going to be a star in this league. I think it's obvious if you watch this game, if you see the quickness, the ability to pull up and shoot the shot. Catchings is a star and Swin Cash is a future star.

I think the fans got to look at a lot of players that really have a great future. Chamique Holdsclaw has a sore hamstring so she could not play as many minutes as we would like. She got 15 minutes in and she was only supposed to play ten because the doctors told her not to play more than that.

Up on the other end, they got good games from Leslie, 7 for 10. Good games from Yolanda Griffith, six for eight, Adrian Williams off the bench, four for six and she picked Nikki Teasley as the MVP. If Tari had not got in foul trouble and we had won, I think she would have had a chance to get it, or Tamika Catchings.

Q: You had a run in the first eight minutes of the first half and you got your lead and kept it until about the middle of the second half. How much did having to give players time have to do with you keeping a lead or keeping strategy?

Adubato: Well, that's the predicament you're in when you're an all-star coach, you have to give everybody a chance to see these talented people play, whether they are playing good games or whether they are having average games. I was very happy with the fact that everybody got double-figured minutes except for Cheryl Ford; she got nine, but everybody got an opportunity to play.

People come here to see this game. They come here to see these great players and their talent and their ability so they want to see them all play. Sometimes you have fans from particular teams that come a long way, so, that's part of the All-Star Game, playing everybody.

We tried to come back in the end with the people we felt were playing the best, but we had any number of opportunities to go ahead in this game, but the ball didn't go down.

You can't play the Western All-Stars and shoot 36 percent and win. That's very difficult.

On the foul line, I mean, it was 17 to 10 but we were fouled in the end a couple of times. We just didn't shoot the ball well enough to beat this team, but you have to play everybody. That's part of it.

They played everybody. It's just unfortunate that you can't, coach like a normal game when you have your team. It's your responsibility to let everybody play and give them the chance.

Q: Can you talk about what was going wrong on both ends of the court during that 14-0 streak?

Adubato: I thought what was going on was we just kept missing little easy lay-ups and shots. I thought we got hit pretty hard a number of times, but that's not for me to judge. So the combination of us getting to the basket, maybe getting hit a little bit, and just having lay-ups come in and out and in and out. The complexity of the game can change very, very quickly when you're not picking-and-rolling. Then they had about three or four fastbreaks that they turned into excellent passing situations and scores.

Q: Lisa had 13 quick points, nine right away; if she doesn't get hurt would, she be the MVP?

Adubato: If you look at the numbers, she has 17 points and three rebounds in 16 minutes. I would say that she probably would have had a very good opportunity.

Yolanda Griffith played 25; she had seven rebounds in four minutes and two blocks, so I think there's two people that very possibly could have won the MVP if they had played longer minutes.

Q: You coached in the NBA All-Star Game, you've seen All-Star Games in other sports; are you blown away by how hard both teams competed against each other today?

Adubato: I thought that the competition was very keen. I thought it was a very physical game inside, attacking the basket. I thought everybody that played on both teams were very aggressive today. I don't think that's your normal All-Star situation. I think it's showtime. Most of the time you'll just see people running down the floor because they make it a dunking contest the first half the game so everybody enjoys the thrill of the dunk and the passing and the spectacular behind-the-back passes. It's showtime in the NBA.

I will say that the NBA All-Star games recently, in the second half of the game, they both dug in and really played hard to win so that's changed a little bit.

Our players in the WNBA played a very, very intense, physical game today it. It wasn't at all a showtime atmosphere, except for a few fancy passes, the one that Bird threw between her legs, Teasley tried a fancy ones. Except for two or three situations, they played pretty solid, fundamental basketball.

Q: As a coach, whether you are involved in this game or not, how persistent is the fear that one of your players may get hurt in an All-Star Game?

Adubato: That's always a worry. It's something that you have to live with because any time they walk on the floor and they are competing as hard as they are, you could have an injury.

I thought except for the final outcome, that when we got to within four points, I thought it was excellent basketball for about ten minutes during that stretch, when both teams were rebounding, outletting, making great shots, scoring right until the end of the game. I thought it was a pretty good show. I thought the fans got a look at a lot of great, talented young players that are going to have great futures in this league.

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Catchings: Obviously, I'm a little disappointed, being the competitive person that I am, that we didn't win. It's a great game. The All-Star Game is getting bigger every year over and over. I'm just really excited that I had an opportunity to play in this year's All-Star Game.

Q: If the East could have won, you had a good shot at getting the MVP, too. Did you think about that?

Catchings: You know, not really. I was more concerned about winning the game, period. I'm a team player and I love to win. I hate to lose. So it was kind of tough going down the stretch having to look up at the scoreboard and seeing that we were not getting any closer.

But, you know, maybe next year. That's the good thing, there's always next year.

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Q: The East took a lead in the first half, but in the second half it seemed like shots werenít dropping?

Holdsclaw: It happens. There was a lid on the basket. They were getting some easy transition looks. But that happens; itís a part of the game. I wish we wouldíve won, but everybody had a good time. Hopefully, Lisa (Leslie) didnít get hurt and everybody walked away safe and had a great experience.

Q: How was it for you to come in and have the All-Star Game here at Madison Square Garden?

Holdsclaw: I thought it was great. Everyone always asks, ďHow does it always feel to play in Madison Square Garden?Ē I play here twice during the regular season. Itís great to be home and have your friends and family not have to travel to support you. Itís just around the corner.

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DEANNA NOLAN, Detroit Shock

Q: Can you talk about your performance in todayís game?

Nolan: I think I did pretty good. I just wanted to go out there and have fun. Fortunately, a lot of my shots were falling.

Q: The East played well in the first half, taking a lead into the locker room at the break. But what happened in the second half?

Nolan: The second half, we came back, down three or four. But then, the big men got out and got about three or four easy baskets that put them up by 10. They got the momentum back and it was all downhill from there.

Q: How was your first All-Star experience?

Nolan: I had a lot of fun, a lot, a lot of fun. Hopefully, next year I can do it again, but thatís up to the fans.

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TARI PHILLIPS, New York Liberty

Q: Tari, you seemed to play with a lot of energy today. What was the reason for that, did you feel anything special before this game?

Phillips: Well, yeah, well I felt pretty good. First, I just want to -- I mean, today was great, and this whole weekend, and just I'm really honored. I really thank God for the opportunity to be here at another All-Star, and at home at MSG, good.

I want to say congratulations to Nikki Teasley and again to the West, once again. (Laughing).

And also, to my worthy opponent, Lisa Leslie, I hope she's doing well. I'll give her a call after this. She's my teammate with USA Team and I hope she's doing well. I always pray first and foremost that we have an injury-free game, because you want to have the competitiveness out there. I definitely think it was a pretty good game to see and to watch.

And I felt good. I felt good out there. Unfortunately I got in a little bit of foul trouble and I had to, you know, rock and hit my teammates sitting on the bench, but I felt good just to come out there and feel the support and love from everyone. It's just unfortunate that we lost.

Q: Coach Adubato said you would have had a good shot at winning the MVP without the fouls. When it was getting ready to be announced, had you anticipated that you might win it?

Phillips: Well, no. Wishful thinking. (Laughing).

No, I just thought the West did win, and usually they have someone from their side. But it would have been nice, and like I said, congratulations to Nikki Teasley. They are pretty tough. We made some mistakes and like Coach Richie said, we missed some easy shots. Whether we got fouled or not, I would argue a couple of ways, but we were pretty aggressive. I thought both sides were pretty aggressive. It looked like, for me, that the competitive level was raised another notch.

And when you have that, you are going to have a pretty good game. I guess next time, I'm really, really going to want to try to do something different so that we can win the East.

Q: Can you talk about the intensity of the game, as opposed to other All-Star events in other sports and even in years past, this was a real basketball game with a lot on the line it seemed?

Phillips: Well, I think you're talking about real basketball passion, pure passion, the love for the game. I think you see it out there when someone is met with a challenge or someone is met with that competitive spirit. Sometimes it just automatically comes out; it's like second nature to come out there and play hard. I know I took a couple of shots but I don't think that you would expect anything less than a game like that, and to have the fans experience a good game like that, a good competitive game. What more could you ask for, I think.

Q: I know it must have felt good to have Becky Hammon named to the team after her injury although she could not be out there with you today. How did it feel when the Liberty heard that Becky was announced to be on the team?

Phillips: We were ecstatic. Becky has been playing well. And like I said, I thank God every day, whether it's in practice or whether we go out there on the court, because everyone is susceptible to injury, and it was quite unfortunate for her. We were praying for her and with her that she is doing well and I think she's going to recuperate well and she's going to come back even stronger. So in that aspect, for us, we were ecstatic and happy, because it was like a family unit again, that we had representation from the New York Liberty. Can't ask for anything better than that.

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Q: Obviously, itís disappointing to not win, but it has to be a thrill to be voted by the fans and be playing here at Madison Square Garden again in the All-Star Game?

Weatherspoon: Itís a thrill for me to be voted in by the fans and playing in my hometown. Itís a great honor for to be able to do this and be accepted. For me, I donít think the fans even understand the importance of them and what it means to an individual like myself. But unfortunately we didnít win again, and Iím a little disturbed because this is home and I didnít want to walk away without a victory.

Q: What was the difference in the second half?

Weatherspoon: The ball wasnít going in. I donít know Ė a lid. I think the Western Conference went up there during that halftime break and screwed a lid on or something because we couldnít get it to fall. But itís what the game is all about; sometimes the ball just doesnít fall for you. Unfortunately, we didnít win, but I had a great time, a great time.

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