Things said and heard around the WNBA this week.

Notes and Quotes:
August 22, 2005

Liberty coach Pat Coyle, on rookie center Cathrine Kraayeveld:
"That kid sets unbelievable screens. Her father was a lineman for the Seahawks. She's tough, she's rattled some cages. If I'm a guard I'm waiting for that screen coming."

Mercury center Maria Stepanova, who returned to Russia last week:
"I am sad to leave now... If the Mercury is in the WNBA Finals, I will be back."

Diana Taurasi, to the Arizona Republic:
"With Maria gone, everybody has to step up."

Charlotte's Helen Darling, after Ann Wauters broke her hand against the Sting last week:
"I don't know why people are trying to blame me for a broken hand, I didn't touch that girl. If I did it, I apologize."

Lindsay Whalen had a career-best 28 points for the Sun on Thursday night.
Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images
Sun guard Lindsay Whalen, after a career-high 28 points in a win over Charlotte on Thursday night:
"It felt like a track mee. I was getting a little winded out there. I just wanted to stay aggressive, stay in the middle and create things that way."

Sparks president Johnny Buss, after coach Henry Bibby left the team last week:
"Henry and I have come to a very cordial and mutually agreed upon understanding to part ways. This, in no way, will be regarded by us as a firing. We both understand that a different direction would be best for both Henry and the Sparks.

Interim Sparks coach Joe Bryant, about how he heard he was the new head coach on Tuesday night:
"I found out 30 minutes before the game, and was told that I would have to handle the bench."

Sun center Margo Dydek, who returned to the Sun after a brief stint in Poland, to The Day:
"They (Poland) hope (I will return). But I told them, for me, during the regular season once we got into first place (in the Eastern Conference), it's OK for me to help my national team. But I've been waiting all season long for the playoffs. I want to fight for the (WNBA) championship. I hope (the Polish national team) can understand.

Liberty center Ann Wauters, after a win against the Sting last Sunday in which she broke her hand:
"I think that (the reserves) did a great job. I hope they can do it for the rest of the year. . . . They know they can't count on me now."

Monarchs guard Ticha Penicheiro said of winning the regular season title in the West on Thursday:
"This is the first time we've done it, so there is reason to celebrate. This was a great present for us, it took a lot of hard work. We'll enjoy it tonight and start thinking about a (WNBA) championship tomorrow."

Comets All-Star center Michelle Snow, to the Houston Chronicle:
"We've got to relax and communicate as a team. Our game plans — we haven't been executing them. We're thinking too much on defense, so we're just going to play. It's just basketball. It's not supposed to be so complicated."

Sun coach Mike Thibault, to the Hartford Courant, after last Sunday's clinching win over the Mystics:
"When you search for perfection, you want it to end the right way. It's hard for me to be happy. That's the way I am. I don't think you can go home as a coach and feel good about how we played. It's put a damper on the day for me."

Washington's DeLisha Milton-Jones, on missing the final shot against the Sun last Sunday:
"I had a good look at the basket, it was just a little too strong," Milton-Jones said. "It's a designed play and it worked very well, but the end result wasn't what we expected."

New York's Vickie Johnson, after Tuesday's win over the Mystics, their fourth win in a row:
"It's very important to make sure you're on a roll. Right now, everything is clicking on the defensive as well as the offensive end. We still have things to work on, but we're doing pretty well."

Sacamento forward DeMya Walker, who re-injured her knee on Thursday night:
"I can't focus on me right now. We've reached our first goal, clinching homecourt. We're Western Conference champs. That feels great. And we're not done yet."

Comets coach Van Chancellor, after Sunday's close win over the Storm, to the Houston Chronicle:
"All four times we've played Seattle, it's been this close. It's been unbelievable."

Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, who was penalized this week by the league for these comments after last Sunday's loss:
"I think they're stupid. After calling so many games and to make those calls, it makes them look stupid."

Storm guard Sue Bird, after missing the potential game-tying shot at the buzzer against the Comets last Sunday:
"I got a good look. I had to throw it a little bit higher because it was Tina (Thompson, Houston's 6-2 forward, running at her). It looked good. It was right on line."

Storm coach Anne Donovan:
"I'll give Sue Bird that shot every night of the week," said Seattle coach Anne Donovan. "She's going to make it nine out of 10 times. Tonight was the time she didn't make it."

Comets guard Dawn Staley, to the Houston Chronicle:
"When you always put your team first, it's not that difficult. For me, I know my role and I know why I was traded here, so you probably won't see my significance until the playoffs or maybe these last couple of (regular-season) games where we need to know the shot-clock situation, who needs the ball, when they need the ball and to give us a little organization at the end of basketball games."

Mystics coach Richie Adubato, on his team's playoff chances, to the Washington Post:
"They are giving the energy and the hustle and the heart you need to win, so you can't complain about that. They showed the other night that no matter what, they aren't going to pack it in and quit. We had them on the ropes there at the end. You could feel it. We have an opportunity here in front of us; it's just a matter of going out and grabbing it."

Fever forward Tamika Catchings, whose team clinched a playoff berth this week, to the Indianapolis Star:
"We've played great defense together. It's just offensively, sometimes we get so stagnant."

Storm coach Anne Donovan after her 100th career win on Thursday:
"The only thing that matters to me …, and I mean this sincerely, is that we just had a great defensive effort for 40 minutes, a great game. And I thought that’s the kind of team that needs to play in the postseason – to get us there and then to play well in the postseason... So for me, that’s a great win for that reason. The icing on the cake is the 100th win.”

Sparks center Lisa Leslie, after Friday night's win over Detroit, the first career victory for Joe Bryant:
"It affected me emotionally. I've had so many coaches here, they come and they go, and you get attached to people. "It took me a day to kind of get out of my (bad) mood."

Rookie Temeka Johnson, to USA Today on Thursday:
"I wouldn't say I was surprised. I would say blessed. I know what I'm capable of and I'm just thankful I've been able to sustain it."

Mercury guard Anna DeForge, after a 77-66 loss to the Comets on Thursday night:
"Every game from here on out is a big game for anybody in the west who is in playoff contention. The game started off a little slow, neither team could hit an open jumper. We were both getting good looks, but neither team could hit anything. It did turn around and there was a patch in the second half where they hit some big shots to give them a comfortable lead and that broke our backs.