Lynx 72, Monarchs 71
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Lynx Coach Suzie McConnell Serio
"We almost found a way to lose. We could've put the game away at the end with a few more made free throws, but the important thing is, this team still believed and refused to lose... With eight seconds to go, during the timeout, I made sure that the whole team believed that we were going to win the game. I asked them if they thought that they could make one defensive stop, and they all said they could — and they dug down and were able to hold on."
"I think the most important thing that turned the game around was our defensive rebounding. They were outrebounding us in the first half and for much of the second half, but we started to buckle down the last seven minutes and started to convert on our opportunities. It also helps when you don't turn the ball over like we did through much of the game."
"Kristi Harrower changed the complexion of the game. She came in there and did everything that the team needed to come back. I would just say she took over the game."
"Once we got down, we had to play with some sense of urgency. And I was very pleased with the way the team responded. They became more aggressive on offense, and they did what needed to be done to fight back."
"We put so much energy into stopping Yolanda Griffith that we kind of forgot about Tangela Smith in the first half. I was very pleased with holding Griffith to four points at the half, but was not pleased with the way Smith was scoring at will against us. Overall though, I was pleased with how our defense picked up late in the game. We really limited their inside scoring."
"Our turnovers tonight are partially because of the change in the system that this team is used to playing. They used to outlet to any guard and start the fast break. That's not what I want this team to do. I want the ball in the hands of the point guard. There was a stretch where the team forgot that that's what we're trying to do, and that was the reason for a handful of turnovers."
Lynx Forward Svetlana Abrosimova
"I felt like I was in the flow of the offense. I felt like I could make every shot, and the team needed that lift. When I started to cool off, everyone else stepped up. It was a lot of fun out there. The crowd was great. It was nice to finally get a 'W' in a close game."
"They are a really smart team. They did a good job controlling the tempo for most of the game, but we came together in the second half and executed much better. I think we are still a little bit out of sync, though, but we'll get better with each game. You have to remember that this was their second game and just our first. We hadn't played in 10 days, so it takes a little bit of time to get back into the flow."
Lynx Guard Katie Smith
"I don't know exactly... We have fought back in a lot of games, but never had quite enough to finish it. It's a good feeling. We had so many different people come in and do their thing. It was a little ugly out there at times, but it's a 'W' and I'll take that."
"Our players have always been a close group. We didn't lose a lot of players from last year. Suzie brings intensity and a nice vibe that gives us a lift. So far, it's been a nice chemistry with the coaches and players."
"Obviously we've been there before. We just couldn't close it out... In comparison to this time last year, we have so much more confidence in each other. That makes a difference... We made just enough stops and just enough free throws to squeak it out."
"If it (Griffith's shot at the buzzer) goes, it goes. I'm sure glad it didn't. That's the breaks. You hate it when those shots go up. Thankfully it rattled out."
"There's not less pressure on me. I was disappointed how I played tonight. I had a couple turnovers, missed layups and free throws. You always put pressure on yourself as a player. That's not going to diminish. I think it's that I'm more comfortable with the players on this team. In the first half, Svet was on fire. In the second half, I came around a little bit and Kristi came in and did a great job. We have a lot of players who can come in and get the job done."
Lynx Forward Tamika Williams
"For me personally, I felt that last year, if we didn't go to Katie we really couldn't score or do anything on offense without her. This year we have so many options. That's the difference. Just look at how Kristi came in and changed the game. Katie, Teresa, Svet... even I grabbed a few rebounds. We have first, second and third options, and then some. It doesn't hurt us to have one of the options closed down anymore."
"We have confidence in each other, and a coach who demands that. During the last timeout, she looked me directly in the eye. I hadn't had that happen since Connecticut. A coach in a huddle having full eye contact with her players, telling us we can win the game, is a big difference. For her to do that, tell us exactly what to do, and we go out and actually run it — that's a big difference."
"Everyone was up cheering off the bench. When I came off the floor, I got pats on the back and high-fives. Last year, people were complaining about not being in or whatever. It was just the five on the floor and that's it. Now, I feel more like we're a train rolling along. All the wheels are working together."
"It's tough (playing center), but with Michele and Janell Burse, I won't have to play there that much. In the second half I got too deep a few times and kind of messed up. Suzie saw that immediately and got me over on Tangela. If Janell gets five fouls and Michele gets five fouls, that's fine. Win or lose, we just have to keep taking our shots. We're a deep team, and that's going to pay off."
Monarchs Coach Maura McHugh
"We didn't dig in and focus when we needed to, in the most important part of the game. They just kept coming at us. We missed a couple shots. We got too involved worrying about bad calls, which there's nothing you can do without. You just have to keep on playing. We totally lost our concentration."
"The last shot was one of the options, but they just sagged in on Yolanda. She (Bolton) was so open, and she couldn't put it down. I don't know, but for some reason she just wasn't ready to pull the trigger. But it was wide open. There was no one within five feet of her."
"Minnesota has added some players and has leadership in Teresa Edwards, and Sheri Sam has been an All-Star in the league. So that certainly helps. I think they're running a different kind of offense now that really suits them. They've always been a tough team to play. I know people say that they were the last-place team last year, but I don't think anybody ever thought that it was easy to play against them. They are a very physical team, and they come to play. Win, lose or draw, they're out there playing."
Monarchs Guard Ruthie Bolton
"Basketball is a game of runs. It's who makes the run at the right time... We had them at one point in the second half, and we should've put them away. We broke down defensively and they capitalized on that. They just played with more fire down the stretch. We missed crucial opportunities like free throws, and those can win big games."
"I had an actual last good look at the basket at the end of the game, but I came up short. We sort of gave one away. We didn't play like we should have for 40 minutes, and basketball is a 40-minute game. So we have to learn from it. We can't get too low when we lose and we can't get too high when we win, because we have more work to do. We have to learn from this and watch tape, and try not to let this happen again."