Mercury 98, Shock 70

Post-Game Quotes

Posted: Sept. 8, 2007

MERCURY HEAD COACH PAUL WESTHEAD: "Well, it was nice to get a win. Now we go back home and hopefully we can continue the play that we just had today. But at least we have kind of evened the score and you can only take advantage of what you do. But at least on paper, we now have home court advantage. But that's only if you take advantage of it. But we're happy. It was a good win for our players. Diana Taurasi kind of stepped up and said, 'Well, I think I'll bring my game with me today.' And she did."

Do you think Diana was motivated by the talk that somehow she struggled against Detroit?

Westhead: "Yeah, I don't know. Someone asked me had I talked to her about it and I said no, we have had no conversation, because -- and my response even yesterday was that D's going to show up and play her game and it's going to be more than ample about 98 percent of the time, no matter who the opponent is."

So if there is a game or two during the season or the playoffs where she struggles and gets in foul trouble, there is no pattern here, folks. So she's a very competitive athlete and she's going to come play her best and sometimes like all of us, it doesn't work.

When they decided to go small and in the second quarter, they didn't have Braxton or anyone out on the floor, did you feel like maybe they were playing into your hands ultimately?

Westhead: "Not really. We tried to make some zone adjustments anyway and we thought we had done that. Whether they had their bigs in or not. Changing lineups doesn't really affect us as much as other teams because our goal is to get that ball and push it as fast as we can. So if you push it against bigs, push it against smalls, we're really doing the same thing. We had nice get outs today and a nice game by Kelly Miller who she wasn't distributing the ball she was rebounding the ball."

What about Tangela Smith?

Westhead: "Tangela Smith, well the only thing she did wrong was she made two threes in a row that's why I took her out. I said, "You make two in a row like that you come out." I had already subbed for her and it was a 20 second sub. So she looked at me. "Okay, I'll make three next time." She had a great game. She had a presence about her. Everyone talks about, like, well you have playoff experience people, Tangela Smith is a playoff experienced person and she kind of showed it tonight."

Could you please talk about what you did do differently defensively inside to stop them.

Westhead: "Basically we stayed with our rover defense. We did that in the first half and played a little man for a minute. We tried to jam it down into the paint more than we did last game. So the rover, Diana Taurasi, who does a lot of this instinctively, we just kind of said to her, see if you can slide down the lane and get under and get inside rather than playing more outside. And she did it superbly. So I mean it wasn't like we reinvented a lot of things, we just simply tried to stop that plethora of inside scoring that was exhibited on Wednesday."

Could you talk a little bit more about Kelly Miller, just the energy she brings and will the little plays she makes throughout the course of a game?

Westhead: "Yeah. Well, our players, if you ask them, everybody talks about well who is most valuable, who is your most important player. Our players would probably say Kelly Miller is their most valuable player. Because as you see, she does all of those little intangibles over and over and over again at about a hundred miles an hour. Where others even on our team seem to tire, want to catch their breath, she's motoring the ball, ahead of them, saying, 'Where is everybody?'"

But, and at the end of all of that, someone takes a shot and she's gone down the lane to rebound it, to get an offensive rebound and will be the first person back on defense if it doesn't work. So I don't know how you get much better in effort than Kelly Miller.

MERCURY GUARD DIANA TAURASI (30 PTS, 8 REBS): After the struggles in Game 1, how important was it for you personally to come out and have, get your touch back early tonight?

Taurasi: "I wasn't too focused on it. The way we played this year and the way we have gone about games, it's not just one person that gets us off. And Game 1, I struggled personally, but the team as a whole I thought we played well. Not good enough to win but we saw spurts of what we did during the year to kind of bring it over to Game 2. So today was just everybody feeling good, feeling confident and playing like that."

Thirty-point blow out, heading back to Phoenix, about how much of a momentum shift is this for you guys?

Taurasi: It's huge. No matter what, in any series you want to at least get one on the road. And Detroit is a tough place to play at. They play really well here and the crowd gets into it. They heckle, they go after you hard. So to come here and play well and actually win the game, going back to Phoenix 1-1 is huge for our team. I really think it's going to be key."

Do you feel like you have to close it out there because they play so well?

Taurasi: "I think we're just going to have to take Game 3 right now. We can't look at it, well we got to win two in a row. Because you got to win one to win two. To win two in a row. So if that makes sense, right? So we got to win one first."

Do you expect them to be mad in Game 3? Coach Laimbeer was saying they're going to come out mad because of what happened?

Taurasi: "Shoot, I would be mad."

You would be?

Taurasi: "After getting beat by 30, I would be furious."

Talk about Kelly Miller's role and what she does for you.

Taurasi: "Coach always talks about it, you got the four wheels, Cappie, Penny, Tangela, and me. Kelly really is the motor. She gets this team going. Every chance for them to kind of get into it, it was either Kelly Miller tip-in or Kelly Miller offensive rebound, defense rebound, she pushes the tempo. She does so much for us. She really is the, unsung hero. We get a lot of the credit, but it really is a lot of Kelly Miller that gets us, gets us our opportunities. So she's just amazing, she really is amazing."

MERCURY GUARD CAPPIE PONDEXTER (18 PTS, 5 ASSTS): On putting the game away in the second half:

Pondexter: "Yeah, it was a credit to our defensive aggressiveness and to the way Tangela and Dee [Diana Taurasi] shot the ball Ė they shot the heck out of the ball Ė when itís like that weíre unstoppable."

On closing out the series at home:

Pondexter: "Well you know thatís the plan, if it works that way, but we still have to work for it, and Detroitís not going to go away that easy, theyíre the defending champions and theyíre the champions for a reason."

On looking forward to returning home:

Pondexter: "Oh yeah, I canít wait to sleep in my own bed. Itís been a long five days."

On her expectations for Game 3:

Pondexter: "Well, we know itís going to be a close Game 3, theyíre going to come out really aggressive. Detroitís a great basketball team, theyíre going to go back and watch some film, and theyíre going to come out really hard and I think weíre just going to have to match their intensity. Itís big for us that weíre going back home and have a crowd with us, weíre 1-1, and like I said, itís just a game really."

MERCURY FORWARD PENNY TAYLOR (9 PTS, 5 ASSTS): On the teamís hot shooting:

Taylor: "Yeah that helps, but like Game One, our shooters never got going, and thatís the way we play and tonight we did what weíve been doing all season."

On evening the series:

Taylor: "Well now we go home and now we have our crowd and our energy and it canít hurt. We know weíve got to get two more games, so weíre happy with this win, its back to zero-zero, but weíve still got to get those wins in Phoenix."

On Taurasiís play:

Taylor: "Yeah, she was just shooting so well and getting open shots and really just shot well and was confident in every shot."

On the teamís defense:

Taylor: "Yeah, we just did the same things we were supposed to do in Game One, just more consistently and better and had a bigger focus on their inside play. I think they found it difficult with doubling down on the post and they couldnít get the ball out, so we were successful in the things we had planned to do."

On the difficulty of defending their shooters:

Taylor: "Oh yeah, ask them that. Itís tough, you canít defend everyone and especially when weíre running the ball and taking threeís in transition, thatís the beauty of what we do."

Detroit Shock

Cheryl Ford

On losing the game:
Ford: "The series starts all over again. We know we didnít show up today. We know we didnít come out and play with the effort and hard work that we usually come out and play with. We all agreed that we got punked, so to speak, today. We played soft. We just didnít want it today and thatís unacceptable. We discussed that already and we just have to watch film and work on some things that we need to work on and move forward. We canít look back. We canít change it. We want to apologize to our fans for not giving the effort that we should have given."

On winning a game in Phoenix:
: "We have to. We know now that we have to go to Phoenix and win a game. Itís definitely possible for us to do that, we just have to want it more."

On Diana Taurasiís performance:
"It was a great game today. We knew, the first game she didnít have it, that she would be getting hers today. We made no adjustments. Like I said we gave up though and in the WNBA Finals thatís unacceptable."

Plenette Pierson

On the team having a lack of focus:
"There's nothing else to do. We executed our game plan in Game One, great. We had a few things to tweak for Game Two. We didn't even tweak those. We didn't do the things we did well in game 1. We just have to bring our focus and execute."

On what they need to work before Game 3:
"A lot of focus. I just think its all about execution. Us executing, us taking care of the ball, us going for loose balls, and us getting reboundsÖ.Everything that we did in the first game."

On losing the game:
Pierson: "We didn't come to play. It looked like we weren't focused, we weren't. [Phoenix] played harder, they wanted it, they got it."

Bill Laimbeer

On what point in the game things got away:
"Oh, I say probably midway through the second quarter. We just stopped playing for whatever reasons. We weren't we had people who were shaking their heads and blowing off the coaches and not executing, walking through our offense. Not running back on defense. And then we put our head down and they spurted to a big lead at the half. Start the third quarter you hope you come out and play hard the first five minutes. We just came out and played for playing. And turnovers again made us put our head down again and it was a blow out."

On if Phoenix made any adjustments to take away what Braxton and Feenstra were able to do in Game 1:
": I think they tried to trap a little bit more. We'll watch the tape and I'll see what they did and didn't do. But we didn't post up as strong, we didn't attack as strong, we weren't as focused. That can't happen. They will play their defense the way they play their defense. They will make a couple adjustments, but we didn't, we weren't we didn't have that fire about us today. And our guards stopped shooting, Katie Smith stopped shooting, missed a few shots, didn't shoot any more. Deanna was frustrated. It just, we weren't physically and mentally there enough to win the basketball game. And we got beat.."

On positives Detroit can take from today's game:
"I guess the best positive is the players know what happened. In the locker room we let them talk and they knew that we had a mental breakdown today. And we weren't there like we were supposed to be there. That just gets us mad, some players get mad, some players, okay, I got to play better. But overall collectively wise it actually is a positive for us. Lose by one or by 31 is the same. That we were able to rest players, maybe that's a positive. But I think that getting beat this badly will make us mad."

Deanna Nolan

On how Detroit doesn't play well until it's got its back up against the wall:
Nolan: "I don't think our backs are against the wall yet. I just thought that tonight we just didn't show up. We kept the game pretty close until towards the end of the second quarter. It's just tonight the shots weren't falling, we wouldn't get to the loose balls, all the little things that we needed to do tonight."

On the team's confidence to overcome the loss and go back and still win the series:
Nolan: "Something we can bounce back from and we know that we just have to win one in Phoenix to comeback here for Game 5."