Monarchs Postgame Quotes: Game 5

Monarchs Coach John Whisenant

Opening statement: I have to compliment the Detroit Shock. They proved to be the best team in this series.
That's why you play the game. And they've beaten us. They deserve the credit for doing that.

I was proud of my team's not giving up, even though we struggled in some areas that you cannot struggle against a strong, physical team like Detroit. They exposed some of our areas of weakness and defended our deep shooters and doubled in on our post, to make it difficult for us to score.

And then on their offensive end, they exposed our inability to put pressure on the ball, like we did in our championship year, and were able to execute their offense and, therefore, take advantage of their strength inside. And I have to give them a lot of credit. They did a good job.

We lost our serve in Sacramento, as we've already discussed. We had our chance. And again, I'm pleased, happy with my team. They never threw in the towel. They were back swinging. We still had a shot to win. Katie being the great player she is, leading scorer of all time, hit the big baskets in the end. We had them in a position to tighten up and get us back in and win it at the end, which is what you normally hope to do on the road, and she didn't tighten up. She jumped up and shot it right in the heart.

And, again, I've gotta give them credit. With that I'll take any questions.

Q: Could you talk about the Shock's early run in the quarter where they outscored you 16 to 3 and Nolan made 10 points.
WHISENANT: Well, they were good. I mean, I was disappointed that we weren't able to get any stops there. At the same time that was happening, we were missing some wide open looks.

We had three or four positions where they were doubling off and keeping it out of our post hands, and then guarding our two shooters, and so not only did we not stop them, we didn't score.

So that's how you lose an 8 point lead and get behind six or eight points or whatever it was at that point.

Q: Could you talk about Nolan's performance especially during that time, though.
WHISENANT: I mean, she's a great player. She's extremely talented, can jump waist high and shoots the mid range jumper as well as anybody in the WNBA, and she's hard to stop.

It's hard to take all things away from them. And we made it tough again in this game on their inside scorers, but that leaves somebody open, and they exposed some of our spots that we're not as athletic as them.

So I mean, again, I give the staff, Bill and the staff, compliments because they exposed those things that we knew we weren't going to tell anybody about 'em. But they exposed it and took advantage. And, you know, we would have had a much better chance if we would have played with this kind of intensity and effort in Sacramento, we might have gotten away with the win there. But, unfortunately, when you're playing for the championship of the world in your sport, you don't get a lot of second chances.

Q: Was fatigue a factor in the second half at all?
WHISENANT: No, I don't think so. We weren't tired. I mean we might have gotten winded, but I played in the first half, I played ten players, and, you know, everywhere from eight to 14 minutes. That should have been no factor. I was disappointed in a couple of players for not warming up properly at halftime.

But that's something we'll work on in the future. It's too late after the fact to go out a little bit stiff because you don't get out of the locker room soon enough.

Q: John, did you think about going to Haynie a little sooner because they left two (inaudible) open, and the offense is the big issue.
WHISENANT: Haynie played well offensively. I had, you know, it's a chicken/egg for me, because the first three times Nolan had the ball, with Haynie guarding her, she scored.

So Kristin's got to be a better defender. That's all there is to it. She's going to be a good player in this league. And offensively she is already a pretty darned good player in this league. And she just, she has difficulty with our defense. But Nolan's tough on Ticha and DeMya, too, who are better defenders. So I can always look back and say should I have given Haynie more minutes and Ticha less to get the scoring. You know, it may be something I'll second guess myself for later.

But right now I don't feel that way.

Q: This is the second largest crowd in WNBA history and certainly one of the most enthusiastic. To what extent do you think that affected your team, especially in the second half after the Shock got on their run and started generating some momentum?

WHISENANT: You know, you never know. That's why home crowd teams have so much better records at home. For example, we were 7 7 on the road and 14 3 at home. So obviously home crowd has a difference, makes a difference. There's no logical reason other than the fans that make it different, unless it affects the officials. And they did have 10 more free throws, by the way, a big physical team like them, and 8 more points at the free throw line. But the fact is that this crowd is a -- the Detroit Shock deserve it. I'm happy for the WNBA. I'm happy for Detroit.

And you know, certainly home crowd affects emotion. Makes the emotion for the home team greater and the downer for the opponent worse. So I don't know that that was a factor with us. But they beat us.

I mean, I'd rather just give them credit, Detroit Shock credit for being a good basketball team that outplayed us tonight.

Yolanda Griffith, Sacramento Monarchs

Q: What was the biggest difference between the first half and second half coming out for you guys?
GRIFFITH: Well, I think the first half we pretty much controlled the boards and our defense was steady. Offensively, you know, we was hitting our shots. We was moving without the ball pretty well. In the second half, I don't know, you know, as individuals you gotta find a way to get your mind back on the game, you know, do the defensive things.

You know they were more aggressive. They moved the ball. They pushed the ball down the court. We didn't react. We didn't get back.

You know, we find ourselves down. But we fought back. We're never going to quit. It was a good game, a good series. Detroit having a home crowd behind them, got this victory. You know, we didn't win but we still proud of all the accomplishments we did this year. Just gotta get ready for next year.

Q: You mentioned the crowd. What effect do you think that had on your playing the second half?
GRIFFITH: I don't think they affected us at all. I just think we didn't come back in the second half prepared. We knew they was going to make a run. We talked at halftime. We knew what happened second game in Detroit, you know, pretty much happened again. As individuals and being on this professional level, you have to get your mind focused, ready to withstand the runs that Detroit did.

The fans didn't affect us. We still kept doing our thing on a defensive end, the shots just didn't fall. We kind of rushed a lot of things on the offensive end but overall it was a good series.

Kara Lawson, Sacramento Monarchs

Q: Why didn't you think the shots were falling the second half? Was it hesitation, rushing? What do you think it was?

LAWSON: We never really concerned ourselves with blocked shots, when shots go in or don't go in. Our game plan is always on the defensive side of the play we feel if we play good enough defense and the shots don't go in we still have a chance. We never put too much thought in, oh, we're making them or not making them. Obviously we're happy if they're going in. But we don't spend too much time thinking about that. It's on the defensive end where we know we need to play well.

Q: What point do you think the series was lost? You guys take the first game and then the second kind of turns it over. Is there a point in the series that you think you guys lost it?
LAWSON: The buzzer went off tonight, that's when the series was lost. It's when they won. I didn't feel like at any point prior to that buzzer that we were out of it or that we had lost momentum or we had lost the series.

We felt good coming into this game. We felt like we had a good chance to win it if we played well.

DeMya Walker, Sacramento Monarchs

Q: What do you think happened in tonightís game?
Walker: You have to take advantage of your opportunities. We should have put it away in Game 4. We came out and didnít do the things we needed to do and gave them a chance to win it on their home court and they took advantage of the opportunity and thatís the bottom line. Joe Dumars was in the paper today and said the difference between champions is when a champion loses they accept that they werenít good enough and then they go back and they do something about it to change for next year. I believe thatís how we are, we are champions in this room and we know we are going to go back and we are going to come back better next year.

Q: What are your emotions right now?
Walker: At least we can take pride that the ladies in this locker room are hard working. We expect to be here next year.

Nicole Powell, Sacramento Monarchs

Q: What emotions are you going through right now?
Powell: Iím really angry and upset with the way we played. Detroit is a good team, but when you give a team those transition shots in the final game of the series itís very disappointing. We were right in it and they played well and we struggled. We didnít shoot the ball well and Iím just really upset right now. Itís a basketball game and you have to keep it in perspective. I think when I cool off a little bit itís great to be a part of and Iím glad we made it this far. We did our best and thatís what counts.

Q: What was breaking down when they went on that run to start the second half?
Powell: We didnít get back in transition. They had four or five opportunities to get layups, to get easy shots, and thatís something that Detroit is very, very good at. They are a very good team and they got out, got some easy shots and got back in the game right away.

Q: Did you feel like you still had a chance during the fourth quarter?
Powell: I feel like we did if we got stops, but we never really got them under control. We scored the same amount of baskets and when you are trying to get back you have to get shots and we didnít do that.