Yolanda Griffith, Sacramento Monarchs
Q: Both teams have a lot of
confidence, what do you think this series is going to come down to?
You have to think like that. You can't go out here second guessing and thinking
that another team is going to beat you. We know it's going to be tough against
Detroit; they have home court advantage. Our goal is to get one of these games.
We both dominate on the boards, and have some great guards and points guards.
It's going to be a dog fight. I guess whoever out-rebounds the other is going
Q: Any advantage with you guys being the defending Champs?
No, there is no advantage. I think the addition of Katie Smith has turned their
team around. She is leading this team as a veteran and they are following in her
footstep. They did a good job going into Connecticut, getting that last game.
Detroit is the toughest team in the East. We have our work cut out for us, but
if we keep doing what we are doing, we will be okay.
Q: Do you feel like
the underdogs coming in here?
Griffith: We have always been the underdogs.
Even when we won last year, we didn't get the respect. We have confidence we can
do what we need to do to get a victory here in Detroit. It's going to be tough.
We are healthy and since All-Star we have been playing well and we are here for
a reason and I think we are going to get it.
Kara Lawson, Sacramento
Q: From a health perspective, where are you now?
I feel better. I am as close to 100 percent as you could hope to be this close
to the Finals. I am very happy with where I am and my body feels great.
How does it feel to be in the Finals again?
Lawson: I think you have to
relish the opportunity and understand that it's something that doesn't come along
too often. For us to be here two years in a row is a great accomplishment. We
are excited about the opportunity to play for two straight championships and we
know this is going to be the best opponent we play all year and we are going to
have to play our best to win.
Q: Do you see any parallels between the
two teams because of the confidence level?
Lawson: Both teams would not
have gotten this far if they didn't have a strong sense of self belief and a great
deal of confidence. There are tremendous players on that side and we are going
to have to play really well. This is going to be a battle in the paint, a battle
on the boards, and which team defends the best. I know those are key things for
them and they are key thinks for us.
Lawson: There are some similarities
and are able to keep the same schedule as last year. We understand from experience
what it takes to play the first two games on the road. We know the importance
of trying to win game one and that setting you up for the series.
Whisenant, Sacramento Monarchs
Q: Can you talk about the importance
Whisenant: An insulator against bad shooting is offensive
rebounding and defensive rebounding is the tail-end of your defense. If you don't
do that then you have wasted all your effort guarding someone hard-core.
Is the Shock's offensive rebounding a worry to you?
Whisenant: It always
is against every good time. That's why offensive rebounding is critical. Offense,
you have got to have the break, run your half-court offense and then the third
phase is offensive rebounds. Their whole team is a great rebounding team.
What are you expecting out of your team the most?
Whisenant: I'm not expecting
any one thing. I'm expecting it to be a really hard fought game. I think they
are playing at the top of their game. They are playing great defensively and they
are rebounding great. They are full of good athletes and it will be a great challenge
to try and compete with that. I can see five games coming down to the last minute
if we can continue that play. I believe our team is confident.
Penicherio, Sacramento Monarchs
Q: How does experience factor in
to this series?
Panicheiro: I think experience plays a factor in the series.
When you have played in the Finals there is probably going to be 15,000 people
watching the game and either rooting for you or rooting against you. You have
to keep your composure, knowing that every possession is important. I think it's
important that we try to start a game strong and try to take the crowd out of
Q: Do you view yourselves as underdogs coming in to this series?
I think we have been underdogs since the series started. We really don't care
what people say. We worry about ourselves and we, in the locker room, know what
we can do and we know that if play Monarchs' basketball we can beat anyone in
Q: In a best of five series, how important is winning Game
Panicheiro: It's very important. It puts the pressure back on them.
If we can steal Game 1 here it will be great to go back to our court knowing that
we can finish one up at home.
Nicole Powell, Sacramento Monarchs
What is it going to take to repeat in this series?
Powell: It's going to
be a battle. We know what each team is going to bring to the table and at this
point in the season it's 'who wants it more'. Who is going to play every single
play and play for 40 minutes, I think that's what it's going to take.
Do the similarities between teams make it easier or more difficult?
Any team you play at this level it's going to be hard. They have some great rebounders
and great individual athletes. We just have to be prepared for them and try to
do our best.
Q: Does it feel like you guys are the underdogs?
It does. We seem to take people by surprise. We are back again going through the
same thing, which is fine with us because we are here and I think we can do it
and that's all that matters.
DeMya Walker, Sacramento Monarchs
Do the similarities between the two teams make it easier or more difficult?
I don't know if it's easy or difficult, it makes it a challenge for both of us
because it's like figuring out how to beat yourself. I think it makes it exciting.
Do you guys consider yourselves underdogs?
Walker: We are always underdogs,
we don't care. Everybody always assumes that Sacramento is going to lose this
time or that time, but nobody knows what we are going to do except us and our