Ruth Riley, Detroit Shock
Q: Do you like this best-of-five format?
It'll be interesting. A lot more game experience when you play the same team five
times versus three, possibly. You have to grind it out a little more I think.
Does the team with the most talent definitely win a best-of-five?
I would think so. I think … it's just going to be interesting because I've never
been in the situation before. So, I don't really know what to expect accept you
just have to go in and play as hard as you can and try to get every game.
Talk about Sacramento's style of play. Is it similar to yours?
are very similar. Their defensive philosophy is a little different; obviously,
they overplay everything. But the physicality of their game is similar to ours.
I think it's going to be a battle. We match up well. They have a big frontcourt;
we have a big frontcourt. It's going to be a fun series.
Swin Cash, Detroit
Q: Does your experience give you an advantage?
I think it gives us advantage … not necessarily, because both teams have won a
championship. The Shock, we have six players from 2003 that won a championship.
Sacramento, they pretty much have their whole squad back with the same experience.
We are kind of matched up the same. They're physical on the frontline, so are
we. I think it's going to come down to a test of wills: Who can come out here
and execute. The game is going to be won right in here (points to her head).
How important is Cheryl Ford's rebounding going to be?
Cash: Cheryl has
been phenomenal all year long. I thought that from the start she has been playing
like an MVP candidate. She controls the boards. You have to respect her anytime
she is on the floor, down low.
Q: How much has this team matured from
that 2003 title team?
Cash: Once we got EP (Elaine Powell) back I kind
of sat down and told that God works in mysterious ways. We had a magical time
in 2003, not only with the city, but how we played and everyone knew each other.
I think we matured a little bit and we understand what it takes not (only) to
get here but to win it.
Cheryl Ford, Detroit Shock
are two veteran teams. What kind of series do you expect.
Ford: The Monarchs,
they are a great team as well. Everybody is playing their position, contributing,
doing what they are supposed to do. Like I said, it's going to be a tough series
and I'm real excited about it. I can't wait to start.
Q: Is there anything
that the Monarchs do that you are going to have to overcome?
Ford: We have
to be mentally tough. Period. If we let them take our mental toughness away then
we are in for a long series.
Q: Do think the team is playing its best
ball right now?
Ford: Without a doubt. We are all on the same page. Everybody
is facing the same thing. Everybody is clicking. Everybody is doing what they
are suppose to do.
Deanna Nolan, Detroit Shock
Q: How excited
are you to be back in the Finals?
Nolan: I am very excited to be back here.
I think we have worked very hard to get back here this year.
this feel different than the one in 2003?
Nolan: I don't think it's different.
It still feels great and we almost have the same core as we did in 2003.
Do you see a certain maturity on this team?
Nolan: I do. I see that all
of us have matured a lot. We did take the year after we won for granted because
I don't think we expected the teams to come out at us as hard as they did after
winning it; but we still have to play hard. I think that's what we have done this
year is we played hard 40 minutes as a team and that's what you have to do to
win the Championship.
Q: Do you feel like you are the favorite because
you have home-court advantage or the underdog because you are going against the
Nolan: I think we are the underdog even though they
are the No. 2 seed. They are the defending champions. They are the same team as
last year, but even better and that's the way I feel about us.
Smith, Detroit Shock
Smith: It's now a five-game series and you basically
take one game at a time. Basically you take it one game at a time and that's tomorrow
night. It's a big game for us and home-court is huge. If we can take care of that,
good things will happen. It's going to be fun. A lot of it is going to be mental;
it's not going to be all physical. I think our team is ready and we have obviously
made some adjustments today.
Q: What concerns you the most about Sacramento?
Their defense, because it is different. And on top of that, it's their rebounding.
They are on the boards non-stop, three, four players and we have to put a body
on people. All of us have to rebound, not just our bigs.
Q: Do you mentally
treat the first game like it's an elimination game?
Smith: You have to
understand that it could be over in three games. You have to be in the moment
and treat every game as your last. I think the first game sets the tone, especially
if they come out here and rock us on our home court. That would pump them up even
more and they are already confident.
Q: You haven't won the championship
like a bunch of these players in 2003 did. How will that help this team?
I hope it's a little bit of an edge. I think for myself it's that steadiness that
I have brought all year. I haven't been in the WNBA Finals, but I have been here
in this kind of setting; it's understanding what it's going to take. I'll do my
part and hopefully everyone will do theirs.
Bill Laimbeer, Detroit
Q: Does your experience in the Finals give you an advantage
Laimbeer: We have six players from our championship ball club
here and they are all key players for us. They know what to expect.
Do you think your confidence can rub Sacramento the wrong way?
You don't really care what rubs the other team the wrong way. You worry about
yourself; you focus on your own ball club. We are very driven right now. We think
we are a very good basketball team and we think we are the best team. We just
have to prove it on the court and that's what we are going to try and do.
Don't you always like rubbing the other team the wrong way?
this point in time, both teams think they are the best team in the league. That's
what's great about this series, both team believe they are the best and there
is a big collision coming.
Q: What's the biggest challenge that Sacramento
presents to you?
Laimbeer: I think there defense is very swarming and they
try to disrupt your offense. Second is their rebounding, they are an outstanding
Q: Does the best-of-five series, instead of a best-of-seven,
make homecourt more crucial?
Laimbeer: It's better than the best-of-three
we use to play. Best-of-five gives you the opportunity to drop a game somewhere
and still recover. Best-of-three you can't do that, I'm very happy we moved to
a best of five series.
Q: Do you feel like this is your time and your
season to come together?
Laimbeer: We believe that we are together at the
right time. We talked all year long about preparing for the playoffs and to have
our defense and offense in place. We worked very hard to get here.