Katie, this is, I believe, the lowest point total that Phoenix has been held to in the post season. Kind of what's your assessment of your guys defense and how things went well tonight?
Smith: "I think our offense really dictated our defense and I think with our patience and allowing ourselves to get down and set in our offense without running and pushing as well, I think our patience on offense really set our tone with defense and then I think people individually locked into what we needed to do and then -- but we also gave up too much penetration to the free throw line too much. So there's a lot of things we can clean up but I really think our offense helped us with our defense."
Katie and Deanna, both of you seemed to have an answer every time they came close and it seemed a lot of times you hit some big threes?
Smith: "You know what, we have had a lot of open looks, at least for myself, had a lot of open looks throughout the series. You're able to get that in a zone for the most part. We were able to knock them down. During that spell we were able to score some points, but I remember hitting a three and Diana came down and hit a three. So we were kind of going back and forth. So it wasn't like we were pulling ahead per se. So they were hitting shots as well as us. But we're going to get shots, we just have to be aggressive. I thought we did a little bit better job. I think we can do a better job of attacking and penetrating, getting 15 footers or driving in and kicking. But they adjusted, played a little bit more man defense, and did some things differently, so we'll see what happens on Thursday."
Deanna, do you think, Yolanda last year when she was ahead of you guys 2-1 she said that getting the final win of the series is toughest because you're kind of anticipating a victory. Do you think that -- what in your opinion will make that getting that final win extremely tough?
Nolan: "Of course it's going to be tough, just because it's an elimination game for them. But for us we just have to stay patient like we did tonight, move the ball around, knock down open shots, and get the ball inside, which creates open outside shots for us. We just have to knock them down. But of course it's going to be hard game to win. But we are looking forward to it."
Laimbeer: "An opening statement? Why do I have to keep doing that? All right. We knew yesterday, especially, and this morning that we were going to come and play a good basketball game.
We saw the focus in our players, we saw the Shock focus on how we do business. A quiet, calm about us. A confidence about us. A determination that we were going to come and compete to win a basketball game.
I thought throughout most of the game our keyword today was patience. I thought for the most part we had it. We had our moments where we got a little helter skelter, but it was a good solid team effort across the board. A lot of players got an opportunity to play and the one thing that we learned from a previous series, in Indiana, the calls today, the foul line disparity was definitely not in our favor. Indiana, we lost our brain, we got frustrated by it. And we let it affect us.
Today we kept our focus and played right through it. We juggled the lineup when we got in foul trouble. So hats off to our players for maintaining their focus, their drive and their desire to win this basketball game."
In the final minute of that whole high wire act, did you think that there was any particular turning point which tilted it in your favor?
Laimbeer: "Last minute, no. The last quarter I thought the turning point in the game was Katie Smith dropping like three or four in a row there. Two three balls. Shot with all the confidence in the world. Gave us a big lift right there. In the last minute, man, we gave them every opportunity to get back in this game. All the second shots that we didn't put a body on anybody. We gave them so many opportunities and we were very fortunate they weren't able to connect on their opportunities. I thought that last minute was very hectic. Fortunately we made our free throws and we got the rebound, we had to get the rebound, again, we dodged a bullet that they didn't make some of those second chance points."
On whether or not defense was the key for Tuesday's win:
Laimbeer: "I'm not sure. I think we talked about defense a lot in the last couple days. We know we're a good defensive ball club. And it was so easy to write off the last game after we played it. Because we know we didn't show. And today was a determination about us to come out, we were going to play our solid defense, no question about that. We were going to get dirty, get down there, and be right in their face all day long. And for the most part we did that. And I think that our determination and our willpower today is what carried us."
On the play of the backcourt in Game 3:
Laimbeer: "Everybody kept saying what about your backcourt, what about your backcourt. Do they have to step up. And I kept saying, no, because we want to go inside. We want to be able to make sure we can get some easy buckets and get to the free throw line if we can. But at the same time, they're trying to take away some of that stuff. So essentially we were successful in the first half going inside. They knew that, they adjusted their defense to take it away and which opened up the perimeter game for us and our guards made shots and that was the key today."
How about Katie Smith in particular, the season long shooting slump?
Laimbeer: "If you were here on time you would have heard what I had to say, but I'll say it again. I thought the turning point in the game or the defining moment in the game was her three or four shots that she made in a row there. The two three balls. She had all the confidence in the world. She knew it was her time to make those shots and she did. And that's Katie Smith, that's who she is, she's a tremendous competitor, ball player. And when the game is on the line, she's going to make those plays. Nolan made some big shots too, but we all expect that of Deanna Nolan. So that's an easy one."