Laimbeer: "Quick? Not an opening, now it's quick? Okay. All right. Well, obviously we're a little disappointed that we did not win that game. Our inability to handle turnovers was a big factor in us losing.
We had too many. Especially we had six turnovers in the fourth quarter. That can't happen when you're trying to close out a series. We know that. We still did it. It is a little disappointing.
Our players know it. They know that while we played hard, we played focused, we didn't play well. And that's something that we're going to have to address in the next couple days because now we go home.
But that's why we played the whole season. The regular season was a grind for us. We got through it. With the sole purpose of if we had to play a game in a series, we would play it at home. And all these series have gone to the last game in our building, they did what they had to do, now we're going home to do what we have to do."
Coach Westhead was talking about how he ran the offense through Cappie in the second half and they made the decision at halftime. Is that difficult for you, her ability to create her own shots?
Laimbeer: "I don't know about difficult, we have good defending guards. She made some big shots, no questions about that. But that's what she does. That's just one of those things that we'll look at how we can help in certain situations, but great players make great shots. We have them too. And it just worked out for their favor today."
Are you pleased with the way that with each passing game you're able to hold them to fewer points, because they are an offensively powered team?
Laimbeer: "Well, yeah, we played good defense. Make no mistake about that. We're a solid defensive ball club. We think we're the best one in the league. And that's sort of what we carry our baggage. We like being a defensive ball club. They're an offensive ball club. They can make shots and they did tonight. We knew they were going to. We still need to execute in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line and we didn't. We had six turnovers. And they're playing zone. That just can't happen. You have to be a little bit more focused than that. And if we had taken care of the ball, we would be celebrating right now. But we didn't, so we move on. We play another game."
Did Cheryl re-injure her knee in the last couple minutes?
Laimbeer: "Yeah, I would be extremely pessimistic about her having an opportunity to play in Game 5."
What do you expect in Game 5 Sunday? What kind of game are you looking for?
Laimbeer: "I'm looking for a game that we don't turn the ball over 19 times. That's what I'm looking for out of our players. I'm looking for every player on our ball club to step up and play with the fire and the intensity necessary to win a championship. That's what we do. That's who we are. We will be a man down, okay. Been there, done that before too. I told our players I've been in every situation you can possibly dream of. I've been in the most brutal losses. I've been into games where you make buzzer shots to win championships. I won championships, I lost them. Okay. This is what we played the whole season for this moment. And that's what we're going to do, take care of business."
Talk about that last sequence, the last play of the game. Did you get the shot you wanted or is that what you planned for or what transpired there?
Laimbeer: "Well, no, it wasn't the shot we wanted to. We wanted to get the ball in Deanna Nolan's hands. We wanted to go to Tweety to get a shot. She felt she was unable to get her own shot and passed it to Pee Wee. It didn't go in."
Could you just talk about Plenette and what she was able to do offensively to hit 9 or 10 from the floor?
Laimbeer: "She played outstanding offensive- wise. She turned the ball over a little too much, but she was very aggressive, made her shots, we needed to get a few more defensive rebounds for us because that's one of the keys, that is, I thought kept them in the game is they got too many offensive rebounds today and that's two games in a row after we talked about it. So we have to work harder on that one."
Cappie in the second half, was she, were you guys slow to help on defensive end or was she just really beating you right down the lane?
Laimbeer: "We don't really help very much. We're a very sound individual defensive ball club. So we play good one-on-one. Our guards are outstanding defenders, I thought Cappie Pondexter made some big shots. They weren't, they were very well contested, that's what great players do. They make great shots. And give her all the credit in the world."
Do you feel at all like one slipped away when you look at Penny Taylor and Tangela Smith they were 2-21 from the floor when they both have an off night like that that you weren't able to capitalize?
Laimbeer: "That happens. We can say the other way too. Look at our -- Cheryl Ford 2-9 and Pee Wee, 2-7. So it's just the way the game flows, that's all."
Could you please talk about your experience in elimination games 7-0. Obviously a tough loss, but do you feel that you're going to bounce back?
Laimbeer: "We play for the moment. That's what we do. And today was no exception. I thought we came -- we played hard. We didn't get it done. We didn't play smart, we played with enough fire and intensity to give ourself a chance to win. We like games like this. We enjoy elimination games. It makes us concentrate, it makes us play hard for the entire game. And that's what we're looking forward to in Game 5. We're going to have a packed house, it's going to be a zoo like it always has been the last couple times we won championships in Detroit and hopefully it's going to spur to us bigger and better things."
First of all, can you just talk about the disappointment and getting so close and having to go play one more game.
Smith: " Disappointed. I think we played hard, I don't think we played great basketball. I think we had spurts where we had too many turnovers, getting back in transition, maybe bad decisions on offense. So disappointed that it was kind of right there and didn't quite seize the moment."
Could you please talk about the physicalness of the game and what happened to your eye.
Smith: "Physicalness of the game, it is what it is. It's basketball. I don't necessarily think anything is outrageous or different. This is what the league is. This is what we do every day.
But I got hit in the eye with an offhand and no, it is what it is. We just want it to be as long as they call the game fair, we're good. And tonight it was fine. It's just that they made more plays, made shots down the stretch. We couldn't get a stop or a rebound. But it didn't come down to the last couple of plays, it came down to the whole game."
How was Cappie able to break through like she did in the second half?
Smith: "Honestly, I'm not real sure of obviously kind of strung out on Diana, but I think they went a lot of high pick and rolls with Cappie and sometimes she used them, sometimes she didn't. And got in the lane, tried to help off of Miller a little bit. And she nailed a couple shots, big shots for them. So she just kind of isolated up front and obviously we'll have to look at than see how we can guard that. But she had made a couple tough moves and Tweety is a great defender and she stuck with it on that last offensive rebound and put back, so."
Seems like you guys had a chance to put them away there in the third quarter. Can you talk about that moment again?
Smith: "We hit a couple buckets, got a little cushion, not much against them.
And it they came and pushed it right down our throats. We had an, offensively, had a couple turnovers. And they had a couple run outs on us and we weren't matched up and they knocked down some shots. So the momentum, obviously, they, whatever we had, they took away. And basically back to an even playing field.
But, yeah, would have liked to have kind of extended that a little bit but obviously didn't take advantage of that."
What kind of shot did you guys want to get on that last possession?
Smith: "Obviously wanted to try to get Tweety the ball, we ran a man set against their zone, didn't quite open up. They kind of were crowded in the middle. And then we just wanted, honestly, to just somehow, obviously, get Tweety the ball and let her break it down a little bit and obviously they ran at her and Pee Wee got a shot in the corner and got a tough shot off in the corner at least."
Talk about how tough Diana is to handle in contrast with the other defenders you've gone against?
Smith: "She's tough because she's a big guard. She can, when she's driving, she's pretty quick and but she's also got a body that she can bump you off with. Obviously her range, you have to respect her range and at least guard her, even past the 3-putt line. She's good at transition. She got a couple looks in transition that she hit when we weren't matched up or I took somebody else and somebody else had to pick her up and we were in a little bit of miscommunication.
So she took advantage of those opportunities because it's obviously we do a decent job of her, with her in the half court and she's getting good picks set for her and she will knock them down. But we had to limit the ones that she gets in transition where she's flat out open and in those quick ones. So the other ones, we'll take, she can earn those and as I said the transition ones are the ones that we would like to limit."
You played often without Cheryl this season, but did it, was it a little rattling just to see her go down like that at the last couple seconds?
Smith: "Disappointing. Obviously we're hurting for her. She's been battling. She he's every day doing rehab and doing treatment and anybody that's had an injury that's just a pain. It's just you spend hours and hours and hours. And you just try to get it going and she's come out and she's played a lot of minutes and through a lot of pain and you know what, thank her for everything she's given an and hopefully she will be back at it on Sunday.
If not, by all means we have enough to play good basketball and I hope everybody's excited about the chance if she plays or not. It will give more minutes for somebody to make a difference and let's hope we all take advantage of that."
On going home for Game 5:
Nolan: "Yeah we feel pretty good – like I said, it’s the best out of five, not best out of four – so we know we got another shot at it, a second chance at it. We’ll see how Cheryl’s feeling but if not, we’ll get the chance for some people to step up."
On the physicality of the series:
Nolan: "Well of course, there’s been a lot of talking here and there and picks and all kinds of things going on, but you can’t get caught up in all of that. You gotta’ just keep playing."
On the last play:
Nolan: "A shot for me coming to the middle of the zone – free throw line extended to get a shot – but that wasn’t open, so towards the end we just kind of had to get to the basket or get a clear shot."
On moving forward to Game 5:
Nolan: "Just stop their second shot – that’s what killed us toward the end of the fourth quarter. We got the lead back and forth cause of those second opportunities, but you get those stops and you win that game."
On Game 4:
Pierson: "They made shots – they made the big shots…they got the rebounds. Last game we made the big shots…they made big shots."
On the positives from Game 4:
Pierson: "Yeah we played good, we helped each other as a team playing defense. I don’t know what else to say…we kept them under their three-point shooting percentage, they didn’t score 100 points…there are a lot of positives we can take from this, but you always see the negatives cause we need to change that for the next game."
On her confidence from being in this situation before:
Pierson: "You know, at this point we have all the confidence in the world – it’s about putting the ball in the basket. It’s about making the stops – it has nothing to do with confidence. Skill – that’s what its going to come down to – skill."
On the turnovers in Game 4:
Pierson: "It always hurts you when you have turnovers, I mean what’s new, they capitalized on them, we turned it over, we made the mistakes, they capitalized."
On closing out the series at home:
Braxton: "We’ve just got to execute the things we know how to execute, chill out on turnovers and we’ll be fine. The game wasn’t a blowout, it was just little stuff that we need to take care of and we know what we gotta’ do so we’re gonna’ come out and do it."
On the intensity of Game 4:
Braxton: "Everybody was intense, it was intense on our part, it was intense on their part. Of course they wanted it, they were at home, but we’re about to bring it back to D [Detroit] like we did last year. I’m not predicting (anything), but I’m just saying we’re gonna’ bring it."
On the last play:
Braxton: "I don’t know what we were trying to do. We were just trying to score and we didn’t score."