WNBA Finals - Phoenix Game 4 Quotes, Sept. 13, 2007

Phoenix Mercury

Paul Westhead

Opening Statement:
Coach Paul Westhead:
"Since the last second of the previous game what I said to the team fortunately came out, I said our only focus is to win a game. We wanted to win it in our style, fast, run the fast break, we wanted to defend, but any which way we won it and needed to win a game. Because otherwise there's no other story line, there's no discussion, it's goodbye.

So in light of that, it was scripted about as good as you could. And I think that apropos for our team that they had to do it on the defense end to get a win. So we had to get a defensive stop. We had a big debate at the timeout whether to switch out and play man and my Assistant Coach Corey Gaines looked me in the eye and he said "Let's go with what we have been playing all year, play that softer zone. So we played the rougher zone. And I reminded myself. Don't get amnesia. By that I mean, if you're doing things and they work, don't forget them and make something up. So we did not get amnesia, our players played our zone at the end and got a stop."

How much confidence do you have in Cappie just to be able to create her on shot and get off good shots in the last couple possessions?
"You might want to look at the line there. I think about 80 percent of the possessions in the second half were going through her hands. We made that decision at halftime. We changed our play call action when we had to, of course we're still trying to run our break, but we ran what we call a lot of 3 push, which gets her coming up off the screen and then some pick and roll action. She has multiple things to do. But it was all going through Cappie's hands."

Why did you make that decision at halftime?
Westhead: "We made that decision because we have great faith in her ability to take the ball hard to the basket and make something happen.

She's just a tireless player going to the rim. You get in her way, you foul her, you don't foul her, she misses, she's going to get her own rebound back and put it back up again. She's just a tenacious player. And she will get it to open people like she did -- I thought it was Penny, but it was Cappie who kicked that ball out for Kelly Miller's three pointer. Big three pointer for Kelly Miller. Struggling a little bit like a lot of our players tonight, not making shots. You're not going to see that line -- well, you might see it one more time this season, but you're not going to see that line very much."

Is she your best option when it slows down, when the game slows down?
Westhead: "We have evolved into this from end of game situations during the regular season to many situations where we just get that ball in her hands and we run what we call our cross, which she, like D on defense, she's free to kind of create and do her thing.

So sometimes that's take it to the basket, sometimes that's pull up and shoot the jumper and many times it's to deal it to her teammates. So everybody has to have like a go to thing that you just say, "Here's what you do when things are stuck." Well, when we're stuck, we're getting the ball in Cappie's hands."

It's been a wild series, what do you expect Sunday?
Westhead: "I just would like to back off for a second. If I'm a fan of basketball, if I'm a WNBA fan, I couldn't have asked for anything more. Here we go. There have been four terrific great games. We felt kind of proud of the games we lost. Because we played our heart out. So now this is the fitting caption of, this is my first go around in this league of a terrific series here, so I'm happy to play this game anywhere. I would play Istanbul or Paris or Moscow, or Detroit, Michigan, we're going to be happy to play and we're going in expecting that we're going to win a championship."

The offense has been dropping off quite a bit lately, what does it say about your team when you can score only 77 and still win a game?
Westhead: "It says we're improving our defense. Yeah, I looked at the halftime stats, I said "This can't continue." We're just missing shots that we normally make and it did continue.

So I have to give credit to Detroit's defense, they're getting in us and we're not shooting as free and easy. But I'll take this anywhere in the world. My team's going to come out shooting and firing and making baskets. We're not going to -- win or lose, I don't think we're going to be in that low scoring scenario. That's my take."

Does it frustrate you seeing layup after layup that just didn't fall for you guys tonight?
Westhead: "I got a little used to it there for awhile. Yeah, it is, but I'm happy that we have played, that is we could get some good inside looks. I know my players can miss shots but I know they're not going to keep missing. So I'm happy for them."

Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter

Diana, you just in Game 2 thrashed them in their house and tonight with the momentum boost, would you say that -- just describe the team state of mind. Having to play in Game 5, but where you already did well?
Taurasi: "It's going to be a really hard game. We know that. Like the other four have been.

I think we just have to go to Detroit and just focus. Really have to be focused, because that house is going to be crowded. Their players are going to come out extra energized, extra ready to go, we're going to have to find a way to match it."

I wonder if both of you could address what this journey has been like for the two of you playing together. I know you knew each other in college and I know you've given each other a lot of grief, but I wonder what it's like going through this now together?
Taurasi: It's sweet. It really sweet, it's a lot sweeter being on the same side. And Cappie and I have known each other for a long time. Going back to USA Basketball. Going back to Rutgers and Connecticut. Where she couldn't beat us.


And then -- but it's truly been a great journey to share it with her even last year. We knew we had something special and if we really focused and challenged each other that we thought in the back of your heads we would get to this moment, but we still have a long way to go. But today she showed why she's not only one of the best players in this league but in the world right now. Without a doubt.

Pondexter: "You know what? Aside from basketball, I think our friendship off the court has helped us on the court. And we have like a real true love for each other. And I'm just happy that we are here together and not playing against each other."

Cappie, you took both shots in the final couple possessions and no hesitation. Is that just something you feel comfortable with taking those big shots in those big moment?
Pondexter:"Something I love doing. Especially with a minute to go, I just love having the ball and making things happen. And I just thank the coach for just giving me the confidence to allow me to do that. My teammates too."

Taurasi: "She's a closer. She's been doing it all year. What you got like 14 saves? She's a closer."

Diana, did you think that you could actually play almost their style of play and come out with a W? That was just an amazing thing?
Taurasi: " No matter what, in games like this, people want to talk about the up tempo, but all year we have been grinding games, we won it our way, we won it other ways. And when the score is 90-90 or 70-70 the last two minutes is about possessions and stops. Today we fell back on getting stops and making plays on the other end, which we have done all year. So I think that just shows how much fight this team has. And I think that it will go a long way."

Cappie, just to follow-up, some players don't want the ball, why do you love to have the ball in your hands?
Pondexter: "I just -- the mentality that I have. I love, I'm a winner. I love to win. And when the game's on the line I feel like I can win every time."

It's on the line Sunday, can you both talk about Game 5, what's ahead?
Pondexter: "We know it's going to be intense. But at the same time, we worked hard to get to this point. And we're going to take advantage of it. We're going to come out really aggressive. We're going to play hard and do whatever we can.

It's now or never. We know that Detroit is a great team, they have a great coaching staff and it's going to be a great fight. And a great game to watch."

Can you just talk about the last 18 seconds, what happened defensively for you guys to give them no shot.
Taurasi:"We talked about that in the huddle and we were probably thinking they were going to go back to Deanna who had a huge shot the possession before. And we just kind of stuck to our guns, sat back in that zone, and made some reads, took away some things that they were going for and at the end the gods were with us, the shot didn't go in. So. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't."

Penny Taylor

On tonightís crowd:
Taylor: "It was incredible; I have never seen (the fans) get so into a game before. I have never been to a Suns game but I canít imagine it being much better than that."

On halftime adjustments:
Taylor: "Coach encouraged us to keep being aggressive and to take it to the basket. Cappie was taking it to the basket and made some incredible shots, Diana was hitting her shots and Kelly Miller hit some huge shots at the end at the end for us. We stayed positive and aggressive and thatís what got it done."

On series aggressive play:
Taylor: "I donít expect anything less from them but more aggressive play and it will be another fight as thatís the way it should be."

On her poor shooting:
Taylor: "I was shooting terrible and missing lay-ups, and at one point I decided it would be better to get the ball in someone elseís hands. I probably should have kept shooting and taking the open ones, but Iíll just take it into next game."