On playing Game Five at home:
Braxton: "Everybody is geeked up and excited when they get to play in front of their home and in front of their fans, and then it just happens to be a championship game so that’s going to make it very special for us. We want to take advantage of everything we can get and this is a big advantage for us cause we’re going to come out strong cause we’re at home."
On what she’s learned from the series to apply in Game Five:
Braxton: "Go straight up, cause you know it’s the Playoffs and they’re not going to call ticky-tacks, and we’re getting killed down low but we can’t look at it as to get fouls. We just have to go up and get the best of whatever we can get."
On stepping up if Cheryl Ford can’t play:
Braxton: "Of course, everybody has to step up. It’s damn near been a man down all season with one person or another person. But everybody knows we have to step up – we have big shoes to fill – but we’ve done it before. We’re not hanging out heads down – we just know what we’ve got to do."
On her past Playoff experience helping in Game Five:
Braxton: "Of course, when you’ve been in this situation before and you’ve experienced it you know what to deal with – you’re more calm, you’re not antsy. I mean everybody’s going to be geeked up tomorrow and jittery anyway but we’ve experienced it, we know how to deal with it and we know the things to do to win."
On coming back to Detroit for Game Five:
Cash: "I think it is huge for us just because of how we played all year long to have home court advantage because you have the opportunity to win it all on your home floor, in front of all your fans."
On her impact on the series:
Cash: "I don’t know if it’s so much what they’re doing to contain me as it is that my minutes have varied in the games. So when I’m out there, I just try to produce as much as I can and sometimes the things that I do don’t show up in the stat sheet as far as points but I’ve been able to contribute and help my team win."
On Plenette Pierson:
Cash: "I thought it was big for her, to come out and have a solid game like that but at the end of the day, her performance was kind of overshadowed by the fact that we didn’t win. Any time a player puts up a big performance like that you hope that you come out with a victory so hopefully she can have another great game and we can win a Championship."
On winning the Championship:
Cash: "Whatever it takes, one by one."
Bill Laimbeer, Head Coach
On Cheryl Ford’s availability for Game Five:
Laimbeer: "We’re not sure…if she’s going to suit up or not, but we’re very pessimistic."
On Plenette Pierson:
Laimbeer: "Plenette will continue to come off the bench and will not start. We need that energy, we need that person who’s able to come in and provide scoring, defense, rebounding and not get into early foul trouble. So that’s what we count on her for and we expect to play the same way she’s been playing."
On Game Five if Cheryl Ford can’t play:
Laimbeer: "It’s important for everybody to assert themselves, but especially our bigs. [If] we don’t have Cheryl Ford in the game, we have to be able to get rebounds – you have to have an inside presence to attack the basket offensively. So that’s going to be their responsibilities between Feenstra, Braxton and Plenette and Cash."
On the team’s level of confidence:
Laimbeer: "We’re a pretty resilient bunch – we’re very strong willed and strong minded, always have been, and when it comes to games like this we know we have to take care of business. We lock in a little bit better – little things are what matters – hopefully we won’t turn the ball over as many times, won’t give up as many offensive rebounds. Those are little things that concentration can take care of."
On building the team up after the tough Game 4 loss:
Laimbeer: "I thought about that, you know, cause you lose a game and well…you know…but a lot it takes care of itself. You come the next day and see what their demeanor is and see what their attitude is and you assess where you have to insert your personality into that. I don’t see that right now – I don’t see where I have to go and motivate them – they’re already there, they know that they played all year long to play this one at home. We’re going to have a monster crowd yelling and screaming, and they’re pretty excited about that."
Will you play in Game Five?:
Ford: "We have 24 hours, and unless (trainer) Laura (Ramus) can work her magic, I don’t think so. I told Laura that if I am walking without a limp tomorrow, then I am playing. We’ll see what happens."
What happened to cause the injury on the play in Game Four?:
Ford: "You didn’t watch it in slow motion? Tweety blocked the shot and her momentum knocked her into the side of my calf and my knee buckled. I thought it was Cappie, but it was Tweety."
On confidence that Kara Braxton and Katie Feenstra can step up in her absence:
Ford: "They got it. I ain’t worried about it. I know that they are going to come in and play hard and do what they can to help us win. This is the last game, so I know that they are going to play hard."
How disappointing would it be if you cannot play in Game Five?:
Ford: "It will be very disappointing because I am a competitor and I love to play. It has been hard the whole season being in and out of the rotation. It will be very difficult for me, but I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. If I can play, I will play, but if I can’t, then I am definitely going to be their biggest cheerleader."
Has this been the most frustrating season in your career?:
Ford: "Of course. I have never been injured, so yes it has been. I have never been injured to the point where I can’t play. I have sat out almost half the season."
On home court advantage:
Smith: "We worked hard all year to be here, we were last year. We’re a little disappointed, we had it so close but we didn’t do enough. Phoenix made a lot of plays down the stretch to get that win and we just need to come out and we’ll see who wants it more. This is what it comes down to, we’ re excited, honestly. Yeah, it was hard to swallow that night – but back to work, back out here, everybody is really excited to play and I’m looking forward to it because I think everybody is going to be really tuned in and know how hard it is going to be to win this game both because phoenix is going to come out here because they want it to but I’m excited and I have a lot of trust in my ladies, and we’re going to go out here and hopefully get it done."
On playing with confidence:
Smith: "I think that it’s probably the same way for Phoenix, but I just have a lot of trust in these players and our coaches that the adjustments will be made, now prior to the game but also throughout the game, we’ll understand how the game is working and how its going because there’re going to be things that change throughout the game somebody might be hot somebody might not, we might have to get back differently but you know weather Cheryl plays or not, I know Deanna is a gamer, Plenette [Pierson], Kara Braxon, I know she’s ready for another one, Katie Feenstra, she didn’t do much the other night, but she’s going to be ready, she’s one of those players who is always ready, Swin [Cash], she’s great. Everybody wants to contribute and however that is I hope we’ll be gone with that. We’re going to come out and play but I just have a lot confidence in this team no matter who we play."
On her eye:
Smith: "Oh, it’s nothing; it just looks bad in the mirror."
On the series:
Smith: "We have a different style in a way but not necessarily because its still basketball, they’re a little smaller, but its players making plays you have a lot of good guards, big players down there, it’s just been fun because we’ve been battling and every games been different too, and that’s what’s also been kind of interesting and fun about it because these games are all so different, and everybody’s making adjustments and moving and its all about who’s making the plays and its come down to the wire in the last couple of ones and it’s been fun for us because we’re just competing and we’re going at it by no means does anybody want to go home without that trophy so everybody’s going to leave it out there tomorrow."
On rebounding in the series:
Smith: "A lot of it is on us, of not boxing out and looking at the rebound and not really concentrating on the little things so yeah it could be a concerted effort by us to put a body on people that would help us out a little bit. They give the effort, Kelly Miller is flying, Penny Taylor does a great job of getting board, but we have to be a little bit better on making sure we make a little contact and allow ourselves to get in there and make a little space to get boards."
On Game Five:
Pierson: "I don’t feel like its any different than any other game, I don’t think we should focus on it being the final game, I think we should focus on what we need to do right and the things we’re going to keep them from doing, our game plan.
On having Finals Experience:
Pierson: "We’ve been saying all season long that our experience is going to give us an advantage, and I think now more than eve its time to show our experience and our poise and get the job done."
On The Mercury:
Pierson: "They haven’t changed throughout the series the things that they’re going to do, maybe they’re going to change some things on defense, one or two things, but I think they’re going to get out and run and be aggressive like they’ve been playing all season long so we have to match their intensity and not make too many turnovers.
On Cheryl Ford missing Game Five:
Pierson: "I don’t think it’s up to one person how to change their game; we have a lot of players on their team that can step up and give us quality minutes and quality points. Maybe a few players are going to pick up the slack from Cheryl maybe one person will be able to do it, but we’re all going to collectively take care of the job."