Phoenix Mercury Quotes - Sept. 12

Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury

On coming back from a tough loss:
Taurasi: “We were upset because of nothing but ourselves. We played hard and we had opportunities but we didn’t take advantage of them and that hurts, especially against a really good team. They showed last night why they are the defending champions. To come out after a loss and play the way they did last night, we could take some time from other teams and hopefully we can learn something from them.”

On the late missed free throws:
Taurasi: “I think we’d like to have the points. All year we’ve been a great free-throw-shooting team and last night [we had] uncharacteristic misses by a lot of people. But that’s why you play the game; sometimes you make them, sometimes you don’t. Tomorrow we have to make them or we’re going home – or staying home.”

On the momentum shifts in the games:
Taurasi: “[The games have been] back and forth and at any given moment you feel like one team is a lot better than the other. Then the next minute, it seems like the other team has all the momentum. As a player, it’s been back-and-forth, too. That’s what happens when you have two really good teams – two competitive, evenly matched teams that are going to go toe-to-toe the whole games pretty much. It’s going to come down to who makes plays in the last two minutes, who makes shots, who takes down rebounds. That’s what it comes down to.”

On her anger in Game 3:
Taurasi: “Yeah, I’m still (ticked) off. I’m still mad. We played well. You look at the shots we missed, but that’s the last thing we look at on the stat sheet. We rebounded. We played hard. We did a lot of good things and sometimes the other team makes more plays and that’s what [Detroit] did.”

On out-rebounding Detroit:
Taurasi: “It’s funny, every time we out-rebound someone during the regular season, we’re like “That’s trouble.” We’d rather be down 10 or 12 [rebounds], I think that is when we’ve played our best.”

On defending Katie Feenstra:
Taurasi: “Easier said than done – push her out of the lane. But when you’re standing 6’8”, 900 pounds, none of us can push her out. She’s tough – a tough player. She’s a tough, tough matchup for us. But, we have to take advantage of another and I don’t think we did that very well last night.”

On watching the video tape of the game:
Taurasi: “I said what I said last night and that’s the way I feel.”

Penny Taylor, Phoenix Mercury

On the altercation in Game 3:
Taylor: “I think that they should look at it because I think it was definitely a cheap shot because it was after the whistle and away from the ball. I think they should look at it and make the decision based on what they’ve done in the past, and be done with it. It is bad for the game, it’s ugly, and you don’t want to see that sort of stuff.”

On allegations that it was a “punch”:
Taylor: “I felt some hands directed at my head, so I mean they have to look at it and decide what the intention is. That’s not my job, thankfully, so I just have to move on to the next game.”

On the physicality in Game 3:
Taylor: “I think things happen in the game, and definitely we’re not the sort of team to let people get away with stuff like that so we’re responding and I don’t’ think a lot of times it’s easy to see what happens initially so that’s the job to go back and look at stuff and make the decision based on what they see in the tape. That’s easy enough; you can see what’s going on easy enough, so whatever they decide from there.”

On potentially suspending Plenette Pierson:
Taylor: “I don’t know what the rules are – I don’t know what they’ve done in the past with things like this, I don’t know if there’s been stuff like this in the past and what they’ve done. So, that’s up to them. But they should definitely look at it, because it’s not pretty and its not the sort of thing you want to see and whatever action that is in the rule book and take it.”

On being aggressive:
Taylor: “I mean, I think it’s the personalities on this team aren’t going to back down from anything. We’ve all played a lot of basketball and we know within the bounds of the rules what is supposed to be going on and what is going on and we react accordingly. We aren’t as physical as them, but at the same time we aren’t going to be bullied around.”

On the possibility of the season ending in Game 4:
Taylor: “We don’t think about that, we think about winning the series and how we’re going to do It and the things we didn’t do so well and the things we did do well, and we stay positive we’re a very positive team.”

On shooting more in Game 4:
Taylor: “Definitly - Just try stopping any of us – its going to be the same story on the people on this team – they are great basketball players and talented shooters and one game isn’t going to stop anyone.”

On how she is feeling, physically:
Taylor: “I feel okay, it does take its toll because you’re battling the entire 40 minutes against bigger bodies, but at the same time it’s the playoffs and mentally, like I said before the other three games, you can do anything, you can break through all the physical stuff mentally, so we’ll be fine. We’re going to come out tomorrow and have more energy and be stronger and hopefully get out and run a lot more.”

Cappie Pondexter, Phoenix Mercury

On goals for Game 4:
Pondexter: “We can’t really think about Game Three – it was definitely a tough loss, I felt like we played really well and really hard, but the shots weren’t falling and its obvious that our offense dictates how the game goes for us. We had a terrible shooting night – we took this loss really hard, but I expect nothing but a great fight in Game Four.”

On the physicality of the series:
Pondexter: “We’re all competing for something – this isn’t a regular season game – this is a Finals and a title’s on the line. I expect nothing but a physical competition and I think Game Four is probably going to be more physical than the past three games.”

On her expectations for Game 4:
Pondexter: “Just be aggressive for 40 minutes and play great team basketball and just knock those shots down.”

On the emotion coming off the Game 3 loss:
Pondexter: “Games like that are the hardest to swallow…we worked so hard and it was by three points plus we were at home. We were looking to close it out because we had two games, but you have to credit Detroit – they came out really well, they knocked the shots down this time and kind of switched roles from Game 2 to Game 3. I expect nothing less than a great game on the next one and I think we’ll knock those shots down.”

Tangela Smith, Phoenix Mercury

On being in this position before as opposed to her teammates:
Smith: “They’ve been here before actually. The first game we lost – when we lost that game we stayed calm and we didn’t panic. We just need to continue to stay calm and go at it aggressive. It’s not over yet and we just need to come out and play – it’s all or nothing really and we need to leave it all on the floor.”

On holding their own in rebounding versus the Shock:
Smith: “I’m not surprised at all, when we put it in our minds to get something done, me and Penny normally do it. We just want to try to be aggressive with them because their big and physical, but it’s all about heart and who wants it more right now. Everything else is out the door, we just gotta’ go at it.”

On their shooting woes in Game 3:
Smith: “I believe we just came down and lost by five points – it was a three point game at the end and we just missed some shots that we normally make down at the stretch. It wasn’t just one person, it was everybody, so if we just eliminate that I think we’ll have a good chance of winning.”

On depending on their shooting to win:
Smith: “We have great shooters on our team and their not going to stop shooting after one or two missed shots – great shooters keep shooting even though they’re off. That’s what we need to do coming into this game – focus. I think as a team we played very hard and we left it all on the court, so we just hit those little shots we would have won the game.”

Kelly Mazzante, Phoenix Mercury

On first home loss in the 2007 Playoffs:
Mazzante: “There really is no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We came in this morning and talked about making some adjustments, and we’ll get back at it tomorrow.”

On the incident between Plenette Pierson and Penny Taylor:
Mazzante: “The bottom line is they have a tendency to give some cheap shots. Everyone in the league knows that. We just have to protect ourselves and not back down to it. We just have to play the game and not get caught up in what they are trying to do to us. If they are going to make themselves look like that and do those kinds of things, that’s fine. That’s not our team. That’s not how we want to play. That is not who we are.”

On responding in Game 4 with backs against the wall:
Mazzante: “We have to win tomorrow. We know that. We’re going to come out and do everything that we can to win.”

On shooting struggles in Game 3:
Mazzante: “I don’t think it made a big difference in the outcome. We missed 47 shots last night. It’s a lot of shots, but even if one or two of those go in, we win the game. We’re all in here working on our shots (in practice). We’re probably going to shoot the same number of shots in Game Four, but we’re not worried about it.”

Did Detroit do anything to create the shooting struggles?:
Mazzante: “No. How many wide-open shots did we have? We had offensive rebounds on free throws. We had five chances one time and didn’t make it. I don’t think they did anything differently on defense. A couple of those just went in and out and it could have made a difference.”

Paul Westhead, Head Coach, Phoenix Mercury

Have you reviewed video of the incident between Plenette Pierson and Penny Taylor and do you think Plenette should be suspended?:
Westhead: “I've got too many other things to worry about. Let other people deal with things like that. We just need to show up and play well enough to win a game and not worry about any other contingencies other than that.”

On his players' anger following the incident:
Westhead: “I did not address any of that. I only addressed this reality: We need to play Mercury basketball, which is triggered on getting defensive stops and running faster than we did last night and firing away. We're a baseball team with a bunch of hitters and we're going to come out swinging.”

Did you talk about the incident at all today or last night?:
Westhead: “No.”

Do you mix anything up for Game 4?:
Westhead: “We will play our normal offensive and defensive game. We did not shoot the ball very well. We didn't even shoot well from the free-throw line. We are the league-leading free-throw shooting team, and yet with seconds to go, it's a three-point game and we have the ball and we miss the shot. For me to go around making incredible defensive adjustments and offensive changes, it would seem like we lost by 30.”

On losing first home game of the postseason: Westhead: “It was strange. I guess if it was the regular season, we would try to get everybody's reaction, but this is a series where we have no time to evaluate how bad you feel. That ain't going to work. It is how good are you going to play, and that is where our focus is.”

On team's confidence going into Game 4:
Westhead: “It is very good. I think we're showing up tomorrow to win a game, and it is our intention to do exactly that.”