Detroit Shock Quotes - Sept. 4

Deanna Nolan, Detroit Shock

On being back in the Finals:
Nolan: “It feels great – once again no one expected us to be back. We’re always out to prove everybody wrong and show what we got.”

On what she brings to the Shock:
Nolan: “I bring myself, different aspects of the game – rebounding, scoring the ability to take over a game when I need to or make a run when I need to.”

On her ability to take over a game:
Nolan: “Being blessed with athletic ability growing up and playing with guys gets you used to their style of play – not being pushed around, getting to the basket and showing all aspects of the game.”

On what the Shock has to work on to beat Phoenix:
Nolan: “We have to work on stopping their transition, getting to their shooters and rebounding.”

Cheryl Ford, Detroit Shock

On taking advantage of their frontcourt size:
Ford: “We can’t get into a run and shoot game with them, that’s their game, that’s what they want to do. If we get into that game then they get the rebounds and then get out. So we can’t get into a game like that. But we’ll be okay, we just got to get back and transition.”

When asked about how she plans to elevate her game:
Ford: “You definitely have to elevate to the next level. Playoffs are just a whole different type of ballgame and we played the last two games not up to par so we need to step up to the next level and be totally ready and mentally focused to play another 40 minutes of a game.”

Comparing this championship run to last year’s:
Ford: “It’s extremely tough because everybody wants to beat us. Nobody expects us to win it all anyway, and we’re used to that. I tell everybody that everything we went through this year and people being against is all part of our personalities on our team cause we been through a lot of adversities growing up. We all know that we’ve been through a lot of adversities and we know nobody but this organization and our fans and our families want us to win, so we’re just going to go out and stick together and play our game and try to win another championship.”

On her expectations for the series:
Ford: “Hopefully I am going to play, but I don’t know…we’ll see… game time decision. I’ve got to rebound, because like I said they are a good team. So you’ve got to limit them to one shot and don’t give up any second shots. Rebound – that’s all I can do – and then my teammates will pick up the rest.”

Kara Braxton, Detroit Shock

On being back in the Finals:
Braxton: “I’m so excited – it’s a great experience. It’s a great place to be to play back-to-back. We’ve been here two years in a row and I can’t ask for anything more. Some people just dream about getting here and we’ve been here two years in a row.”

On what the Shock has to do to stop Phoenix:
Braxton: “We have to play how we know how to play and execute our things and we’ll be okay. It’ll be hard because Phoenix has a lot of players.”

On what she brings to the team:
Braxton: “I bring me; I bring happiness. I do what I have to do – energy, positive person and give people pick-me-ups.”

Plenette Pierson, Detroit Shock

On being back in The Finals: Pierson: “It feels great you know. We worked hard all season long to get here and it feels great to finally be here.”

On having Finals experience:
Pierson: “I think we’re a more experienced team that we were last year. For some of us, this is the third time going through this. It’s just going to come with a lot of experience and poise and help us to get here next year.”

On coming from behind in the first two playoff series:
Pierson: “It meant a lot. It showed a lot of character in our team, even though we’re down, we’re never out.”

On her role as Sixth Woman:
Pierson: “My role is to come off the bench and do whatever is necessary: change the momentum of the game, bring energy, get rebounds, play defense, whatever I need to do.”

On Phoenix making The Finals:
Pierson: “I’m happy for them – they made a good decision in trading me here. I’m happy with it. I’m happy with their success and we’re just going to go out and play.”

On home court advantage:
Pierson: “Home court is going to help us a lot. We’ve played all year to get to this point, our fans are great, they give us a lot of energy and I think it’s definitely going got help us out a lot.”

On keys to beating Phoenix:
Pierson: “It’s going to be stopping their big three, keeping their points minimized and keeping their impact of the game in check.”

Swin Cash, Detroit Shock

On returning to The Finals:
Cash: “I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to be in the position again to win another championship. Obviously, playing along side Cheryl [Ford], Deanna [Nolan], and Elaine Powell, we’ve been here before - this could be our third championship together. If you would have asked us back in 2002, when we were the worst team in the league, if we would be here some five years later, it’s incredible. I’m just really blessed.”

On having Finals experience:
Cash: “It helps with our composure, our confidence is very high because we’ve been here before and seen all the odds and ends that come with being in The Finals. We’ve dealt with the media, and different practice times and all these different things so I think we’ll be prepared.”

On the team’s personality:
Cash: “I think our team is very physical and I think that is part of Bill’s [Laimbeer] game, but personality wise I wouldn’t go that way – I’d like to think that we have some ladies that are strong minded, but I don’t think all the way out there like Bill is.”

On Phoenix’s game:
Cash: “They’re high octane offence, they’re going to get a lot of shot opportunities, they have great scorers and shooters and they can also go in the post with Penny Taylor and Tangela Smith but I think for us its about controlling tempo. If we can do that, I think we’ll put ourselves in a great opportunity to win another championship.”

On her broadcast experience:
Cash: “It’s been a great experience – working with some of the best in this field at ESPN and having that opportunity has been a blessing. This year I’ll be back doing NBA coverage in-studio in Bristol, [Conn.]. This is a learning curve for me – it’s been great and to have been able to get my foot in the door at the young age of 27 – it’s just such a wonderful opportunity that most people dream of in college.”

On her career after basketball:
Cash: “I want to continue on doing ESPN and covering sports because it’s something that I love but I also want to maybe one day have my own talk show.”

Head Coach Bill Laimbeer, Detroit Shock

Phoenix has Paul Ball, what do you call your system?:
Laimbeer: “It’s called regular, East Coast basketball — rebound, play defense and grind out wins.”

On Cheryl Ford’s status:
Laimbeer: “This is probably the worst that she’s been. It’s still a game-time decision. It always has been in the entire playoffs.”

Being able to slow down Phoenix:
Laimbeer: “They’re big and can rebound with the best of them. Our size will play a role in this series at some point. Everybody talks about slowing Phoenix down, but it comes down to what you shoot percentage-wise. We’re going to get the same number of possessions as they are, if not more if we rebound the basketball on the offensive end. If we hold them to a reasonable shooting percentage and we shoot the same percentage, our second chances should win out.”

On Detroit’s defensive capabilities:
Laimbeer: “Defense is always where we hang our hats. I think defense wins more times than not, and that is what we do. I don’t anticipate anything different in this series. Our defense is what carries us. It always has. Since I took over, after the first year, our defense has always been No. 1 or 2 in field-goal percentage against. Our rebounding has always been No. 1 or 2. That’s what wins ballgames.”

On the players’ trust in each other:
Laimbeer: “We believe in each other. There is no question about that. We know that if I rotate to somebody, someone else is going to be standing there ready to help too. We know each other very well so we can cover for each other.”

On having home-court advantage:
Laimbeer: “We played all year long for the home-court advantage. There’s no question that we are confident that we can win on the road, if necessary, but we are focused on Game 1. You take it one game at a time and Game 1 is all that matters to us right now.”

Katie Smith, Detroit Shock

On what Detroit needs to do to be successful against Phoenix:
Smith: “They don’t have players who want to go deep in the paint. They have players who want to fan out and hit trail 3-pointers. You have to understand the personnel that you are playing against. We have to make shots, not turn the ball over and keep them from getting easy buckets. Offensive rebounding is also going to be a big key for us. If we can get to the boards, I think we can turn around and attack them and get easy buckets.”

On attacking the Mercury’s zone defense:
Smith: “Yes, we can do with our outside shooting, but we can attack it on the inside too. It isn’t a zone where all you get is threes. It’s penetrating, pulling up, it’s getting inside and knocking down shots. It’s a little bit of everything. It’s not a zone that you have to knock down threes to be successful against. There are a lot of openings for us to attack in the middle, whether it’s with a big or penetrating with our guards.”

On her shooting struggles in the playoffs:
Smith: “We’re all going to hit shots. It’s not like we’re not hitting our shots, whether it’s Tweety (Deanna Nolan) or myself. Sometimes the shots aren’t as consistent, but they go down when they need to go down. The last couple games have felt fine. I knocked down shots when I needed to and felt good shooting the ball. Some of them didn’t go down but I had great looks. I just have to keep on shooting it.”

On scoring 111 points in a 111-82 win over Phoenix on July 8 in Detroit:
Smith: “We didn’t come down and shoot within seven seconds like they do, but we attacked them, got rebounds and hit our shots. We scored 40 points in the third quarter, and that’s not an everyday thing. That’s rare. A lot of teams that like to run don’t like to run back on defense. We enjoy pushing tempo too, so we’re going to try to take advantage of that too to get our runs.”

On the need for depth in an up-tempo game:
Smith: “We’re looking forward to having people come off the bench and do things, but there are five games left, if that. I mean, come on. It’s literally a maximum of five games, 40 minutes each. We can do that in our sleep, but if you can’t suck it up for that, that’s a problem.”