Detroit Shock Media Availability: Oct. 1

Bill Laimbeer - Detroit Shock Head Coach

Q: Could you talk about the play that your guards put on Becky Hammon?
Bill Laimbeer: I was asked before the game, I asked yesterday at a media session, and again today, they keep asking me, “What are you going to do with Becky Hammon?” And first, I'm not going to tell you, is my answer, before the game. You can figure it out yourself after the game.

But my answer is this: We have two very, very quality defensive guards in Deanna Nolan and Katie Smith. We have another guard in Hornbuckle who is also a fine defender. She will in the long run be an outstanding defender in this league once she understands it. So we have quality guards that play defense.

So in an individual one on one, they can hold their own, and on top of that, they can push them to where help is going to be, and as long as the help understands their responsibilities, that's how we can keep great players from dominating the game. You're not going to keep her down, but you can try to keep her from dominating the game, and I think that's what our team did tonight.

Q: There seems like stretches in which Braxton played without Fire and it opened up the floor for everybody, and at one point you're telling her, you can't stop playing; what did her presence mean to the team today?
BL: When she plays with intensity and emotions, she's outstanding, and you have to recognize that you have to feed her the ball and we did. We got her the ball when she was really into the game. She got six or eight points in a row and was dominating the basketball game.

She gets tired quickly, so you have to recognize that, and try to get her out after that spurt. And hopefully, we have to get her to push her way through her fatigue, because sometimes I don't want to call a time out. There's no stoppage of play, so she has to push through that. And there's times where she's a little scatterbrained out there, and that's who she is and we have to get her out of the game for a time.

Overall, I thought she was a great contributor for us. We have to realize, when she's focused, she's dominant. And she's focused and we had to get her the ball and we did.

Q: Following up on that, just talk a little bit more about what Kelly Schumacher meant as far as the defense when you brought her in late first, early second?
BL:We brought Kelly in for a reason this year. One, we wanted more bigs, but like her size; she's long. Her length showed today. Whether she was beat once, she still blocked a shot. On a help position, she blocked a shot. She's able to challenge shots of Wauters or somebody that size, and she played smart.

She came to us and was not a very good defensive player because she was playing on that Phoenix zone, but now we look at her, she's a tremendously improved defensive player. And her smartness, her intelligence of basketball, as long as we tell her where to be, she'll do it and she had a good impact on this game.

Q: It didn't look to me like you were trying to get a technical there.
BL: No, I was not trying to get a technical.

Q: Were you surprised?
BL: Yes and no. I was not surprised. My boiling point was getting a little bigger. They tried to intentionally foul us on one end and they wouldn't call it, why would you call a foul? Hammon stepped out of bounds and an obvious three second that was not called, so my boiling point was getting so high, I jumped in the air, which I probably shouldn't have done, but I was so emotionally in the game at that point. It was not that I wanted to get on the referee's case, but I was so into the game that I saw what was happening, and my temperature was going up so much, and my frustration level was growing that I just got excited.

Now, did I deserve a technical foul? Yeah, I can't jump around, all hysterical and make everybody look bad. But I hope I got the point across that, hey, make calls. And one of them was and also, the carry on Deanna Nolan. I mean, we don't carry the ball, and if we do, okay, we'll take it, but they got a player that carries the ball all the time, so that got us a little perturbed, also.

Q: What does this say about your team' poise when the game is tied and on their own floor?
BL: That's a really good question. I called the time out when they were making a little run and then the crowd starts going off and I call the time out and we were up six. I was not going to call another time out. I believe on our team, that game was going to come if we did not make a spurt and make a stand, that game would still come down to a multi position game in the last minute when time outs would be very important.

Did I think about calling a time out? Yes, but I decided no, I'm going to let my players play through this because they are that good and I trust them. They will make those plays, and they did. I was going to save my time outs in case I needed them for a knock-down, drag-out finish shot, versus a shot having to move the ball to half-court.

Deanna Nolan - Detroit Shock Guard

Q: Deanna, if you could talk just about you obviously were bottling up Becky and they were trying to bottle you up, and Bill was saying you really responded well to that offensively, and you looked to your teammates. If you can talk about your game on both ends of the court tonight.
Deanna Nolan: Well, they were switching out their post. Any time I came off a screen, I don't know, they wanted me to try to make a quick shot or you know, whatever.

But it was just me being patient, finding that mismatch, finding an open man, because it seemed like every time I wanted to drive or tried to drive, it was just like they closed in on the paint and that's about it on me. And with Becky, just making sure I was always with her, staying on her hip when she's coming off screens, taking away the 3 pointer for her. We knew she was going to get looks, but just making sure they were contested when she shot it. You know, every time she drove, there was always someone in the area or coming off picks or a trap just to get it out of her hands.

Q: You playing with Katie for a long time, just her game tonight, how much she just took it on her shoulders, especially in sections of that game?
DN: Yeah, Katie tonight, and Taj, set the tone for us at the beginning of the game. You know, in the last series, we had problems starting out making shots, and they wanted to get us going, especially Taj and Katie followed right behind her. It's not necessarily that I have to always get off well because we have other players that can help step in and fill that role.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin - Detroit Shock Forward

Q: Talk about what you bring to the team off the bench?
Taj McWilliams-Franklin: I bring the energy off the bench, whether it’s grabbing rebounds or doing the little things to help us win, that’s pretty much what I bring off the bench. And a little bit of scoring.

Q: Can you talk about coming into this building where the Silver Stars have been so tough and coming out with a victory?
TMF: It was really tough. I wasn’t with them when they played them before but you know they say that in the Playoffs and The Finals it doesn’t matter what happened in the regular season. Every game you have to suit up and play for 40 minutes. Tonight we played one 40 minute session and on Friday we will play for another 40 minutes. They are going to be a total different team on Friday.

Q: Can you talk about coming here mid-season and fitting in with the team and how has it worked so well?
TMF: I think it has worked well because we have players who are not only prolific scorers but their unselfish. If you have players that need the ball and are selfish I think I would have been a bit put off but because I came to a place where these girls only care about winning, they are willing to pass when they’re doubled and willing to pass when you are open that made it so much easier to integrate myself into the offense.

They have no qualms with passing the ball to the open player and it’s helped me. I played with Katie Smith with USA Basketball so I knew some of the girls but playing with them was a little bit daunting to me but they have made it great. They let me do what I do best and that’s play defense and shoot the outside shot.

Q: Your defense really held them in check, especially from the three point line. What was the reason for the success?
TMF: Coach Laimbeer. We’ve played all three teams that have great three point shooters. We played Indiana, New York and now San Antonio. For us we have to make sure we protect the three point line and make them have two’s instead of three’s because it’s easier for us to play on the offensive end so that we don’t have to come back from eight or nine point deficit. They have three point threats, they can come back at anytime and that’s what got them going. They hit that one three in the corner at a crucial and we were up by six after being up by 15 so we just got to pay attention because Dan Hughes is so smart, and their girls are so smart, their veterans, and you know that come Friday they will have something special lined up for us.

Q: What was going through your mind in the fourth quarter when they tied it up?
TMF: I didn’t realize they tied it up. Just to relax and to do what we had been doing. I came in during the middle of their run and I just wanted them to relax. We had to work them and make them shift and do some good things and I think we did. Once we started getting the ball inside and kicking it out again we got open shots and open drives.

Q: Do you make any adjustments from here to Friday?
TMF: We are going to make a few. Coach Laimbeer was not happy about a few things we ran and thought our some of our defense wasn’t as good as it should have been.

Alexis Hornbuckle - Detroit Shock Guard

Q: How did traveling yesterday affect the team on the court tonight?
Alexis Hornbuckle: Honestly, I think our bodies have adjusted to the travel. In the beginning of the season you get those travel legs, you’re just exhausted. But all I did was lie in bed and get rest, fed my body with the right food and actually felt really good coming in today.

Q: You scored 27 points in the second quarter to open up a sizeable lead, what were you doing right, and what did it mean for the team?
AH: The thing that fueled our run in the second quarter was our defense and we were getting the stops that we needed. We were running out and we were knocking down shots. In the third quarter it wasn’t really like that and we had to re-adjust going into the fourth quarter.

Q: How big was it for you to come here in a tough environment and take the first game of the series?
AH: Game 1 is an important game but every game is an important game, so you want to come out with the mind set that I want to take every game. So if we can do it in just three great, if not, you know they are a great team so that is going to be extremely hard to do. They come out, especially on their home court where their winning streak is in impeccable so we have to come out here and refocus on Friday.

Q: Will you make adjustments for Friday?
AH: Well we have to go over the film and look at the game and our breakdowns and look for areas and weaknesses that we can exploit. So as far as Friday is concerned, we are not there yet.

Q: Can you talk about the Silver Stars run in the fourth quarter. How did the team react and right the ship?
AH: Well we knew that the reason we were successful was because of our defense and it started to break down in the third and also the fourth and they tied it up. What we did was concentrate on making one stop at a time. One stop and make a basket and that’s what we were concentrating on.

Q: What did you do to neutralize Becky Hammon?
AH: Well, we know she’s their leader and they look to her a lot because she gets them going. You’ll see her make shots that you think she’s not going to shoot and the next thing you know it’s up and in. So we tried to take away every shot opportunity we could from her but obviously with a player such as Becky she is going to get her shots off, she is going to make her runs and she is going to try and get her team going. She did a great job of that in the fourth quarter and we are just going to have to come back on Friday and try executing the game plan even better.

Kara Braxton - Detroit Shock Center

Q: Did the quick turnaround from your last series have any effect on the team tonight?
Kara Braxton: No, not really. We knew we weren’t going to have a lot of rest time anyway because they had played a game a day before us, but we were prepared and we just tried to rest as much as we could on our transition here to San Antonio.

Q: What does it mean to take Game 1 on the road?
KB: It’s very important. I mean, to win a game on someone else’s court is always hard. But we know the next game is probably going to be even tougher so we just have to button down and take care of business.

Q: What enabled the Silver Stars to make their second half run, and how were you ultimately able to get the victory?
KB: They’re a great team – you’ve got to give it to them. At any time they can play, and they can play great at times. That’s exactly what they did, they did all the right things and they took it to us. Luckily, we’ve been in this situation a couple times and we have a lot of vets who keep us under control.

Q: How valuable is your team’s Finals experience in a game like this?
KB: I think that’s big time. We have like five or six people who have been in the Finals and been in the Playoffs and they’re vets at that, so we just ride on their backs. We follow them and they lead us. They tell us what to do and we listen. That’s a great opportunity to have players like that on your team when you’re in a situation like this.

Elaine Powell - Detroit Shock Guard

Q: What does it mean to take Game 1 on the road?
Elaine Powell: Nothing, cause you’ve still got games to play. It’s just the first game – that doesn’t mean anything. The series is still in anyone’s hands. That game right there means nothing. We’ve got to come out and focus on the next game.

Q: How valuable is your team’s Finals experience in a game like this?
EP: It’s real valuable. We know what happened last year – we came out against Phoenix and won the first game and the second game stunk up the place. We know what its like to win the first game and then lose the next game and then continue on to lose the series. So in the back of our mind, we keep thinking that we don’t want last year to happen again this year.

Q: What enabled the Silver Stars to make their second half run, and how were you ultimately able to get the victory?
EP: Well, we knew they were going to make a push either the third quarter or the fourth quarter. But our whole thing the whole time was keep our heads in it, keep our momentum, don’t let the referees get into our heads, don’t let them making a shot get in our heads, and just continue to be us – relax and play the game.

Q: What do you need to do to carry this momentum into Game 2?
EP: The whole thing is to win the championship. In order to win the championship, we’ve got to take it game by game. So we come into the next game thinking about getting closer and closer to the championship.