Indiana Fever Practice Quotes: 2009 Finals


On the matchup: "Well itís going to be our defense. We will have to try and limit Diana, Cappie and Penny Taylorís effectiveness. You never can totally deny them the ball but we will try to limit their touches and defend the three point line. The way that Phoenix plays they shoot a lot of jump shots so we have to defend the three point line, defend in their transition game and knock some shots down ourselves."

On this Finals differing from 2004 with Seattle: "Itís different this time because when I was in Seattle I was a backup guard behind Sue Bird and I had to be ready to go in for my short burst, but now I have to set the tone for the team. In regards to defense, I have to set the tone defensively with the pressure on the ball. Itís a different mentality coming into this Finals as compared to 2004, but itís been a lot a fun and a long time coming for the Fever."

On advice she's giving Briann January: "I donít really need to get in Briís ear much at all. We donít even regard her as a rookie anymore. The way sheís been baptized into the league this year it didnít take long to lose that rookie tag. She is a feisty competitor and she is not going to back down when she gets out there, so I expect that she is going to have an impact on this series with Phoenix."


On taking on Phoenix: "I think theyíre tough. They were the No. 1 scoring team in the league; everyone here scores and when theyíre open, they shoot. I think itís a great matchup for us because weíre a great defensive team. Weíll talk a lot about different strategies weíre going to use. I think the most important thing is helping each other. Obviously, Iím going to be on Diana, but Iím not going to play 40 minutes a game, so other people have to step up. Theyíve got Cappie, Penny and Tangela [Smith] whoís the best three-point shooter on their team as far as percentages go. From 1-11, everybody has to be ready to guard every single position. The whole team is full of All-Stars; weíve got to be ready to play. Just like we have a great team, they have a great team.

On rebounds and turnovers in the series: "Definitely, we have to control rebounds and turnovers. Our post game Ė Ebony [Hoffman] and Tammy [Sutton-Brown] Ė has to exploit down low. Theyíre a good defensive team, but if they have any weakness, it would be their post game. I think our interior has to be dominant."

On dictating the pace: "Yeah, we want to hold them under 90 [points]. Thatís been our strategy all year, to hold the other team way under what theyíre used to scoring. As far as the running part goes, we when played them here we did a good job running at first, but then we got caught with a bunch of turnovers. Same thing when they came to us, we got a lot of turnovers back-to-back-to-back and we converted and thatís what they do. They run off of our turnovers as well. Weíre going to have to do a really good job; turnovers and rebounding are key. "

On the challenge: "Iím excited, man. Iím so excited to be here. Iím not excited just to be here, but to get as far as weíve gotten. Every year, itís like ďthis is our year, this is our yearĒ only to get the door shut. Now itís like ďokay, weíre here. The doorís not shut; itís still open.Ē I think itís a lot better in a best of five series rather than a best of three series because it gives us a chance to practice, get our strategies right and I think weíll be all good."

On celebrating making the Finals: "For us, it wasnít a celebration of 'oh yeah, we won the championship.' We celebrated in the fashion that we should have after winning the East since weíve been shut down so many times. We celebrated, but now itís back to business. Tully [Bevilaqua] and Tamecka [Dixon] told us, 'Just imagine what it feels like to win a championship'."

On making the steal: "I just feel it and go for it. I do watch tape but not to the extent where itís like ďokay, sheís going to this way and when she goes this way [I can steal it].Ē For me itís more when Iím on the court Iím trying to play in between and figure out where the ballís going next."


On the last 30 seconds against Detroit: ďOh, Dear God, why does it have to be so close? I just think that it was primarily like, man, just let us knock down a shot, let us get a key stop, something. Just let us get through this game. It was definitely a game for the ages. Classic playoff game where no team really had a clear advantage the entire 40 minutes. Time definitely stood still. The way the pro game is, a five, seven point lead can be erased in a matter of seconds."

On getting over the hump and into the Finals: "I donít think so. For me, Iíve only been with this team for two years. Obviously, last year, not even getting to the Eastern Conference Finals was a huge letdown. I came from Connecticut where we had a tremendous amount of success, having appeared in two WNBA Finals during my five years there. I was very proud of that accomplishment. So, for me, it wasnít like I had never been there before. I knew what it would take to get there, so I was just trying to lend my experience towards my teammates."

On her past Finals experience: "Hopefully, just being a leader, being vocal. Maybe educate my teammates on what to sort of expect, in terms of media coverage and things like that. Everything gets magnified now. And thatís the same on the floor. Every possession is magnified, everything means more. The little things are really going to count in these games."

On winning Game 1 and 2: "Itís extremely important, with us not having homecourt advantage throughout the Playoffs. Phoenix did a tremendous job during the regular season sealing that up. Itís the playoffs, itís always important to steal a game on the road when you can."

On being relaxed: "Yes, it has. Iím not getting any younger in this league. This is my third time, so all this is not new. Iím very relaxed. I feel like this is going to be a great experience. Just looking back at the last two times, Iím going to just try to enjoy this one a little more because Iíve been working so hard to get back to this point."


On touching down in Phoenix: ďWell, weíve been on the plane for a quite a while. We flew through Las Vegas, and stopped there for about an hour. Pretty much just went to the hotel, changed clothes and came over here. Thatís part of it. You just have to deal with the travel and be ready to go where you have to go. Weíre excited to be here. Weíre excited to represent the Eastern Conference. We look forward to playing Phoenix. Weíve had two great games against them this year, and let the games begin.Ē

On the matchup: ďI think thatís true. I also think itís a great matchup with Katie Douglas and Tamika Catchings vs. Cappie Pondexter and Diana Taurasi. Thatís some intrigue in itself. Those are four of the leagueís premier and most outstanding players. Everyone talks about how Phoenix likes to run. We like to run, too. We like to run, and push the ball, and score early. When we beat them here, thatís how we beat them, with an up-tempo game. I think it will be a great matchup. Theyíre very, very good. Very offensive-oriented, very talented. They can just knock down shots from anywhere. So, we have to bring our A-plus defense.Ē

On getting her team focused: ďWell, we had Sunday off to rest and recover a bit. I told them they had 12 hours to celebrate. And once it was daylight the next day, start focusing on the Finals. I canít say enough about our fans, the sixth man. Having 15-16 thousand people in there, hooting and hollering. Down the stretch it could have gone either way, and I really felt our fans were key in that. I was serious when I said they shook the Shock a bit. You could just tell that the atmosphere was tough for them.Ē

On having players with Finals experience: ďWell, that was one of the things we did in the offseason. We secured Tamecka Dixon specifically for her experience, not only her experience as a shooting guard, but her experience in two Finals and two actual championships. So, we did that, plus we brought in Yolanda Griffith. Unfortunately she got hurt, but we still get text messages from her two or three times a day. She brought a lot of experience to our team. And, of course, Tammy Sutton-Brown and Katie Douglas have both played in the Finals.Ē


On her rookie season: "Itís everything you could ask for in your first season. This season has been awesome. With the team, with the coaches, with the way we have played and we are in the championship. You couldnít ask for much more. And I get to come back and play in front of the ASU fans that cheered for me when I was in college."

On tickets for the series: "You know I told them I only get so many and just come support me, and they are still coming. I am hoping there is going to be a big Briann January fan club, weíll see."

On playing in Indiana: "I couldnít ask for a better place. I am on a team with Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas, Ebony Hoffman, Tully Bevilaqua, all those players. They have helped me with my transition so much; they have made me the player I am right now. I know I have grown so much since college, and itís because of them. They have been amazing role models, and the coaches, Itís been just a great situation Iíve been placed in."

On playing tour guide this week: "Oh my goodness, I have been asked some questions. They are trying to figure it out. They are like how hot is it? Itís still in the hundreds so get ready."

On playing the Mercury: "They are great. They are a good team. When they roll, they roll. I have been watching them all season. I am still a fan; you know I watched them while I was in college. I love the way they play, I love their style of play. But I am excited to take it to them on the court."

On going from college in Arizona to the pros in Indiana: "Most definitely. On the inside, it would have been awesome to stay here. But as a player, just looking at it this was the best situation for me. Indiana has been a great for the progression of my game, my confidence. My style of play is exactly what the coaches want here. I am glad I went to a place where the coaches want me and what I have to bring."

On her contribution: "Exactly. Itís been awesome. We have been doing so well this year. It would have been awesome to just be on the team, but I am actually contributing to the teamís success which is awesome. And my teammates are always encouraging me; they are pushing me, making me get better everyday which is awesome."

On the final seconds against Detroit: "Oh my goodness. Come on clock keep ticking, keep ticking. Those last 30 seconds take forever. It really didnít click to me until everybody was running off the bench, I was like oh my goodness we just won the Eastern Conference championship. Itís by far the biggest championship I have ever won in my life."


On her veteran leadership: "They have come along so quickly our rookies and we have two of them, but even just the younger players that we have theyíve adapted. I think the veterans on the team have done a good job throughout the year being examples and keeping it light yet serious at the same time. They have stepped up, Briann January has stepped up in to her role and has given us really good minutes off the bench. Sheís not even a rookie any more, once the playoffs started, itís like a different level. They have adapted well."

On preparing mentally: "Playoffs in general, itís like a new season, itís a different level of intensity. Everything is magnified by 10 and every mistake is magnified. Your focus and concentration have to be that much greater. Any player in this league, this is what they play for. To be in this position right now is, we definitely accomplished something great the other night in bringing Indiana to their first Finals. But, weíre not done yet, we still have a lot to do."

On helping bring Indiana to the Finals: "Itís great and it was a great atmosphere. I think they said we had about 18,000 at Conseco Fieldhouse. It was packed and it was so loud. Just to be able to do it there on our home court and to have all the fans who have been there since day one and I know players like Tamika Catchings have been there since day one, just to be a part of that was really special."

On facing former teammate Tangela Smith: "Itís crazy because Iíve played with Tangela in Charlotte, but Iíve also played with Cappie [Pondexter] and Diana [Taurasi] overseas. Everyone plays for this moment and plays to be in this position. I know they are going to come out hard and play well and we are going to come out hard and play well. I think itís going to be a great series. I hope everyone plays their best basketball and itís very competitive and itís a great series. I wish them well, but obviously we are fighting for that championship."

On reaching the Finals her rookie year: "Great way to start. I knew when I got drafted that Indiana was a good team and I guess I didnít know how good right away but as the season has gone on I realized we could compete with anyone, so itís been a pretty great experience for my first year."

On the transition from college to the pros: "The whole professional aspect of things has been different. You have to realize itís a business and understand that side of it, but on the court I have the greatest role model in the world in Tamika Catchings to look up to and learn from since we both play the same position. I have learned a great deal from her. Itís different, I knew coming into this I would be playing behind some great players and I just want to contribute however I could. As the season has gone on I have figured out my role and been able to help here and there, and thatís all I can really ask for."