WNBA Finals Game 1 Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Corey Gaines
(Opening statement:) "Well, if you didn't like women's basketball, I think you do now! It's an exciting game for people to watch on TV. I think the first game is always the toughest game. Indiana came out strong, they shot the ball well, they picked up the pace. Some of their scorers who hadn't been scoring before started scoring. What people don't know is they always ask me, why do teams score so many points on you? And Coach Westhead, that's my mentor, who I have learned from, what you don't know is if we shoot the ball 80 times the other team shoots the ball 80 times it's not you make it and take it, it is not a pick up game. So what happens is when we score the basket they get the ball back, if we score 90 times they will shoot the ball 90 times, that's why they score too many points, you can't shoot the ball so many times and people always ask me, why do they score so many points, that's why, I'm an econ guy, it's just simple math, if you make more shots you get more shots, that's how it is. This is a type of game I feel we can win, uptempo, a lot of points, we practice that way, we train that way. They played a great game but we got 'em in the end."

(Lin thought they said the difference in the game was the second chance points, you guys getting key rebounds and keeping them from getting back in there.) "We did boxout, Diana down the stretch had some which I call "go get" rebounds, she went and got it, didn't matter who was there, who was in front of her, she went up and got it. If they could have pounded those baskets back in, second chance points it would have hurt us, because if we don't get push we don't get easy baskets in the flow. Have to do a better job on the boards for sure. Sometimes the stats lie. You can't go by that because we won a championship without rebounding the ball well, it's more than that."

(Coach, did you know this was the highest scoring game in WNBA history?) "No, didn't thanks. Didn't know that at all. I can say this much, I'm from L.A. and there's a person in L.A. who I think he's a broadcaster for the Clippers, he has this saying "first one to 100 wins" and as soon as we scored 100 points I was like "oh, we got that game and Diana was at the line and missed a free throw, they had 99, they could have scored first but that type of point output helps us because in the end it's about scoring and that's what we do."

(Did this remind you of days at LMU?) "No, not quite yet, we were putting up 167, 182, we put up some big numbers."

(Coach, what were the things you talk to your team about as far as the focus that you wanted for the second half?) "Well, limit the turnovers, because what happens is they score on turnovers, and we had to get back because everyone there is a defensive team, if you saw they were trying to push the ball out and get early shots, so they weren't running their offense, they were trying to get down early, get us up early with a pass into the post, penetrate and get into the lane on us. So I told them we had to get back, defend the paint and play solid defense."

(Can you talk about the lineup you chose to go with late in the fourth quarter there, the lineup that turned things around for you guys.) "It was D.B., it was Nicole Ohlde, the one with Cappie, Penny and Diana. I felt that Cappie got a rest in the first half because she was in foul trouble so I knew she had fresh legs and Cappie is a combo guard, she's more than a combo guard, she is the type of player that can attack from any angle, she doesn't need a position, so if I had her on the ball and ran drags up late in the offense she would get into the lane or be able to create her own shot without thinking about it. So I went with her at the point and Nicole Ohlde was bigger than Tangela because they were trying to get the ball inside and Nicole Ohlde can bang with Brown down low and Penny was scoring so well I knew their defense would have to play honest with Diana, not that we can't score but it's a different type of score with Cappie."

(Can you talk about Temeka Johnson's ability to shoot from the outside and how it's been lying dormant all these past years and it's a bust out season for her.) "I feel she has always been able to shoot that way, and I can't speak for other coaches who had her, they may have wanted her to do the traditional point guard role, get the scorers in the right position, so maybe that's what she was told to do. First thing I told her, whatever you learned before in basketball throw that out the window because we don't do that here. I want her to be a scoring threat, if you shoot the 3 shoot the three, don't worry about it. It's funny how if you give someone confidence they shoot the ball better. And that's all scoring is is confidence, I told her we traded for you, I believe in you, shoot the ball, the worst thing that happens is you miss, so what? She's always had that, I'm for sure not a shooting coach. She's always had that."

(Did Ebony Hoffman surprise you tonight?) "Yes, she did, I've been watching her and she was struggling the last they know games of the year, I watched the playoff games against Detroit and the whole time in our shootaround I was saying she's a little off, maybe we can cheat off her a little bit, it by the me, she had some big shoots. She's a great shooter she just had a streak of missing some shots. She's always been a great shooter."

(Can you talk about Penny Taylor's night tonight.) "Penny helped us because Cappie had 1 or 2 points at halftime and as we know Penny is one of the top players in the world, she can definitely score and she had 18 at half, I think she had 18 at half, Penny came out and she was feeling it, so that's a luxury, I could rest Cappie, foul trouble and go with Penny. It's a different type of attack but it gets points on the board. We need Penny."

(Coach, it seemed like it didn't matter what happened before overtime, Cappie and D were in foul trouble, but in overtime they took over and even though they didn't do so well before that it seemed like it didn't trouble them at all.) "That's the type of players they are. We were running sets that maybe were too crowded, called "gets" pick and rolls, so I took those off, we ran 2 H's, anybody that watches the game tape would know what we were doing and we gave them more space to work with, it was a different look for them and it gave them a better chance to score the ball and I know Cappie, D, and Penny, there is no such thing as "pressure" they played in big games all their lives, they played in Europe big games, college big games and WNBA before, so I have a lot of faith in them."

Cappie Pondexter #23 and Penny Taylor #13

(Cappie, what was the key down the stretch?) "I think the key was getting defensive stops and rebounding. You could see in the overtime Katie Douglas took the game over and the key was stopping her and getting the rebounds. I think we did a great job, you know, in overtime doing that."

(Cappie, what did you do different toward the end there? You looked up and you didn't have any points and all of the sudden you doubled what you did.) "Sometimes that happens, you got to let the game come to you, the second half I was more aggressive offensively but the first half I felt there wasn't a need to do that. I feel like I can be effective doing other things and I made the extra pass, and I rebounded, so to me it's important, it's about the team right now, regardless.

(Penny was this a fun game to play? It was the highest scoring game in the history of the league.) "Yeah, it was fun, it wasn't the defensive/offensive game that people were expecting, clearly, but anyone that saw this game tonight, amazing displays of talent and especially down the stretch, Cappie and Diana had some huge plays as did Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas so it was a real treat for anyone watching the game and proud to be a part of it."

(Penny, you obviously helped keep the team in the game in the first half. We saw more from you, can you talk about the first half to set the stage?) "Yeah, in this role that I have in the moment coming off the bench, keeping the energy that the starters get going for us and making sure there is no drop off when they take a rest. It was a transition style game in that first half. I found myself open for a few three's when I first came in and penetrating and trying to open up the court in the fast break and being aggressive. All of our players know the philosophy, know what Corey wants and are very able to get it done."

(Cappie, can you believe that Indiana stayed with you? They stayed with you the whole night, 116 points.) "I'm not surprised at all, they wouldn't be here if they weren't able to, Indiana is a great team everybody talks about their defense but they have legitimate scorers who can get it done and I think every game that you see from here on out is going to be just like Game 1 was, incredible."

(Penny, what is it about the Finals that makes you play well?) "I mean, it's just getting out there and doing what the team needs at the time. It's a little fun to play in these games for me, the crowd and the energy, especially with such a good group of girls in the style that we play. There is nothing I don't love about it. I'm always ready to get out there and tonight it worked in my favor. Throughout the series it's going to be a different style every game. I think it's going to be hopefully we can keep up the pace and keep up the running game but obviously they're going to want to slow it down and have a more defensive style and we're going to need the whole team to come through like they did tonight and fight every step of the way."

Diana Taurasi #3

(On the end of the game.) "We couldn't hit a shot to save our lives. We finally did, Cap[pie Pondexter] made a huge shot. We kind of came together at the end."

(The excitement of the game.) "It was fun. Kind of showing a different side of women's basketball -- how high a level it is. It's fun to be in the game and I'm sure it was fun to watch."

(On the big rebounds in overtime.) "We were concentrating on not giving them another three, which we did at the end of regulation. Katie [Douglas] hit a big shot, a tough shot. But we got the stops when we needed them. When things are like this; shots not going in, kind of out of the flow, you have to find other ways to contribute and that's one way to get after it in a different way."

(On winning MVP today.) "It's been a weird day. Cappie and I walked in the gym today and it was just weird; game at six, all the hoopla before the game. We just wanted to get on the court already. And when we got there we were on the bench with three fouls so I think we were a little too anxious. But I'm happy we won."

DeWanna Bonner #24

(On being a rookie in overtime in the Finals.) "I just go out there and do the same things I've been doing the whole year. We've been in that position before, but it's a Finals game and I just want to go out there and play hard and try to rebound and get the ball out to my teammates."

(On her defense on Ebony Hoffman in fourth quarter and overtime.) "She's a great shooter. I just had to use my length against her because she can also drive. She was hitting big shots and playing a great game so I just tried to focus on not giving her a three."

(On her offensive aggressiveness in the fourth quarter and overtime.) "I just tried to be aggressive. I know they're going to key in on Dee [Diana Taurasi] and Penny [Taylor] and Cappie [Pondexter], so I just tried to be aggressive."

Head Coach Lin Dunn

(Opening statement) "I thought it was a great way to start the WNBA Finals, didn't you? What a game! I'm sure the fans loved it, really intense. I just thought it was great to be part of this first game. You know, in the first half Taylor came off the bench and really hurt us. I thought we had control of the game and she came in and we couldn't deal with her but we crawled back in but when you look at the stat sheet, the second chance points, they got 20 second chance points, they outrebounded us, and they shouldn't be doing that and I thought there were times when we missed crucial boxouts and they rebounded, and down the stretch I thought we should win in regular time. I thought this was great that we were able to battle and compete and win in the first game."

(Your team had that much offense in it?) "Sure I did! When the ball goes in we're really good! I thought we got great looks at the basket, we went at Tammy Sutton Brown right from the get go, I thought there were times she should have gotten to the free throw line but we got physical inside, I thought Katie Douglas did a super job, we got points from five people in double figures, yep, five, that was good for us. We shot, whew, 55% from the field so that's pretty good. I'm telling ya, at the end of the day we can't give up 24 second chance points. We got to figure out something to do with Penny Taylor when she comes in the first half. We made adjustments in the second half, I think she had 4 points in the second half, so she hurt us."

(Coach, what adjustment did you make on Taylor in the second half?) "Put some emphasis on her. I moved Catchings over to Penny Taylor and I moved Katie Douglas over to Diana Taurasi. It's a handful when you have Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor out there on the perimeter, they're big, quick, they can all shoot three's, but they were able to get her under control there in the second half."

(Can you talk about Tamika's night and Ebony Hoffman's night?) "I thought Tamika was bothered by fouls early on, and it was frustrating with her, and she had to deal with guarding Diana most of the night and when you look at the stat sheet, you know, we did a lot of different things trying to keep her from touching the ball and she made some big three's, right there at the end, and I think if we can get Catch in a flow we can get more offense out of her but her rebounding and her defense, she helped us in a lot of ways."

(And Ebony?) "I'm sure when we look at the tape we're going to say why didn't we get her the ball more. She stepped up big for us inside and outside, no doubt! Tell those fans to get back here and fill up the stands Thursday night!

Tammy Sutton-Brown #8

(So much for defense, huh? Did you expect it to be that high scoring tonight?) "Well, it did go to overtime. They are the number one offensive team. That's what they do, that's what they did game-in game-out during the season. We had some mental breakdowns at times. But, we were right there. I think, for Game 2, we'll come back in here tomorrow and look at game tape and try to focus on the little things we can do better."

(You seemed to really exploit them inside early, but as the game wore on, that began to even out. What were some of the adjustments they made?) "Of course, they went to a zone. They packed it on in. And that's when we really have to take what they give us. If they play a zone, we have to be sharper moving the ball and getting open shots. It was a really good game. We had some breakdowns down the stretch and we'll have to do a better job in Game 2."

(Looking forward to Game 2, what are some adjustments you guys have to make?) "Try to limit their three-pointers. That's a really big part of their game. I know at one point they were shooting a really high percentage from the three, and that's something we really need to try to limit. We also gave up way too many offensive rebounds, especially in the second half."

Tamika Catchings #24

(That was a wild game. Felt like it was two prize fighters out there...) "Yeah, it was an interesting game. Just a little disappointed, definitely, in myself. I let my team down tonight, and it won't happen again. We just need to come back, regroup and get ready for the next game. We had some people come out and have great games, Ebony (Hoffman) and Tammy (Sutton-Brown) down low. But, it has to be a team effort, and I don't need to be sitting on the bench at the end of a game."

(Second chance points seemed to be a real difference tonight.) "Yeah, second chance points, 12 offensive rebounds, 24 second chance points. We have to do a better job boxing out. It's really hard to win a game, especially in their place, giving up that many second chance points."

(They also shot twice as many free throws tonight.) "Yeah, that was another advantage for them. We need to be a better job of penetrating. But, like I said, Tammy did a great job down low, especially setting the tone early on. We kind of went away from it a little bit. But, we'll look at the game tape, get back to practice tomorrow and get ready for the next game. We will do a better job getting the ball inside, and we will do a better job getting to the free throw line."

(It's shaping up to be quite a series.) "Oh yeah, it is. We knew it was going to be. Best offensive team vs. the best defensive team. Going into overtime, it felt like we had that game. But, like I said, the offensive rebounding was a huge factor, and we need to do a better job. It should be a great Game 2."

Katie Douglas #23 and Ebony Hoffman #32

(Katie, it was a great show, how do you feel afterwards?) "You know, I think that we're obviously frustrated. I think there are things that obviously we could have done better and we're going to make those adjustments and be ready on Thursday. But I feel like, you know, we showed that we can play. We showed that we belong here so we need to stay positive and confident with one another and stay together. I think most importantly just stay together. I feel like we have veterans on this team that are going to pull everybody together and make some adjustments tomorrow and be ready to go on Thursday."

(Do you feel like you played their game when you look at the score on the scoreboard, it seems like the kind of game that Phoenix would want to play.) "At times we should have recognized better when to slow it down, when not to run, when not to force things but, again, those are the things that we're going to point out and not get into a contest with them. Obviously they're phenomenal in the up tempo game that they run and we've got to recognize a little better when to pull back, make them work on defense and when to take our shots in transition as well."

(Ebony, do you feel like you surprised people by being able to stay with them the whole night?) "No, some of you guys might have been surprised but I know our team, when we play fast we play better when we play fast, but like Katie said we have to recognize when to slow them down and make them play defense. I thought Tammy Sutton Brown had made an amazing game herself on the inside making whoever guarded her, whether it was Diana or whoever was on her to really play some defense on the inside. I think we know that we can play fast and play with 'em but that's not the type of game that we really want to play."

(Can you tell us what you were thinking down the stretch when you guys are close and they take the lead, you got the lead back, anything you could have done differently?) "Probably get it out of Cappie's hands, she was the one burning us a little bit. Diana burned us a few times. We can go down the line, who else burned us? DeWanna Bonner came in in the overtime and had some key transition buckets. And, when we look at it we know the things that we can do better and that we can steal the next game, that's what we got to do."

(Ebony, when Lin came in she said the second chance points stuck out for her, does that stick out for you as well?) "Yeah, it sticks out like a sore thumb, DeWanna Bonner was the person who started it all, then Penny Taylor came in ask got a few, Temeka Johnson came in and got her own rebound a few times and got her own shot, so basically they played better down the stretch and had he got a few of the key loose balls that we needed to get and that's what the game comes down to."

(Ebony, this is a career game for you. Was there something is it energy of the game, the ball coming to you, what was the difference for you tonight?) "Um, you know, I think my teammates, when they saw I was rolling a little bit they looked for me some more, and all year it's just been me putting up the shot and just taking it. Today was a good day for me, it was just one of those days, the stars lined up, the Milky Way was nice and milky and they were playing me not to make the shot and I had to make it, I had to make the shot, so I took it and made it."

(You took a hard fall late in the game. I'm wondering how your ankle is, it was your ankle and are you good to go?) "I'm 100 percent, ready to go, no pain no game right now, we're in the Finals, I can't cry about a sore ankle, a bruised eye, a bruised rib, things happen, and that's the intangibles of the basketball game, I can't not make her foot be somewhere else, I can't not roll my ankle the way it rolls, that's the perils of the basketball game."

(You look at the minutes, there is an imbalance, your starters played more minutes.) "That's a good observation. You know, that's a great question. There was an imbalance but maybe we could get our bench players in there a little more, I thought Tamecka Dixon came in and gave us good minutes, Jessica Moore played well and Briann played well and we probably got to get Tamecka Dixon more minutes in there and help us out more but I thought that even with that, we still played well. You know, I still don't think even all the starters playing over 35 minutes, I mean, they couldn't stop us, so why take us out? That's how I feel, I don't know how you feel about that one."

(You guys were in the highest scoring game in WNBA history tonight, I just wanted to know what you think about that.) Douglas: "It's history that we don't like because we lost, but overall I think it was an exciting game, it was exciting for the fans and I'm sure it was exciting for the people watching on TV and I feel like, you know, both teams just played an enormous amount of talent on the court and it's the biggest stage, it's what we've been working for, to come here and play in the WNBA Finals. It was a lot of fun. You know, I know we lost, I'm disappointed but it was a tremendous atmosphere to be a part of, the growth of the WNBA to be a part of that."