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WNBA Finals Game 1
Detroit Shock 71, Sacramento Monarchs 95
Wednesday, August 30, 2006, at The Palace of Auburn HIlls, Auburn Hills, MI

Shock 71, Monarchs 95
Boxscore | Recap | Shockfest
August 30, 2006
The Palace of Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills, MI
Points:(DET) C. Ford, 25
(SAC) K. Lawson, 22
Rebounds:(DET) C. Ford, 8
(SAC) R.Brunson , 7
Assists:(DET) D. Nolan, 5
(SAC) T. Penicheiro, 6
Blocks:(DET) C. Ford, 3
(SAC) Y. Griffith, 2
Player of the Game
Kara Lawson

Shock guard Katie Smith:

Opening statement: Not very pretty. A little disappointing just with the effort. Sac obviously is here for a reason, and they played well on both ends of the floor. Effort-wise and also executing, they played very well as a team. We got a little frustrated at times. Probably tried to force some things offensively. Defensively they kind of picked us apart. Obviously they are post players are hard in match-ups just in the sense they are agile, they put the ball on the floor real well. And then obviously we need to stay a little closer to (Kara) Lawson and (Nicole) Powell. But just in general I think we have to come ready to play and happens, happens. But we have to bring the energy and the effort on Friday to compete with Sac because that's one thing they bring every night is the effort and the energy. You know, they stole this one, but you know, it's a series and we'll get right back off it on Friday night.

Q. How frustrating was it because at times you would get on a mini-run and they would have an answer for it every time?

KATIE SMITH: It's frustrating because you do, you want to get a little momentum, you want to get back in the groove. They were getting offensive rebounds, they would knock down a big shot, they would get a steal or whatnot. It was just like a never-ending, uphill battle. So frustrating in that sense, we didn't do a very good job of withstanding that. There are runs in the game, ebbs and flows, but they took that and they went with it. We didn't handle that well. You know, hopefully we'll look at some film and just understand and have the mentality of just, you know, getting it done. I mean, you have to find a way to get it done. It's not always the way you draw it up, but you go out there and give the effort and find a way.

Q. Do you have an explanation why the effort wasn't there, because you have been so knocked down the last couple of weeks and as Bill (Laimbeer) said you reverted to the old Shock where some people were not as tuned in as others? Do you have any explanation as to why that happened?

KATIE SMITH: Not really. It's not something I think, you know, going in. You get there and obviously prepare yourself individually to come ready to play and doing what you need to do. I'm not totally familiar with the old Shock. I kind of know this year. We are, we can be inconsistent. When it comes to executing, when it comes, you know, getting frustrated, that kind of takes us out of our ballgame. Not the frustration, but we have to use the adversity or missing a shot or letting somebody score, like if Powell hits a shot on me, Lawson hit that first one off me, I backed off a little bit and I didn't want to get another one. That's a mind-set and something we have to do from top to bottom, like, okay, I have to pick it up a notch. She's challenging me so I have to step up. I don't know if you can pinpoint it but as you say this is something they are consistently doing. We've got to bring it or it's going to be a short series.

Q. Talk a little about how important it is for the guards to go up against the big gals from Sacramento.

KATIE SMITH: We have to do a better job of getting in there and helping our bigs rebounds, the loose balls I think Kristin Haynie, Lawson got their hands on a couple and pulling loose balls out. They are battling you, and one of best rebounders in the world, you have (Rebekkah) Brunson, DeMya (Walker), just relentless and the post players down there trying to box, we have to get in there and get our hands on things and get some loose balls and help them out and maybe that will help us generate offense by getting out and being able to push the ball. If we don't rebound well, we're not going to be able to get out and get some easy buckets, which you need when you're playing a defense as tough as Sac.

Shock coach Bill Laimbeer:

Opening statement: Okay. Well, obviously that was not our best performance. I thought Sacramento played very well as a basketball team. They were into it from start to finish. They played a solid team game. They moved the ball well. They played solid defense and they seemed to want it more than we did. On our end, we started the game sluggish, a little lethargic energy-wise. As the game progressed, we missed defensive assignments. We didn't play hard enough was the bottom line, what we have to do to win a series, or even win a basketball game in the WNBA Finals. It's a little disappointing to watch us not perform out there; 24 turnovers, you can't win a basketball game in the WNBA Finals by turning the basketball over 24 times. Everything we talked about before the start of the game, almost to the exact thing, there's probably at least ten things that we listed that we had to take care of and work on in this ballgame, and eight of them, we didn't do it. That's just effort. That's just desire. That's wanting it more than the other team, or even wanting it as bad as the other team. Tonight we didn't compete on the level that we needed to, and we got stomped. We won't make any excuses. We have none. Our performance was poor, and I give Sacramento credit. They played well.

Q. Swin Cash from the second quarter on was not a factor, could you explain that, please?

BILL LAIMBEER: Wasn't a factor in the first quarter on, either. She showed up to play a basketball game, didn't show up to win a basketball game. It's just one of those things where she wasn't into it and we decided to not play her.

Q. In 2003 you lose the first game out in L.A. in almost a similar one-sided situation. The dynamics were a little different in format and everything. What's the approach coming off of this, does five games help you more?

BILL LAIMBEER: Well, yeah, I talked before the series started, in a five-game series, you're able to lose one game and still have an opportunity to recover. In a three-game series, it wasn't so great. Before we win three games, we have to win one, and that's our focus. You have to win one game first. And I told them that this was going to be the hardest game because the visiting team focuses so hard on winning the first game. They are closeted up in the hotel. There's no distractions. They know their task. They have to win one game and they came very focused and ready to play. We have to come with the same energy and focus in Game 2. We have to win Game 2 or we're in a world of trouble.

Q. Knowing your team, how do you expect this to affect their confidence?

BILL LAIMBEER: We're a very confident bunch and when we get an attitude, we're even more confident. The disturbing part today, we had some attitudes that creeped in today, you could see body language of the players if you were up front and close and watching it, we talked about it with their swarming defense. We got frustrated and a couple players started getting mopey and it affects how you make shots and how you go to loose balls quicker and how you make rebounds. That can't happen. I expect us to regroup tomorrow and we'll watch some of the giant mistakes we made on film and hopefully they have a resolve that they come together and want to do this. I told them, in the WNBA Finals, the coach's job is to help get you there. When you get to The Finals, it's a test of wills. It's a player's game. Yeah, we can give them some adjustments. We can put some new plays in and we can do this but that's not what it's about. It's about the players wanting to go out there and compete at the high level and take the game and take the series. That, we did not do in Game 1.

Q. Did you expect to see a few more fans here tonight? This is The Finals.

BILL LAIMBEER: No, I didn't even pay attention to that. I'm just focused on the game. I thought at times they were very loud, but we didn't give them much to cheer for tonight. Turnovers, dumb turnovers, that's the old Shock basketball that I never want to see again.

Q. When you talk about that resolve that they need to have, in the past, is that something you've seen from this group, would you say?

BILL LAIMBEER: Yeah, I think this year especially. We're so good on back-to-backs. It was one of our trademarks. We have some very strong-willed individuals in our locker room that if they want to do it and they want to band together and they resolve collectively -- this is a collective thing that we have to get accomplished. Not one individual or another individual or two or three players. This is an entire team that has to want to go out there and get it done. I'm very confident they will pull it together and get it done. But tonight they didn't.

Sacramento forward Nicole Powell:

Opening statement: Well, obviously we're pleased with the outcome of the game. To come in here on the road against such a tough team and play the way we did, you know, kind of just get a lead on them and keep it, we're very pleased with ourselves. Certainly we know we have a tough challenge ahead. You know, Detroit is a very good team. Katie is going to come back with something and so is the rest of their team. You know, we're happy with tonight and tomorrow we're going to watch a tape and certainly there's some things we can work on and we'll get ready for the next game.

Q. With a win this lopsided, is there any danger of believing that it's going to be this easy and having to focus even more going into Game 2 to avoid that?

POWELL: You know, there's always that danger I think when you beat a team by this margin. At the same time, we have some great leadership in the locker room, we have a great coaching staff. We all know at this point, this game is done and over with and Detroit is going to come back with something for us. We can't kind of rest on our laurels with this first win.

Q. Did you personally see this kind of night coming with your performance before the game?

POWELL: You know, individually, I just wanted to be prepared. You know, we don't really change a lot of things, we just try to execute and see what the defense is giving us. Our team just played really well overall. We shot 53 percent, I think Yo had 17 or 18 points and DeMya had 17 or 18 points. It was really balanced scoring and you try to hit the shots on when you can, and it's my job to knock them down at this level. So like I say, I'm happy with it.

Q. Three players with career-best playoff highs, was there a sense in that first half that you guys were all in the groove and that maybe they were not as tough defensively as they normally are? Did you sense it and feel it?

POWELL: I know my teammates are, we've been ready this whole playoff. Everyone has really elevated their game and that's what has separated us from our regular season and the way we're playing now. Everybody is coming out with a vengeance and something to prove and you see that from Yo all the way down the line. I'm not really surprised with my teammates because I see them every day and some of the great things that they can do in practice, but it's really special when everybody steps up their game and that's why we're doing so well. We're a team through and through, and that's why we're winning.

Q. You mentioned the regular season, and you guys struggled and people were not really talking about you. Can you remember a specific game that you felt, we're back, we're okay now, we're going to be good from here?

POWELL: First game of the playoffs against Houston. You know, we weren't playing very well, like you said down the stretch. I think we lost to Phoenix, didn't really play well there and then all of a sudden we got out there against Houston on their home court and it was just unbelievable. We just took off. We were up by 20 or 30 points in the first half, and it was kind of the same thing where every single person was ready to play, ready to fight. We've just been carrying it through the playoffs.

Sacramento forward DeMya Walker:

Opening statement: I'm just really excited about the way that we played. We played as a team. At the end of the day, defense was what got us the win, and that's the type of team that we are. That's the type of team we've always been, and we know we can't win without it. We also know Detroit is going to come back at us in Game 2, so we've got to keep our focus and remain steady and not worry about Game 1. Game 1's over.

Sacramento coach John Whisenant:

Opening statement: Well, I guess my opening statement is that I'm tickled to death that we got home court from the Shock, but that's only one game, and we've got to win two more, somewhere. And, you know, we did some things well. I thought we shot the ball well, scored 95 points. You know, we had some defensive breakdowns at times, but overall we played defensively pretty good. I know Cheryl and Katie kind of got to us some. But we're happy. We're happy we won. Our goal was to win a game here, and we don't want to quit at one, and we know Friday will be a war. They will come at us with all their ammo. I'll take any questions.

Q. You guys just beat them up in the interior, grabbing rebounds away from them, going up strong in the post, was that part of your strategy to maybe exploit the Shock a little bit by using your strength in the interior?

WHISENANT: Well, they are the leading rebounding team in the league and we only outrebounded them by two. The second half, they outrebounded us. So we got to them there early, and that got us a lead because in the first half, we got some putbacks. But we're the leading offensive rebounding team in the league, they are the leading overall. I guess we both kind of live on that. We work hard on our rebounding. I mean, that's part of defense. Defensive rebounding is part of defense, offensive rebounding is part of offense. So we work regularly on those things, and we hope they help us win.