Postgame Quotes/Notes - Storm 79, Atlanta 77 (Game 1)
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
On the game:
I thought it was an extremely competitive game, not surprising at all to me. Atlanta has been playing well down the stretch, they put lineups on the floor big and small and they challenge you. I thought our team competed hard. I don't think our team is satisfied on how they played, though, and our job is to enjoy this for about, well, until we finish eating dinner tonight, and then they're going to be ready for Tuesday.
On the final play:
Well, we executed what we wanted to run, except Sue (Bird) - not that she questioned anything, but she wanted to be more in the shooting spot than have the ball in her hands. I think the way the game was being played tonight and who was on the floor and making the good decisions and those things, we wanted to put the ball in Sue's hands this time - not have her come off a screen but have it in her hands and have her make the decision. They played it one way for her all night long and she read it and went back and got her shot.
On the style of the game:
Yeah, it was a little fast. We started playing pretty well early, started throwing the ball away a little bit. They scored some transition baskets off our turnovers, and there were a little too many. They're going to get baskets from transition, but you don't want it from a turnover standpoint because it's hard to get your defense set at that point.
Obviously with the game in the 70s, it's probably a little more built for us, but I would expect just like we will do, they will make adjustments and they'll try to be more creative on how they can get out and run. I thought they did a great job of keeping pressure on the basketball and they got up into Sue and Tanisha (Wright) all night long.
On Bird's ability to make clutch shots:
I think Sue really has a calm disposition and it helps in tight situations. She's one who has the ability to be in the fray and keep an open mind and take what's given to her. Most people in those situations, they get one thing in their mind and they're going to do that no matter what happens instead of coming through, coming off the play and making a read. It's not like you have a lot of time to make a read, but when you have the ability to play with an open mind like Sue does, usually you're going to make good decisions.
On whether he's coached any player like that:
Well, I coached Katie Smith. She was a heck of a player, and she could read positions and play within situations in that way. I was at Phoenix when Diana Taurasi came into the league, and Diana is like that as well. And Lauren (Jackson) is like that. She plays at a fast pace, she plays quick and fast, and that's why she is so tough to compete with, but she also can play and make decisions.
On getting Jackson more involved in the second half:
Yeah, we talked about at halftime. We wanted to go play through her - even though she may not score, she would get the basketball more. I believe she got more multiple touches in the second half than the first, and we made a run there before we shot ourselves in the foot by turning it over a couple of times, but a lot of that was Lauren shooting a couple of threes and hitting the rim.
On the set for the final play:
We ran a good pick-and-roll there for Sue and Lauren. We were going to read how they defended it, basically, if they were going to switch we were going to take Lauren down to the rim. If they were going to trap we were ready for that. We were just going to let Sue be Sue and, you know, if she were to turn the corner then we had Tanisha in the shooting spot on the right corner. So you let your players make the decisions; you have to do that because you never know how they're going to defend things.
On Angel McCoughtry playing limited minutes due to injury and foul trouble:
Yeah, it's a concern. This one was very important to us, but Angel is a great talent, no question. They got the ball in her hands for that last shot, and it was a definitely doable shot.
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD:
On the game:
It was a tough game. Obviously it came down to the end, and I don't think we played our best but we still got the win. This is the Finals; it's never going to be easy and we're happy about that, but we know Game 2 is going to be very, very important.
On taking big shots:
I can't speak for both of us, but I think I'm going to be able to. Definitely for me at an early age that was just something that happened. Whether it's AAU or high school, into college, now WNBA it's just situations I was put in at a very early age. You get confident the more you do things and the more successful you are at them, and I think at this point in my career, it's something that I enjoy. Those situations are fun, especially when they go in! As far as the shot goes, I was able to get a really good look and it was a pull up, which is what I like, and ... swish!
On hitting another winning shot:
Sure, keep it interesting. This time it was different, actually it wasn't in my hands to create in Phoenix but the way they did the pick-and-roll I was able to get a look. To be honest, I got a similar look about 30, 45 seconds earlier and it didn't go in, so maybe that helped.
On her read before the shot:
They hadn't covered our pick and rolls for the majority of the second half and I had a feeling that if I went off the pick and brought it back to the same side that I came from I would be able to get a good look. Like I said, I got virtually the same look 45 seconds, a minute earlier, so I had an idea that I was going to get it. It just played out well and then, you know, once you're in your shooting form, nothing else to think about but trying to knock it in.
On the style of play:
Yeah, that's something we're going to have to go back and look at. They led the league in creating turnovers, so we know that. Doesn't mean it's going to be easy, because it isn't, but we know they like to do that. But they like to take it. And we saw that early and we saw that often. Every time we were able to establish ourselves and get a lead we would have a couple of turnovers and they just went out and ran and they got a few points that way. So for us it's definitely something we have to work on to take care of the ball.
On whether she had to convince Coach Agler to give her the ball:
No, actually. Last game against Phoenix, T had the ball and was creating and looking for Lauren or me afterwards. So he had me taking the ball up the court running the pick-and-roll and I was like 'Why don't you give it to T and we'll do the same thing.' He was like, 'No, you have the ball,' and that's how it worked out.
On Camille Little's performance:
She was the key to the game, and every time they made a run, every time we relaxed, Camille was the one to step up, whether it be a defensive stop or a three-point play. She had the energy, she was encouraging the rest of the team. That's something Camille has done for us the entire season. If I had to pick a team hero, it would be Camille.
On having multiple options in clutch situations:
That's the beauty of our team, and that's what we've seen pretty much every game this season. Any time we've been in critical situations, Lauren has made big shots, Swin (Cash) has made big shots, Camille, myself, T, everybody. Everybody has been in that situation and it is nice to have that, and even better it's nice to have five players on the court who are more than willing to take those shots or make the play. When you have that it's dangerous, it's hard to defend.
STORM FORWARD LAUREN JACKSON:
On the game:
I'm happy we won Game 1. It wasn't the prettiest game and I think we can get better. Pretty much like last game.
On battling the Dream to a draw on the glass:
Yeah, they're a great team offensively and defensively and rebounding is a huge thing. It was good for us to get Game 1 out of the way and to be able to move forward and look at things and work on what we need to do to get better. We're not going to sit back and rest, we're going to come back and work on what we need to for Tuesday.
On the game:
It was a great game; it was a hard-fought game by both teams. I think it proved to our players and coaching staff that we belong here. We never gave up. I thought my team showed a lot of courage throughout the game.
It was a super crowd, very loud, which made it hard sometimes to communicate with players on the floor, teams on the floor. You play 38 minutes for the last 15 seconds to win or tie the game, and we certainly had that opportunity. It's unfortunate that Angel got into foul trouble, she got hit in the head then, so she was out of the game for a long time. I think that if we could keep her in the game on Tuesday night, she will have a better chance of getting into some type of rhythm. But I was proud of our team. I thought we fought hard throughout the game and we'll come back on Tuesday night and give it our best.
On hanging around without McCoughtry:
I've said all along that this team was built on balance and we play hard whether Angel is in the lineup or she's not. We're a team and we share the ball extremely well. A lot of times throughout the season Angel was not the leading scorer. She was a secondary scorer, but she looks to give assists to her teammates, so I would like to keep her in the game and I would like her to play about 35 minutes. That's what I want to happen on Tuesday night. As far as not getting into foul trouble, she will stay aggressive, but I was proud of the way she came back when she was in foul trouble. Then when she got hit in the head and had to have stitches, she came back strong in the fourth. I'm not sure how many but there was a good gash there.
On the team's final shot:
I saw us get the shot; it just didn't go in. It was designed for anyone that was open. We had our shooters in the lineup at the time, and we didn't care whether it was a two or a three. You have 2.6 seconds left. It's not a lot of time once you catch it, so we had to catch the ball and shoot it. It was designed to get an open shot and it got that for us; we just didn't make it.
On defending Bird's winning shot:
We gave Sue Bird that open look. If you give her an open look with the game on the line, nine times out of 10 she's going to make it. She made it this time, so we've got to do a better job defensively.
On McCoughtry's foul trouble:
It was hard. We thought she would be able to be in longer than she was, and we had to work through it. And we did a great job without her on the court. Definitely we need her for next game.
On playing without McCoughtry in the past:
Yeah, we have many games and know always she is the one who we go to, so everybody has to know what to do when she is not in. And when one player is not doing her job, somebody else has to bring it. We did that largely this season and we did that today, too.
On defending Bird's winning shot:
It was a hard thing because you have a shooter screening and you are not able to help as much so you have to make a good defensive play in the situation. It was a good play, good shooter, and it's hard to defend that.
On defending the Storm's pick-and-roll:
We couldn't help off the screener, because they are good shooters, so we have to work around it. The best way we could do it is to go under and meet the player on the other side, because if we help off the screen then the other person has a wide open shot.