Postgame Quotes/Notes - Storm 63, New York 62
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
On Lauren Jackson's return:
She got a lot out of her minutes, didn't she? She played well. We're a different team, obviously. I've got to give everybody credit for keeping us competitive without her, but we can be much better with her. She was a factor tonight.
On Jackson's minutes:
We knew we were going to be around 20. We were debating in the fourth quarter what to do, but she sort of helped us make that decision with her sixth foul, so she had to come out. I give Ashley (Robinson) credit. Ashley made a couple of big plays to help us win the game.
On winning a close game:
Take a step back here and remember last year. The majority of our games that we won, we were behind in the fourth quarter. We've had a lot of games like this. It's nice to come out on the winning side. We've had a couple of games like this lately that we didn't. We're going to be playing a lot more games like this. We just have to be ready. I was proud of the kind of mental toughness we showed defensively down the stretch.
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD:
On getting even with Essence Carson, who blocked her shot at the end of the Storm's loss in New York:
That would be if I fouled her. I'm pretty confident I didn't. I'm not going to lie - if she had gone up with it, I probably would have fouled and tried to make her earn it on the free throw line as opposed to getting a layup. But once I saw the ball, I just went for it and knocked it out. On turning the ball over:
You never want to have that happen. That's a situation where she made a great play by stealing it, but we had a chance to seal it. Probably inbound it, go to the free throw line, a few ticks go off and then force them to make a three. For that steal to happen, you just have to turn around - I was racing as fast as I could to chase that down. On Jackson's return:
It's huge. You can see the impact that Lauren has on the game in the few minutes that she's in there and what she brings. She's the best player in the world, so that's going to be evident immediately. I think for her, it was a great start. She hit a couple shots, blocked a shot, and I think that's good for her confidence. Any time you're coming back from an injury, the hardest part is your wind, your conditioning, and just kind of getting back into the swing of things. I think for her it's a step in the right direction. Hopefully as the season winds down and into the playoffs, she'll just get better and better. On threes by her and Katie Smith:
Those were huge. Kara Braxton comes down and hits a three and gives them a lead. For us, the back-to-back threes, those were huge. You can't get around those.
STORM CENTER LAUREN JACKSON:
On returning to the court:
It felt good. Really good. I've been so excited. I don't think I've actually looked forward to playing basketball as much as I did this game for probably 10 years - for a long time. It just felt awesome to be back out there. I'm just happy. I'm happy that my hip held up. I'm happy that we won, obviously.
On whether she needs to see how her hip responds:
Not really. For me at the moment, it's a matter of getting comfortable. Defensively, I'm still one step slow, and that's something we're going to have to work on as a team, because there's nothing I can do about it. It's just a matter of getting used to it again and not protecting it as much as I do. I think it's a really good start and I'm pretty happy with that start.
On whether she thought she would lead the team in scoring:
No, I did not I guarantee it. I called about all my family in Albury and Sydney. They were like, 'You're going to be fine.' Everyone was lovely and so supportive.
On the final play:
The official choked the last play. They were trying to foul and he choked. There is not a whole lot you can do about that. We played the defending champs down the last shot and our defense played well. We didnít play perfect. We gave up some opportunities at both ends, but our defense kept us in the game. Our offense had to go win, we got a key steal at the end, they had the foul and he didnít call it. He missed the call, he absolutely choked.
On late offensive execution:
They play good defense too. Thatís why theyíre the defending champs. Theyíre a good defensive team so baskets donít come easy playing Seattle. We have struggled at times offensively, but they make it that much tougher. And we try to make it harder for them, and it came down to a close game that the fans should have liked.
On playing in KeyArena:
I coached a lot of time in The Pit in Albuquerque, it was sold out every game and itís called a pit because itís down in a hole. This building has that same kind of effect. There is a lot of noise, theyíre great fans and theyíve got an outstanding team. Ever since weíve come up here theyíve had that kind of atmosphere. I think itís great for the WNBA and great for basketball. Itís very competitive and we like it here. We enjoy this. We enjoy the fans and they cheer for their home team like they should. Itís just disappointing for me and my team that they missed an obvious call that will be on the highlights.
On Lauren Jackson's return:
Super. Amazing. No one but a great athlete can do that. I was afraid that she wouldnít show the rust because she and Sue and Swin (Cash) and the core group have played several years together and last year winning the championship. But itís still tough to come back and not lose rhythm. Iím sure as a unit theyíre 60 percent of what theyíll be in three or four more games. Theyíll be awesome in three or four more games. I just wanted to steal this one before they get that much better. Lauren was amazing. I thought Coach Agler used her appropriately because she looks slim and trim, but she canít be in basketball shape, and thatís why he we resting her. I thought he did a good job of keeping her fresh so she could make plays. And she did.
On the game:
Both teams are defensive oriented for the most part and at the end of the day itís about executing and who can get the last shot, who can execute down the stretch. We made two defensive mistakes in the last minute and gave them the lead. It was a great game, great atmosphere. I hate to lose, but it happens sometimes.
On playing in KeyArena:
I think KeyArena is the best arena to play in. The fans are amazing. Theyíre cheering from beginning to end. Itís always a playoff atmosphere when you play here. I enjoy it. Itís one of the best arenas to play in for sure.
On Jackson's return:
If youíre a great player and youíve been away from the game, youíre going to be great. Iím happy to have her back. Iím glad sheís back on the court doing what she enjoys.