Postgame Quotes/Notes - Storm 85, Phoenix 70
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
On earning home court advantage:
Thatís important. Phoenix is a great team. Itís going to be a very competitive series.
On Katie Smith's performance:
She kept us going there in the first half. She had 15 at halftime. And not only that tonight she was probably our most solid defender on (Diana) Taurasi. It wasnít that Tanisha (Wright) didnít do a good job, but she just got in foul trouble. Katie had, obviously, her best game since sheís been here, at the biggest time.
On defending Taurasi after she scored 28 first-half points:
We didnít try to do anything differently. I just thought we played a little bit passive with her. We gave her too much space. We changed a few things up at halftime, but nothing that should have bothered her a whole lot. We just gave her a different look. I was disappointed at halftime because I thought we gave her too much space to work.
On his strategy for Sunday's season finale:
Tell me what the tie-breakers are for the West, the East and the championship? Thatís what our decision will be based on. We talked with our team about it and if we feel like getting to 21 (wins) will help us down the road then my vote would be to try to play. I donít know what weíll do with Lauren (Jackson). We want her ready for the playoffs. We want to put ourselves in the best position. Thatís my philosophy. But I let the players sleep on it. When they ask me something and Iím unsure I always tell them that I reserve the right to sleep on it. So I asked them and they said that they reserve the right to sleep on it. I guess weíll know tomorrow.
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD:
On defending Taurasi:
For us the focus is just trying to get a win. Itís never easy in this league when youíre on the road. Weíre in a situation where (we have a) couple games left, weíre trying to get second place and we can really control our own destiny by getting wins. We just wanted to do whatever we had to do to get a win. Everybody did that tonight and it felt really good.
The minute she checked into the game it was an aggressive Katie. She came out driving to the basket, getting a couple of layups; it opened up things for her at the three-point line. You could tell that she was in a little bit of a comfort zone. I know, in my head, I was thinking we should milk it. She was feeling good out there and I tried to get her the ball as much as possible. I think everyone was looking for her. But to her credit she really came out with a different mindset.
STORM FORWARD KATIE SMITH:
On the game:
Everybody does their work at different times and today was just big for us to get the W. I tried to be aggressive and everybody just took care of business. Especially the second half, we came out and upped our defense and made sure Taurasi earned what she had. She had a heck of a game. It was just a warm-up for what the playoffs are going to be like.
On playing at KeyArena:
This crowd and these Seattle fans love womenís basketball. They love the players that are here, but they follow everyone. Itís an honor to do it front of them because they really appreciate what we do and how hard we do it. It means a lot.
On her performance:
It was more of being aggressive. The next game I may have different opportunities. Itís just being ready. I decided to not necessarily settle for jumpers as much, but just attack the whole a little bit and get in there and finish. Itís more of a mindset. Itís not settling and trying to make them work. Other teams try to make us work on defense by attacking and trying to get us on our heels so we have to do the same thing. This is it. We want to be at home. Our record shows that being at home is big for us. We didnít want to go to their place. It was pretty much a playoff game and this is going to be the atmosphere when we see them again.
On the game:
We couldnít score. Bad second half. Something we do well (score), we couldnít do. Defense I was happy with.
On holding Lauren Jackson to four points:
We did a couple of different things to keep it interesting.
On the upcoming playoff series:
Weíll have Penny (Taylor) back so that will really help. Weíll be ready to go.
On the game:
We played really well for long stretches and did a lot of good things. They played well in the fourth and down the stretch so that was the difference.
On scoring 20 points in the second quarter:
Sometimes you just get going and they go in. I was getting in good spots and they were going in.
On facing the Storm in the playoffs:
I think itís great. You have to beat the defending champions if you want to go anywhere. Thatís just the bottom line in any sport. You have to beat the champions if you want to be champions. Itíll probably be the toughest task we have all year.
On the familiarity between the two teams:
It kind of mentally tricks you a little bit because you know every little thing they like to do. They know what we like to do. Most of these games have come down to the last two or three minutes. We have to find a way to get stops and good offensive possessions at the end.
That was Katie of old right there. Thatís a young Katie. She could probably do that more often, but sheís been willing to divert the last couple of years because sheís been on some talented teams. Katie could probably do that every night.
On the teams' contrasting philosophies:
Every game is like that a little bit. Everyone has their style, their philosophy, things they like to focus on so which team is going to do it more often to wear the other team out? Lately, theyíve been doing it more.
On the game:
Diana started off extremely well. We were trying to be aggressive in the first half, but werenít necessarily getting a lot of calls. We kind of let up in the second half. I thought we did decent job on defense, but our offense got a little stagnant late third, early fourth quarter. Canít let that happen.
On defending Jackson:
It was the same game plan as when she was playing early on in the season. We were trying to contain Sue a little more and Katie. Obviously Katie didnít work so well. Sheís a great shooter and a great player in the league. I thought we were aggressive so we have to tweak a few things on defense and keep shooting the ball on the other end of the floor.
On facing the Storm:
We have to come out and attack. They have home court advantage, and I donít know about everyone else, but I enjoy playing here. The fans are great, but that should give us some motivation to come out and beat them.