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I think the key to our success in Game 4 is that we had a lot of time to watch film and marinate on how we looked and how we played. In Game 3 we just looked like we didn't want it. I think that is what changed in the next few days after. Everybody just came out playing hard. We were ready to play and mentally focused, and everybody just played tough. Practice today was great, I definitely think that everybody is ready for this game.
I was asked if the arena change would make a big differerence, but it's still basketball and we all know how to play it. It's going to be a little weird for both teams, but like I said it's our job. We still have two hoops and a basketball, so we are going to go to work. We're still at home with our home fans, so it should be great.
After the Finals I'll be heading to Brazil to join the National Team at the World Championships. It's a great accomplishment and I just want to thank the USA Basketball organization for choosing me. I'm very excited to go to Brazil, I've never been there before. I can't wait to get there but we still have some business to take care of in Detroit.
Yesterday we didn't play hard enough. We had too many turnovers, we let their posts get easy position, it was just all of the little things. Now it's just going to come down to whoever wants it more. In Game 4 we just have to play hard. This could be our last game so we just have to go out and give everything. We have to leave everything out on the court and go play hard and play focused, play mentally tough, and play together as a team.
Last night we didn't come ready to play. Some of us did, some of us didn't. We talked about what it was going to take for us to win the game, which was rebounding, not giving up second shots, limiting our turnovers, and getting on loose balls, and obviously we did none of the above. I think one positive that our team can take out of the game is that we finally started to fight back in the third quarter, but that isn't enough against a team like Sacramento.
Hopefully we can adjust and do better tomorrow. All of the things I listed above are what we need to do, I think the Monarchs had something like eleven second chance shots and we really need to eliminate those opportunities. Today at the media session I was asked if I was confident that we could go into Sacramento and win games, but I guess now we don't really have a choice. We have to do it, so we need to be confident that we can win a game there or else we are not going to win this series.
Ford and the Shock are back in the Finals.|
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
After winning Game 1 against Connecticut, they came out ready to play in Game 2. At one point of the second quarter of Game 2, we looked up and they had taken 9 free throws in the quarter and we hadnít taken any. They ended up shooting 11 more free throws than us for the game. After Game 2 I looked at Katie and said, if you donít score, we donít win, so you have to shoot the ball more. If it opens up for us, it opens up for us.
For Game 3 we knew that we needed to foul a lot less, play our defense and limit their second chance shots. We were mentally ready from the start and it showed. That was definitely the best game weíve played all year. Everyone was on the same page. Coach got a little fired up on the sidelines, but we kept our mental toughness and kept going. Bill is a competitor just like us, so we didnít think anything of it.
Things have been crazy here in Detroit having to deal with the media and all, but Iím just so focused on Game 1 right now. This is the first time in the Finals for a few of us, although Iíve been here before. Our goal all season has been to win one for Katie. She has done so much for this league and having come into camp 20 pounds lighter and worked so hard, she really deserves it.
Like Bill said, this series is going to come down to who plays defense better and who rebounds better. Hopefully, when this is all over, weíll be dancing to our team song, ďWe in a ZoneĒ with a championship trophy in our hands.
I think weíre clicking on all cylinders for the most part, but there are still a couple of little things that we need to work on In the Indiana series they got too many second chance shots and a couple crazy turnovers.
In Game 2, we all agreed in the huddle that in the third quarter they were playing harder than us. We just went out and picked up our defensive intensity. Thatís how we got back into the flow of it despite Tamika Whitmore doing all she could to keep them in the game. Shoot, she couldnít miss. I donít care how we tried to guard her, she could not miss. She played well but just couldnít get them over the top.
Waiting for this series against Connecticut has affected us a little bit. At this point we just want to play. I know Iím ready and I know everybody else is ready because thatís all theyíre talking about. Thursday is game day, which is definitely a good thing.
Weíve been preparing for Connecticut as if Katie Douglas is going to play. Even if she is out, our defense is still going to be the same as itís been the last few meetings. Theyíre a great team, but itís still a huge loss for them. Her ability to shoot the three ball is what I think theyíll miss most, but Iím sure theyíre going to adjust. They have great players that can come off the bench and shoot it too. Theyíre still going to offensive rebound and do the other things that they do well. We just have to adjust to that and not give them any second shots or turnovers.
Offensively we have a lot of options out on the floor. Everybody on the team can score, but it starts with defense first, then the offense will come. When Ruth and I are down there in the boxes along with Swin, if they come and trap us, we have to throw it back out to our guards. Itís a team thing. We just have to share the ball.
Swin is coming back into her own right now after that knee injury. She is doing the things that I saw Swin do back in my first year in 2003. She has definitely turned her game up a lot in the playoffs.
Everybody right now on the team is playing so well from top to bottom. The bench is coming in and giving us some good minutes, so I donít think we should change anything. We just need to go out and play our game. And why not? Itís been working.
I guess it just comes down to that fact that everybody is always more comfortable at home. You have your fans behind you 100 percent. It almost seems as if you play harder at home and you focus that much more, though of course weíre playing just as hard on the road. You can probably point to the fact too that theyíre a good team and weíre a good team, and sometimes thatís just the way things work out. Weíll have to see what happens once we get on the court.
Weíre going to need all 12 players, from top to bottom, if we are going to advance to the next round. In trying to plan for them, you have to realize that T Whit is always playing well and hard, so then you look and try to see who else we have to contain. Really, we canít let anyone go off on us. We know our defensive assignments and we have to go out there and do it.
One of our keys is always rebounding. When I first started in the league, I wasnít a go to player as far as scoring. So like my mom and dad always told me growing up, I had to do something else. Rebounding is just what came next.
Coach is always pushing us, saying that we have to get all the defensive rebounds, that we canít let teams get second shots. We have to do the little things. If we see a loose ball on the floor, we have to be the first ones to get on it. Thatís true against Indiana as well.
Iím ready to go. All that stuff we did in the regular season, itís a whole new ballgame. We know we either need to win or go home. If we go out and play hard for 40 minutes, it will be a great series. When we come out playing hard from the beginning, we always have a great game.
Ford says the Shock are in Playoffs mode already.|
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
That along with limiting our turnovers and keeping teams off the offensive glass will be key for us when the playoffs start. As a team, weíre sharing the ball. Thatís the most important thing. Nobody cares who scores what. If somebody has the hot hand one night, we continue to feed them. We all just want to win.
Weíll see if we can continue our good play against Seattle Tuesday night. I definitely think theyíre going to come out emotional and play hard right from the start, especially since we beat them at their place a couple of weeks ago and because they are trying to set themselves up for the playoffs too.
I expect us to see some different looks from them. Last game, we worked to take away Lauren Jackson and not let her hurt us too much in the post. So I am sure they are going to come up with something different. We talked about it in practice and know that it will be a real tough game.
As well as weíve been playing, Connecticut has been playing better than us. When we lost to New York, Coach told us that Connecticut was playing like a championship team and we werenít. We know Connecticut is a great team. Can we get to their level? I think so.