Playoff Quotes, Game 1: Storm 82, Mercury 74
MERCURY HEAD COACH COREY GAINES: “Tough shooting night for us. We couldn’t score. They’re a great defensive team. It was one of those nights."
(On Diana Taurasi)
"Last time I saw this from Diana was in 2007 – I think it was a game in Detroit. Next game she came out and had thirty-something. I’m not worried about it. It’s gone, it’s over. She doesn’t have any more of those. It happens..”
MERCURY GUARD DIANA TAURASI: “It was a difficult game. We battled through some tough moments, but we didn’t get things done to win the game. Sometimes you end up on the short end.
(On her struggles)
I couldn’t make a shot. I never blame the defense on missing shots. I had some really good looks, which I usually knock down, but tonight they didn’t go down. Hopefully on Sunday I can get it together a little bit."
(On what they need to do differently next game)
"We did a lot of good things tonight. But we need to take care of the ball a bit more. Offensively we need to move the ball more. Defensively we did a lot of good things – we just have to play a little bit harder."
(On the crowd)
"I’ve played against worse crowds. I’ve played a lot of basketball in a lot worse arenas than this."
MERCURY FORWARD CANDICE DUPREE: “The early deficit was hard, but I thought we fought back well. We just couldn’t capitalize. There were a lot of shots that we normally knock down that didn’t go in for us. Overall I thought we were active on defense – a lot of energy and intensity. Now we have to take it back to Phoenix and get this ‘W’."
(On what they need to do for Sunday’s game 2)
"Make shots. I think we need to run more. First half we didn’t run hardly at all and second half, we did a little more. We need to be more aggressive attacking the basket. We did that a little bit in the first half, but we weren’t necessarily getting calls so we kind of went away from it. As long as we’re aggressive, we should be fine."
(On defending Lauren Jackson)
"She’s a great player. We try as much as possible to not help off of her, but with that you get screens set on you. We tried our best to help Tan (Smith) out when she’s guarding her, but she’s a great player."
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
“It was just a hard fought game. I thought we played the way we need to in terms of the pace of the game. I don’t think either team was happy with what they did offensively. They’re an excellent offensive team – they can score, they have tremendous talent, they’re well organized and they can be real slippery out there."
(On their zone)
"We just had to get better ball movement, play both sides of the floor, reverse it. They put a lot of size out there and take things away. But we have to find out what we can get. It’s like anything, the defense is going to take things away from you, but they’re also going to give you something. It’s a puzzle and you have to figure it out."
(On bench play)
"Svetlana (Abrosimova) just came in and gave us a great boost. She hit some shots. She was aggressive, got some key rebounds. Le’Coe (Willingham) came in hit a big shot, got some big boards. For whatever reason she can’t get things going her way with the calls, but she plays hard and gives us some great minutes."
(On Lauren Jackson)
"I think Lauren got us off to that start with her presence inside, catching the ball, finishing. She didn’t score in the first three or four minutes of the game, but from the middle of the first quarter on into the second she was really doing some damage inside. She had a chance to hit some threes; we got her on a flare screen one time. She was feeling it. Obviously everyone got tired. I think both teams were tired out there. Some people lost their legs and when that goes, sometimes your offense goes. Incredible work on the boards (for Lauren). Just her presence around the basket defensively impacted and altered a lot of things they had going down there."
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD: “It was a very tough game. We came out on top and that’s the goal. So were happy about that, but we know that game two is going to be even more difficult. Phoenix is a very tough team to play against. You never know what’s going to happen. We’ll just have to see how things go in Phoenix."
(On defense against Phoenix)
"We have a lot of things that we do defensively, as you guys know who’ve followed us, so defense is where we get going. Our teams thrives on it, we depend on it. That was our game plan going in. We knew that we had to be on task. It’s what works for us. And for us we like to change things. We have a lot of versatility on the defensive end. We can switch, we can defend different looks. We just tried to keep them guessing as much as possible."
(On the bench play)
"It’s been key for us all season. In order to go all the way you need that. You have to have a deep bench, people who can come in the game and change the game. I think we have that with Svetlana and Le’Coe. The minute they came in the game it just changed the momentum. They hit some shots, they got some stops defensively and we were able to build on that. It’s good. They bring something different and you need that..”