Find out what Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault
had to say as he prepared for the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Shock:
Are you ready to play?
"We’re ready to play. We have had a long week off, it helped us in some ways to get caught up health-wise, but we’re anxious to play. We had a couple days of practice and it will be fun, this is a fun time of year for everybody."
You are 0-4 against the Shock during the regular season, do you take a different approach or just have your team play better? How are you going to go about it?
"You probably have to approach a couple things differently. We didn’t play very well against them early. We played a lot of our games against them early in the season and I think we are a better team now then we were earlier in the season. We’ve played good basketball the last month and I am sure Detroit is smart enough to know that we are not the same team that they played against earlier in the year.
"I think when you start with Detroit the thing you have to talk about every time is transition. You have to get back. They run the ball up the floor. They are as athletic and as quick as any team in the league, you have to block out, and they are the leading offensive rebounding team in the league."
Can you talk about the importance of Taj McWilliams-Franklin's play in a series like this?
"I think it is important, whether she guards [Cheryl] Fordor [Ruth] Riley or whoever, she needs to negate them and make them take tough shots. We need to use her to go back at them, we need to get the scoring from our post players that we got down the stretch. She and Wendy [Palmer] and Jessie [Hicks] got us points in the paint and we need that to get a balanced offense."
When you approach a series and you approach a team, do you try to change a little bit of what you do and just try to do the things you do already better against them?
"You have to be better. One of the biggest emphases that we have had is the last month is execution of our half-court offense, not turning the ball over in transition. One of the things that I don’t think we did a good job of when we played them before is that they were considered mismatches against us, but we need to take care of some of the advantages we have. I don’t think we exploited some of those as well against them as we could have. You learn about a team and we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and I think we’ll do a better job at going at them and making them work a little harder on the defensive end too."
Seeing that a number of your players have never made it to this point in their career, do you get a sense that this team wants to seize the moment?
"I see that. We are in a position that they have worked very hard to get to. These opportunities don’t always come. You don’t know when you are going to get back to this position, so I think they understand that this is a moment that they can go get. There is no preordained champion in this league right now and it is out there for whoever wants to go out and get it and there has been a real sense of purpose about them for a while now."