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WNBA Finals - Mercury Practice Quotes, September 15, 2007

Cappie Pondexter

What would a title mean to you?:
Pondexter:
"It would mean the world. It is something that I have been working to get for my whole basketball career. It would be the first one, so it would mean a lot."

What have you learned through four tough games?:
Pondexter:
"It is not going to be easy. Every possession is going to be a battle. If you want to win, you have to pay the price and give it all you have."

Do you feel any special excitement going into Game Five?:
Pondexter
: "When I think about it, wow, I am in a moment that very few players get to be in. I just want to take advantage of it."

Are there points in the game that you think about it?:
Pondexter
: "In the last game, I was thinking about not being eliminated. I am guessing that this time around, I will be thinking about having a ring on my finger next year."

Is it better to think about being eliminated for motivation?:
Pondexter:
"It gives you an edge, knowing that your backs are against the wall and you have to fight. But in Game Five, it will be the same thing because you’re fighting to get this ring, which is something that you worked hard for all year."

Kelly Mazzante

On the team’s level of confidence:
Mazzante
: "How can you not be confident? Its Game Five, it’s for the whole championship. We didn’t really play how were capable of the last two games, but the fact that we still got a win and have a chance to win this thing is a good feeling."

On learning from the first four games:
Mazzante:
"We just know if we play the type of basketball we’re capable of playing we can beat them. Even not playing the best that we can, each game we’ve had an opportunity to win, so we’re excited and hopefully we’re due to shoot better."

On the series going to Game Five:
Mazzante:
"Yeah like coach said, there’s really no home court advantage now, especially in our minds. We beat them here, they beat us at home – it’s going to come down to just who makes more plays."

On playing in a Game Five:
Mazzante:
"We’re definitely going to leave everything on the court and I think both team’s All-Stars are going to show up and its going to be a great game to watch. I don’t think we think of it as one last game – this is an opportunity to win a championship and be the first team to win a championship on another team’s home court. We have a lot of motivation and a lot of excitement and we’re ready to get going."

On expecting to be in this situation at the beginning of the season:
Mazzante:
"You never know what to expect. I mean everyone wants to be in this situation and we know it’s an opportunity that not too many people get, so it’s going to be a great game."

Paul Westhead, Head Coach

On being in a clinch game:
Westhead:
"I’m happy to be here. We needed to win Game Four in order to arrive, so I’m glad to be back in the Motor City. We’re just going to play our very best tomorrow and come to win."

On Detroit making adjustments for Game Five:
Westhead:
"It’s the fifth game and everyone knows each other and everyone makes some adjustments from game to game so I suspect that they’ll try to make an adjustment or two like we are."

On possibly being the first WNBA team to clinch on the road:
Westhead:
"I’m hopeful for our players that we can bring a championship back to Phoenix."

Diana Taurasi

On Game Five:
Taurasi
: "IIn games like this, I think teams that settle down and don’t think they have to do more to win. We just have to go out there and play good basketball like we have for the last month and a half. We don’t need any superman hero performances from anyone, we just have to go out there and take care of that task, which we’ve been doing."

On Game Four:
Taurasi:
"It was just a great win for us – a game where we didn’t necessarily play well, we weren’t shooting the ball well, but we did little things on the defensive side to stay in the game for 40 minutes, and then Superwoman over there took over –Cappie [Pondexter] at the end was just amazing and sometimes you do need an individual to put a team on their back and that’s what she did."

On winning the series:
Taurasi:
"I don’t think we have to do anything different, what we’ve been doing for the last four games has proven that we can play with them and the thing is that we look back on those four games and I don’t think that we’ve had one great performance as a group and I don’t think that we’ve played even close to as well as we can, and that’s obviously a tribute to Detroit and what a great team they are."

On the match-ups:
Taurasi:
"You definitely see the Matchups, it’s just one offensive possession you can see that it’s Katie [Smith] and I, it’s Deanna [Nolan] and Cappie [Pondexter], its Penny and Plenette [Pierson], Tangela [Smith] and Cheryl Ford, those are interesting matchups because each one is so different in what they bring to the table, and as a fan I can see that being a lot of fun to follow."

On The Shock in Game Five:
Taurasi:
"They should bring it, they’re at home, it’s game five, we’re just going to be happy to win a quarter tomorrow."

On Coach Westhead’s motivational style:
Taurasi:
"I mean, you get to this point and if you can’t motivate yourself…. Our coach isn’t a Vince Lombardi, hooray, lets go get them play their hearts out kind of guy. He’s like ‘its basketball, its something that you love to do, and something that I love to coach – so let’s go out there and play.'"

On The Mercury’s shooting through the series:
Taurasi:
"I mean, we haven’t shot well at all, I don’t think one game we shot over 40 percent I don’t think, but it’s the finals, you have to grind it out. No matter if it’s up and down half court you have to find a way to win and as long as you can do that I think you have a chance.'"

Kelly Miller

What would a championship mean to you?:
Miller:
"It would just be amazing. It is something that we have worked hard for all season. It is something that you dream about. It is the ultimate goal, so we are going to do whatever it takes to win."

On pace of play slowing down in Games Three and Four:
Miller:
"We need to run, and we haven’t been able to do that as much in the last couple of games. We have missed some easy shots, and that has made it difficult for us. It is important for us to be able to run. That is the way that we know how to play. It is probably the biggest key to tomorrow’s game. If we can get out and run, we’ll be OK. If we slow down to Detroit’s tempo, we’ll have to do other things, especially on defense, to pull out the win."

Penny Taylor

On playing in a Game Five:
Taylor:
"I mean, it’s huge. I think the fact that it’s gotten here is just evidence of the talent of both teams, we’re very evenly matched talent wise, and I think it’s going to be an all-out battle, like every other game has been thus far, and we’re looking forward to getting out there and playing.

On her shooting slump:
Taylor:
"It’s pretty simple – it’s just one game, and you forget about it. I have a bit of experience and I know that the only way to get out of it is to get out there and shoot the ball again – it never lasts."

On adjustments for Game Five:
Taylor:
"I think that we know from the four previous games what works and the times when we’ve been very successful defensively and offensively and we know what it takes to string up a complete 40 minutes together of that. It’s going to be running the ball for us, and being active in our zone and taking away their open looks.

On the Mercury’s emotions:
Taylor:
"Excitement, I think everybody is ready – we want to get out there and play. We don’t want to talk about it or think about it any more, we just want to get all the effort that we have pent up ready to go. I think everyone on our team is very competitive and we can’t wait to get it going."

Tangela Smith

On the team’s level of confidence:
Smith:
"We have a lot of confidence right now. We’re here in Game Five and right now and it’s anybody’s championship, so we just want to go out and play basketball basically – whatever we need to do to win this championship we gotta’ go out and do. But it definitely boosted our confidence up – that last win."

On learning from the first four games:
Smith:
"Just continue to do what we do. We need to rebound and run and they want to slow the game up and we want to push the game. They want to be physical and we just have to basically do what we need to do, because three of the four games were anybody’s game basically – and one was a blowout – but those other three were really anybody’s game."

On playing in a Game Five:
Smith:
"We’re going to leave it all out there on the floor, we’re going to play 110 percent and get down and dirty."

On how the Game Two victory in Detroit helps:
Smith
: "It helps us a lot, knowing that the last game we did play here was a blowout – but this is the finals – we know it’s going to be a great game from the beginning to the end. We’re not anticipating blowing anybody out or getting blown out, we just want to make it a great game and go in there and play aggressive. But those two games, the last one here and our last one at home, were definitely a confidence booster for us."


2 - Shock | Mercury - 3
Game 1: DET 108, PHO 100 | Box Score | Video
Game 2: PHO 98, DET 70 | Box Score | Video
Game 3: DET 88, PHO 83 | Box Score | Video
Game 4: PHO 77, DET 76 | Box Score | Video
Game 5: PHO 108, DET 92 | Box Score | Video
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