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WNBA Finals - Detroit Practice Quotes, September 7, 2007

Deanna Nolan

On strategy for Game Two:
Nolan:
"Really just being more adjusted and being more on the help side on offensive plays that involve [Penny] Taylor. Everything else is pretty much the same - just being a little bit more defensive minded and helping a little bit more on [Penny] Taylor. The game plan is still the same, we're still going to play the rover defensive, pound the ball inside, and if they make adjustments we'll make adjustments."

On the pace of Game Two:
Nolan:
"A little bit of both. As you can see, sometimes the fast break works for us and sometimes we needed to slow it down and then pick it back up. We're going to play in the pace of the game and do what works for us."

On Cappie Pondexter in Game One:
Nolan
: "She made great shots - there were hands in her face. We need to pick her up higher and jam her more at the half court so she won't be as involved in the open court - limit it to half court at least so we can get help."

On Phoenix's defense and her shot selection:
Nolan:
"I think that they are playing a little bit more helpful on me, or being more aware of where I am, and that's fine because it gives other people more opportunities to get off and get open and get more involved in the game. You know, I pick and choose my shots - I'm not just going to catch and shoot, I'm going to pick and choose my shots with my teammates."

On Game One:
Nolan:
"I really kind of didn't get into the flow because I had to sit down pretty early because of foul trouble, but you know, I was able to get back in it. I was able to be more aware of where I am and what I do."

On the team's depth:
Nolan:
"We have guards and we have posts and they are going to come up and provide and play hard."

Bill Laimbeer

On Katie Smith:
Laimbeer:
"She's one of the most hard-nosed defenders you're going to find in the game and she doesn't get credit for her defense. She'll guard positions one through four and is a very physical defender and she competes. That's what she's done her whole life. She's been a scorer and made big shots and win games, timely shots to stop runs. Even though she may miss two or three shots, she's still going to shoot the big shot. She's not afraid to do it."

On Detroit's execution in Game One:
Laimbeer:
"We always watch the film, both offensively and defensively. We made a lot of mistakes, both offensively and defensively, but also, I think we've exploited some of their weaknesses and got some timely baskets."

On Detroit's physical play:
Laimbeer
: "I don't think we're overly physical. We just play the game the way it's supposed to be played. We happen to be big and strong. We can't help that. Some people can't handle that. Oh well."

On two days off:
Laimbeer
: "Yeah, we needed two days off. Three games in four days. We're banged up in a couple of places. It's been a long season. We really grinded it out. These two days have really been a good rest for us."

On Deanna Nolan's scoring against Phoenix:
Laimbeer:
"I think part of it is how they play. They play the zone, which limits any penetration or limits direct plays we normally run for her, so she'll get less shots. Plus, against their zone, we prefer to go inside so our bigs will probably get more scoring opportunities than normal."

On his team:
Laimbeer:
"I think in the first game or two, the first few practices, I realized how hard they play, how competitive they are , how physical they can be in getting out there and competing, and that's what I like. I like the competition and how they go out there and go after it."

Plenette Pierson

On preparing for Game 2:
Pierson:
"We're focusing on cleaning up our mistakes, our turnovers, our lack of focus on defense on some possessions, getting more rebounds - that's really all we're focusing on."

On Game 1:
Pierson:
"We knew it was going to be a battle and we knew it was going to be a high scoring game and we knew we were going to have to play defense on some great players and we got the job done. We won by 8 and we hadn't scored 100 points but one time this season, so to score that much in a playoff game is great, its great for the WNBA and it's great for us - just to let them know that we're not only a banging team, but we can score too."

On her role in Game 2:
Pierson:
"I'm going to do whatever I can do to help the team win, that's what I'm going to do. If my jumper and my shots are falling tomorrow, then so be it. If its not then I'll just play the same defense that I've been playing all year."

Kara Braxton

On Game One:
Braxton:
"Like I said, we have to learn how to deal with everybody, you have to learn everybody's personality. Everybody knows it's the Finals and that we're uptight, but you have to let really negative stuff go in one ear and out the other. I came in, and it is the Finals, and I had some turnovers or whatever, but like I said I pick up off my teammates, I listen to what everybody says to me and I went back in and tried to do whatever I could for the team, to stay focused, to listen, and keep playing."

On TV commentators:
Braxton:
"I just like to hear what the commentators say, I don't care about watching me score, but I want to hear what they say, because it's always something - they say I'm inconsistent so I like to hear what they say so I can say something to them when they're here."

On the Shock's reputation:
Braxton:
"You know, we are not offended but it's kind of one sided - the commentators and everything. On wnba.com they call us the Beast of the East and they call them the Best of the West. Why do we have to be beasts? But we pride ourselves on doing what we do, we like to play physical, that's what we do. They call us bullies - we'll take all of that."

More on the Shock's reputation:
Braxton:
"You know it, they call them the bad boys of the NBA, and we are the Bad Girls. It's kind of cute, we love it. We take the title and we go as far as we can go with it. It's gotten us pretty far so we are going to keep it."

On her game:
Braxton
: "It's in the back of my mind - I don't care what happened in the regular season, all I have to say is that we're in the Finals - I have to step it up. I am glad that I played the way I played, but they are going to come at us hard and we know the stuff that we're going to do. We have a man down, but she'll probably be in the next game, or the day after that, we don't know, but we know how we have to play, and we're ready."

Cheryl Ford

On who decides whether she plays:
Ford:
"It is my decision. The trainer made her decision a couple of days ago, but I made mine at game time."

On if she was surprised by the game's outcome:
Ford
: "No, I think that they did what they were supposed to do-- they knew I was out and they just kept their game up."

On her expectations for the next game:
Ford
: "I'm sure they have some adjustments they are going to make and we do too."

Katie Smith

On Game One:
Smith:
"I'm glad we won. I thing we did some things really well, but I also think that there are some things that we can clean up, whether it's transition defense, turning the basketball over, knocking down shots. I thought we came out with pretty good energy. I don't think we started the game very well, but I think that there are a lot of little things, after watching the game film, that can be cleaned up and help us be more efficient."

On two days of rest:
Smith:
"We haven't had a day off here in a minute [prior to this week]. The first two rounds were pretty tight so it was nice to have a second to breathe and recoup. We could just get in today and start focusing. It isn't like us or Phoenix has to pull up everything that we do, it's just minor things and do the things that you were doing a little bit better. I don't see Phoenix coming in here changing major things or being a different team that what they already are. They'll tweak some things and we'll do the same but similar things are going to happen. I just hope to play better defense."

On Phoenix's run-and-gun style of play:
Smith:
"I don't mind it. We're scoring and stopping them. If we could rebound and not turn the basketball, and give ourselves chances to run, I think we can be efficient with that and hurt them and also understand when you have good shots on the break and when you don't and not to just take shots just to take them."

On the importance of winning Game Two:
Smith:
"Not really looking past it. I'm just really looking to take it by these 40 minutes and see how well we can play in these 40 minutes. If we win it, we still have one more game to go. It's not by any means over. If we lose it, its one-one and we have another game, you go out there and go to work. So, we're really just focusing on tomorrow and we'll see what happens."

Swin Cash

On playing in pain:
Cash:
"It can be really bad. I guess it comes down to how much pain you can deal with. You get pain going down your leg and you get pain from your back. I've just been able to deal with it. I've been blessed in that regard where it hasn't put me on the bench, but there are scary moments because you don't want it to flare up to the point where you can't get out and move. I'm not going to make any excuses. If I am going to play, I'm going to be out there and give 110 percent."

For her and other banged up teammates, how important was it to rest on Thursday:
Cash:
"It was very important. I was so happy because I needed to just rest. Mamma cooked some good southern food for us last night. Some of the players came over to get a bite to eat. That's what you need sometimes is some time away to let your body rejuvenate itself. For Cheryl, it is very important because we need her back."

On being able to win Game One without Cheryl Ford in the lineup:
Cash:
"It was a big confidence boost for us and for Katie and some of the other bigs to have to go in there and play, but at the same time, Cheryl is eager to get back out there on the court. We can win a game or two without Cheryl, but I'm hoping to win the series with her back in our lineup helping us."

How confident is her team after winning Game One:
Cash:
"We're very confident, especially winning that game without Cheryl. Plenette Pierson and Kara Braxton played awesome games. They have to be very happy with their performances in that game. If we continue to do what we do best - defend, attack the glass, be aggressive and rebound the basketball - we should continue to be successful on Saturday."

On being able to run with Phoenix:
Cash:
"Can you imagine that? We were still pounding the ball inside, but we were able to run too. It all comes down to Phoenix getting a lot more shots, so it's going to give you more possessions, and we were able to score with those extra possessions."

On importance of winning Game Two on Saturday:
Cash:
"It's very important because if we win all of our home games, we will be WNBA Champions, and that's what we set out to do all season long."

Shannon Johnson

On this being closest she's been in WNBA career to a Championship:
Johnson:
"It's a great feeling. It's the main reason why I came to Detroit and I'm just excited about it. It's a very good opportunity for me. There's not another reason why I came to Detroit."

On cutting back her role from a starter with previous teams to a Shock reserve:
Johnson:
"I knew that coming in. Bill asked me before I even got here if it would be a problem playing five to 15 minutes. He asked me in the beginning and told me that if it was going to be a problem that they would look elsewhere. He told me that I could make an impact coming off the bench, and that's exactly what I have been trying to do. It's all about getting the ring. That's the reason why I came here. The opportunity is here now, so I'm going to try to take advantage of it."

On the confidence level after Game One:
Johnson
: "We're very confident, but we also know that Phoenix is not going to lay down. They are going to work hard to get back into this series. They are going to try to take one from us here, and our job is to stay focused and try to get the win on Saturday."

On getting some rest with a day off on Thursday:
Johnson:
"We needed it. Phoenix finished their series early, so they were home waiting to see who was going to win the East. We had to go three games with Indiana. The good thing about having the day off was just getting the chance to get away from basketball for a second, knowing in the back of our heads that we still have a job to do."

On ability to run with Phoenix:
Johnson: "They are a very good offensive team and they can put the ball in the hole better than most teams. We already know Cappie, Diana and Penny are going to score, but we have to go out there and run right back at them. We have to try to get them in foul trouble and try to get them uncomfortable with the things that they are doing. If we go out and just play hard and run hard, we're confident that we can win. That's what we were able to do on Wednesday."

Curtis Granderson, Detroit Tigers

On the WNBA and his love of basketball:
Granderson: "I'm excited that the WNBA is expanding not only here in the states but talking to players about how they can play overseas. The game is definitely global. Basketball itself is definitely a great game, in terms of favorite teams I have to show support for the Shock, and early on the Liberty. But I'm just getting into it and learning more. I'm just very supportive of all the sports in general in the city of Detroit and basketball because back where I went to school, at UIC, I went to a lot of men's and women's games, and in high school as well."

On his basketball game:
Granderson:
"I love to play - I want to get back out. My one dream if I could have anything would have been to play Division I college basketball - all I wanted to do. Not even to get to the NBA just the excitement of getting out there in front of your college fans, the turn, the run, there's always going to be an upset. I love that side of it."

On supporting the Shock:
Granderson: "Well, our schedule is kind of tough, we conflict a lot - for example for Saturday's game, we'd love to get a chance to get out here, but the game starts at 3:30, and that's normally when we're getting to the ball park so that didn't work out. But that's why this (coming out to practice) worked out so well - it's definitely a great substitute to get a chance to interact with a lot of them, especially during a crucial time. I'm definitely glad to get a chance to be here with them."

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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