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Detroit Shock Media Availability: Oct. 5

Bill Laimbeer - Detroit Shock Head Coach

Okay. Well, man, this is what we thought was going to happen when we started the season. You know, we had a good team. We knew we had a good team. It was a matter of going out there and executing, staying healthy, which we couldn't do over the year. But we knew we had players. We knew we had heart. And we knew we had a mind set that, we are the best team, and we had a bad taste in our mouth from last year.

If you look at our season as a whole, the adversity that we went through, from Cheryl Ford starting the year with no practice time on a half a knee, to Powell going out for 20 games with a foot injury; losing Cheryl for the whole season, multiple suspensions, trades, rookies, the whole package, you wouldn't have thought that we would have been in this position. But we did. And that's all that matters is the players and the coaches that go to battle every game; we knew we would be there.

I gave San Antonio all the credit in the world for getting out of the Western Conference. They played hard their first time here and I think that showed a little bit. We were able to turn it up, and we knew that we suspected that San Antonio couldn't, and I think that was the key to our success is we took our game to another level in The Finals, and I think they continued to play at the same pace that they had before.

Going into The Finals, we fully expected to play Los Angeles. We had prepared all year long to play Los Angeles. We thought that they could turn it up, and it would have been one knock down, drag out series. But we got thrown through the loop and got San Antonio. Didn't know what to expect from them in many ways. But we played our game. We played who we are, and that was enough to get it done.

I congratulate Katie Smith. I don't give her all the credit that she deserves throughout the course of the year, and she really showed it. I do want to say in my opening statement, that the Detroit Shock is a great basketball team and we have great players. And does it grind on us that sometimes we don't get the individual accolades that some of our players may deserve? Yeah, it does a little bit, we'll be honest.

But you know, we take that in stride and that's a little bit of motivation because the most important thing is that trophy that we hold up at the end. I mean, Deanna Nolan is a magnificent guard, might be the best guard in the league because of her all around game offensively and defensively. Katie Smith should be the defensive Player of the Year and could guard Lisa Leslie if she has to. Hornbuckle, you saw tonight why we drafted Hornbuckle. Great presence. For her not to make the all rookie team as a leader in steals throughout the year, we don't understand. However, we do understand that at the end of the season, we hold that trophy up, and that's the motivating factor for all of us. And I think we indoctrinated Hornbuckle great this year on what it's like to be a Shock. I think Taj came to this team, and while we have a reputation around the league, teams are intrigued by us, threatened by us, scared of us, pick any of the above, Taj will tell you that we work damn hard for everything we get and we are one damn smart basketball team and she enjoys playing here.

Having said that, what do you want to know? Go ahead oh, one last thing. I have the best staff in the league. I have Cheryl Reeve and Rick Mahorn, they have won championships. They have been The Finals three years in a row. I leave a large section of the practice to them. I don't even participate in the practice. I sit over on the side, dribble, run and chew gum. They are in charge of our defense. They do a magnificent job, both in their own right are deserving of every opportunity in the future for whatever their future holds. There was an article written this week about, you know, my future. I mean, I don't know. I'm in the moment and I enjoy coaching and sometimes I feel like I'm in the way of those two, because they are deserving of getting a job of leading the Detroit Shock with somebody else, and it's their turn.

So now, what's your question?

Q: Tweety didn't have her best game offensively, what do you say about the rest of the team?
Bill Laimbeer: Deanna Nolan was not her best series. The last one was her series, this one was not. She just didn't feel it. Deanna Nolan is bionic, she can play forever, but sometimes she gets a little bit tired.

This was Katie Smith's series and Deanna Nolan while she gets forced to taking shots, they didn't go in and that's why her shooting percentage was low; she plays great defense consistently all the time and she passed well tonight. And she's a decoy sometimes. Smith played great. Taj played great. Kara came around in the second half. When Deanna Nolan is not going, we have great players, also.

Q: As of right now, what do you think you're going to do next year? Yourself, personally.
BL: Personally, you know, I'll sit down I like doing what I'm doing. Like I said, I feel like I'm in the way a little bit of my two assistants. It's becoming their time, and it bothers me.

But at the same time, I enjoy doing what I'm doing. Last year was brutal. Last year we lost a tough game to Phoenix and it was discouraging and we lost the Championship. I thought about, you know, moving on. At some point I'll move on. I don't necessarily think it's right now. But I don't know. You know, I'll spend a couple of weeks. I want to go down to Florida and launch a boat. And I'm going to go up and get in the woods and sit in a tree stand and look for deer and think about a lot of stuff and what I want to do.

Q: What's it like, I know this year you had to play a lot of games away from the Palace, playing games here and all that, does that add an extra level of difficulty when preparing for The Finals?
BL:No. It was our floor and our rims, our baskets. To play someplace else, okay, it happens. We understand that. It's not the best situation, but we understand it.

And we'll make the most of it. The game is played between the lines. Now today, I thought we had a lot of fans in there that had never been a part of this before. They came from this region, this area. That's great. If we can spread it around, that's it's better for our league. Our players, it doesn't bother them a bit. They are focused on who they are and what they do and how they play basketball, not what building they are in.

Thank you.


Katie Smith - Detroit Shock Guard

Q: Finals MVP, 2008 Championship, Gold Medal, has it been a good year for you this year?
Katie Smith: I mean, it's been okay. (Laughter) It's been fun. It's just been a lot of fun. And you know what being MVP, Tweet, we just trade things off. It's fun to play with her. And Taj, she carried us through a lot this year, a lot of games, especially the series against New York.

The MVP goes to all of us. Taj, the reason why we are here is her. She gave us huge minutes with Plenette being out, that was big. And it's fun to play here in Detroit and fun to play with these guys, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

I'm going to take this year and go back home and relax and not do anything else for a while.

Q: Would you just talk a little bit about the will of this team, no matter how things looked in the first half, there was always this feeling that you guys would come back and take care of business?
KS: We have a lot of competitors and fight in this team, and it starts from top to bottom. You see it with Bill, you see him on the sideline; he's playing the game. That's why he brought us all here and why he has us is we are here to compete. We don't go out there just to play. We go out there to win. We are pretty good at grinding things out, just like she said. It was not a pretty first half, and we were that close and we knew if we could get a couple of things to go right and get a little bit of a spurt, we knew we could do that.

Q: Can you talk about that run you guys went on, the end of the third going into the fourth, brought you from one down to 16 up?
KS: Yeah, going into the third quarter we were up four that was huge, we obviously won that quarter and flip flopped it and got up four. We knew, all right, ten minutes, that's what it boiled down to.

I thought we ran more and got a couple easy buckets, and Taj attacked. We got to the free throw line a little bit, but I think our defense picked up and it allowed us to get out a little bit, and we got a couple easier looks and we obviously gave ourselves a little cushion.


Deanna Nolan - Detroit Shock Guard

Q: Would you just talk a little bit about the will of this team, no matter how things looked in the first half, there was always this feeling that you guys would come back and take care of business?
Deanna Nolan: As bad as we played in the first half with the turnovers, the fouls, the calls, you name it, we were only down four points.

It's one of those games to where we started off, they jumped us; okay, we came back into the game. We were missing shots. We were not making the shots we normally make. But at the same time, we knew down the stretch, we had to hit those shots, get to the basket and get to the free throw line and we did that in the second half and we were able to pull it off.


Taj McWilliams-Franklin - Detroit Shock Forward

Q: Can you talk about what itís like winning the WNBA Championship?
Taj McWilliams-Franklin: It's amazing being here and being part of this group. From the day I came in, they were about winning the title. Coach [Bill] Laimbeer told me thatís what I was here to help them do, nothing more and nothing less. We came through and itís amazing. Iím just happy to be here with these girls and be part of this.

Q: How was your role different in these Finals as opposed to with Connecticut?
TMF: In 2003 and Ď04 I was pretty much watching people and playing off them. Here they were like, ďTaj, we need you to shoot the jumper and we need you to be aggressive.Ē Thatís all itís about, knowing that you are wanted and needed. Itís just a different feeling maturity wise


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