YPSILANTI, Mich., Oct. 5, 2008 -- Different venue, same story. Though the 2008 WNBA Finals shifted from the heat of central Texas to the autumn cool of southeastern Michigan, the song remained largely the same on the court.
The Silver Stars, down 0-2 after consecutive setbacks at home, came out strong on Sunday at Eastern Michigan University's Convocation Center, holding a six-point lead late in the first half.
But the three-time reigning Eastern Conference champs got it done in the second half, riding Katie Smith's 18 points and six rebounds to a 76-60 win. Smith was named the Finals Most Valuable Player.
But enough of the layperson's analysis. Let's get the goods from the experts. We spoke with several WNBA stars after the game to get their takes on what happened.
Tina Thompson, Houston Comets forward
Detroit's defense was the key again tonight. All season long, their defense has been just stellar. And it was just as big in this series it controlled everything that they did.
Katie Smith hit some really, really big shots. But beyond that, I think they wanted it more and they played that way.
San Antonio didn't show up the way they hoped they would during the Finals, obviously, but for them, it was about more than just being here. Obviously it wasn't the best experience for them, but they were here against a team that's been here four of the last six years. The Silver Stars simply don't have that experience yet. But this will help them looking forward. They have a great team and great chemistry, and something tells me they'll be back. This is something they can build on.
Candice Dupree, Chicago Sky forward
Detroit came out a little sluggish in the first half. But in the second half, they stuck it to 'em. They obviously wanted to get them in three games and they were able to do it.
Detroit came out more aggressively in the second half and one through five, they have so many talented players. They came at San Antonio from every position on the floor and that's tough to guard.
And I think this is the kind of team that will be successful again next year. They have a very good core. With Bill (Laimbeer) coaching them, I don't see why they can't get another one next year.
Lindsey Harding, Minnesota Lynx guard
Well, it was a pretty tight first half, but Detroit kept sticking with what got them here. They did a great job of attacking and a couple of players came on down the stretch and hit a couple of big buckets.
Yeah, Taj is a veteran player, Katie is a veteran player but there's no reason to think they're not the team to beat once again. They're gonna be back.