Dan Hughes - San Antonio Silver Stars Head Coach
Q: What are your thoughts the day before Game 1?
Dan Hughes: Well, like I told the team before, I think we knew in the back of our minds a couple of things. I think we knew L.A. would be a team weíd have to go through at some point and that Detroit would be a team that weíd have to go through at this point. Theyíve been the best team in the East and weíve been the best team in the West, and thatís just the way things work out, and the way the probably should be to be honest with you. Detroit is a very good basketball team. The addition of Taj McWilliams-Franklin was a pivotal move. Sheís a player that makes them a better basketball team in many ways.
Q: How much do your two wins versus Detroit this season come into play in the Finals?
DH: They donít. Iím not going to go overboard with those two games because I donít think they will be a real measure of how this gameís going to be. Iíll take a look at it to get a feel for it, but I think itís much more relevant to watch their series thus far, and thatís where Iíve spent most of my time.
Q: How significant is this game?
DH: Well, I think thereís no denying that theyíve been here and been successful here. But weíre kind of building an understanding that thereís a uniqueness to every game. We were supposed to win various games along the way where we were favored. Thereís a simple reality Ė if we played well, we won, and if we didnít we got beat. Thatís the equity of this league. I think thereís going to be a uniqueness to this experience as well.
Q: Have you seen the focus out of the team that youíve wanted to see in the short time thatís elapsed since Game 3 of the Conference Finals versus Los Angeles?
DH: Oh yeah. I mean if youíve been around this team, you really understand that we donít sit around and talk about what we want to do. Their hearts have always been about winning a championship. Itís not something that we put bravado to, but their actions have always spoken to that.
Ann Wauters - San Antonio Silver Stars Center
Q: What is it like to play for Dan Hughes?
Ann Wauters: Itís been a great season. For me, to come back to the WNBA, it was all about the challenges. Now that we are in the Finals, this has been great. Heís a great coach. Heís a great leader. He can put everyone on the same page. I think thatís the key to our success.
Q: How did playing in the Russian championship help prepare you for this?
AW: I think the best players in the WNBA play in Russia, so itís becoming a hard league as well. It always gives you more experience as a basketball player. We had a lot of tough games over there so it helps when we come here and have to play tough games.Ē
Q: What do you think of your matchup with Taj McWilliams-Franklin?
AW: Taj has a lot of experience and force. She reads the game well and is a very smart player. She really helps Detroit to be a better defensive team. Itís going to be a good matchup.
Q: How has your game opened things up for Sophia Young?
AW: I think sheís a great player. I can give her some space as well because Iím a low block player and she can attack. We work very well together and I think thatís going to be very important in this series.
Becky Hammon - San Antonio Silver Stars Guard
Q: How are you feeling right now?
Becky Hammon: We worked extremely hard during the regular season to get this home court advantage and now we just want it to pay dividends. We know itís not going to be an easy game, nothing is easy at this point. For us, we were going to have to go through LA and Detroit which is probably the three best teams in the league in my opinion you can throw Seattle in there on any given day. Nothing is easy we have to work, but overall just excited for the moment and excited for the chance to win the championship.
Q: How long did you allow yourself to celebrate Game 3 before turning around and focusing on the first game of the Finals?
BH: About a day. We enjoyed it that night and maybe partially through last night and then once we started watching that Detroit /New York game obviously our tension starting shifting. So, about midday yesterday I know I started really seriously thinking about the next opponent.
Q: You guys are favored to win this series with the best record, but how much does the heat turn up now that you are here?
BH: Itís funny because I think there are different people that have had different takes on us. Some people didnít even pick us to win the playoffs, they didnít pick us to come out of the West so we shouldnít really feel any pressure because people are shocked. Weíre not shocked. I think people that have seen this team on a day-in day-out basis arenít shocked. We are here and we have a very good team and great players and thatís what we are going to ride into this series thatís what got us here. Of course we are going to make some adjustments and be prepared, but itís got to be about us.
Erin Buescher - San Antonio Silver Stars Forward
Q: Can you talk about what you expect from the Finals?
Erin Buescher: I think it is going to be a great series. We have two great basketball teams. You have the No. 1 seed from the East against the No. 1 from the West and thatís always a great thing. Itís just good basketball, great teams great players so it should be fun.
Q: How is this different from when you were in Sacramento?
EB: I have a different role on this team than when I was in Sacramento. Every role obviously has its place and its importance on the team, but itís nice to be able to be out on the court a little bit more.
Q: How has adding Ann Wauters helped you out?
EB: Itís been an incredible help. Obviously sheís one of the best post players in the world. I mean sheís got just incredible hands and agility for being so tall and she has just such a great attitude. Sheís such a great teammate Ė you couldnít ask for a better teammate. I just think itís a privilege to be able to play with her.
Q: Who were you guys rooting for last night?
EB: I wasnít really rooting for either team, to be honest.
Q: Whatís the biggest key to the series?
EB: I would just say whoís going to be able to defend. Both sides have people who can score and itís going to be who can stop, who can make some defensive stops and that also means transition defense is going to be a key.
Ruth Riley - San Antonio Silver Stars Center
Q: Youíre playing against your former team. What are the thoughts that go through your mind there?
Ruth Riley: Well, theyíre a great team. Theyíve established that in the East. This is their third consecutive trip to the Finals and they obviously won two championships while I was there.
Q: What are some of the memories that you had with the Shock?
RR: I learned a lot from my time there. A lot of the core players are the same, and I learned a lot from Bill (Laimbeer) as a coach. Any time you win two championships in four years as a player you definitely carry away some memories. This is a new season for me, though, and I love the team that Iím on here. Iím just living in the moment here in San Antonio.
Q: What is different between Detroit and your role with the Silver Stars?
RR: There are two different styles played with these two teams. Thatís something that you see between the East and West. But Detroit is very good at their half-court execution. Theyíll get out in transition, no doubt, but theyíre very good at executing. Their guards, Katie Smith and Deanna Nolan, are two of the best in the league. We have a good team here too, though. I think out post players, Sophia Young and Ann Wauters, are a great tandem and obviously Becky Hammon has shown what she can do in the playoffs as well.
Q: What are some of the reasons that San Antonio can win this title?
RR: Weíre unselfish. Coach has always talked about our defense from day one and everything we do on the court has to stem from our defense. Youíre going to see that it will be a great defensive battle out here on both ends of the floor. The versatility of our players is an asset as well. We have a lot of young, quick players who can do a lot and create plays for themselves.
Sophia Young - San Antonio Silver Stars Forward
Q: Are you excited about being in the Finals?
Sophia Young: Obviously, itís exciting to be in the Finals for the first time, but Iím still looking at it as any other game.
Q: How good does it feel to have home court advantage?
SY: I think our team has played tremendously all season. Weíve worked hard to get the home court advantage. It has helped us out in each series, and hopefully it will help us in this one as well. I love the fans and I love playing in this arena. I think our team has a great chemistry here and itís just a completely different atmosphere.
Q: Have the veterans talked to the team or given you all advice yet?
SY: No, not yet. Maybe they will tomorrow. They havenít really sat down with us to talk about it yet. Yesterday we were off and today is our first day back, so they havenít been able to get us all together. Iím sure theyíll gather us around tomorrow morning at shooting practice and talk to us about what it will take to win. Becky Hammon and Vickie Johnson are leaders and theyíre definitely going to help us out.Ē
Q: Are you happy to have that final Game 3 behind you?
SY: Although it was a good series against Los Angeles Sparks, itís over. Detroit is a completely different team and you have to have a completely different approach to this team.
Vickie Johnson - San Antonio Silver Stars Guard
Q: What do you have to say to the fans?
Vickie Johnson: Just please come out and support us tomorrow to help us get this first game, because the first game is a key game.
Q: What do you do to prepare for a game?
VJ: Sleep [laughs]! We just finished three games in four days, so right now the key for us is to get mentally ready for the Finals and just be ready get out there and play.
Q: How do you guys match up against Detroit?
VJ: We have a lot of Championship experienceóIíve been to the Finals four timesÖhavenít won, but been thereÖ.Becky has been to the Finals three times, Erinís been a number of times and Sophia won a Championship in college. I think itís all the same. We match up very well with them and they match up very well with us. I think it is going to come down to the team that makes the least mistakes, has the best defense and gets the most rebounds.
Q: Sophia is a young player in the league--what are you going to say to her going into the Finals?
VJ: In my opinion, this is the best experience-- this is what weíve worked so hard for all season, practicing every day. The opportunity to play in the Finals is a dream for us. All the little nagging injuries really donít matter right now. The only thing that matters now is winning the first game and taking it one game at a time.
Q: How do you feel about being back in the Finals?
VJ: I am very excited to have this opportunity and to have Becky, Ann and Sophia here with me. Hopefully we can do it. Itís important that we focus on each and every game and tomorrowís game is key for us. Just because we are at home, it doesnít mean that we are going to win. We have to speak to the game plan and play our style of basketball- thatís just defense, rebound and attacking the transition.