Phoenix Mercury Practice Quotes: Sept. 30

MERCURY HEAD COACH COREY GAINES

Q: On last nightís game.
Gaines: You know what if you donít like womenís basketball, this is a game youíd want to definitely see.

Q: When you guys were down by seven, you guys collectively responded can you talk about that moment?
Gaines: I think we were down by nine and I told myself itís only three possessions because we can get threes from anybody on the court. I told them, its only three possessions we just have to make a run.

Q: You guys did it as a team. Everybody hit big shots down the stretch everybody passed, everybody boxed out everybody rebounded
Gaines: Diana got a couple of key rebounds and DeWanna got a key rebound. They shot and we just had the court spread at the time when their defense was trying to play us to one side. I changed up a little bit and had the pick coming from a different angle so they couldnít point us to the baseline so D got free for that shot

MERCURY GUARD/FORWARD DIANA TAURASI

Q: Was that game as fun last night as it looked?
Taurasi: It was a great game. It really was. To come out on top feels really good, because both teams really did battle hard. It could have gone either way last night

Q: Are you surprised by the scoring output?
Taurasi: No, not really. Thatís what we do. We do that everyday. To us, thatís just another game. If anything, we were talking about this today, with the TV timeouts, we felt like we couldnít even get going. Every time weíd get a little pace, or a little run going, it was either a media timeout, or a stoppage in play. So, it was even harder to break a sweat last night.

Q: Did you have a moment last night where you just said to yourself ďWow this is really funĒ or were you just too wrapped up in it?
Taurasi: When youíre in the moment, you donít quite realize whatís going on. And then at the end of the game, you look up and itís 120-116, overtime game, the Finals. Itís pretty special. There was a lot of high level basketball played. I donít see any of these games really getting out of hand. Theyíre probably going to come down to one or two possessions. Thatís how consistent both teams have been all year.

Q: Late in the game, you came away with three defensive rebounds that really helped seal victory. Can you talk about your mindset there? Was that just the MVP of the league doing whatever it takes?
Taurasi: Thatís when you have to find ways to win the game. The rebounding part of things, when we get that done, weíre pretty good. Sometimes you just have to take it upon yourself to just go get it. Thatís what I did.

Q: Whatís the importance of winning Game 2?
Taurasi: Itís huge. You have to hold home court. Itís nice to say you have home court advantage, but if you donít protect it, they steal one tomorrow, they go home with the advantage.

MERCURY GUARD CAPPIE PONDEXTER

Q: People are saying this was one of the or possibility the greatest WNBA game in history. What are your thoughts on that?
Pondexter: I guess so. Itís hard to tell because you play in so many exciting games. Itís kind of hard to say if it was the best. To me in my mind playing against Houston to make the playoffs and going into triple overtime, that was the greatest game I have ever played in and have ever seen. I fouled out in the first overtime and had to watch the other two from the sidelines.

Q: You stepped it up in over time. Was that just realizing what they were giving you and you got to step up and be more aggressive?
Pondexter: Well I had the ball in my hands, all the opportunities that I was getting was from coach subbing me in at the point. I guess I kind of got it going in the second half.

Q: What are some of the plans to slow down Katie [Douglas] tomorrow night?
Pondexter: She is a great scorer. We knew that coming into the game, her and [Tamika] Catchings, they can put numbers up for sure. The important thing for us is to be more aggressive with her when we make our switches on the defensive end, and we need to take away her left hand.

Q: How big was it to get that first victory?
Catchings: The first half Penny [Taylor] was the aggressive one on the offensive end, and we wanted to keep feeding her the ball and let her do her thing. The second half I became more assertive offensively, I talked to Bridget and she said she needed me to be more aggressive. If Indiana would have gotten that win they would have secured home court, we wouldnít have had it any more, so we definitely needed it. It feels good but we want to take Game 2.

Q: Talking about Game 2, what are some of the keys to go up 2-0?
Pondexter: We need to be aggressive from the beginning. We need 40 minutes of intense basketball.

Q: What is it like being in the Finals the second time around?
Pondexter: The first time it was definitely exciting, but this time I am more excited for everyone else who hasnít had this experience. Getting a second championship would be a tremendous honor not only for me but for this organization and the city of Phoenix.

Q: What was the crowd like last night?
Pondexter: First I want to say thank you to Steve Kerr, for buying those tickets and giving them away for free. I think that was great. Secondly, I think our crowd was phenomenal, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime when we needed them.

MERCURY FORWARD PENNY TAYLOR

Q: Talk about the importance of the bench and their ability to score last night.
Taylor: We had a great effort from the full team last night. DB [Dewanna Bonner] coming off the bench and playing those crucial minutes down the stretch giving us that extra post player coming in and getting great rebounds, playing great defense and scoring crucial baskets. Ketia [Swainer] was really up tempo and pushing the ball and hit a huge three in the corner on one drive to the basket. So, really great points off the bench and thatís what we need when we are playing such a physical series like this will be.

Q: You had a lot of points at the beginning of the game, was it your strategy to come out fast?
Taylor: Thatís always my mindset in this sort of different position coming off the bench, just to try and come out and give the same energy that Cappie [Pondexter] and Diana [Taurasi] give and not to lose anything when Corey [Gaines] does make subs. I just stuck with the same thing and last night it really paid off for me.

Q: In 2007, you set the record with 32 points, is there any difference two years later?
Taylor: It the same mindset. Itís a little different. Iím coming off the bench now and not in that starting position. Itís exactly the same style of play. Coreyís philosophies are the same and I know what I need to do. I feel comfortable playing with the same teammates and added extra talent there. My mindset is just to do exactly the same thing Iíve always done for Corey.

MERCURY GUARD NICOLE OHLDE

Q: What are your feelings about being in the Finals?
Ohlde: Ecstatic! Definitely exciting before the first playoff win I had never won a playoff game before. Obviously itís been a long wait. Definitely excited about it.

Q: How is the wrist?
Ohlde: No problems. Just precautionary taping its up. Apparently we still have to do that.

Q: How does your size help the team coming off the bench?
Ohlde: I think it helps a lot. Just because itís obviously height. It canít hurt. It helps us especially when we are playing against a team who likes to pound it inside and has good players on the inside. Basically, it help rebounding, defense, bang them up a little bit if I can.

Q: What do you have to do to stop Ebony?
Ohlde: She was definitely on fire. She is someone who can play inside and outside. She is someone who we need to be conscious of. We have to know where she is at all times.

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