Head Coach Lin Dunn
COACH LIN DUNN: I thought it was a great game. We were expecting a super effort from Phoenix after we were able to steal a game out there.
I just thought our players did a magnificent job down the stretch in crunch time of getting stops when we need them and I thought our defense stepped up and we got some key rebounds. But, you know, we're happy to be in this situation, we know we're one step closer to our goal.
And I can't say enough about the crowd. I thought the last three minutes of the game, when the game was on the line and everybody was standing and screaming, it was awesome, it was wonderful. It gave our players a little extra boost of energy down the stretch. So I want to say thank you to the fans and I would like to see them all back Wednesday night for the championship game.
Q. Coach, they have so many weapons, they had one possession with a chance to win the game. What did you say during that time out as far as a defensive strategy?
COACH LIN DUNN: We had a foul to give, we were prepared to take it but we wanted to be careful that they didn't just catch the ball and sling it and now we've give 'em a three point three shots. So it was get a stop, switch, after the ball comes in, switch if there is a good screen, keep 'em in front of ya, you know, play great defense and I thought our players rose to the occasion there.
The other thing I thought that was the key to the game was our ability to hold them to 17% from the 3 point line, That is a key for them. They need to shoot threes in order to win, and I thought our effort to run them off the 3 point line was a great effort tonight.
Q. Coach, where does this game rank for you?
COACH LIN DUNN: Well, I mean, I've been a part of a lot of games. When you've been coaching for 39 years there have been awesome games in your career, but I don't know that I've been in a series like this where every game we've played with them this is the third game, has been so hard fought, two warriors out there battling each other back and forth, back and forth. So as far as that type of atmosphere, I have never been in anything like this has been.
Q. Talk about the last couple minutes of the third quarter when Briann January got you going.
COACH LIN DUNN: Well, we were down I think five or six and we put Briann in and she stepped up and maybe scored six or eight straight points. But the bench as a whole really helped us, Jessica Moore gave us points, Tamecka Dixon, Briann January, so that boost that Briann gave us was key. I thought the momentum they had the momentum and the lead and when she came in and hit her shots. It swung back and I don't think we gave up the momentum from that point on.
She sure didn't look like a rookie, did she?
Q. Coach, you said about two months ago in order for the Fever to play at a very high level, you needed Ebony Hoffman to play at a very high level, and it looks like you're pretty prophetic in that regard. Could you elaborate on everything she's done and say anything about the condition of her shoulder?
COACH LIN DUNN: Ebony has played at the highest level of her career I've ever seen her play during the series. Tonight she was 6 for 7, hit that big shot in the corner. I think her shoulder popped out but we were able to get it back in and she was able to finish the game. She has been key for us. But the fact that we're getting points every game we've had either four or five players in double figures. That's really been good for us. And Ebony has been in double figures in all three games.
Q. Lin, Katie Douglas does it lots of little things, tonight she had seven assists. When she isn't shooting well she is doing other things on the floor. Talk about Katie.
COACH LIN DUNN: She was 1 for 5 in the half and 5 or 9 in the second half, so she shot much better in the second half. Katie is a deceptive defender. Some of our players are different type defenders and she does a lot of great things for us, but what she did for us. She hit some big shots in the second half. She guarded Taylor, Diana Taurasi, Pondexter. We were constantly rotating different people because we were struggling with Pondexter. Tonight she was the handful, the other night it was Penny Taylor and tonight I thought we made an adjustment and started just trapping Cappie and said "give it up" because somebody else has to take a shot, and she was so effective.
Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas
Q. Tamika, can you describe what happened in that penultimate play of the game? You came down with the rebound. Looked like you were trying to call time out.
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Yes, I did. One of the things [we discussed] in the time out was coming back out just off a rebound or whatever, just calling time out when we got the rebound because if you get the rebound and you dribble, you can't advance the ball. So I got the rebound looking around for a referee try to call time out, but Nicole [Ohlde] got there and I guess they felt like her hands were on the ball. So he had he called a jump ball. But it doesn't matter because we won, thank God!
Q. Either of you can answer this: What were you looking for most on that last play from a defensive standpoint? What were you expecting them to do?
KATIE DOUGLAS: I mean they have so many play makers out there with Cappie [Pondexter], Penny [Taylor], Diana [Taurasi]. We talked, Coach Dunn definitely told us some plays that she felt like they could run but, you know, I don't think that it was that play that we talked about. We thought it was going to be something else. I think we did a great job but we had one foul to give, and it's so hard to foul in that one moment because they're such great players at this level. They can throw it up and be in the act of shooting.
We talked about plays but, again, they're great players. So we really relied on our defense and communicating with one another and talking, you know, when you couldn't see what's behind you.
Q. In the last three WNBA Finals the winner of Game 3 has twice lost the series, what do you have to do to be sure that doesn't happen?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: I think the biggest thing is staying focused. We have to come out tomorrow we're not going to have a day off, we're going to come in and start looking at Wednesday, and everybody has to stay focussed and we have to stay hungry. That's the biggest thing, I think a lot of teams get content especially when you go up 2 1, they get a little down, but we have to stay on our toes and keep them on their heels.
And Diana and Cappie had great games, and next game we have to do a better job of using team defense, using Tammy Sutton Brown. Jessica Davenport was the X factor the last game in Phoenix, so we have to get her back in there and I think that will be the biggest difference.
Q. Katie, Coach Gaines brought up the technical, can you describe what happened there? And can you address the crowd of this size and how it affected your game?
KATIE DOUGLAS: First, I want to talk about the crowd. They were phenomenal, I think Conseco Fieldhouse has been longing for this energy and this excitement in the building, so to be a part of it is very, very special. Again for myself, everybody knows by now that I'm from here. To be a part of this team and hear the fans and the support that we are gaining from this community, the intensity and the atmosphere was phenomenal, nothing short, probably the biggest stage thus far that I've played in, and I think Wednesday is going to be even better and bigger. So I credit Indianapolis and the fans for being our sixth man and really being there to support us.
Regarding the technical, I think it was just organized chaos. I don't know what happened. I really don't know. It was just kinda I told her I didn't think it was intentional but it's whatever the refs see. I don't complain, I keep moving. The refs are always right in my book.
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Oh yeah? Okay, not always, not in my book!
KATIE DOUGLAS: Everybody like that? Get that on record.
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: So when y'all see her complaining...
KATIE DOUGLAS: Tell me, Catch, the refs are always right.
Q. Ladies, a run by you guys at the end of the halftime, Tamika with a steal, down six, Tully [Bevilaqua] hit the three, she takes the charge from Diana [Taurasi]. Diana just knocked down a three also. And going into the end of the third quarter and Briann [January] with that little run of hers scoring 10 points, what does that mean to you, to your team when things like that happen?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: It's huge, everybody just the confidence we have among each other and playing with whoever is on the court, our bench is phenomenal, you look out there and times we make a play on the court, and you see the bench, the excitement that stems from them carries over on to the court and vice versa.
Bri has been amazing. We talked about how much she's grown from the beginning of the season, going through the regular season into the playoff, we talked about how unbelievable she was in the Washington series and the things she did in the Detroit series, and now we're here in the Phoenix series and she is doing even more than she did before. And for us it's definitely great to see her she's a rookie but she definitely doesn't play like a rookie and it's exciting for us to see that.
Just the best thing for me and my years being here is the balance that we have as a team. And knowing that even if we're having an off night shooting, there are other people that step up. Ebony stepped up and hit that shot, y'all don't know how many years she has been practicing that shot. And for her to finally come around and we were talking about how she ended the regular season, oh, she's in a slump, this, that, but playoffs, she stepped up her game and she's done such big things especially in the Phoenix series, playing unbelievable, out of her mind and that's awesome for both of us to see that, especially with the hard work she has put in in the previous years.
Q. What's your thought going into Wednesday evening?
KATIE DOUGLAS: My thought? Catch said it best, we're going to stay on our toes, not relax. Phoenix is a previous WNBA champion, so they're going to come in extremely hungry, not wanting to let this series be over. So we've got to come in with an enormous amount of energy and effort and concentration. I think that at times we could have done a better job concentrating, communicating, and really playing Fever basketball. We had a lot of breakdowns, so we will get back to the grind tomorrow, no day off, there is no time for that. And just, you know, be ready and be prepared.
I think that's kinda been our philosophy, we're going to continue what we've went doing all season long and be ready on Wednesday.
Q: On the closeness of the series
Hoffman: All three games have been nail biters Ė itís just the type of series it is. All the games are coming down to the last minute, last shot, last possession. Winning today proves the grit and toughness of our team. We need to get better defending on the pick and roll defense.
Q: On her injury at the end of the game
Hoffman: My shoulder just popped out and went back in, Iím double-jointed. Itís just going to hurt. We knew they were going to try and get the ball to one of their big three [Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter and Penny Taylor]. We talked at the time out that a switch out would need to be made to make them get a tough shot. Itís especially tough to stop Cappie and Diana. It is a great series. I think we have converted some first-time fans to addicts.
Q: On the comparison from these playoffs and the NCAA tournament
January: Itís obviously a lot like the NCAA tournament, win to play the next day. [There is] the same hype, leaving everything on the court. As a team we are coming together. We are making each other better.
Q: On the Feverís run at the end of the third quarter
January: We had a little 10-point run at the end of the third quarter. My teammates are giving me a ton of confidence right now. We had an amazing crowd tonight and we have had a crowd with us the whole season. It is something that we have fed off.
Head Coach Corey Gaines
COACH COREY GAINES: Good game to watch on TV. Haven't seen a tape yet on our technical, which I will watch. I don't how we got it, why it was called. Haven't seen the tape yet, so I can't really answer that. I would comment on it but I haven't seen it, so I don't know what happened. All I know is that Diana went to the hole, went for the layup, she was on the ground, I'm screaming, "get back on defense," she gets up and sprints, technical was called. One point is a big thing in this game. One point is a big thing. We missed some shots down the stretch, they hit one, we missed ours. That's the game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Coach, seems like from the start you guys wanted to give them more aggressive points in the paint and more rebounds, was that the game plan going in?
COACH COREY GAINES: It's been the game plan the whole time.
Q. Coach, talk about the 13 2 at the end of the third quarter. You're up by seven with a couple minutes to go.
COACH COREY GAINES: Did not finish the quarter strong, went to the hole, didn't go hard enough. Got to get to that free throw line; 12 times is not enough. Can't make free throws if I'm not on the free throw line.
Q. Coach, January had another great game against you guys. Second great game in a row now. Why is she giving you guys problems?
COACH COREY GAINES: She is getting open shots, she's driving to the basket, she's hitting some shots and getting to the free throw line.
Q. Corey, what do you think you need to do to get Diana Taurasi on track?
COACH COREY GAINES: Oh, trying to get her more open shots and try to get her to the free throw line.
Q. Can you talk about what was drawn up there on the final play?
COACH COREY GAINES: The play was for Penny Taylor to get a down pick from Tangela, Cappie takes the ball out of bounds, Kelly Mazzante is in the corner, D is in the corner to draw the defense. As Penny is coming up to get the ball she is mysteriously bumped off her line to get the ball. She goes up to get the ball, she can't get it. The ball by the grace of God falls into Tangela's hands, and the play was set for Penny to get the ball, turn and face and go to the basket.
Haven't seen a tape on that yet either. So I can't really I'm going on memory.
Q. Coach, Coach Dunn talked about the crowd, how it affected her players. How does it affect the visiting team with the roar of 15,000 plus people?
COACH COREY GAINES: They've been playing with that their whole life, shouldn't affect them at all. It's just a crowd. I'm pretty sure they've played before bigger crowds before. They played in the Olympics, the WNBA Championship, they've played in college championships, so it shouldn't affect them at all.
Q. Coach, apart from getting to the free throw line, do you have any thoughts of what it is you need to do in Game 4 in order to take that game?
COACH COREY GAINES: We've got to make open shots. We've got to make open shots. If we have open shots, we've got to make them, and it's my job to get them open even more to take those shots. So I take responsibility for that. I'll have them in a better position to get them more open shots.
Q. So you feel like they're getting open shots but they're not falling?
COACH COREY GAINES: No, I have to get them more open shots. I'll take the blame for that.
Q. You have Game 4 on Wednesday, how do you get prepared for that game and put this one past you? Obviously a tough loss.
COACH COREY GAINES: I stood there for about three minutes, didn't say a word. Then I said to them, "It's one game, and I need to get back home. We need to get back home." And I said, "In order for us to get back home, we need to win one game." I said, "You get us back home, that's all we need. Get us back home. You get that one game for me, for us, we'll will be all right. Get me that one game. Get us that one game. We'll be fine." I have a short memory. Game's over, you can't change it now.
Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter
Q. Diana, got to start by asking you about the technical, what happened there?
DIANA TAURASI: I was laying on the floor, I got up to run down the court, and my head, as I was coming up, she was coming this way, and, you know, we collided.
Q. Did you get the T for that or for the reaction?
KATIE DOUGLAS: He said I elbowed her, which you clearly watched the replay, I don't think there was an elbow thrown. She did mess up my bun though, so she should get a technical for that.
Q. What were you guys trying to get on that last shot?
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: It was designed for Penny. I think I overthrew the pass and it ended up in Tangela's hand, and Tangela got a decent look and Ebony blocked the shot, but we had numerous chances to get a good looking shot. We didn't execute. Sometimes that happens.
Q. Cappie, you had a great game offensively, except you missed a couple shots late. Tell us what happened in the last few minutes.
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: Thank you for reminding me, I appreciate that. Like I said before, I got a couple good looks toward the end of the game. You know, sometimes I hit, sometimes I don't, it happens. But we had a lot of chances, you know, to make the shot but it didn't happen.
You know, got to move on now. Got Game 4 Wednesday and that's the most important thing right now.
Q. You know, they seem to have been much more effective in this game in blocking the three point shot. Is there something they're doing on you that's creating that problem or is it a matter of the shot is not falling?
DIANA TAURASI: Sometimes you can go up and shoot it the same way, and it sometimes just doesn't go in. I don't know personally how many wide open shots I got and you just can't knock them down, and that's something you have to do, especially at this stage of the series, of the game. If you don't knock down those open shots, they come down and Ebony does hit it and the game's over. I had a couple, Cap had a couple we just got to knock them down.
Q. Penny gave them trouble in the first two games and they seemed to have better containment there, is she still suffering from that lacerated lip?
DIANA TAURASI: No, she's fine, she's 100%, they're a big team, they are physical and they get you out of your sets, and they did a good job of that and we're going to have to try to find a way to counteract that in the next game.
Q. Diana you talked about missing shots but also they went on a 12 2 run to end the third quarter, on a run to start the game. Talk about the defense and how your team needs to react to that.
DIANA TAURASI: I think for the most part we did a good job containing penetration, which had been hurting us, but in crucial moments we didn't get stops, which is something we need to do, something we're going to have to concentrate on.
Q. Can you talk about the importance to you of getting back home and what it is you feel you need to do in order to get there?
DIANA TAURASI: Well, for one we have to come out and play at a level that we haven't played at so far in these Finals and we know we can. That's what got us here.
I think we have to do some things on both ends of the basketball court to give us more opportunities, easier opportunities and that stems from getting stops, getting the rebound, and getting back to the way we play a little bit. If we do that I think we'll be okay.
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: You want me to answer that?
It's tough to say. Game 3 is probably the hardest we fought out of this whole series and it's tough when you lose like that. So I think now it's mental more than anything. Game 4, I think we have to be stronger mentally. And I think the rest will take care of itself. We battled today, we really did on both ends of the floor and it sucks when you lose by one point with a hard fought game like that.
DIANA TAURASI: Lose by a head butt, check that out.
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: We're going to go out fighting, we're not going to lay down easy in Game 4 for sure.
Q: You had a playoff career high in points tonight. What was the key to your success?
Willingham: I knew I had to be aggressive tonight. One of the keys for us tonight was to establish an inside post presence. We knew we had to play inside-out. We wanted to make them guard us and work hard on both ends of the floor.
Q: Obviously Briann January was huge for Indiana tonight, and for the entire series. Why has she been so successful?
Willingham: She attacked the basket. I think she was the biggest key for them tonight. Especially in that key run they had [in the fourth quarter]. From then on it was a back and forth game, but during that run she was instrumental for them. She really attacked the basket.
Q: Back and forth game, and it comes down to the last shot. You've been in those situations before, but what goes through your mind?
Willingham: I am calm because we have been in these situations before. To be honest we got three good looks, they just didn't fall for us. You can't ask for anything better than those looks we got at the end. We just have to knock them down.
Q: Do-or-die on Wednesday night. What's it going to take to come back strong in Game 4?
Willingham: We can't cry about this game now. Everything we put out here tonight. We need a better start. We can't have those mental breakdowns.
Q: You had a nice stretch in the second quarter, scoring six points. Was the key to the game for you to stay aggressive?
Ohlde: Definitely. My success was because I went to the basket aggressively. We spread the floor so much, so when we move the ball it allows me to see little opportunities for myself where I can attack and score.
Q: Your team held the advantage on the glass. Was that another result of the team remaining aggressive throughout the game?
Ohlde: Yes. Again, our emphasis was to be aggressive and spread the floor. They are such a great defensive team that if we could keep it spread we knew we'd able to sneak in there a bit better. We had our opportunities; we just didn't capitalize on them.
Q: Two evenly matched teams, what's the key on Wednesday?
Ohlde: To stay aggressive and it's all going to be about fight. Obviously, the crowd is going to be there. They're going to be pumped up to finish it at home. Our main goal right now is to get back to Phoenix.
Q: What's going through your mind that last possession?
Ohlde: We were trying to will that last shot in. I think that's what everyone was trying to do.
Q: Cappie and Diana have been huge for you all season, but talk about their games tonight...
Ohlde: Yeah Cappie took over. I don't know what her final stat line was, but that's something that she's done all year. We know what they're going to bring to the court. We know that, and we know they're going to bring that on Wednesday as well."