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Postgame Quotes/Notes - Houston 52, Storm 47

Houston (20-11) 52, Storm (16-15) 47
August 19, 2003

STORM COACH ANNE DONOVAN:

On the key to the game:
I think the 14 second-chance points hurt us tonight. I think 15 free throws hurt us tonight, more than the turnovers did. We didn't get to the foul line and we put them on the foul line. We fought well and played well tonight and we are going to carry it to San Antonio tomorrow. Our zone really did good things. We didn't allow second shots within the zone and they struggled against the zone, but we couldn't put the ball in the hole. I've got confidence we are going to knock down the shots we get. Lauren (Jackson) is getting double- and triple-teamed and getting a lot of contact, so it's hard for her to score. We've got three games here we need to take care of. There are definitely positives in this game. We need to put it all together.

On Sue Bird’s last shot:
I would have preferred for her to stop and take the three-pointer. I don't think she realized how open she was. I think her thought is (and we preach all the time), get to the foul line, get to the foul line at the end of a game, so I'm sure that's what was going through her head at the end of the game. She had no idea how open she was

FORWARD LAUREN JACKSON:

Obviously we played better tonight than we had been playing, so that's a step in the right direction. We've just got to move on. The good thing is we can still make the playoffs. We played really hard and fought back. We've got a lot of heart and a lot of courage on our team.

On the Storm’s defense and overall play:
We are a good defensive team. We've just been a little lazy in the last couple of games, so we've just got to pick it up from here. We've just got to move on and win tomorrow night. We had a chance to win and we want to win for each other. It'll all come together, I'm sure. We love each other too much and care for each other as a team too much to let it all slip away like this.

On the frustration of losing a close game:
It's the same for us and it's a really good sign for us. We needed to do something different. We almost got there … but that's OK. We're fine.

GUARD SUE BIRD:

On the last shot of the game:
I should have shot it. I knew we were down three. It's not like I wasn't aware of that. I had a split second to shoot it and I should have, but instead I tried to get fouled. I took it in the trees and that's not really what you should do. I tried to get to the hole and create something. Just tried to get it up on the rim. I just wanted to get it in there and be physical. Make the refs have to make the call. She (Michelle Snow) blocked it. We still could have gotten it. I realize now that I definitely should have shot it.

On the frustration of losing a close game:
It's frustrating regardless. Frustrated is a bad word. It pretty much sucks to lose. It's not something I recommend. These are must win games for us. We could be sitting pretty in second place right now if we had won our last four games, or had the opportunity to. So it's just very disappointing but it's not over. You've just got to keep telling yourself that. It's not over.

On the Storm’s playoff chances:
I'm not even sure what the standings are. I don't let myself look. Other teams have to lose, so let's put a little pressure on them. Let's win our next three games. We've got to take it one game at a time obviously, but let's see what happens. I'm not going to give up.

COMETS COACH VAN CHANCELLOR:

On the game:
That just absolutely, positively takes the pressure off. We now at least can't do any worse than a tie for second with all the tiebreakers. We own them over Seattle and Minnesota and we only have three games left and we're four games up on Seattle; I'm just running it through my head. I'm going to tell you something, I don't believe I've ever been any prouder of a basketball team than I was tonight. I said it, I don't believe in excuses and I wasn't going to use it as long as we got beat, but what we've been through is a bear. It's just unbelievable to be up there (NY), fly up there and think you're going to play on Thursday (8/14-game postponed due to blackout), you don't sleep any that night, get here at 9:00 and play L.A. the next day, then turn around and go back to New York.

On Houston’s defense:
To come in here and win and give up only 47 points, it's unbelievable. Unbelievable. I'm really proud of our team. I think Tina Thompson's one of the most underrated post players in our game, defensively. Nobody gives her credit. I thought she did a tremendous job on one of the all-time great players in this country (Jackson), especially in the second half. I thought Janeth (Arcain) and Dominique (Canty) did a wonderful job on Sue Bird; I can't tell you what a bear she is to play.

Big-time block by Snowmobile (Snow), but think about it … 31 percent, 1-for-7 from the 3s, got out-rebounded by eight and won a game. What a game. I thought second chance points, we finally got more than somebody else. We had 14 tonight...I thought we were really outstanding on that end. I thought that's where we won the game, easy rebounds. We haven't won a game in seven years on the offensive boards. This is a history-making game for us. For all those purists out there that say, 'Oh, God, how did you sit through that? That was an ugly game.', I thought it was one of the prettiest games I've ever seen. Free throws down the stretch...big. We've just been through so much this year...we've been 6-7, we've had a blackout, we've had every bad break you can have, and we finished second in the toughest conference. So, yeah, I'm happy.

On playing the final regular season game in the Compaq Center:
I don't really want to talk about that, because you'll make me cry. I'm really sad because it's been a special place for us. I love it here. I'll be excited about going to the new arena when we get there. I've been here seven years, we've got four banners (WNBA championships) up there, and my grandchildren have been raised out on that floor. Compaq Center is a wonderful place for me … I've got a lot of great memories here. I remember watching my first professional playoff game when the Rockets beat the Timberwolves, then came back and played Utah and being in the dressing room with Clyde (Drexler), Dream (Hakeem Olajuwon), (Charles) Barkley. For a country boy, that's a special time and then to have four banners, and it's where I met Kim Perrot. It's just a lot of wonderful memories for me here.

FORWARD SHERYL SWOOPES:

On the game:
Coach said it best: 'We've won this game with a lot of heart and determination.' We knew we weren't shooting the ball very well. Defensively, I thought we did well, not letting Lauren go off with 30 (points) and not letting Sue do what she does best. It is hard; everybody on this team is exhausted. It boiled down to a lot of heart, fight, determination and wanting it a little more than they did.

On the Comets first-half play:
The first half, nothing was falling for me, for Tina, for no one, really. I felt like I had to come back in the second half and be a lot more aggressive than I was in the first half. Not just settle in what they were giving me and really try to take advantage of any mismatches we had and just try to hit the open player.

CENTER MICHELLE SNOW:

On her late block:
Coach said to play off of Simone (Edwards) and try and zone the middle and don't give up anything … try and help out my teammates. It just worked out.

On clinching a playoff spot:
I don't think we were ever under pressure. I think it was just us continuing to play hard. Tonight we played hard and came back and continued to play hard for 40 minutes. Our team came out on top.

GUARD UKARI FIGGS:

On the game:
It's always nice to come back home and get some energy from your fans and pick up a win.

On the Comets offensive difficulties:
When your legs are gone, you are going to miss shots. That is something you kind of have to accept. Sometimes your shots aren't going to fall. Luckily we didn't hang our heads and let them make baskets on the other end. I think we toughed it out, played good defense and were able to hold them to low-shooting percentages as well. So, whenever we are not shooting well, it's good that we are able to pick our defense up.

Notes:

  • With the win, the Comets clinched a playoff spot and at least second place in the Western Conference, meaning Houston will have home-court advantage in at least the first round of the 2003 WNBA Playoffs. The Comets are now chasing the Los Angeles Sparks for first place in the Western Conference. Houston is currently 20-11 overall, while the Sparks stand at 21-10.
  • With the win, the Comets have clinched the best home record in the 2003 WNBA season at 14-3. No other team can win more than 13 games at home this season. This helps Houston maintain the best overall home record over the seven-year existence of the WNBA. The Comets all-time record at Compaq Center now stands at 90-19 overall for an .826 winning percentage.
  • With the win, the Comets also avoided the first three-game losing streak in franchise history. Houston lost to the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday, 64-63, and fell 67-64 in New York on Monday. It was the third time this season the Comets avoided such a streak. They also lost two games in a row on May 30 and June 1 against Connecticut (91-83) and at Minnesota (68-64 OT), respectively. They also lost two games in a row on June 6 and 7 at Charlotte (69-58) and at Connecticut (65-58), respectively.
  • With 12 rebounds against the Storm, Michelle Snow is now four rebounds away from setting the Comets single-season record for rebounds. Snow now has 242 total rebounds. Tina Thompson set the record with 245 rebounds in the 2000 season.
  • Houston's 52 points in the win were the fewest the team has scored in a win this season, and the third-fewest points they have scored in a win in franchise history. Houston's lowest point total in a win this year came in a 60-56 win against Indiana on July 8. Twice in franchise history, Houston has won a game in which it scored 51 total points: 51-50 against Minnesota on 6/15/02 and 51-46 at Minnesota on 7/23/01.
  • Both Janeth Arcain and Michelle Snow set season highs in steals. Arcain had four steals, while Snow swiped three. Arcain's previous season high of three steals had happened four times, most recently on Aug. 16 against Los Angeles. This was the third time this season Snow has notched three steals, with the most recent coming on June 28 against San Antonio.
  • Houston tied a season low by connecting on just 18 field goal attempts. The Comets also drained 18 shots on June 14 at Phoenix. Houston also tied a season low with one 3-point field goal. It was the seventh time this season Houston drained just one trey.
  • The Comets five assists were the fewest by the team this season. Their previous season low of seven assists came on June 24 against Los Angeles.
  • The Storm tied season opponent lows in both field goals (20-of-57) and free throw percentage (.400, 4-of-10). It was the third time this season a Comets opponent connected on 20 field goals, most recently happening on Aug. 10 against Phoenix (20-of-55). It was the second time this season a Comets opponent hit 40 percent of its free throws. Sacramento (6-of-15) also did it on Aug. 5 at Compaq Center. For the Storm, 47 points was a season low. Previously, Seattle’s season low was 50 at Phoenix on 8/15.
  • Lauren Jackson's 15 rebounds were the second most by a Comets opponent this season. Only Tari Phillips (16 rebounds) hauled down more boards against the Comets on July 26 against New York. Jackson’s double-double (16 points, 15 rebounds) was her ninth in ten games, and extended her streak of games with 10 points or more to an even 50.
  • Sue Bird’s five assists made her the first player in Storm history to record 200 assists in a season. Bird joins Sacramento’s Ticha Penicheiro (four times) and New York’s Teresa Weatherspoon (three times) as the only WNBA players ever to record 200 assists in a season.
  • The Storm held an impressive 40-32 advantage in rebounds, losing for just the third time this season when holding a lead on the boards (11-3).
  • This was the last regular-season basketball game at Compaq Center. The Comets will play at Toyota Center beginning with the 2004 season.