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Postgame Quotes/Notes - Storm 70, Sacramento 57

Storm (18-16) 70, Sacramento (19-15) 57
August 25, 2003

STORM COACH ANNE DONOVAN:

On how she’ll look at the season:
For me it’s been a very positive season, there’s a lot to look forward to.

Tonya Massaline came in and hit some big shots for us. When you look at that late free-agent pickup for us, that’s a tremendous pickup. That shows us a little bit about our bench. We had different people at different times step up for us. Tully (Bevilaqua) came in and gave us big minutes so everybody had a part in the win tonight.

On Lauren Jackson winning the scoring title:
There was never a doubt in my mind. It seemed to me it was a lock. She is a player who has worked hard every step of the way. She is one player who never takes a day off, never takes a day off in practice. When she sits out, she is truly hurt. She plays with a fire and passion whether it is a practice or a game. Everything that Lauren has accomplished, she has worked for. She has earned the respect, the MVP consideration because of the hard work she has done. It’s remarkable when you look at Lauren, you look at her numbers, you look at her on the floor, you look at her mindset and then you add 22 to that and it just doesn’t add up. How many 22-year-olds do you know that are that competitive, that dominating? I know in my career as a player and as a coach, I’ve not seen anybody like that. She is just light-years ahead of most people her age. And only to get better. Everyday she’s getting better, she’s striving, she’s working on her game. I can’t say enough for her work ethic and that’s what separates great players. When the camera is not on, when the jersey is not on and when they’re working on their own and Lauren has that. She’s hungry and she’ll only get better.

On Jackson’s MVP chances:
I really hope she does. Winning the last two games and finishing strong will help her. Losing five in a row hurt her, there’s no doubt. Finishing strong against two good teams with a lot of people hanging on her hopefully will help her.

On the type of player the Storm will be looking for this off-season:
I think we still need a veteran for this team to join in the mix, somewhere in the perimeter.

On winning the final two games without Kamila Vodichkova:
I think we finally adjusted to having the void with Kamila. It took us a while to figure that out. We had to play zone. Normally we’re man-to-man bread and butter all the time and now we played a lot more zone to compensate for not having Kamila. I think it was figuring out having to make do without.

FORWARD LAUREN JACKSON:

On the win:
It felt really good to beat them because I think they’re going to go on to win the championship. They’re a very good team and very rounded and I was really happy that we got the win.

On winning the scoring title:
It wasn’t that important. It’s just a scoring title but it’s kind of cool.

On her MVP candidacy:
It would be cool if I got it. It wasn’t one of my goals. My goal is to make the playoffs, obviously.

On the Storm’s home-court success:
It’s tough for other teams coming in to play here but it’s tough for us to play everywhere else.

GUARD SUE BIRD:

On the win:
Tonight we had a lot of fun. It’s easy to play that way when there is no pressure but at the same time we wanted to end on a good note. I think we played hard and we beat a good team. They’re my pick to be the WNBA champion. We feel as good as we can without going to the playoffs.

On winning the last two games:
We’re above .500 and we won our last two games so it makes a little bit easier, but at the same time we’ll be sitting home watching the playoffs and knowing we should be there. It’s bittersweet.

I think everyone needs to think about how they feel right now and how they felt after that five-game losing streak.

On Lauren Jackson:
It says a lot about Lauren that she can come in night in and night out and be double-teamed and triple-teamed and still drop 20. I think that’s pretty cool.

MONARCHS COACH JOHN WHISENANT:

On the game:
Obviously this isn’t the result we wanted. Our defense broke down. We gave up considerably more points in the second half than we’ve been giving up. It was a combination of them playing loose and free and our defense not playing well. We had an awful shooting night. Our mental preparation for the game wasn’t there, but we’re going to put it behind us. It wasn’t going to make any difference, other than in our minds, for the playoffs. We certainly would have preferred to have won and gone into the playoffs on a winning note.

On the Monarchs play:
We’re averaging 13 turnovers a game and we turned it over 19 times. We shot four free throws, which tells you you’re not very aggressive. We obviously had a poor night, but you have to give Seattle a lot of credit. Coach (Donovan) did a good job of making them play right through their last game.

On going into the playoffs on a losing note:
We have to put it behind us … it is behind us. I would have much preferred if we would have continued to play well. We’re struggling offensively and are just not sharp. Tonight as we got into the second half our defense started to break down and our offense had already been faltering. I’m going to clear their minds and we’re going to take a day off. I told them to forget who I am and forget that basketball is coming down the road … to just eat, sleep and rest. We’ll then have a couple of practices and see what we can do against Houston on Friday.

CENTER YOLANDA GRIFFITH:

On the game:
It meant a lot. We didn’t want to go out like this. We wanted to keep our winning streak going and we wanted to win tonight to prepare ourselves for the next game. We played a little flat and the shots just didn’t fall. We didn’t play aggressive defense like we are capable of playing. We have to get ready for the next game and that’s the playoffs.

On going into the playoffs with a loss:
The way we played just wasn’t good – that’s the bottom line. We can put it in the back of our minds now, but we just didn’t come out and put this team away. We knew they were going to be aggressive since it was their last game and they wanted to put on a show for their fans. But we’re in the playoffs so it’s a little step back, but we have to prepare for our next game.

On the game not meaning anything in the standings:
Well, if it did mean something, then we sure wouldn’t be in the playoffs. We just have to put this game aside and get ready for Houston. I’m glad this game didn’t mean anything, but it did in a way. We wanted to get 20 wins for the season and to tie Houston. We just need to not think about it and get ready.

On Jackson’s play:
Lauren came in and did an outstanding job for her team. Everybody didn’t play up to their ability on that team and if she doesn’t get MVP it’s because they didn’t make the playoffs. She carried her team, is a true leader for the Seattle Storm and I wish her well.

Notes:

  • This is the Storm’s second straight win. For Sacramento, the loss snaps a four-game winning streak and a two-game winning streak on the road. The Storm and Monarchs split this year’s season series, each team winning twice on its home court. The Storm finishes with 18 wins, the highest total in franchise history, and a 13-4 home record, both a franchise record and tied for second best in the WNBA (Houston 14-3). Sacramento had already clinched the third seed in the Western Conference and will take on the Houston Comets in the WNBA playoffs starting later this week.
  • This was the Storm’s 11th win this season by double-figures. The Storm finished the year second in the WNBA in team scoring differential at +3.3 points per game, trailing only the Detroit Shock (+4.6). The Monachs finished fourth in the league at +2.4 points per game.
  • Storm forward Lauren Jackson capped off her season with an 18-point, 9-rebound effort. Jackson scored double-figures in all 33 games she played this season and now has 53 straight games in double-figures, the third-longest streak in WNBA history behind Cynthia Cooper (92, 6/21/97-6/1/00) and Lisa Leslie (54, 6/17/00- 8/8/01). Jackson’s scoring total (698) is the second highest in WNBA history behind Katie Smith’s 739 points in 2001. With her performance, Jackson finished as the WNBA’s leading scorer with 21.2 points per game. She also finished fourth in the WNBA in rebounding with 9.3 rpg and third in the league in blocks with 1.94 bpg.
  • This game featured the league’s two leading assisters. Sacramento’s Ticha Penicheiro had seven assists and finishes with 229 on the season (6.7 apg). The Storm’s Sue Bird had eight assists, clinching second place in the WNBA with 221 assists (6.5 apg).
  • The Storm held a 28-25 lead at halftime, after replay determined that Yolanda Griffith’s first-half buzzer-beater was good. The Monarchs are 2-11 this season when trailing at the half. Both teams picked up their offense in the second half, with the Storm outscoring Sacramento 42-32. The Storm went on runs of 11-0 and 23-6 during the second half, making ten consecutive field goals during the streak. Though Storm reserve guard Tully Bevilaqua scored just five points, she was a catalyst for the run. During the 14 minutes Bevilaqua played, the Storm outscored the Monarchs 30-10, giving her a +20 plus/minus rating.
  • Bevilaqua led a Storm bench that played a huge role in the team’s second-half success. After scoring no points in the first half, the Storm’s bench had 23 points in the second half, outscoring Sacramento’s bench 23-16. The Monarchs bench came into the game outscoring opponents by an average of 6.8 points per game. Sacramento finishes 5-4 when its bench is outscored by its opponents, the Storm 10-6 when its bench outscored its opponents. For the second consecutive game, Tonya Massaline scored her highest point total in a Storm uniform, finishing with 9 points on 4-for-6 shooting.
  • In just 27 minutes of play, Monarchs All-Star center Yolanda Griffith finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, including eight offensive boards, a Storm opponent season high (previously Tamika Williams, 7, 8/8 vs. Minnesota) and a Monarchs season high (previously done 2x, most recently Tangela Smith 7/10 vs. San Antonio). Griffith had eight points in six rebounds in14 second-half minutes. Smith led the Monarchs with 13 points.
  • The game was marked by sloppy play on both sides. The Storm and Monarchs combined for 40 teammates, 20 apiece. The 40 total turnovers were a Storm high this season, beating 37 vs. Charlotte 7/31. For the Storm, 20 turnovers was the second-highest total of the season (22 @ Sacramento 7/26) and the second-highest opponent total of the season (22 vs. San Antonio 6/22). 20 turnovers are a Monarchs season high (previously done 2x, most recently 19 on 6/7 vs. Los Angeles). While the Storm scored 25 points off of Sacramento’s 20 turnovers, the Monarchs managed just 10 points on the Storm’s 20. Sandy Brondello had five steals for the Storm, a career-high (previously 4 at Los Angeles on 7/30/02) and Storm season high.
  • The Monarchs attempted just four free throws, making one, both marks season lows. The one free throw made is a Monarchs record low (previously two at Phoenix 7/20/98 and at Minnesota 5/24/03). The previous season low for free throws attempted was seven twice, most recently 8/7 at San Antonio. The one made free throw tied the Storm’s opponent record, set by Miami (in Seattle) 7/30/00. Previous Storm season opponent lows were three free throws made and five free throws attempted (both 7/3 vs. Washington).
  • Brondello (13 on 5-for-8 shooting) was the only other Storm player in double-figures besides Jackson. Three players (Massaline, Alisa Burras and Amanda Lassiter) finished with nine points for the Storm.
  • Sacramento made just 2-of-15 (13.3%) from three-point range. The Storm shot 6-for-15 (40.0%).