Postgame Quotes/Notes - Storm 85, Indiana 81
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
On the game:
I think we definitely earned (this win). Our play in the second half was a lot better. It got to the point where both teams were making really good offensive plays in the fourth.
On what role defensive changes played in the comeback:
We made a few changes right at the end, but we didnít change a whole lot from the first half to the second half.
On how the game changed in the third quarter:
I thought we defended a lot harder. We competed better defensively. It wasnít a high-scoring quarter, but we established ourselves there defensively. It just gave ourselves a breath of fresh air and an opportunity to win the game.
On Lauren Jackson:
Lauren is the best. She shot the ball well, but we didnít do a great job of getting her touches in the second half. They went small and started guarding her with (Tamika) Catchings and sheís as good a defender as there is. She really kept us in the game early. Lauren is going to be the MVP of this league. And the reason is that she can defend. Sheís a huge factor at the defensive end. There are going to be a lot of players with numbers in this league, but no one that can do both like her.
STORM CENTER LAUREN JACKSON:
On the game:
We battled. It was a great game. I donít think we feel like we won. Everyone is a bit battered and a bit sore, but weíre happy that we obviously got through it. It was a tough game. Definitely the toughest weíve had at home.
The girls did great tonight. Everyone really chipped in for this win. It was good for our team to play together.On the Storm's defense in the fourth quarter:
We did play a little tougher. I think at the end of the day we knew what we had to do and got it done.
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD:
On the game:
It felt like a playoff game. Theyíre a very good team, a tough team. The way they play defense really makes you work and think, and the shots they made made us work and think on defense as well. It was a tough game. We fed off our crowd and we were able to pull it out
On defending the Fever:
Offensively, they played very well. Some of the shots they were hitting - and not just the lucky bank shot that they got - they were taking and making tough shots. When a team does that it can really have an effect on morale. But for us, once we got into the fourth quarter, we needed to get some stops. That was going to be the bottom line for this team. We needed to get stops and I think we got big ones when we needed them.
On missing free throws:
It would have been nice to have a bigger cushion at the end, but what can you do? You just have to play through it. Iím sure those that missed are kicking themselves. But it happens. Itís basketball. You just have to play through it. I donít fault them at all.
On coming from behind:
We havenít and I think itís good to face things like that. We showed our character and we never gave up, especially in this building. It was good to be down and know our backs were against the wall. Weíll be able to take that away from this game.
On the game:
I was real disappointed in the third quarter. Itís hard for me to believe a team as physical, as aggressive defensively as Seattle is can play a whole third quarter with one [actually two] foul. Thatís gotta be a world record so Iím very disappointed in that particular stat. I did think our players let the officiating bother them some and thatís unfortunate because we need to keep our poise. But with only one foul called on them in the third quarter, I can see why it was starting to frustrate them a little bit.
I thought we battled with them. Theyíre very good at home and we had a chance to win. At the end of the day, the fact that they took 32 free throws and we only took 18 was a factor. Their offensive rebounds hurt us. Any time a team gets 13 offensive rebounds and that many second-chance points, itís going to be a problem for us. The free throw line was obviously the difference there. Theyíre good. I predict theyíre going to be Western Conference champions Ė they may already be looking at their record. Weíre a physical team and theyíre a physical team. Iíd just like for, at the end of the day, the free-throw shooting to be a little more balanced.
On taking control in the second quarter:
We got down in the first quarter. We didnít start the game well and came out kind of lackadaisical, kind of not focused. They jumped on us. They got some layups. We didnít even know who we were guarding and then we had to use some energy to come back. We had a pretty good second quarter and got control of the game. When they took their defense up a notch, got very physical, very aggressive, in the third quarter, we let it bother us. We didnít get calls, they did Ė and that was the difference in the ballgame when you look at it.
On having Briann January on the floor late in the game:
She made some great decisions and right there in crunch time, Lauren was fouling us and for whatever reason, we didnít do it again. You milk it until it happens, but this is just her second year. I thought she did some good things. But we had too many turnovers. At the end of the day, when you look at all the stats, the bottom is the free throw line and itís hard for me to believe that we fouled more than they did.
On the game:
We played well in spurts. Obviously they played well longer in spurts and thatís a huge reason why they were able to win the game. We have to be able to start the game off better. When they make a run, we have to stay a little more composed, a little more poised and make a run back at them. They made runs down the stretch at crucial times where we were not able to get anything going on the offensive end, then defensively we werenít able to get stops. When you combine those two it makes it tough to win the ballgame at the end.
On her hot shooting:
Well, during warmups, it didnít look very positive. But Iím a shooter and I think I started the game getting a free throw so just seeing the ball go in definitely helps to get in a rhythm. Weíve had some time off and I got a lot of good rest. Coach has done a good job of getting the older players reps in practice, but also getting some rest for our legs. It felt good. Teammates were obviously finding me and things were going down tonight.
On the difference in the third quarter:
We had an 11-point lead at one point and they kept hitting. Again, we werenít hitting and then we werenít getting stops so when you combine those two things with this caliber of a team, itís tough. Itís a great crowd here and they play off their crowd. Theyíre a great team and theyíre leading the West for that reason. I think in the third quarter, we lost our composure, our poise and werenít able to get it back in the fourth quarter.
On the referees:
I donít think they made any difference. Weíve just got to be able to play our game. It was a physical game and felt like a playoff atmosphere. Theyíre the leaders in the West, we knew that, and they protected their home court. Iím sure they wanted to get us back for a win that came at Indiana. Itís about the teams, honestly.
On the referees:
Well, itís 1-1. We took care of home court and they took care of home court. Thatís what playoff-caliber teams do. By no means are we overlooking anyone and thinking weíre going to waltz into the WNBA Finals. The East is so tough. When you look at the standings in the East and then in the West, itís just crazy. Weíve got to continue and get on a roll now, get some wins and put ourselves in a position at the end of the season to compete and get back to the Eastern Conference Finals and then the WNBA Finals.
On the game:
It was hard fought, but we made too many mistakes, especially down the stretch. Theyíre a really good team, and in order to beat a really good team like we did in Indiana, you have to take care of the ball and keep them off the boards. We didnít do that down the stretch. They started chipping, chipping, chipping away and instead of us calming down and going at it, we let everything get under our skin.
On fouling out:
Nobody wants to foul out, especially on a play like that. She saw one thing, I thought I did another thing and she called what she saw. So itís just one of those things Ė you've got to deal with it and move on. We have Chicago next and we have to get ready for them.
On potentially facing the Storm again:
I think itíd be a great, great matchup like last year with us against Phoenix. I think itíll be the same thing. Theyíve got a great team and we are getting to that. We have great players and Katie had a phenomenal game, but other people have to step up and do other things too. It just canít be one. For me, from an offensive standpoint, I stepped out a little bit having to guard Lauren. That was my focus and not scoring, but trying to stay wherever she was and that kind of takes away from the offensive end too. Jenť Morris came off the bench for us and played a great game. Our bench has been doing a good job. Tonight I thought not just our bench, but some players werenít ready to play and we canít have that Ė not in order to beat a great team like them.