Postgame Quotes/Notes - Storm 83, Connecticut 82
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
On the game:
I thought Connecticut played well tonight. They played really well in the fourth quarter. I thought the last four minutes of the game we finally decided to get them guarded, we were really active defensively and we executed sharply on the offensive end. It’s good to have to go through that because we know we’re going to have to do that in a couple of weeks.
On the Storm's level of play compared to back-to-back losses:
That was so much better than what we’ve been through the last couple of games. And even if we would have walked away here with a loss, it would have been so much better - just our effort and our ability to play with the intensity that we need. I wouldn’t have been happy with the loss, but I would have felt really good about how we played. It was an improvement over the last two games.
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD:
On whether she doubted the Storm would win:
You don’t actually think doubt when you’re playing. I knew when they had a five-point lead with two minutes to go it would be tough, but I knew we had the ability to win the game based on previous experiences.
On the Storm's level of play:
This game I think for us we didn’t really play our best tonight. I’m sure Connecticut is over there kicking themselves because they had control of the game in the second half - just being honest. For us to dig deep and find a way to win was important, because when you lose two people start asking, 'What’s wrong? What’s happening?' Even though we didn’t play our best, we won and everyone can be at ease a little bit. We know we need to work on some things and get back to where we were a few weeks ago. Everyone knows that and we’re focused.
On the Storm's defense:
Our defense is definitely what won us this game. They had some players playing well and making great plays. They weren’t doing anything complicated. I would love to know how many times they ran a pick-and-roll. That’s all they ran. They have personnel that makes it very difficult to guard that, like putting players in a spot where you couldn’t help. It was just very difficult. Our defense was tested.
STORM GUARD TANISHA WRIGHT:
On staying undefeated at home:
I was always told in college to defend your home court. In college we took a lot of pride in that. We do that same thing here, but it’s not about streaks or home court or away, it’s about coming in every night and playing well.
On the Storm's confidence in the fourth quarter:
We have a lot of confidence in our defense. If you’re ever in our huddle, you don’t hear us saying, 'Score, score.' It’s always defense and rebound. It’s always those things that we have to do on the defensive end. It’s always box out and finish with a rebound, those kinds of things. We have a lot of confidence in our defense and if we continue to play well, we’ll be OK.
STORM CENTER LAUREN JACKSON:
On Tina Charles:
She’s everything she’s hyped up to be. I think that she’s obviously Rookie of the Year. She’s great.
On the game:
I think everyone make huge plays. I think we played great defense. There is so much that we need to get better at and we know that. So we just need some time to practice.
On the game:
Bad poise. Shot-clock violation, go to sleep on a three by Sue Bird, get beat to a loose ball and a ridiculous foul. That’s my take. It was a great game, but we didn’t win. And now it puts us under .500 and we've got a lot of ground to make up.
On Renee Montgomery's foul:
We’re all screaming, ‘Just play her!’ Putting them on the line with the chance to go ahead? It’s crazy. We had the lead.
On the design of the final play:
The play was for Renee in the corner, Tina coming back to the post and, if wasn’t there, to take a timeout. Obviously we didn’t take a timeout.
On youth being a factor down the stretch:
I hope not. I hope not. They’ve played enough games that those kinds of things should not happen. When you have a lead, why would you foul? When you have a timeout to use, use it if you don’t like what you have. If you have a key player you’re supposed to block out on, block out. Right there is a microcosm of what’s happened to us a couple times.
On defending Jackson:
We did a pretty good job. The first three threes she made, she made one landing in the lap of the people in the front row, another one with her heels against the sideline with a hand in her face with the shot clock running out and the other one she made from three feet behind the line. She had nine points on highly contested three-point shots – that’s a great player right there. That’s not bad defense, that’s her making a great play. But, to our guys’ credit, they stuck with it and defended her in the second half and held her to nine points. We did a better job. It’s just a shame to waste this stuff.
On having Asjha Jones defend Jackson:
Yes, most of the time, because she’s always played her well. She understands positioning. Tina doesn’t have the experience, even though she’s bigger. We brought DeMya (Walker) in to play her some and did a pretty good job on her for awhile. I thought we did a good job in the second half, but we gave it back at the end.
On the crowd making a difference:
I didn’t think it did tonight. I think their confidence level in playing at home and playing together for so long is their biggest ally. I don’t think we were scared or nervous … I just think they have more confidence right now because they’ve done it more times than we have. That’s the biggest thing – they understand. They’ve played together long enough to know that they can make plays. And they know who’s supposed to shoot it.
On the game:
It’s a tough loss. We just have to find ways to win down the stretch.
On her big third quarter:
Just trying to be aggressive. It’s not necessarily looking for a certain thing, like my shot or someone else’s – just being aggressive with whatever opens up and trying to find either my teammates or a shot for myself.
On that aggressiveness being a factor in her late foul:
Yeah, playing aggressive always. Sometimes you've just got to know when to be aggressive and when to not.
On whether youth was a factor:
Oh, no. My age will never affect my confidence on the court. I’m sure they were confident, but I know we were confident as well. Maybe our age might affect some of our decision-making … it’s a tough loss.
On the game:
Like Renee said, it’s a tough loss. We fought hard. Out of this whole season, this was the best start we’ve had to a game. Usually we go down 10 and have to fight, fight, fight, but we came out hard and aggressive.
On facing Jackson for the first time:
It was kind of weird because that’s someone I look up to, being a post player and just watching her play in the league and throughout her whole career. She’s a great player and she’s definitely MVP.
On defending Jackson:
It’s tough because she can step out. If you have a pick-and-roll, she’s definitely going to pick-and-pop. That’s what she was doing. She can shoot beyond the arc. She has great hands and knows which way to turn if the defender is on the opposite side, so she’s just a great post player.
On her connection with Montgomery from playing together at UConn:
Definitely, that bond is always going to be there whenever we’re on the court together. We just try to go out there and play hard.
On the final play:
Lauren Jackson was playing on the high side as I was trying to clear out and Tan (White) was open, so Tan took the last shot.
On taking encouragement from the game:
Yeah, definitely. We know that we’re right there. We just have to keep our confidence up and not think that the season is over. We have to continue to fight towards the end. We just have to keep playing the way we came out in this game.