Postgame Quotes/Notes - Storm 79, Los Angeles 66 (Game 1)
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
On the choppy play:
If it’s choppy play on our behalf, it’s not good for us. We want to be a little more smooth and I thought we played better tonight than a couple of nights ago when we played them. Our job right now to get better. We’ll watch this film and see where we can get better, see if we can execute a little bit better. They’re doing a good job defending us and at times we’re having a hard time scoring. We just have to find ways to be a little more creative and get more movement in our offense.
On the importance of the win:
Every game in a short series like this is very important. Someone asked me before the game if this was a must-win, and they’re all must-wins in a short series. They’re all extremely important. We like playing here at home, but we’ve also had a lot of success on the road, so we’re looking forward to going down to L.A. on Saturday. Again, we’ll make some adjustments and improvements and see if we can play well.
On taking an early lead:
Anytime you can turn a team over you can get some easy baskets and they did against us in the second quarter. Swin (Cash) got some layups and Lauren (Jackson) got us off to a big start. They did a pretty good job on her. Swin was really energetic tonight. She was active and getting out in transition and running the floor. She’s a very, very big competitor and finds a way to get things done. In a lot of ways, she’s the heart and soul of this team.
STORM CENTER LAUREN JACKSON:
It was awesome, just a great atmosphere. It is very reminiscent of 2004 with the fans and all that. It was unreal. Awesome experience and hopefully we can keep it going.
On the adjustments she expects from L.A.:
They stuck with us all game; I don’t think the score was indicative of how they played. I think they’ll just try to stick with us like that. Up until the end when we got some open shots and good looks, they were on us like glue. They played good defense. I don’t really know what they’re going to do. We’ll watch film tomorrow and see how it all looks.
On the Sparks:
They’re a great team. They’ve been playing a lot better than their form was at the beginning of the year. Even then we weren’t crushing them. I mean there might have been one game when we got away from them. They match up really well with us.
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD:
On getting out in transition:
For us, we’re a very defensive-minded team, so when we’re doing our thing on that end we’re able to run on the other end. We have a lot of players in this room who are great in transition, so for us to be able to push we can get out and get some easy looks whether it be layups or threes, we were kind of hitting on all cylinders.
STORM FORWARD SWIN CASH:
On the Storm's advantage in the paint:
Well, rebounding was part of our game plan, obviously. We wanted to get on the glass and rebound the ball efficiently enough to get some easy baskets. That really got our momentum.
On Jana Veselá's performance:
I was excited for Jana. She’s worked really hard this season to not only understand the system, but to get a feel for her role on the team. She’s very effective in Europe, so to have her come out tonight and hit a couple of threes, she got her hands on a couple of balls, that’s what we’re going to need in this playoff series because she’s so versatile. It’s really hard to match her with a guard, and if a post player is on her she can get to the basket. She just gives us a different look on the offensive end.
On the game:
Their defensive intensity in the first quarter was high. They really did a lot of switching. We know we have to do a better job of finding mismatches when they switch like that. Also I thought there were some times where we could’ve avoided situations just by knocking down shots and we didn’t make the shots. They just weren’t falling tonight like they were the last game. We definitely have to be more aware of the mismatches when they do a lot of switching like that and take advantage of their big players guarding our littles and get them in foul trouble.
On her message to the team after the Storm's fast start:
I told them we had to limit our turnovers because they seem to capitalize on those in transition and scored buckets in transition. I thought in the first half we had way too many turnovers and we just didn’t take care of the ball and it resulted in a 10-point lead right away. That’s one thing we took care of in the second, third and fourth quarter, but we just let them get too big of a lead in the first quarter.
On Kristi Toliver's performance:
I’ve told Kristi all season, ‘You’re definitely a factor on this team. When you’re scoring, we’re a better team.’ Unfortunately, with her having a good shooting night, the other players weren’t having a good shooting night. We’re hoping we can get a combination of the players that can score with her. When we have our inside game going and our outside game going, it’ll definitely be a much better game.
On being unable to make a run in the fourth quarter:
We just can’t wait until the fourth quarter. Against a team that’s as good as Seattle, we have to come out of the starting blocks ready to play. We have to be able to execute on both ends of the floor for 40 minutes and not 30. If we can come out with a great start then that’ll give us momentum into the rest of the game. If we could just cancel this first quarter tonight who knows what would’ve happened.
On alternating between man-to-man and zone defense:
We tried some of everything tonight. When we’d double-team in the post, they’d kick it out and knock down the three. That was our game plan. We wanted to limit Lauren’s touches and limit their inside players. I thought Veselá came off the bench and hit some huge threes that we didn’t expect. They capitalized on our double-teams, so we definitely have to make some adjustments to that and maybe not leave so many people open next time.
On the game:
It was a hard-fought game. We just didn’t make shots. We played pretty good defensively and held them well below their average.
On falling behind early:
That had something to do with it. We kept getting closer, but we couldn’t close the gap enough. The second, third and fourth quarters were evenly matched, but that deficit we had in the first quarter kind of dug us a hole.
On physical play:
It’s the playoffs; it’s to be expected.
On what the Sparks need to do differently in L.A.:
I think we need to be more efficient. We were definitely a little excited about coming in here. We knew it was going to be a packed house and that they were going to come out with a lot of energy. We were very high energy – maybe too much and a little overwhelming. It took us a little while to settle in during that first quarter and going into the second. Once we settled down, I thought that we were OK.
On the game:
We gave up a big opportunity tonight. We didn’t really play our style of basketball that allows us to be successful. We are a team that shares the ball and when we have 20-plus assists a night, we’re usually on the winning end. Tonight they had 20-something assists and we had only eight. For us, that’s not good. We are better as a unit as opposed to certain people scoring a bunch of points so we have to get better at that. It’s something we’ll look at on film and make adjustments. Some people came in and hit big shots for them. Jana Veselá didn’t get a lot of playing time this year, but she comes in and is 4-for-4 from the field. If you take away her 11 points then it’s a very close ballgame. Will we keep the same defensive schemes? I don’t know, but I’m sure some adjustments will be made.
On not going through the postgame handshake line:
It was intentional because I was rather upset for several reasons and I just decided to go in and not bring that negative energy to anyone out there.