Postgame Quotes/Notes - Storm 82, Phoenix 74 (Game 1)
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
On the game:
It was just a hard-fought game. I thought we played the way we need to in terms of the pace of the game. I don’t think either team was happy with what they did offensively. They’re an excellent offensive team – they can score, they have tremendous talent, they’re well organized and they can be real slippery out there.
On countering the Mercury's rover zone defense:
We just had to get better ball movement, play both sides of the floor, reverse it. They put a lot of size out there and take things away. But we have to find out what we can get. It’s like anything - the defense is going to take things away from you, but they’re also going to give you something. It’s a puzzle and you have to figure it out.
Svetlana (Abrosimova) just came in and gave us a great boost. She hit some shots. She was aggressive, got some key rebounds. Le’coe (Willingham) came in, hit a big shot, got some big boards. For whatever reason she can’t get things going her way with the calls, but she plays hard and gives us some great minutes.
On Lauren Jackson's performance:
I think Lauren got us off to that start with her presence inside, catching the ball, finishing. She didn’t score in the first three or four minutes of the game, but from the middle of the first quarter on into the second she was really doing some damage inside. She had a chance to hit some threes; we got her on a flare screen one time. She was feeling it. Obviously everyone got tired. I think both teams were tired out there. Some people lost their legs, and when that goes, sometimes your offense goes. Incredible work on the boards. Just her presence around the basket defensively impacted and altered a lot of things they had going down there.
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD:
On the game:
It was a very tough game. We came out on top and that’s the goal. So we're happy about that, but we know that Game 2 is going to be even more difficult. Phoenix is a very tough team to play against. You never know what’s going to happen. We’ll just have to see how things go in Phoenix.
On defending the Mercury:
We have a lot of things that we do defensively, as you guys know who’ve followed us, so defense is where we get going. Our team thrives on it, we depend on it. That was our gameplan going in. We knew that we had to be on task. It’s what works for us. We like to change things. We have a lot of versatility on the defensive end. We can switch, we can defend different looks. We just tried to keep them guessing as much as possible.
On the play of the Storm bench:
It’s been key for us all season. In order to go all the way you need that. You have to have a deep bench, people who can come in the game and change the game. I think we have that with Svetlana and Le’coe. The minute they came in the game it just changed the momentum. They hit some shots, they got some stops defensively and we were able to build on that. It’s good. They bring something different and you need that.
STORM FORWARD SVETLANA ABROSIMOVA:
On her mentality:
I was just trying to be aggressive. Obviously, when you come off the bench you see what’s going on and as soon as I got in there I was just trying to help my team. You feel a lot better when you hit your first shot. You get the energy from the fans and keep rolling.
On starting slowly on offense:
They were not really aggressive so it was hard for us to be aggressive. They were playing something between zone and man and sometimes we have to control the game. We just started a little bit slow.
On the importance of the win:
To win a championship, you have to beat Phoenix. They’re the defending champs, they’re coming into our house. Obviously we have to show other teams how we play here at home. Our fans were amazing. To get this win is really special.
On the game:
Tough shooting night for us. We couldn’t score. They’re a great defensive team. It was one of those nights.
On Diana Taurasi's tough night:
Last time I saw this from Diana was in 2007 – I think it was a game in Detroit. Next game she came out and had 30-something. I’m not worried about it. It’s gone, it’s over. She doesn’t have any more of those. It happens.
On the game:
It was a difficult game. We battled through some tough moments, but we didn’t get things done to win the game. Sometimes you end up on the short end.
On her shooting:
I couldn’t make a shot. I never blame the defense on missing shots. I had some really good looks, which I usually knock down, but tonight they didn’t go down. Hopefully on Sunday I can get it together a little bit.
On what the Mercury needs to do differently to win Game 2:
We did a lot of good things tonight, but we need to take care of the ball a bit more. Offensively, we need to move the ball more. Defensively, we did a lot of good things - we just have to play a little bit harder.
On the KeyArena crowd:
I’ve played against worse crowds. I’ve played a lot of basketball in a lot worse arenas than this.
On the game:
The early deficit was hard, but I thought we fought back well. We just couldn’t capitalize. There were a lot of shots that we normally knock down that didn’t go in for us. Overall I thought we were active on defense – a lot of energy and intensity. Now we have to take it back to Phoenix and get this W.
On what the Mercury needs to differently to win Game 2:
Make shots. I think we need to run more. First half we didn’t run hardly at all and second half, we did a little more. We need to be more aggressive attacking the basket. We did that a little bit in the first half, but we weren’t necessarily getting calls, so we kind of went away from it. As long as we’re aggressive, we should be fine.
On defending Jackson:
She’s a great player. We try as much as possible to not help off of her, but with that you get screens set on you. We tried our best to help Tan (Smith) out when she’s guarding her, but she’s a great player.