Postgame Quotes/Notes - Storm 87, Atlanta 84 (Game 3)
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
On the fourth quarter:
I thought if we can score a couple more times and hit free throws, we could win, but we got stagnant. It's a tough thing to do. It's tough to score and hold people off, especially a team like Atlanta. They got out in the passing lanes and put a lot of pressure on the basketball. We were fortunate to have an opportunity to win and took advantage of it and got a stop at the end. You would think that you could hold that off, but we played at Phoenix about a week ago and we were down 12 with three minutes to go and won the game, so it happens in this league.
On slowing down Atlanta in transition:
Well, the first two games we were letting them get the ball too deep to the basket in transition. They were scoring at 8 to 10 feet, and we talked about today to try to make those 8- and 10-foot shots into 15- and 17-foot shots. We did a good job of extending out and getting the ball contained, tried to pick our times to choose to foul so they could take the ball out of bounds so we could get our defense set and those types of things. For the most part the transition game that Atlanta is very good at didn't impact the series as much as it could. Now, they scored when we turned it over, but not off missed shots.
On defending Angel McCoughtry:
First of all, Swin (Cash) and Tanisha (Wright) did a great job on her when they were matched up. We were trying to switch a lot, we were trying to keep people in front of her and a big part of her offense is getting to the free throw line, so we didn't want to foul her. We wanted to contain her and make as tough a shot as possible, but like Sue (Bird) said, Angel is a tremendous talent. She is a great player in this league, and if she gets the opportunity to keep playing like I know she will, she is going to be a marvelous star in the WNBA.
On the meaning of a championship to Storm fans:
We have a great loyal fan base, and you could see out there in the arena we had probably two or three hundred vocal people here and KeyArena is like that. During the season we get eight or nine thousand; in the playoffs it's 13,000 or 15,000. The media coverage in our city is as good as any city in the WNBA, and I think that makes a difference because of the exposure our team gets. Probably the biggest thing that we have going for us is our star players. Sue, such a great person and a great player, an All-Star, Olympian. Lauren (Jackson) is a great person, a great player, All-Star, Olympian. They're the best at their positions, they're tremendous ambassadors for our team and the city has adopted them. This is their second championship. We won't talk about down the road here because it's too early, we need to celebrate, but with them on the team we're going to be extremely competitive.
I want to say one more thing, and one reason Sue is here. Sue, to me, flies under the radar from getting exposure. She does her job on the floor better than anybody. We had a gentleman come in and talk to our team right after our first playoff game, Bill Russell. I did a lot of research on him before he came in so I could talk to our team about him, and believe it or not, it sort of reminds me of Sue. Of the 13 years he played in the NBA, he was only First Team once or twice. He was Second Team All-NBA several times, but at the end of his career, because of his impact on winning, he was known and may be known as the greatest player ever to play. That's going to be Sue Bird, because she impacts winning and she's such a good person.
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD:
It's evident what her future holds. She is a great player in this league. She's really hard to stop and as she gets older, she'll get more experience, she'll pick and choose her spots better and the sky is the limit for her. Her athletic ability alone gives her that. Her talent alone gives her that. She carried them tonight, even in those last couple of minutes, even when that three went up. I really thought it was going to go in based on how she was playing the whole game. She is a tremendous player and she was very difficult to guard tonight.
On this championship being sweeter because of the Storm's first-round losses:
Absolutely. I guess now I can be honest, right? Losing in the first round has been terrible. Having people write about it and talk about it, it's something that I took very personally, a lot of us took very personally. I judge myself as a player based on winning, that's how I judge myself, and to not win in five years really, really hurt. So with the playoff disappointment and the ownership change, everything that's gone on, coaching change, player change, to sit here right now ... I mean, I can't even describe it. And I know this is going to last for a full year, so that's the best part. I don't have to think about this until next May.
STORM FORWARD LAUREN JACKSON:
On comparing the two championships:
Look, they're completely different. I think the roads have been completely different, but, you know, after the last six years it's definitely taken us a long time to get back to where we were and I just I can't believe it's over. I'm actually kind of sad right now that it's all over.
On whether it's possible to have a better individual season than she enjoyed:
I don't think so. I did not expect, like I said, to have this sort of season, but it was my teammates. I wouldn't have achieved any of it without the great players that we have on our team. You know, I don't think individually I had the best season I've ever had, but the reason I got the awards was because of my teammates and the people around me and the fact that we were winning games. Like I said, I don't know if I'll ever be part of a team that's been as good or be at the end of a season and feel like I wish it would all start again because it's been so much fun.
On the Dream's defensive strategy against her:
Well, again, my teammates stepped it up and opened me up. Once Swin started hitting those threes, they couldn't guard me as closely and it made it easy for me to get looks. Like I said, I don't think I've had the best individual season or the best game today, but my teammates have been the best ever, and I don't think I have ever been part of a team as good as this.
On whether she'll get a chance to celebrate the championship before the FIBA World Championship:
I'm going to try to hold off until Sunday to get on a plane, but my strength coach will probably yell at me. I'm going to go back to Seattle and spend time with the people in Seattle and hopefully I'll be on the plane on Sunday over to Worlds.
On flipping the switch to international play:
I don't know. It's been a long season and I'm sad it's over, but right now at the moment I'm going to focus on the next few days and enjoy what we've achieved for the season because it's another long six, seven eight months coming up for me. I'm going to go to sleep dreaming about this moment and this day for those six months until we get back.
On the game:
I thought rebounding was the reason we didn't get very many breaks; we didn't rebound like we normally do, and I think Seattle had a lot to do with that. Let me congratulate Seattle on winning the championship. They did a great job all season long, Sue Bird, Lauren Jackson and Swin Cash are Olympians, and they proved it tonight with their experience. I thought they did a really good job tonight.
On a wish list for further improvement next season:
Well, I really think that experienced players that have been in the WNBA Finals and playoff series for several years would be on a wish list. We would like to have someone that we could count on to do that. I think leadership is what they give you when they have that experience because they've been there and gone through the series and things, but, you know, I don't know what lies in front of us as far as making changes with our team, I don't want to discuss that at this point.
As a G.M. I'll take that coaching hat off and put the G.M. hat on a little bit, but you've got to get better every single year. If you sit still and are satisfied with what we did this year, chances are you won't be back here again. I want to continue to get better, and whatever we have to do to make those decisions, that's what we have to do. Free agency is always out there because you have experienced players coming out - maybe they want a different location, I don't know. I haven't even addressed that and looked to see who might be available. So I'm real pleased with the players that we do hav.
I think our core is very good and we just need to continue to get better and solid. If it stays at 11 players then you have to get depth, but we played our bench the entire year. They see considerable minutes, and they got better as the season progressed. So we will have to sit back, evaluate, look at game film, watch the series. I thought we did a great job of defeating Washington in the first two games, and then we turned around and defeated New York in two games and we played exceptional basketball in those series, but we have to continue to get better. That's what we do.
On the city's reaction to reaching the Finals:
You have to look at it they've opened their arms to us and they have given us great support all season long. But especially now, I think us making it to the championship round, I think people are beginning to look at us and say, you know, wow, this is a pretty good team. High school coaches are coming up to us all the time wanting to bring their teams to our games just to show the game and the skill level and the role models that we have. We've been instrumental in being in the city with appearances and things with our players, and I think that we will continue to do that. We've got some great role models on our team and we expect that they will definitely be in the community.
On her message to her players in the locker room:
I told them I was very proud of them. We're all disappointed, we're all competitors. That locker room was quiet as a mouse and the reason is they're so competitive. They want to and they think they can win every game. That's the way I want them to think. They're aggressive, they play hard and they play all the way to the end. Maybe another minute on the clock might have made a difference in the outcome of this game. The same thing with the two games in Seattle.
On adding to the perimeter:
We don't have that consistent three-point shooter, so that is a possibility. Those players are very hard to find because most people already have some of those. If we got a three-point shooter then we would probably have to take a younger player or a free agent but I definitely would be looking at that.
On what she will take from the playoff run:
This is definitely a great learning experience for me being my second year as a professional. I just learned, you know, it's a different ball game in the playoffs. It's a new season, it's very physical and every possession matters. That showed in the Seattle series. You know, we lost by three, I think, each game so we feel like, gosh, if we would have got a stop on defense or made this shot or made this free throw, we could win the game. So every possession matters in trying to win these games in the playoffs.
On which game of the series was most difficult:
I can't really say which one was the toughest; they were all tough if you ask me. I'm only 24 years old and I feel like I'm 40 years old! They were all tough. You've just got to commend Seattle for playing a tough game and being physical and doing what it takes to win, you know? They're a great team. But to answer your question, they were all very, very tough.
On her role in the Dream's late comeback:
I felt like the game was slipping away so I felt like I needed to do something about it, and I tried to get points on the board to get us in there. I wish I would have made all three of those free throws; that might have helped us a little bit, but just trying to do what it took to win. You know, that's all you can ask for.