Postgame Quotes/Notes - Storm 68, Indiana 54
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
On the game:
I think we started to look like ourselves defensively. I was really pleased with our focus, the way we came out and the way we played. I thought we did some good things offensively until we didn't play well against the zone in the fourth quarter. There were a lot of signs of us moving in the right direction.
On defending Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas:
That's a big part of what they do. They really try to run a lot of stuff for those two people. They're great players and great competitors. We tried to do our best. I thought that Swin (Cash), Tanisha (Wright), Katie (Smith) - and Camille (Little) seemed to be switched off on them a great deal - they did a good job.
On improving as a team:
Our focus right now, like it was this week, is to get better. It was nice to come out and see some carryover from practice into the game. I thought we saw that. We looked like a mature basketball team tonight. We looked like we knew what we were doing and we've been there and we were playing together. That's the best we've played together, I thought, at both ends. But we're still not there. We need to get better at both ends.
On Le'coe Willingham's performance:
Le'coe's had a good week of practice. She can do that. That's why I continue to say we have seven starters on the team, Le'coe and Katie being the two off the bench. We don't drop off a lot when those two come in. It was nice for her to be more of an authority out on the floor, which she was.
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD:
On the game:
It felt good. Tonight was a game that, I think, is really the epitome of our team. We want everything to start with our defense, and tonight it did. We were able to get a lot of stops, which allows us to get out in the open court, push the ball and get things going offensively. The pace of this game was really what we wanted it to be. It was a good one for us.
On the fourth quarter:
The last five minutes was a little 'eh.' Sometimes those last five minutes are the hardest when you're up that much. I know for us, we've been able to come back. It's hard to keep that energy up. They went zone, which slowed things down. Other than that, I think tonight was a great game.
On defending Catchings and Douglas:
Brian has said this many times - T is really the captain of our defense, along with Camille. They set the tone for us - Swin as well. For those two, the job they did on their two All-Stars was very impressive. That's what makes Indiana go - those two players. They did as good a job as I've seen in a long time against Douglas and Catchings. They're hard to take out of a game.
STORM FORWARD LE'COE WILLINGHAM:
On the Storm's defense:
It was very important for us. You saw us establish our defense and get back to what we do. It felt really good. I think everybody was tuned in to our scout and tuned in to getting after it at the defensive end. A lot of times, we feed off our defense and that's what creates our offense. I think we did a really good job tonight. On playing well when Little got in foul trouble:
I think that's very important to me. With Katie and I both coming off the bench at the same time, same thing as last year - we don't want to drop off when we come in the game. I think Brian said it before - we have about seven starters on this team, people who have been starters on championship-caliber teams and won championships. When we go in the game, there isn't expected to be a dropoff. It's expected to maintain or even rise. It was very important for me tonight. I just wanted to come through for my teammates, especially on defense because that's what Camille does.
On the game:
I thought they were very physical and very aggressive in the first half and that really intimidated us. We expected them to come out that way. It took us a while to adjust to that. We missed some shots we should’ve hit and didn’t do a good job on the boards - that was a real key thing for us. Every time we could maybe cut the lead, we’d miss a free throw or miss a shot we needed to hit. But you have to give them credit. I knew they’d play really well tonight coming back.
On taking a positive from the game:
I was pleased with our effort in the fourth quarter. A lot of people might say your subs were going against their subs, but no, it was their starters – I watched. We did a really good job of closing the gap. By the fourth quarter we kind of settled down so I saw some good things. Seattle is very good. They’re the defending champions, they’re at home and they’re coming off of a tough loss, but I thought we could’ve played better in the first half and not let them separate on us.
On the game:
It was just a tough game for us. We knew coming out that they’d lost against Minnesota and had some time off, so they were able to work on the things they needed to do. They’re a really good team and have a lot of different threats on the court, plus Katie Smith adds a whole different dimension. We didn’t handle their pressure and didn’t take care of the ball. When we needed to get shots at crucial times, we didn’t. We turned the ball over or the shot clock ran down … whatever the case may be. It’s a game that we can definitely learn from and get better. We’ve got Phoenix in a couple of days and Washington after that so we’ve got to get better.
On positives from the fourth quarter:
Our bench players that came in. One of the things with any team in this league is the teams that win are those that have a deep bench. Just knowing that some of the players that didn’t play the whole game, but were able to come in the fourth quarter and were really effective – that’s definitely encouraging for all of us because maybe they should be playing more, earlier in the game. Now when you see what they can do in the fourth quarter, imagine what they can do in the first or the second or the third quarter. From that standpoint, we definitely have to look at that.
On the game:
We didn’t come out and match their energy to start the game. We knew what happened to them [against Minnesota] and we knew they were going to come out with an enormous amount of energy, but we didn’t match it. Anytime you do that against the defending champs and you dig yourself a hole, it’s just a recipe for bad things to come for the rest of the game.
On the Storm's preparation:
They got to prepare a lot more than we did, but we didn’t handle what they were doing well. They knew exactly what they were doing. Offensively, we just looked out of sync and didn’t handle how they were coming at us and didn’t make the adjustments. That’s on us. We’re a veteran starting lineup and I don’t think we handled them well. When they start like that, it’s just really tough to keep fighting on the road.
On the fourth quarter:
We experimented with some different lineups and we did some different things defensively. Coach said she liked what she saw in the fourth with what we were doing – we were playing a lot of matchup zone, which is something we haven’t necessarily been able to play in other games. Obviously it was a large lead that they had in the fourth quarter so we just started experimenting. We can take away that we can perhaps play some of that and mix it up a little bit to change the rhythm of the game. I feel good that we were able to work on that and hopefully be able to stick that in our back pocket for another game.