Postgame Quotes/Notes: Minnesota 73, Storm 72
STORM HEAD COACH BRIAN AGLER:
On the game:
The first thing I'd like to say is just to congratulate Minnesota on the tremendous year they've had. Just a hard-fought series. They're a great team. They've got great competitors. They have a great staff. And I just want to wish them the best of luck.
On the final possession:
At the timeout before, we drew up two different plays, and we also said, 'If we get a stop, we may just let you play.' I said, 'I'll look and see if I think something's going to develop for us, and if it does, we're not going to call timeout.' We got a stop, got the rebound. For some reason because of the congestion, it took us time to get the ball down the floor. The ball got into Sue (Bird)'s hands and I saw their defense was back, so we decided to call a timeout. So we drew up a play. We executed it. We had two options off of it. One of them was to go to Lauren (Jackson), and for her, she had a pretty good look.
On Rebekkah Brunson's play:
I have a lot of respect for Rebekkah. I remember when she came into the league. I knew her game at that point, and now she has worked hard and developed into not just being a rebounder, but into the ability to score in one-on-one situations. There was a point during the course of this game where she hit multiple shots, jump shots away from the rim, and hit big baskets for them, and at the same time still played to her main strength, which is rebounding and getting them second opportunities.
On Camille Little:
Camille is the one player on our team that has been the constant. She's played in every game, started every game this year, has been healthy, has the ability to have big games. She's a player that could turn into an All-Star in this league. That's how she's improved. If the public knew everything that we had gone through this year and realized and saw, 'OK, Camille is the constant,' you'd have even more respect for her. That's all I can say. We've sort of just counted on her every game. She is just a great competitor, has worked on her game, has improved. She's been there for us every night.
STORM GUARD SUE BIRD:
On the final possession:
That was the play and we had a couple of options in that play, so for (Jackson) to get it, it was not a surprise. She makes those turnaround jumpers all the time. I was actually right behind her, so I had a good view. When it left her hand I was hopeful, but obviously it hit the rim.
On playing well despite fatigue:
It's the playoffs. I know for us and for Minnesota as well, it's Game 3. You lose and you go home. As tired as you are - and I'm sure every player on that court was tired from the game the other night - you leave it all out on the court. Really, my teammates are always so encouraging. I missed the three, airballed a three at one point and I was really mad about it. I had Tanisha Wright in my ear telling me, 'You are going to get another one.' A play or two later she was kicking to me for a three and that goes in. It is just always nice to be around a group of people like that. I think we do have a special team and we started to come together. It's just unfortunate our season got cut short.
On the Storm:
Obviously I'm biased, but I think our team was peaking at the right time. It's unfortunate; we had a lot of things happen. I know every team goes through adversity, but our team had a lot of stuff happen: Injuries, players in, players out and players coming in late. It's all a part of the game and you've got to play through it, and for us to be able to hold on tight knowing and believing we were going to peak at the right time - especially when nobody else thought we could - says a lot about the group of people that we have. We are not surprised that it came to this. I remember before Game 1, I was interviewed and we were probably the only people - our owners, our fans - who believed it would come down to this. We knew we had a shot and that we had a chance. It's definitely a really crappy feeling right now but with that said, I know at some point we will be able to look back and take this into next season.
On playing the deciding game on the road:
At the very beginning of pretty much every season, it's talked about with the Storm of how to get home-court advantage in the playoffs. We basically start game one focusing on that: How can we get home-court advantage in the playoffs? I think you saw in the series why it is so important. I know for our fans, they just bring a level of excitement. Whether there are 1,000 people, 10,000 people or 17,000 people, it's crazy in there. No matter what the score is or how crappy we are playing, that energy and excitement, we feed off of it. Even when we are not doing as well as we want, we are able to turn it around because of them. I get chills in that building often. That is just a physical response to how amazing they are. I've got to give some credit to the Lynx fans. They were loud, as well, and made it difficult for us as the opposing team.
On the Lynx:
They are tough. They have a certain style about them. They really encourage you to shoot outside shots. They don't let you get anything easy to the rim. I thought for us, by Game 3, we figured out how to get some easier shots. They encourage you to shoot so they can get out and run. That is really, to me, how it feels out there. You've just got to pick and choose your moments when you are playing against them. You can't give them anything.
STORM FORWARD CAMILLE LITTLE:
On her play:
I think for the most part I rushed a lot in the second half. I think I played with more flow and poise in the first half. In the second half, I didn't play as in control as I did in the beginning. Maybe they threw a couple extra bodies at me, but for me it is one of those things where I needed to take the time to slow down and finish shots. I got the same shots, I just didn't make them.
On the game:
Survive and advance, baby. Survive and advance. Just win the game, by one or by 21. Win the game. It was a great game. I think, hopefully, it was great for TV. Hopefully you guys enjoyed it. The most enjoyable part is that we finished the game with 73 and them with 72.
On the final possession:
Scary. We knew exactly the play they were going to run. If you watched closely, I thought Rebekkah defended it as hard as she could. She didn't get stuck behind Jackson, but (it was) really scary that Jackson had the touch. She hurt us from three. She didn't hurt us as much inside in this series. I thought we forced her into a tough shot. You had no idea how the back side was going to happen - if there was going to be a tip-in and that sort of thing. Not the situation you want to be in, but like I told our players, I thought we fought. What a game of runs, back and forth. Up six, they come out and with a 6-0 run. Great battle. It was a great series with these guys. I'm glad it's over with.
On Lindsay Whalen missing time due to a wrist injury:
Obviously Lindsay's one of our franchise players, and she's a player that makes things go for us. It was challenging in those moments. I thought that Candice did an admirable job. (Wiggins and Erin Thorn) both understand our offense really well. They're different skill sets than Lindsay. But I thought we got through those moments and then got Lindsay back in there. It's been a tough series for her. That first game, she was able to score the ball a little bit, but (it was a) tough game in Seattle, and things got tough for her again. It's been pretty physical for her. Again, I'm just really happy to get out of here with a 'W'. She hit a big shot for us. She'll be fine, ready to go for L.A.
On Brunson's play:
Rebekkah was huge. What I told her I appreciated was the execution of the game plan. We identified what Seattle was giving us, and we knew that Rebekkah was going to be available for jump shots. The number of jump shots that she's shot with assistant coach Jim Petersen throughout the season, we talked to her: 'It's just like shooting practice. You're going to be that wide open,' because they were covering down and leaving that big opening. She had two in a row that were huge and then she got the huge putback. MVP of the series for us clearly is Rebekkah Brunson. Without her, we would have really struggled.
On defending the final possession:
I think we worked on our defensive schemes and we knew what we were going to do. I just tried to play the same way I have been playing the entire series and it worked out.
On adjustments on offense:
I think we got the same looks. I think we continued to do what we were going to do. We worked on it and we knew where we wanted to go. We knew where our openings would be and we just stuck with it. We didn't change a thing.
On her play:
I'm trying to do whatever I can do to put my team in the best situation to win. It's not about me. I think we played an amazing three games together collectively. I think we all came together and we all got it done.
On her mindset in the second half:
I just wanted to be more aggressive (in the second half). Coach brought up some aggressive plays and some isolation situations that forced a lot of switching. My mindset was that I wanted to attack more earlier in the game. My shot was not falling in and I felt like I settled instead of being more aggressive.
On Whalen playing with a wrist injury:
I think every little girl that aspires to be a point guard got a chance to see the two best point guards go head-to-head tonight. You got to see the guts of both of them. Sue went through some things with her health and Whalen gutted it out tonight to help us get the victory. For every little girl out there trying to be a point guard, you just witnessed a great series between two great point guards that are determined to do whatever it takes for their team to win.
On advancing to the conference finals:
I'm really excited about moving on, but we still have a lot of work to do. It's a quick turnaround with a tough team we have to face in L.A. They have a lot of star power and it starts with Candace Parker. She is the leader of their team. We are definitely going to get in tomorrow and watch some game tape and go home with some things.