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Indiana Fever Practice Quotes: 2009 Finals


On the matchup: "Well its going to be our defense. We will have to try and limit Diana, Cappie and Penny Taylors effectiveness. You never can totally deny them the ball but we will try to limit their touches and defend the three point line. The way that Phoenix plays they shoot a lot of jump shots so we have to defend the three point line, defend in their transition game and knock some shots down ourselves."

On this Finals differing from 2004 with Seattle: "Its different this time because when I was in Seattle I was a backup guard behind Sue Bird and I had to be ready to go in for my short burst, but now I have to set the tone for the team. In regards to defense, I have to set the tone defensively with the pressure on the ball. Its a different mentality coming into this Finals as compared to 2004, but its been a lot a fun and a long time coming for the Fever."

On advice she's giving Briann January: "I dont really need to get in Bris ear much at all. We dont even regard her as a rookie anymore. The way shes been baptized into the league this year it didnt take long to lose that rookie tag. She is a feisty competitor and she is not going to back down when she gets out there, so I expect that she is going to have an impact on this series with Phoenix."


On taking on Phoenix: "I think theyre tough. They were the No. 1 scoring team in the league; everyone here scores and when theyre open, they shoot. I think its a great matchup for us because were a great defensive team. Well talk a lot about different strategies were going to use. I think the most important thing is helping each other. Obviously, Im going to be on Diana, but Im not going to play 40 minutes a game, so other people have to step up. Theyve got Cappie, Penny and Tangela [Smith] whos the best three-point shooter on their team as far as percentages go. From 1-11, everybody has to be ready to guard every single position. The whole team is full of All-Stars; weve got to be ready to play. Just like we have a great team, they have a great team.

On rebounds and turnovers in the series: "Definitely, we have to control rebounds and turnovers. Our post game  Ebony [Hoffman] and Tammy [Sutton-Brown]  has to exploit down low. Theyre a good defensive team, but if they have any weakness, it would be their post game. I think our interior has to be dominant."

On dictating the pace: "Yeah, we want to hold them under 90 [points]. Thats been our strategy all year, to hold the other team way under what theyre used to scoring. As far as the running part goes, we when played them here we did a good job running at first, but then we got caught with a bunch of turnovers. Same thing when they came to us, we got a lot of turnovers back-to-back-to-back and we converted and thats what they do. They run off of our turnovers as well. Were going to have to do a really good job; turnovers and rebounding are key. "

On the challenge: "Im excited, man. Im so excited to be here. Im not excited just to be here, but to get as far as weve gotten. Every year, its like this is our year, this is our year only to get the door shut. Now its like okay, were here. The doors not shut; its still open. I think its a lot better in a best of five series rather than a best of three series because it gives us a chance to practice, get our strategies right and I think well be all good."

On celebrating making the Finals: "For us, it wasnt a celebration of 'oh yeah, we won the championship.' We celebrated in the fashion that we should have after winning the East since weve been shut down so many times. We celebrated, but now its back to business. Tully [Bevilaqua] and Tamecka [Dixon] told us, 'Just imagine what it feels like to win a championship'."

On making the steal: "I just feel it and go for it. I do watch tape but not to the extent where its like okay, shes going to this way and when she goes this way [I can steal it]. For me its more when Im on the court Im trying to play in between and figure out where the balls going next."


On the last 30 seconds against Detroit: Oh, Dear God, why does it have to be so close? I just think that it was primarily like, man, just let us knock down a shot, let us get a key stop, something. Just let us get through this game. It was definitely a game for the ages. Classic playoff game where no team really had a clear advantage the entire 40 minutes. Time definitely stood still. The way the pro game is, a five, seven point lead can be erased in a matter of seconds."

On getting over the hump and into the Finals: "I dont think so. For me, Ive only been with this team for two years. Obviously, last year, not even getting to the Eastern Conference Finals was a huge letdown. I came from Connecticut where we had a tremendous amount of success, having appeared in two WNBA Finals during my five years there. I was very proud of that accomplishment. So, for me, it wasnt like I had never been there before. I knew what it would take to get there, so I was just trying to lend my experience towards my teammates."

On her past Finals experience: "Hopefully, just being a leader, being vocal. Maybe educate my teammates on what to sort of expect, in terms of media coverage and things like that. Everything gets magnified now. And thats the same on the floor. Every possession is magnified, everything means more. The little things are really going to count in these games."

On winning Game 1 and 2: "Its extremely important, with us not having homecourt advantage throughout the Playoffs. Phoenix did a tremendous job during the regular season sealing that up. Its the playoffs, its always important to steal a game on the road when you can."

On being relaxed: "Yes, it has. Im not getting any younger in this league. This is my third time, so all this is not new. Im very relaxed. I feel like this is going to be a great experience. Just looking back at the last two times, Im going to just try to enjoy this one a little more because Ive been working so hard to get back to this point."


On touching down in Phoenix: Well, weve been on the plane for a quite a while. We flew through Las Vegas, and stopped there for about an hour. Pretty much just went to the hotel, changed clothes and came over here. Thats part of it. You just have to deal with the travel and be ready to go where you have to go. Were excited to be here. Were excited to represent the Eastern Conference. We look forward to playing Phoenix. Weve had two great games against them this year, and let the games begin.

On the matchup: I think thats true. I also think its a great matchup with Katie Douglas and Tamika Catchings vs. Cappie Pondexter and Diana Taurasi. Thats some intrigue in itself. Those are four of the leagues premier and most outstanding players. Everyone talks about how Phoenix likes to run. We like to run, too. We like to run, and push the ball, and score early. When we beat them here, thats how we beat them, with an up-tempo game. I think it will be a great matchup. Theyre very, very good. Very offensive-oriented, very talented. They can just knock down shots from anywhere. So, we have to bring our A-plus defense.

On getting her team focused: Well, we had Sunday off to rest and recover a bit. I told them they had 12 hours to celebrate. And once it was daylight the next day, start focusing on the Finals. I cant say enough about our fans, the sixth man. Having 15-16 thousand people in there, hooting and hollering. Down the stretch it could have gone either way, and I really felt our fans were key in that. I was serious when I said they shook the Shock a bit. You could just tell that the atmosphere was tough for them.

On having players with Finals experience: Well, that was one of the things we did in the offseason. We secured Tamecka Dixon specifically for her experience, not only her experience as a shooting guard, but her experience in two Finals and two actual championships. So, we did that, plus we brought in Yolanda Griffith. Unfortunately she got hurt, but we still get text messages from her two or three times a day. She brought a lot of experience to our team. And, of course, Tammy Sutton-Brown and Katie Douglas have both played in the Finals.


On her rookie season: "Its everything you could ask for in your first season. This season has been awesome. With the team, with the coaches, with the way we have played and we are in the championship. You couldnt ask for much more. And I get to come back and play in front of the ASU fans that cheered for me when I was in college."

On tickets for the series: "You know I told them I only get so many and just come support me, and they are still coming. I am hoping there is going to be a big Briann January fan club, well see."

On playing in Indiana: "I couldnt ask for a better place. I am on a team with Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas, Ebony Hoffman, Tully Bevilaqua, all those players. They have helped me with my transition so much; they have made me the player I am right now. I know I have grown so much since college, and its because of them. They have been amazing role models, and the coaches, Its been just a great situation Ive been placed in."

On playing tour guide this week: "Oh my goodness, I have been asked some questions. They are trying to figure it out. They are like how hot is it? Its still in the hundreds so get ready."

On playing the Mercury: "They are great. They are a good team. When they roll, they roll. I have been watching them all season. I am still a fan; you know I watched them while I was in college. I love the way they play, I love their style of play. But I am excited to take it to them on the court."

On going from college in Arizona to the pros in Indiana: "Most definitely. On the inside, it would have been awesome to stay here. But as a player, just looking at it this was the best situation for me. Indiana has been a great for the progression of my game, my confidence. My style of play is exactly what the coaches want here. I am glad I went to a place where the coaches want me and what I have to bring."

On her contribution: "Exactly. Its been awesome. We have been doing so well this year. It would have been awesome to just be on the team, but I am actually contributing to the teams success which is awesome. And my teammates are always encouraging me; they are pushing me, making me get better everyday which is awesome."

On the final seconds against Detroit: "Oh my goodness. Come on clock keep ticking, keep ticking. Those last 30 seconds take forever. It really didnt click to me until everybody was running off the bench, I was like oh my goodness we just won the Eastern Conference championship. Its by far the biggest championship I have ever won in my life."


On her veteran leadership: "They have come along so quickly our rookies and we have two of them, but even just the younger players that we have theyve adapted. I think the veterans on the team have done a good job throughout the year being examples and keeping it light yet serious at the same time. They have stepped up, Briann January has stepped up in to her role and has given us really good minutes off the bench. Shes not even a rookie any more, once the playoffs started, its like a different level. They have adapted well."

On preparing mentally: "Playoffs in general, its like a new season, its a different level of intensity. Everything is magnified by 10 and every mistake is magnified. Your focus and concentration have to be that much greater. Any player in this league, this is what they play for. To be in this position right now is, we definitely accomplished something great the other night in bringing Indiana to their first Finals. But, were not done yet, we still have a lot to do."

On helping bring Indiana to the Finals: "Its great and it was a great atmosphere. I think they said we had about 18,000 at Conseco Fieldhouse. It was packed and it was so loud. Just to be able to do it there on our home court and to have all the fans who have been there since day one and I know players like Tamika Catchings have been there since day one, just to be a part of that was really special."

On facing former teammate Tangela Smith: "Its crazy because Ive played with Tangela in Charlotte, but Ive also played with Cappie [Pondexter] and Diana [Taurasi] overseas. Everyone plays for this moment and plays to be in this position. I know they are going to come out hard and play well and we are going to come out hard and play well. I think its going to be a great series. I hope everyone plays their best basketball and its very competitive and its a great series. I wish them well, but obviously we are fighting for that championship."

On reaching the Finals her rookie year: "Great way to start. I knew when I got drafted that Indiana was a good team and I guess I didnt know how good right away but as the season has gone on I realized we could compete with anyone, so its been a pretty great experience for my first year."

On the transition from college to the pros: "The whole professional aspect of things has been different. You have to realize its a business and understand that side of it, but on the court I have the greatest role model in the world in Tamika Catchings to look up to and learn from since we both play the same position. I have learned a great deal from her. Its different, I knew coming into this I would be playing behind some great players and I just want to contribute however I could. As the season has gone on I have figured out my role and been able to help here and there, and thats all I can really ask for."