home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 25, 2013

Tamika Catchings

Angel McCoughtry

Maya Moore

Q.  Tamika, I wonder if you could talk a little about the fact that this will be the third year in a row that you're going against the Dream?  And also specifically Angel, I mean, you've played with her at the U.S. National Team and played against her.  Just how difficult she can make it for defenses?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS:  First of all, we're excited about the opportunity getting back to the Eastern Conference finals and being matched up against the Atlanta Dream.  Of course when you look at Angel and what she brings to the team and the league overall, she definitely has one of her best seasons this year.  But you look at when you're guarding somebody like her, I mean, she can do everything.  Whether on the offensive end, defensive end, just being able to dictate a game.  I know for us it's always been a hard match‑up.
But we'll go out tomorrow night like both teams will and put together a plan and hope to execute it.

Q.  Can you talk about the expectations for you when you came in as a very hyped number one pick, and how you would compare that to what Brittney Griner has faced?
MAYA MOORE:  Coming out of college, both of us were very talked about and celebrated players because of the successful college careers we were blessed to have.  I think we have similar experiences as far as coming into teams that had a lot of injuries the year before as the team did.  So coming in, we both were, I think, fortunate to have great leaders around us that we could learn from and carry a lot of the load that we wouldn't have to.
Every year that goes on, the college women's game is more popular, and that's created more popular players coming out of the college game.  And I think that popularity carries over to the WNBA.  I think our situations were awesome for the game.  The expectations, like I said, we were both fortunate to have great leaders around us, and the expectations were very high.  Brittney's probably higher than mine because it's a year more, a year more of popularity.  She's a bigger player with great physical ability.
So as far as the expectations, personally I can't speak for her.  But I know I came in wanting my team to win a championship, and I know she does too and working hard and figuring out a way to make sure I can help my team do that.

Q.  Coach Dunn mentioned turnovers to be a key factor in this series.  I just wondered if you had any thoughts about Briann January at point guard this year and how important she is in terms of managing that turnover margin for you guys?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS:  I think Briann has done a great job.  From the beginning of the season to where we are now, she's struggled early on.  I felt like for her, the game that turned everything around was the last time we played Chicago in the regular season.  I think she had 30 points and she played a great overall game.
Her defensive intensity is always there, but I think from her offensive standpoint, what we've needed from her as a team is just to be able to be confident in her scoring ability.  Being able to get the ball up the floor, being able to just help everybody else out on the court offensively and defensively.  During the first series of Chicago I felt like she did a good job just dictating the offense and dictating our team.
I felt like for any team, everything starts with your point guard and just being able to take control of the game.  That's something we've needed her to do and step up.  That's what she did last year, and we're looking forward to her doing it now.  She's grown into her role and done a really good job.

Q.  Maya Moore, in terms of how Phoenix has changed, with the coaching change, what do you think is different about them now?
MAYA MOORE:  I think they're definitely playing really well right now.  I think the biggest thing, you know, just watching them play is I think they've improved their defense and making it tougher for teams to score on the paint.  Trying to force knock down jumpers, and that's a strategy that we'll go into the game trying to attack.
They have been through a lot this season, whether it's injuries and starting off maybe not as strongly as they wanted to, coaching changes, and just the ups and downs of their season.  I feel like they've built a pretty good bond, and that's probably going to be tougher than anything.  They're just playing against a tough team right now that really believe in each other and have overcome a lot.  It's going to be a tall order.

Q.  Can you talk about Monica Wright as well?  Just in terms of what you think her value is as a bench player?  How you would describe that as a teammate?
MAYA MOORE:  Yeah, Monica is extremely important to this team.  She's definitely I think when it comes to being a teammate she's one of the best.  Has such a great attitude and is extremely talented and embraced her role for this team and has done nothing but amplified our potential.  Without her, we're definitely not as strong and as tough as we could be.  She's so aggressive on the offensive end.  Can get to the hole and knock down an open shot.  Really a scrappy, physical defender for us and gets in there and rebounds.  She does a little bit of everything for us.
She's so fast, an extremely athletic guard and poised this season compared to last season.  Just really been awesome for us.  She gives us a huge lift.  She always comes in with a positive attitude and has the ability to be a huge spark for us.

Q.  Congratulations to three of you on your All WNBA team selection.  Since we haven't heard from the coaches for Atlanta and Minnesota, I'm wondering if Maya and Angel could give us basically your scout on what you think you as a team need to do in order to win the series.  Particularly, Maya, we know Phoenix and Minnesota are loaded with options, making it difficult to double on any one player.  It sort of pick your poison.  What do you see that you as a team have got to win in order to win the series, and what do you see as your personal assignment?  What do you personally have to do in order to win this key series?
MAYA MOORE:  Phoenix is definitely a dangerous team offensively.  And defense is always a part of our mindset and our strategy going into every game we play.  We have to bring our defense to give us a chance to win.  We know that starts with Diana.  We're just making it as uncomfortable as possible for her in the entire game with the defensive pressure that we apply.  Making sure that the two‑man game between her and Dupree is extremely dangerous, and we have to be ready to just combat that with our versatility.
They're a team that they can get out in transition and score on the fast break.  They're really big with Bonner and Dupree and Brittney.  So just making sure we get the rebound.  On the offensive end, we attack.  That's where we've been all year.  That's not going to be any different.
Just really valuing the ball to get out in transition and taking care of the ball.  They've been more aggressive toward the end of the season.  Their defense, they're really long, and they've been clogging the paint pretty well.  Just making sure we take care of the ball.  If we're open, they give us jump shots, and just knock them down with confidence.
Then, personally, I'm just going to continue to be aggressive and do the same thing I've been doing all season.  Starting on defense just making sure that I'm being solid and disciplined on the defensive end with my match‑ups, getting offensive rebounds, attacking on the offensive end.  My game plan doesn't change.
PLAYER:  She asked for both of us, so I was going to add to it.  As far as Atlanta, we've just got to try to contain their leaders in Tamika Catchings.  They've been shooting the ball really well from the three, also they're running the score really well.  We've got to play defense transition‑wise and play our best basketball.  That's kind of our game plan to try to get these games.

Q.  Angel, because of your scoring ability you draw the double team win when you step on the floor.  That not only creates opportunities for other players to score on your team as well.  Are there any key teammates on the Dream roster that you have high expectations for to step it up in this series offensively?
ANGEL McCOUGHTRY:  I would say Aneika Henry.  She's been playing well in these series, and she's been rebounding the ball well, scoring well.  They're probably going to leave her to try to double.  So I look for her to be confident, shoot the jumpshot or take it to the basket.  That's the main thing.  But I think Aneika Henry is the one that's stepped up and shown us she's ready to play in these games.

Q.  Maya, you've talked differently about what you've seen from Phoenix, because it's been quite a while since you've played them, but they also have a new coach since you've played them who seems that he's put more emphasis on defense.  I wonder if you've seen a change specifically?  You may not have seen them a whole lot in whatever film you've watched.  But have you seen some differences in their defensive game plan?
MAYA MOORE:  I think the main thing is trying to protect the paint more.  In the last series they were going to force L.A. to beat them with jumpers, and it almost worked.  We have to be able to hit the open shot.  They're really trying to keep their post players inside the post and protecting the pain.  That is probably the main thing.  Just using our length even more.
Being aggressive, trying to apply pressure on the players with the ball which are probably two of the biggest differences.  I mean, you can't completely transform too much within the time they've been together.  But I definitely noticed from the last year those two things.

Q.  I guess if any, I don't know if Tamika's still on, but Tamika or Angela or Maya, all three of you, it was an extremely difficult MVP vote this year.  All three of you could have been MVP of this league.  And the player who ended up winning it isn't playing anymore.  She's out of the postseason, Diana Taurasi is another strong candidate.  I wonder if maybe you guys could talk about that?  I know this is a team game, but individually how good that is for the league that basically we have‑‑ I know me as a voter, had so many different choices of players who could have been tabbed the Most Valuable Player in this league.
ANGEL McCOUGHTRY:  You've got to commend everybody.  Everybody is playing well and Congratulations to Candice for winning it.  Everybody works hard.  You know what I mean?  I think right now everybody's focused on playoffs and not really worried about that.  Everybody just wants to win a championship at this point.
MAYA MOORE:  This is a tough league.  A window of opportunity in the playoffs is so small.  One game can make the difference because the series is so small.  The race being as tough as it was I think speaks to the depth of our league which is awesome.
And that's the beauty of championships versus individual awards.  Championships, it's anybody's game.  It's up in the air, that's why.  It's so compelling to watch the playoffs.  I love the fact that it's not always a shoe in for the team that's got the MVP that's going to win the championship.  I think that just speaks to the level of the WNBA and the talent that we have and the great quality of teams that we have and the fight of some of the teams and the big plays that people make to try to propel their team to a championship.
But also knowing the dedication, the work, the time that goes into performing well enough to be in the MVP race and win MVP is an awesome honor.  I'm sure, obviously, Candice wants the championship, but to win that award again speaks to how great of a talent and how dominant Candice is.
I think any players goal is a championship.  If you get the MVP, that's awesome, but the championship is definitely the most coveted thing at this point for all of us.

Q.  Angel, you guys handled Indiana and won three out of four in the regular season.  What do you take from that into this postseason?
ANGEL McCOUGHTRY:  You've just got to continue playing how you've been playing, but it's a different ballgame now.  It's honestly like a new season.  It really doesn't matter about that, because they're a different team and we're going to be a different team.  But we can take the positives from it and trying to do what we've been doing, but they're playing a lot, lot different now.  We've just got to come out with focus and intensity defensively to contain them.  That's just what we've got to do.
I mean, really, the seed doesn't even matter anymore.  It just goes to show you what other teams like Chicago's already out and they have that awesome season.  I don't think can you really look at the season.  You've just got to refocus and try to get this game going.  Really defensively is what's going to make the difference.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297