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October 11, 2015

Tamika Catchings

Shenise Johnson

Indianapolis, Indiana: Game Four

Minnesota Lynx - 69
Indiana Fever - 75

Q. Tamika, third quarter was the difference in the game. After you guys gave up the lead and Steph called time‑out, what happened from that moment?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: That's a you need to be in the huddle moment. Steph went off on us and basically just challenged us. She said, you guys have 30 seconds to turn this thing around.
Literally, we went out, and she just lit a fire up on us, and she was just like, this is a game to allow you an opportunity to play for a Championship, and this is how you want to come out. Those are my nice words.

Q. Shenise, about the third‑‑ about three minutes left in the third quarter, you just took over. What happened in that moment that they were doing defensively that allowed you to become more aggressive than you were in the first 2 1/2 quarters or so?
SHENISE JOHNSON: Just being aggressive. Just being aggressive. I can't really say anything switched or changed. We're not ready for our season to be over. We pushed this thing to one more, and we definitely didn't want them to win on our home court.

Q. Catch, like a broken record with you guys in the playoffs this year. 5‑0 in the elimination games, a chance to win one more on Wednesday. What is it about this team that, when your back's against the wall, you found a way to win every single time in this playoff?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: It's just that focus. It's just knowing what we have done all season long. We play to the highs and the lows, and we've always pulled together at the right time. I think even more so, like wanting it for each other. We literally got into the playoffs, and it's like, all right, we've had the highs and lows throughout the regular season.
At that point, we'd never had all 12 players for a full game. We knew that, once we put all 12 of us together, how much better we could be and how great we could be. Just really like we're inspired. We're inspired by one another. You see that when we're out there. It doesn't matter whose night it is. Like most stepped up in the second half. Bri's been balling. Z's had her time. Marissa had her time. I had my time. Bench has been great. Tasha Howard, I can't say enough about her when she comes into the game, and Kizer, what she brings for us.
Every single person that's gotten in, we pray for each other, and it's just that extra motivation that you don't want it to be done yet.

Q. Tamika‑‑
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Are you going to ask about my layups again?

Q. No, I'm not going to ask about your layups because you made it this time. You came out and got six points real quick. You got the steal. You had the turnover on Maya Moore, and you got the time‑out. Was this just one of those games where you said it ain't going to happen tonight?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Definitely. One thing I think everybody always looks at, how many points people score. I've always continuously talked about just all the little things that make a difference in a ball game. For me, it's one of those things where, as you kind of passed the torch on, and it's great to see the younger players‑‑ or maybe not so young[laughter] ‑‑ the younger players stepping up and doing the little things they need to do to be able to attack.
I know Shenise is going to be modest, but the one thing that I challenged her all season long is you are a good player that has potential to be a great player. If every single day your mentality will be that I am great, there is nobody that can stop you. You see that in a little wave. She waited until the second half, but we need her to do that for 40 minutes next game. I'm just saying.
SHENISE JOHNSON: I'll take that challenge.

Q. Maybe Shenise and Tamika could both lead with that because Steph has talked a lot about Catch's confidence in you guys has allowed you to be better. Natasha's been good in the playoffs. She's a second year pro. This is your first year here, Shenise. Marissa, it's her second year. None of these folks were on the 2012 Championship team. Could you just talk about the dynamic that's allowed you to kind of blend together because this isn't exactly the same team as the 2012 championship team.
SHENISE JOHNSON: Well, I just listen and observe. I do a lot of listening. Don't know much. I'm looking to Catch. I'm looking to Bri. I'm looking to Steph. And they do a great job of putting us in position to make good decisions. You know what I mean?
Like Steph knows each player very, very well. It's not just about your basketball IQ. We have good relationships with each other. And when you have that, the trust is unlimited. And that's something that I can say that I've never experienced before between a coach and a player, the trust that we have with Steph.

Q. For either of you, on top of your performance, one part of it, 25 of 29 from the free‑throw line, how were you able to get so many opportunities? And what allowed you to drive so effectively?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Well, just being aggressive. We were a lot more aggressive tonight. And then, of course, Sylvia Fowles not being in the game, that really kind of opened up down low because she is their defensive stopper, getting up and being able to block shots and stuff.
I thought we did a really good job as a team just moving them side to side. The ball from one side to the other side, back to the other side, and then attacking.
But early on, they were doing the same thing to us, and they were getting a lot of fouls. That's what Steph was talking about. If they're going to do it, we're a good enough team that we should be able to go back and forth and be able to drive in. And then getting to the free‑throw line and knocking down free throws.

Q. By comparison to last night's celebration and stuff, tonight you obviously were happy, but it seemed a little subdued. Could you take us into that final huddle you had after the handshake line and tell us what you were saying to each other?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Don't be satisfied. Of course, I'm always the one that like calms everybody down. Okay, no, I don't want you all to celebrate. I want you to get focused for the next game because the last three minutes of the game, we played not to lose instead of playing to win and doing the things that we had done all game. We can't afford those mental lapses in a 40‑minute game when we have now an opportunity to go at Minnesota. They're just too good of a team for that.
And then Bri had to kind of come in and say, you know what, we're going to celebrate. We're excited that we won the game and that we put ourselves in a position to get to another opportunity. For me, I'm like, we're going to look at the tape and continue to get better. We've got one life.

Q. Tamika, talk to us about the character of this team, what you've seen from the middle of the season where a lot of folks outside of Indianapolis didn't believe that you could be in a situation to play for a Championship in a Game 5 and going on the road. Talk to us about what you've seen from a development standpoint and attitude standpoint with this team.
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Just confidence. You've seen from the beginning of the season to where we‑‑ in the middle of the season, to the beginning of the playoffs, you just continue to see the confidence of the team get higher and higher.
I talk about just that believing in one another, but then also like we're all so like motivated to be here. We have a lot of first timers. This is their first time being in a Championship, The Finals, and even making it to the playoffs. So like you want to build off of that.
I talk to them a lot about like, look, this opportunity does not happen often. Like we've been very blessed as an organization to be able to make the playoffs 11 years straight, but making it to The Finals, out of 11 years, we've only been there 3 times. So this doesn't happen every single year, and every game you have to take advantage of your next opportunity.
So when I talk to them, like I'm always showering them with confidence. I'm always like, you know, you got this. You can be great. Every game you come out, this is what you need to think about. But I think they feed off of me too. So making sure that I'm always in high spirits.
I was really down after the game the other day, but more so disappointed in myself. But when I came in yesterday, all that was gone. It's like, okay, we're going to win this. We're going to win this.

Q. Catch, is it fitting that this series goes five games when it's been so close for the first four? Probably about one‑point difference right now.
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Yeah, I talked about this last time, but it's a great series for the WNBA. It's great for women's basketball. It's great that it's on TV. It's great there are so many people that are locked into this that maybe have never seen a WNBA game, maybe have never been interested in women's basketball. But basketball is basketball. You can't deny the great competition on both sides. You can't deny the great players that have been made on both sides of the ball.
So it's only fitting that we go to Game 5, and we're going to get to Minnesota. I know the place is going to be loud.
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: But that's what you play for. You want to play in environments like that. That's what makes it fun for us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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