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October 9, 2016

Cheryl Reeve

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sparks - 78, Lynx - 76

CHERYL REEVE: LA came in here and beat us. They won the game. They had a great deal of energy and passion about what they were doing across the board. They handled adversity well, and we just couldn't get over the hump. We thought we had some good stretches. I think we were up four, had a couple chances to extend it, and we just made some bad plays that cost us.

We didn't play a clean game offensively in terms of passing the basketball, cutting and moving. A lot of our passes were deflected, which you can't do. Again, give LA credit, especially somebody like Beard who really prides herself on her defense.

But we lost the game at the foul line and turnovers. We couldn't defend without fouling. I don't know that we got necessarily much benefit of the whistle. I've got to look at some of that stuff. But I thought there was a tough stretch there where it seemed like everything we did was a foul. But nonetheless, but I think it was that stretch, too, when we were up four and we kind of let them get back in it and then they hit a couple big shots.

And then obviously give Beard credit for knocking it down. She was open. That was certainly a good play by them. We got caught over-helping, and she made a big shot.

Q. Cheryl, is this kind of the game that you expected going into this series, just tightly contested, a lot of defense back and forth there?
CHERYL REEVE: Yeah, for sure. It's two teams that kind of mirror one another statistically. We do it differently but we value the same things, so yeah, there's no question, this is fully what we expected. We did some good things for sure. Obviously they did some good things. You know, we just I think have to take better care of the basketball, 18 points off turnovers.

But again, it's what they do. It's also what we do, and we just didn't get that part done. I think this probably had to be a season low points off turnovers for our opponent, and that's an indicator of how we weren't as active and as good as we needed to be, and some of the energy situations that we're accustomed to getting. We just didn't win that category.

Q. Cheryl, can you bring us through your thoughts on that final shot?
CHERYL REEVE: I just said it was a good possession. We knew exactly what they were running. We were ready. We got caught over-helping, and they made a good pass. We didn't get a deflection, and they knocked down a shot.

Q. I want to ask you what you thought about whether the fouls were correct or not correct. I don't want to get you fined, but there were a total of 44 called tonight. Do you think that disrupts the pace of play, and would you rather see the game called more tightly or more loosely?
CHERYL REEVE: Yeah, I'm just going to stay away from commenting on officiating. It's a rare thing in my life, but I'm going to do it.

Q. Tough game for Maya, particularly in the first half. Was that more credit to LA's defense, or was there something a little off about Maya tonight?
CHERYL REEVE: I think we were not as good as we had been. I think Maya has been playing well. I think Maya is one of the few that has practiced well over the last couple days. Syl practiced well, Whay practiced well, and I think you kind of see it in what they were doing.

Give them some credit. I think Maya just took a little bit to kind of understand how they were playing her, and yeah, I think she forced some stuff. As a team, we weren't as good offensively. It's hard to guard as well as we have been, and we'll look at that part, clean that part up.

Q. Ogwumike goes 8 for 9, and overall the Sparks were able to penetrate inside. For a team that prides itself on that shell defense, how do you patch that up moving forward?
CHERYL REEVE: Well, that's actually what cost us the game. We were making sure that they weren't going to get an easy drive, and so the shell help did come, and sometimes you get beat playing it, but it is the lower percentage of the two shots that were available, and you've got to give Beard credit.

But I think some of the stuff that we were giving up, a little more discipline in our pressure points. We did some things in the first half; that was where most of it was. I thought that they were slipping and they were kind of just doing what they do in their high-low game, in their fist game. We've got to be better.

I was a little surprised we didn't handle that better because that's mostly what we've guarded over the last few days, but I guess it's different when it's Nneka and Parker doing it versus the couple practice guys we have.

Q. I know you never want to go down 1-0 in a series, but having a veteran group that's been here before, does that make it a little easier to bounce back after a loss like this?
CHERYL REEVE: Well, you hope so. It doesn't feel very good. I know that. In that locker room is a very, very competitive group. But I told them, the same way as if we won, you've still got 160 minutes to go. It's one of those things you've got to -- you've got to move on, and you've got to get ready for the next one.

We have a mature group, as you said, a veteran group that will take a little bit -- it will hurt for a little bit, and then you've just got to pick yourself up and move on to the next day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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