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October 11, 2016

Nneka Ogwumike

Kristi Toliver

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lynx - 79, Sparks - 60

Q. Nneka, it was real tight for the first quarter and a half. What kind of allowed them do you think to really kind of pull ahead there and take control of the game?
NNEKA OGWUMIKE: We weren't getting stops, you know? And if you're not getting stops, then you have to take the ball out, then we have to get into our half-court offense, and that's not what we wanted to do. But we made it -- we made it less difficult than in Game 1 for them to get what they wanted. I think it had a lot to do with our effort, you know?

And not to say that we don't want it, but when you get tired, when things are muddled and you're not focusing at what you're doing, a lot of times confusion can -- confusion can seep in, and I think that's kind of what happened.

Q. Nneka, Minnesota really pounded the offensive side of the glass tonight, got a lot of second-chance points, and used that to pull away. How aggressive were they, and how do you think they outworked you in that area?
NNEKA OGWUMIKE: Yeah, they were extremely aggressive. I think that we tried our best to do a good job to make the shots difficult or score how we wanted them to score, but the play isn't over until you secure the rebound, and because we weren't able to secure the rebound, it gave them a lot of second-chance points that we didn't allow in the first game, especially down the stretch. We were able to cut it short a little bit because we were getting stops, but they were able to kind of spread the lead a little bit, as well, here and there in the second half with their second opportunities, and that's been a point of emphasis for our team this whole year. There's nothing more that you can say about that than just rebound.

Q. Tonight we had a sell-out crowd just shy of 13,000. The crowd was a little louder. Did that impact your communication on the floor?

Q. Kristi, not just you but most of the team other than Nneka struggled to score tonight. Can you describe whether this was just one of those nights that shots weren't falling for you or whether there was something that they were doing specifically on the defensive side of the ball? I think Nneka is the only one who shot even 50 percent.
KRISTI TOLIVER: Well, Nneka shot about 70 percent all season, so we expect that from her. You know, both ways, I think they played tough defense. They congested where they wanted to congest. I think they were a little less physical at the point of attack and away from the ball than they were in Game 1. We were able to get a lot of back doors, a lot of kind of plan B options, and today we maybe even second-guessed thinking that we had to go to plan B when we really had plan A.

We didn't shoot the ball that great. We had pretty good looks throughout the game, and that's something you've just got to continue to take those shots. Everybody has got to take the shots when they're open, and I think we kind of hesitated a little bit early on when we had our pick-and-pops or what have you of just trying to make another move when the initial shot was there.

You know, we'll watch the film and we'll regroup, but I think they did a great job defensively and offensively. For us it just wasn't a great shooting night.

Q. Kristi, you got Game 1 obviously, so you go back with two at home here. This one got away from you, but how do you manage the highs and the lows in Minnesota here and kind of carry it forward to Los Angeles?
KRISTI TOLIVER: Yeah, it's a series. I said after Game 3 when we lost in Chicago that we weren't going to sweep them and we're not going to sweep now in The Finals. We're still a confident group. We still feel good. We came here to do what we want to do, and that was to get one. We feel pretty good about that, and now we need to take care of business at home. If we can defend our home court, and we've been good at home all season long, you know, I think good things are going to happen.

Obviously Minnesota is a very extremely experienced team. They have a lot of playoff experience, a lot of Finals experience, and they want four, and I think we know that as a team. But we want one. It's going to continue to be a battle. It's going to be highly competitive. I know we're going to compete our asses off, and it's going to be a fight.

I think nobody is putting their head down. Today obviously wasn't our best showing, but we know we're better than what we showed today. It's going to be competitive, and we're looking forward to it.

Q. On a night when Candace is struggling with her shot, when she's 3 for 11 and she's trying but it's not working, how do you guys flow? She's such a big part of what you do; how do you manage that?
NNEKA OGWUMIKE: For me, I mean, with my relationship with Candace, I just try and talk to her, and I try to make things easier for her. I was trying to tell her to keep being aggressive. A lot of times when your shot isn't falling like that, sometimes you just have to drive it in even if you don't really see a lane, yeah, and we weren't really able to do that. There were points in time when she was able to kind of get something. Maybe it was too physical inside for her to be able to finish easily. But I just tried to stay in her ear, yeah.

KRISTI TOLIVER: Yeah, I mean, I think we overall can all do better with everyone. When somebody is struggling, not getting the things that they want, I mean, I know as a point guard I can put her in a better position to be successful. That kind of bugs me a little bit right now just knowing that I think I could have done a better job putting everyone in better places, but that's what film is for, and we're going to regroup, and she's going to come back feeling good on Friday.

Yeah, we just -- everybody just kind of has to do a better job of helping one another. Sometimes it's hard in an environment like this, and it just feels like everything is going a mile a minute. You kind of just have to take a pause sometimes, and I think today we didn't take that pause.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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