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October 16, 2016

Cheryl Reeve

Los Angeles, California

Lynx - 85, Sparks - 79

CHERYL REEVE: Just opening comment would be just commending both teams on this is what a Finals game should look like, I think both teams leaving it all out on the floor. I was pleased to see that on both sides.

Q. Cheryl, Maya really took over in this game, really first time in the series that she's stepped up and taken over the game. Very good all-around game, 31 points, rebounds, assists. What did you think of her performance tonight?
CHERYL REEVE: Obviously we needed every bit of what Maya did. It wasn't easy. You know, I remember more of the turnovers than I do the 31 points. There were two big threes that were memorable for me. But Maya made -- Maya just makes plays. I think that, much like Nneka after Game 2 came back in Game 3 and wanted to be more persistent, I thought Maya was more persistent in trying to find opportunities to score. It was in a variety of ways. It was in multiple positions. She was perimeter, post, it was in transition, it was hustle plays. It was executing some stuff out of time-outs. It was getting fouled at times. Obviously it was huge.

Q. In Game 3 you talked about rebounding as a matter of want, Lynx go plus 16 tonight. How would you rate Minnesota's want-to factor on the boards?
CHERYL REEVE: Well, I mean, anybody that understands what it takes to win games, you know that rebounding is at the top of the list. It's possessions, and so we got huge effort from Sylvia Fowles. We weren't necessarily able to figure the rock in decent positions to score, so she found her own way to get involved in the offense, and that was hustle plays on the glass. It was hard. You know, it wasn't like they weren't in there trying to keep her from it. It was just -- I just thought it was -- again, both teams competing, what I would call on 10, just giving it everything that they had. I think for us, when you went on the road, what you remember most is answering runs. There was a huge one there at the end when they tied it, and that was huge. That next possession that was a turnover, I can't recall exactly what happened, but I just know it was a huge stop, and it was just being able to hang in there and not letting them take a lead because the crowd was obviously amazing. Kudos to the business staff for giving the Sparks such an amazing environment. It was a great show for our league on national television. Yeah.

Q. This has been an amazing series. It seems like when every team might have lost, the next night they come at a different level. What do you expect is going to happen in Game 5?
CHERYL REEVE: Well, as I told Rachel, our Star Tribune reporter that flew all the way from Minneapolis to be with us, I gave her a prediction of what I thought Game 3 was going to be like, and I couldn't have been more wrong, so she asked me today, and I said, I have no idea. So I will answer to you today, I have no idea what to expect. I know what to wish for, but you have no idea. You have no idea. We're just going to try to prepare our team and see what we can do.

Q. Considering the roller coaster this series has been, are you glad there's almost four days before you play again?
CHERYL REEVE: It doesn't really matter. I think all of us getting to -- all of us, coaches getting another practice, we're thrilled to be able to spend a little more time together. But I just think maybe for the players to get their legs under them maybe it's a good idea because this has been intense. Like you said, I told our players this, it's an up-and-down series, never too high, never too low. We each won on each other's home court, and that's not easy to do, when you look at the home court that we have and our fans and you look at what exists here, it's a tall challenge, so credit to both teams for being able to get that done, and then now it's Game 5, which is what everybody was asking for, hoping for, and here we are.

Q. With Brunson in foul trouble for most of the game, how pivotal was Howard's play tonight and Moore's defense against Parker tonight?
CHERYL REEVE: Well, certainly not an ideal situation. I'm already down a post, losing McCarville last game, so I've got three posts left and one of them gets in foul trouble. It was the worst-case scenario. If you had told me before the game that was going to happen, I would have told you we were in big, big trouble. We had already obviously had consideration that Maya was going to have to play there, match up on Parker, so we tried to get her ready for some of the things that she would see.

But I think our stuff is not Maya versus Parker, I think it's team defensive concepts, the same way it is for LA. I don't think it was Maya's individual defense that got anything done. I thought it was more our attention to what they were running and how we could try to prevent the easy ones because I think she got going a little bit early, some of the shots against Howard. But Howard's minutes were big in that this is a young player that's on a big stage and kind of got thrust into this place of everything you do matters. Sometimes it was good, and sometimes it was just okay, but I thought Jia Perkins, the play of Jia Perkins was huge in that playing Jia and moving Maya to the 4, that was really helpful to us. Jia gives us an amazing energy on defense and obviously a great mid-range game. She had a huge jumper for us on the help side where we were able to swing it around to her. We just had big plays. When you win on the road like this, it's -- Brunson's bank that she made, it's Seimone's shot along the baseline that she made, it's Jia's shot, and answering the run. All of a sudden if you don't score three times in a row, you're going to lose the lead, so we had the ability to find a way to at least put the ball in the basket, to answer at some point, to keep a separation.

Q. What, if anything, rattles Maya?
CHERYL REEVE: I think when I sub and take her out. She doesn't like that very much. She looked at me like, me? I'm coming out? I don't think a whole lot. I don't think a whole lot. I think that's the greatest thing about Maya. She can -- she's one of those players that can do multiple bad things in a row. She'll turn it over on offense and she'll miss something on defense, and with Maya you just never know when she's screwing up, and that's the greatest thing about Maya, she's always in that next-play mode, and she believes at all times that she's going to make a play.

I haven't seen her be rattled. Beard would rattle me, her defense would rattle the hell out of me. I'd have been turning it over every darned time. So I guess if Beard can't do it, I don't know.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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