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October 16, 2016

Nneka Ogwumike

Kristi Toliver

Los Angeles, California

Lynx - 85, Sparks - 79

Q. Whether it was end of the third and even at the end with some free throws, it seemed like Maya had an answer when you guys were pushing back into it. Did it feel like that, and also, what was the biggest challenge about trying to slow her down?
NNEKA OGWUMIKE: I felt like we weren't getting stops, and then we had a couple of slip-ups when it came to handling the ball at the end. You know, when they went down with Janel, we knew that they were going to go small, and we have to be prepared for that. We matched up all right, but we need to be more aggressive, and I think that's kind of what got us down in those times in the second half.

Q. Nneka, Minnesota resumed their rebounding game in Game 4 and ended up getting plus 16 on you. What do you have to do to keep that from happening in Game 5?

Q. In the prior games you dominated the points in the paint 52-30 but tonight not so easy. Can you tell us why it was not so easy to get points in the paint tonight?
KRISTI TOLIVER: Yeah, we were being aggressive. I can't say that we were completely being passive. We wanted to establish an inside game. They kind of pushed us out a little bit, more short corner than us getting catches on the block. That's an adjustment we have to make. We have to be tougher, more assertive getting in the right position, but also taking what the defense gives, and I think we made plays. Obviously we want to establish points in the paint more, but I think at the end of the day, it was rebounding. All five of us got to get a body on people. That's what's going to win a championship, and that's what we didn't do today.

Q. Kristi, when you tied the game at 69, did you think collectively, finally, we're going to overcome that mountain we've been trying to climb the second half?
KRISTI TOLIVER: Yeah, obviously to tie the game up is something we had to do in order to get what we wanted. We put ourselves in a good position. I think down the stretch we'll replay this game in our minds tonight and just know that we have to play with a little bit more poise down the stretch. We have to be aggressive, assertive, decisive, and I think that in those last 1:30, we weren't that, and that's going to be the difference because Game 5 is going to be exactly like Game 4. It's going to be a dogfight. It's going to be up-and-down. It's going to be physical. Hopefully we'll learn from this experience today of knowing how to close out a series.

Q. Kristi, before Candace got called for that foul, did it appear to you that Minnesota got the ball over the mid-court line in time?
KRISTI TOLIVER: Absolutely not. I mean, I thought we were very aggressive. They were moving the ball. I think they forgot they had to get the ball across the line, and from my point of view, I feel pretty confident that they didn't get it across. But that's life. You have to kind of roll with it. We can't leave it up to the officials to determine a series. We have to go take it, and that's what we plan on doing in Game 5.

Q. Seeing in Game 3 you guys were very focused, had a lot of tenacity, and seemed like this game you guys were kind of antsy, maybe some nerves. How did this game prepare you for Game 5?
NNEKA OGWUMIKE: I mean, I didn't feel like they were nerves. I think everyone was kind of anxious, in a good way. I think everyone was ready to play finally, and I say finally because even that day in between feels like 48 hours.

I think we fought today. You know, we fought today. Now, when it comes to the focus and awareness, we can sharpen up there, and I think that's what we have to do. We have to do just that, just sharpen up the focus and awareness, but we fought. We're going to fight again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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