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October 20, 2016

Cheryl Reeve

Seimone Augustus

Los Angeles, California

Sparks - 77, Lynx - 76

CHERYL REEVE: A couple things I want to do first. First is to congratulate the LA Sparks for a great series, hard-fought. They deserved winning. They did some things today that were necessary to put them over the top.

The second thing is I want to -- as I expressed to these guys, this is a really special group led by Seimone, Maya. We had a great season that didn't end the way we wanted it to, but I'm no less proud today than on the days that we actually won a championship.

And then I want to do like other teams do, which is bemoan the officiating in that they botched a call at 1:14. Nneka Ogwumike's shot was not good. It was reviewable at the time when she shot it. The referees at that point didn't think anything was wrong. They didn't understand it was the end of the clock. They didn't hear the shot clock.

When they put the ball in play, the play is no longer reviewable, yet in the first quarter, three or four minutes or five minutes can go by until the next step stoppage of play before a review. So it's really unfortunate that players continually put themselves out there playing and competing at a really high level, whether it was the eight-second call in the game in LA -- doesn't matter, okay. The game today, it's not fair to the players. It's not enough just to apologize and send out a memo that they got something wrong, okay. These players are so invested, and something must be done about the officiating in this league because it is not fair to these great players that we have.

Q. Without taking sides with either team on that, I can't agree with you more. Practically speaking, what do you think can be done to improve the officiating?
CHERYL REEVE: I don't get paid enough to have to do somebody else's job, too. Just get the simple things right, simple. Eight-second call, shot-clock violation. Get the simple things right and we'll live with the other stuff that happens in a game. I'm not taking anything away from LA. Please know that. It takes hustle plays to win championships on the road, and they made hustle plays.

But it's unfortunate that we're even having this discussion. The number of people that have contacted us and said that shot was no good. It's unfortunate. I mean, I don't know what happens from there. Maybe they still win; I don't know. That's why I don't want to take anything away from LA. That doesn't stop the other teams from bitching and complaining when it's happened in our favor, so we might as well get our bitching and complaining in, as well.

Q. In terms of basketball, what did they do to hurt you?
CHERYL REEVE: There's no question the second half they scored at will in the paint. We had them at 34 percent in the first half. I thought defending our tails off, and then in the second half we didn't get that done. They scored in the paint at will. You guys watched it. How many shots did they hit? We go look at a shot chart right now, it's not going to be pretty. We understand that's where LA wants to be, and we didn't get that done, and then they had 14 offensive rebounds. So they turned the tables on us.

Q. There were times in the second half when you were struggling on offense; you had a few missed layups and issues there. Was that miscommunications? What was the breakdown on the offense in the second half?
CHERYL REEVE: Well, missed lay-ups aren't communication, that's just focus. It happened throughout the game. I thought we had decent opportunities at the rim that we didn't convert on. That was unfortunate. In this league you have to have a cushion because you don't want to put it in the officials' hands. If you don't have a cushion, then you sit here talking about things like I was talking about.

But in the end there was a stretch there, we struggled offensively. They got separation. We stormed back and put ourselves in position to win, and we just couldn't get over the hump.

Q. I know it's tough right after a loss, but can you appreciate the quality of play and the quality of the atmosphere tonight and in the series in general?
SEIMONE AUGUSTUS: Yeah, of course. You think about the different playoff format that they implemented this year, and you couldn't have a better series with the two top teams in the regular season competing against each other going through a five-game series, competing at the highest level. We always talk about great players making great plays. Throughout the five games, you saw people rise to the occasion. Any given night there was any given player that could be the most important piece at that time. This was what we needed, and I hope that we gained a lot of fans from around the world, around this country, and they really recognize how well women's basketball is being played here in the USA.

Q. Cheryl, what does a game like this and a series like this and a team like yours do to elevate the visibility of your league? How much fun -- not the result, but a lot of people had a lot of fun watching that basketball game tonight.
CHERYL REEVE: Absolutely. What a great atmosphere. I've got to commend our fan base for providing us an atmosphere all season long to create this home-court advantage that we had that we couldn't capitalize on. But certainly it's not because they didn't bring it. Our business staff also -- I don't know, 18,000 tee shirts, green tee shirts on every seat, the commitment, like I said, the fans, fully invested. The number of times that I hear from people that attend a game for the first time that they say, I had no idea how much fun it was to go watch women's basketball.

I tell these guys all the time how proud I am of them for more than just their skills and just kind of what we're doing to change minds, if you will, move forward in society, and these two are a big reason why we're able to do that here locally in this community, so exposing boys and girls, men and women, to strong, powerful women playing at the top of their craft, they brought it tonight, our fans did, and like you said, I hope they walked away knowing they saw a good game, and I know they're just as proud of our team as I am.

Q. As veteran as this team is, how much more do you think you can do?
CHERYL REEVE: I don't know, they just said stick a fork in it last year, and all we did was get back to the Finals and have the best record in the league. I don't know, maybe you guys should start writing how we're old and washed up and maybe it motivates them. I don't know.

Thank you, all. Thank you for everything this season. Appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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