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September 26, 2017

Cheryl Reeve

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lynx - 70, Sparks - 68

CHERYL REEVE: Well, these two teams, you know, we just -- this is the way we like it, I guess. We did so many things well, but we knew that -- we said just like it was a long game for us in Game 1 to kind of hang in there, obviously they had the same mentality, and two teams that are really tough-minded, two teams that allows their defense to generate offense, so you know that whatever the lead is, it's not enough. We didn't execute, obviously, very well in some of our stretches. We gave them some offense off of our really bad offense, but overall, we were a much better defensive team today than we were in Game 1, and that's how we won the game.

Q. Anybody going to blow each other out between these two teams? Going back to last year and this year, it seems like every single game is one possession in the last few seconds.
CHERYL REEVE: Yeah, I mean, look at the talent on both sides. Look at what both teams believe in in terms of the intangibles, the defense, and so that's why you get this. There's great players on both sides. I think we're equally hard to play against, and so it's evenly matched, and that's why you get these great games.

Q. After Game 1, you said you've been waiting for something good to happen to us at the end of a game. After three basically buzzer-beating losses to these guys, today something good happened when Rebekkah stole that ball.
CHERYL REEVE: Yeah, I thought you were going to refer to Seimone tripping on the floor, but I told them, we come back here, we've got to make sure we get that fixed. Because that's just not fair. That's just not fair to her.

But yeah, you know, two great things happened to us, but we made our own breaks, and that's what it's about. You have to make your own breaks. We were far harder to play against in those closing possessions than what we were in Game 1, far harder, and we made catches more difficult, we were up on them, we were active, our posts were up on the play when Gray and Nneka were running that high ball screen there at the end, Rebekkah, to finish the game with a five-second call and a deflection, that's what the Lynx are about, and so we finally got that done.

Q. Tonight Sylvia came out and seemed to take over on the boards; can you just discuss her 17 rebounds?
CHERYL REEVE: Yeah, I mean, that's what you expect her to do. That's what she's capable of every night. It's got to be top of mind for her. I think she took to heart some of the things we talked about. Obviously no rebounds in a quarter was something that we just weren't going to let go in terms of what we talked about. She rebounded hard. She got hard ones in traffic. She was there early went way up to get them, set a Finals record, I think, if I'm not mistaken. It's every bit of what we needed, and our guards got in there, I thought Whalen got a couple hard ones. That's what wins games, and like I said, both teams value those sorts of things, and without those hard rebounds and consistent effort, the game looks different.

Q. How important was Lindsay in the first quarter getting you going?
CHERYL REEVE: I would say really important. Everybody asks me about whether it's Wha or Brunson or -- everybody was worried about us having to do something different with Brunson. I told you guys, she's a fighter. So is Whalen. Whalen took a lot personally from Game 1, and she realized she wasn't aggressive enough, and so she came out and really established herself, and I thought it created openings for us, her shooting, and then now you've got to step up a little bit, so the bigs were running free a little bit. But I thought Lindsay setting the tone, that's what Lindsay Whalen does. If you're around her, as you know, you would have guessed she was going to come out that way to help lead this team at a level of aggression that was necessary.

Q. Speaking of Brunson, you mentioned pregame that you thought that if you guys won that she was going to be a big part of this. Her defense on Parker and her play at the end on Gray, is that pretty much what you were talking about?
CHERYL REEVE: Yeah, well, that and offensively, I thought she would -- she helped us. She was aggressive. She was assertive. And then, yeah, that's what we expect from her is to make those kind of plays in the end. She does the dirty work. She -- like I said, I knew that if we won, she was going to be a big part of it, and I thought she was on both ends.

Q. Holding Nneka and Candace to 0 for 11 in the first half, what did you see there and what was the key to that, and how did you hang on as they were starting to assert themselves?
CHERYL REEVE: Yeah, they really asserted themselves, particularly in the third quarter, which we knew; we talked about where we would go if we were them, and they got very, very persistent throwing the ball inside, and they had some success. Nneka is just really, really good down there pivoting and getting shots off and making hustle plays, and obviously Parker is good down there. We overplayed a little bit too much sometimes. But you know, I thought overall, we just tried to make things difficult for them. Sims and Gray cause you to put a lot of attention on them. It gets you pretty spread out. And then they were setting some back screens and back-door cuts, all the things that we talked about. But they burned us quite a bit on that. But I thought mostly they played off of our bad offense. That was really, I thought, what really established their rhythm and their flow.

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