home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 4, 2017

Cheryl Reeve

Los Angeles, California

Lynx - 85, Sparks - 76

CHERYL REEVE: What do you say? The three players, and you missed Seimone and Rebecca. They could have been up there, as well. I mean, it was -- we knew it was going to come down to our starters and their starters. Obviously that was how the series was defined. We also thought getting off to a good start was important. We did that. I thought we showed a will to win. I know LA wanted to win. They hung in there. For us to come out the way that we did, and you get through the end of the first quarter, I think it was a two-point game. So we knew we were in for a battle.

Both teams don't mind playing on the road. I mean, look at this environment, and LA I thought put everything on the line.

At the end of the day, it's players like Lindsay Whalen who has a will to win that's second to none. Some of the plays, diving on the floor for a loose ball, that's the stuff we talk about. Everyone wants to talk about who scores, but it's those plays in those moments that win a game for you. Obviously Rebekkah Brunson's tenacity on the glass, obviously we have the MVP. It was kind of cool to get a sweep. I think that's the first time in a while to get a sweep of the regular season and The Finals. That was really important to us. We didn't want the regular season without The Finals because that means we would have lost. We wanted to make sure that we were in position to have the regular season as well as The Finals.

Seimone hit some big shots. Seimone had a really, really nice jumper late off a base out-of-bounds play that Maya created. Maya created that with her basket cut. We just made some really good plays, which is obviously why we're sitting here.

Q. Lindsay was just saying that the more that you win, the harder it gets, the more special it gets. Do you agree? Was this the hardest --
CHERYL REEVE: You just don't understand. I mean, I know that we have developed these expectations. I get it. And when you get the No. 1 seed, everybody just looks, hey, you're the No. 1 team, you should win. And I just can't explain to you in words what it's like to be those guys and to have to walk that walk every single day of greatness, of expectations every single day.

Now, they wouldn't have it any other way, but it's just incredibly draining, and every night we play, we get a team's best effort, like every night throughout the regular season. This isn't a case where we're surprising people.

And so it takes a toll on you. I just give them so much credit for their fortitude. Obviously we lost Game 1 and gave up our home-court advantage right away in the first eight minutes of the series, we gave up home-court advantage. The toughness they displayed in Game 4 was unbelievable. Game 4 was really awesome. Last year this Game 4 out in LA last year was just unreal.

But we knew. You know, all you did was win Game 4. You had to come back here and find a way to close it out on your home floor. We knew we'd have a rocking crowd and they were unbelievable, but at the end of the day we had to make more plays than them. Getting to the foul line -- we finally made our free throws. I don't know if you guys know this, but throughout the playoffs we shot like 63, 64 percent, which was not -- it was uncharacteristic of our team, and so I was thrilled today that we were able to -- I guess we saved it for Game 5, and it came at a good time.

Q. You guys had Lindsay and then you get Maya the next year, now it's four titles in seven years. What's this road been like?
CHERYL REEVE: I can't tell you how blessed I feel to just be around these guys every day. You know, most importantly about this group, we let each other be ourselves, and there is so much to be said for that. I'm not easy to be around, and our staff -- I think about our daily process together, and like I said, you guys aren't in it every day, so you don't know. Obviously it's the most special time in our lives from a professional standpoint, but it's the people. It's the people that we do it with that just -- we're in it for life, this group. We're in it for life, and that's just an incredible blessing that I feel to be able to be around it every single day.

Q. Stemming from last year's Finals, you talked a lot about wanting to get Syl more involved. How does that feel to know as a group you delivered in that, and then watching her seemingly through the series get better as each game wore on?
CHERYL REEVE: You know, I just watched Game 5 from last year before this game, and I thought, Sylvia Fowles was awful. She was awful in Game 5, and all I thought was, my goodness gracious did we have some success in transforming her into such a dominant presence that put a pressure on their defense like nobody else could. We were relentless. We had some bad play calling early in the series where we would go through stretches with Syl not getting touches. Just ridiculous. And we vowed in Game 4, we said all you guys talked about was a small lineup. Game 3, I'd go with the small lineup. At the end of the day, we lose the game, and we say, you know what, we've got to be ourselves because ourselves was good enough to get us here, and if we're going to go down, we're going to go down being ourselves, and that was -- we were going to center this thing around Sylvia Fowles. Rebecca Brunson was going to do what she's great at. Lindsay, Seimone, Maya, we'll get them their touches; they're going to play off of Syl. And we just made a concerted effort that we were not going to spend another three, four minutes, a quarter, a half, whatever it was, without featuring our MVP. So her progression -- and I know she's had other great seasons, but I think our opponents could talk to how hard she was to play against. I thought she passed out of double-teams just unbelievably in this series. She knew it was coming. And what prepared her for it was our regular season, the challenges that we faced, and we collected a lot of information in the regular season, and I'll tell you what, our playoff practices, they weren't pretty. We kicked their butts. We made it hard. We turned it over like crazy. We trapped us. Everything LA was doing at the end, everything you saw, we tried to make it really, really hard for our team so that they could have these moments and feel at least like they knew what to do.

Sylvia Fowles was just -- I don't know if she mentioned to you, but she had a calm about her today that -- she had no jitters going into the game because she was confident in knowing what she had to do to be successful, and I'm just so proud of obviously Syl, James Wade on our staff, Will Hopkins, that spent so much time with her, and obviously Syl is the player. She's got to make the plays. But it was an unbelievable season, to watch her growth, and how we transformed our team. You know, we went from being centered around Lindsay, Seimone and Maya so now it was Syl every single night, and we had to have people that were willing to take less of a role, and they were happy to do it. Seimone became a passer until her grandma called her in the first round. Her grandma finally called her and said, you probably should score a little bit for this team to win a championship. But at the end of the day, there's nothing like seeing the transformation of a player like Sylvia Fowles, and she's the reason why we won a championship.

Q. In addition to Sylvia Fowles in the post, also Rebekkah Brunson had just an incredible last two games and beyond. It seemed like you just dominated the boards in these last two games. What was it really spurred that on, and what's it like for Brunson, for you to get Brunson this fifth ring, one for her thumb?
CHERYL REEVE: You know, there's so many reasons to be happy for this group, and obviously now we've talked about Whay, we've talked about Syl, moan. Rebecca is just -- if you're around our group, she's the same every single day. She works her tail off every single day. We all have shortcomings in our game. She has worked to kind of narrow the gap on her shortcomings, and shooting the ball all season long, getting the floor spaced for Syl. Then we get to a series where they're daring her to shoot, and it kind of rocked our world a little bit. Not to say that we were surprised, but Rebecca had to kind of -- you take it personally a little bit when somebody is leaving you wide open. I went through that; triangle and two, leave Cheryl Reeve open. I know what it feels like. She handled it way better than I did, by the way.

At some point you go, I'm really valuable to my team, and I'm going to do those things that make me valuable, and rebounding makes her incredibly valuable, being opportunistic on the glass.

I think we learned some things that I think made life easier for both Syl and for Rebecca. Again, going through a series you gain a lot of information, and what we learned about Rebecca was just getting her low. I don't know if you guys noticed the adjustment we made, but in Game 4 and Game 5, we spent more time with Brunson being on the opposite block as opposed to the top. It was a different type of double-team that Syl was facing, was easier for her to see, and now I'm get giving our opponents for next year all this good information. But I think it made a difference for Rebecca that we put her in her wheelhouse, which was getting on the glass. At the end of the day, she just said, I'm valuable to this team, I'm going to be myself, and I'm just thrilled that she's now the all-time greatest champion in the history of our league. I told her we're going to start working on the other hand.

Q. Your 12-point lead and the raucous crowd becomes a three-point lead with 30 seconds left. There's that time-out and suddenly things are a lot more interesting. How do you keep your team calm? How do you keep thoughts of last year's game out of their head at that point?
CHERYL REEVE: I don't think Game 5 was on their minds at all. I think what was on their minds was, you know what, Coach has put us in these situations at practice, and we did the same damn thing at practice; we turned the darn thing over. And we said, we were in that time-out, you can't retreat against pressure. You have to attack the pressure. You can't wait for a team to come trap you before you respond, and eventually we said, whoever gets it, when we pass out of it, attack the basket, and that's what Maya did. Maya made a hard shot. That shot that she made there at the end, that's not something that comes easy, you know, kind of a runner/floater like 15 feet.

But I heard Lindsay say, that's Maya Moore. That's what she does. She makes plays.

But I get why you guys spend a lot of time talking about last year's Finals. I get it. We didn't help ourselves at all, either team, by doing exactly the same thing as far as which games each won. But at the end of the day, this felt so different than last season, and I don't think at any point -- maybe our fans felt some kind of way, but this group was -- I'll tell you what, we were incredibly confident in our timeouts, the connectedness that our team showed with one another, I did very little coaching in Game 5. They coached each other through the really difficult times. They were there for each other, they believed in each other, and at the end of the day, they won the game.

Q. This is No. 4, joining Houston kind of at the top of the mountain. Considering especially how far the game has come and the league has come, what kind of feelings come to mind as now you really ascend to a plain that only one other team has reached?
CHERYL REEVE: I just -- I mean, I think the overwhelming feeling that I have is just being so happy for this group of five players that give their all, the way they conduct themselves, they're tremendous professionals. I know that they wanted this. They wanted to take their place next to the Houston Comets. I know that. They wanted that last year. And so they did it. So now they have four.

You know, I mean, it's just a little bit surreal right now. I'm happy we won at home for our fans. Our fans were unbelievable. I would be remiss if I didn't talk about Glen Taylor, Glen and Becky Taylor, who made sure that we stayed in the Twin Cities for these Finals because it wasn't looking good for a while there, where we were going to play, and for them to step up and for our business staff -- to pick up an operation and move it over here, for the University of Minnesota to share their facility with us, that's teamwork. It's teamwork. At the end of the day, I know all those people did this for our team, for -- we're deeper than the first five, but our identity is the first five. And so I know that everyone wanted to do all that they could to put this team in position to do what they did because the group is just so special. They're so special. I just can't even impart to you how special this group is, and I hope that you all continue to kind of bestow your adulation upon them, because this is incredible times in Minnesota sports history and obviously in WNBA history.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297