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September 29, 2019

Curt Miller

Washington, D.C.

Washington - 95, Connecticut - 86

CURT MILLER: Obviously disappointing that we didn't come away and try to steal Game 1. But you've got to give a lot of credit to Washington. I thought they did a really nice job regardless of what defense, and our disruption and trying different things to just try to get their offensive flow out of rhythm.

I thought the first quarter killed us, obviously. Take away that last foul, over the last three quarters we outplayed them and outscored them, but we dug ourselves in a hole, and we were always trying to climb out of it.

But I think they felt us a little bit there late in the second half, and as we cut it down and made it interesting, but ultimately you've got to credit their offensive execution was just outstanding when they needed it. They stepped up and made big shots out of those plays. We left some points on the board, missing some shots there as we got a little bit tired, and I need to probably stretch our bench a little bit more.

But this is what the series is going to be all about. There was two really, really talented offensive teams playing tonight. And despite everything both teams were trying, it was a fun offensive game. But we'll get back to the drawing board tonight and look forward to practices and adjustments going into Game 2.

Q. (Indiscernible) firepower tonight from your team. 8 shots, 12 points from Jonquel. I know we talked in the last series about how important it was when she's been pulling for the ball. I wonder if you think that needs to be a change in emphasis from her for the rest of the series.
CURT MILLER: Sure, I think we ran some things and she was unselfish and we got touches for her and she played out of it. At other times their switching sped us up, and we didn't always get the ball to her when I felt like we could.

Again, we got on a roll early in the first half. Alyssa Thomas had an unbelievable first half, so we put her in a lot of action. She dominated some of the ball in the first half because she was playing so well so that naturally all of a sudden you're playing away from J.J.

We talked about going back to that, trying to establish her early in the second half, at least getting her touches. But we need those shots up. They want Jasmine Thomas taking a lot of shots, and they got some of that accomplished tonight, so we've just got to continue to get the ball to where we want to play through.

Q. You talked about how their offensive execution down the stretch was outstanding. Elena I think hit two jumpers, and you cut it to four both times. How tough is it -- she's the league MVP, an unbelievable player -- knowing they can get it to her and she'll probably make a shot to end a run you guys have?
CURT MILLER: Yeah, obviously a go-to player down the stretch that they can play through and made some big plays. But like Alyssa Thomas is an elite defender, and when she bodies up on 99 percent of the people in the league and they've picked up their dribble, she usually gets them stopped.

But we all know that EDD's step-through in that last movement to the basket where she leans in and can create space and get her shot off is the only person in the world that does that.

But I'm never going to question how hard A.T. fights and battles with her. I think she defends her as well as anyone. And we had success at times switching tonight and scrambling out of it.

It doesn't seem like a lot of turnovers, but 14 turnovers for them (indiscernible) counters to it. I thought in the first quarter their big lineup hurt us at times, and that big lineup has been real good to them during the stretch where Kristi has been out, and they got really used to playing that way, got really efficient playing that way.

So you know, again, you're going to have to score in this league. They're going to score. You're going to have to score in the series. They are going to score. But you look over the last three quarters in the low 20s, in the teens, we'll take that. It was the 30-point first quarter that we had a real hard time digging out of that hole.

Q. Specifically, defensively Kristi Toliver was able to get to the rim a lot off picks. Just how do you stop her from getting to the rim now that she's seemingly getting back to 100 percent?
CURT MILLER: Yeah, she plays with a change of pace and a change of direction, and she's herky-jerky, so she's hard to guard. If you're in switch mode now, she's an elite guard going against post players. You have that challenge.

If not, one of the things that's underrated about Washington to get Kristi open is their screening. It is not as easy to get over, under screens in Washington like the success we had in the last series. They're a very, very talented screening team.

Again, there's a lot of talk in this series in our locker room that we've got to be good one-on-one, and that doesn't necessarily mean one-on-one with a match-up that we would love to have, it's going to be one-on-one against mismatches or our switches, and we've got to get in a stance and be able to keep some of those guys in front of us because then it just plays into their penetrate-and-kick game.

They're so good at making penetrate-and-kick threes that if you over-help, they're going to pick you apart that way. So we've got to sit in a stance on Kristi and everybody else and try our best to keep people in front of us.

Q. First half -- you're an offensive guy. What's going through your head when you look at the box score after the half? You're shooting 61 percent.
CURT MILLER: What's going through my head? That Mike and I are both pulling our hair out, and the general TV audience is going: This is damned good basketball. You know, that's what's going through my head is like this is why the two of us are here. We can make shots. We can make people -- we can execute offensively, and that's going to be the challenge for both of us all series, can we string consecutive stops together. Our transition is so important to us, and we've got to be able to get defensive stops or turn them over so we can get in transition.

Q. You went to Morgan early in the game to get her in there, and obviously later on she had that big bucket that pulled the team within four. What were you trying to get out with putting her in early tonight, and how was she able to succeed in that?
CURT MILLER: Morgan is a great mover, and I thought she just allowed us to slip things, move things. We just offensively were a little bit -- everything was crisper and cleaner. She's such a smart player. She's not afraid of this moment with four National Championships in college.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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