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October 6, 2019

Elena Delle Donne

Kristi Toliver

Uncasville, Connecticut

Mystics - 94, Sun - 81

Q. Elena [Delle Donne], can you kind of take us through what these last five days were like for you in terms of getting treatment and then today kind of how you felt out there on the court?
ELENA DELLE DONNE: Basically doing anything possible to get back out there. We have a really great medical staff, phenomenal doctors, great trainers. So they've been working on me for five days straight. I was glad to have a little bit of a break to get it to calm down a little bit, just trying to find ways to stay comfortable and stay loose.

And we really didn't know if I was going to be able to go today because I hadn't done anything until right up before the game. And we were able to kind of test it a little bit and go from there.

Q. If you could take me through, it's 84-74, they've made a run to get it within 10. You made the decision to dribble-drive and essentially put this one away. Take me through your thought process about that and how that seemed like an additional bridge for you to cross at that moment in the game?
ELENA DELLE DONNE: It was kind of one of the moments like, ‘Hey, I might give my back up and my body up on this one,’ but I feel like it was such a big moment to stop that run they're making. And I knew I've got a phenomenal team. They've carried me this whole series, and they’re going to carry me the rest of the way.

So just saw I might have a lane because I hadn't driven – or done anything really other than space – so just tried to attack.

Q. Kristi [Toliver], you came up with a big smile on your face, obviously a great win today for everyone. What did it mean to the team to see -- get Elena back and have her on the court, putting it all out there?
KRISTI TOLIVER: Yeah, it's everything. Her presence alone, whether she's 100 percent or 10 percent, just instills confidence in the rest of the group. And she showed a lot of character and showed a lot of heart just being out on the floor today because she's obviously not feeling great. She tripped on the way up here. (Laughter).

She's not in great shape, (laughter) but it means the world to us and the rest of the team for her and Little A [Ariel Atkins] to be out there today.

Q. Elena, it seemed like you weren't even sitting at any point when you were not kind of back there on the bike or not on the court, you were standing or stretching. Was that intentional? How are you feeling? Does it even hurt to be sitting right now. Sort of what was the strategy coming into the game?
ELENA DELLE DONNE: Sitting is my worst enemy. I haven't sat much these past couple of days. When I do, I get really stiff and it's hard to get up from it. So I've been doing a lot of standing, a lot of core work, a lot of glute work. But, yes, sitting has been really bad for me.

Q. I just wanted to get your thoughts on Emma [Meesseman]'s performance tonight. Coming off the bench scoring 21, leading the team in scoring, how big was that? Seemed like Connecticut couldn't stop really any of her shots?
ELENA DELLE DONNE: Emma was a monster. She was on the attack. So confident. Emma is such a good player, and we need her to just continue to attack because no one can guard her one-on-one. She requires double teams, triple teams to be guarded.

So Emma's going to continue to be huge for us. She's been huge this entire playoffs. I say it all the time, Emma is one of the greatest in the world. Her play overseas, what she does for her national team, she's ready for this moment. And you can tell she's relishing in this moment.

Q. Could you both talk about the defensive intensity that you guys and your teammates brought -- to be able to especially Natasha [Cloud] is able to limit Courtney [Williams] a lot. Jonquel Jones really wasn't able to get going, just able to box her out and keep her out of the paint.
KRISTI TOLIVER: Yeah, I mean, a problem not addressed is like a boomerang. It's just going to keep coming back. So, we had to address the problem. And the problem was defensive rebounding.

And so we took pride in the fact that we were willing to do whatever it took. We were finding bodies. We were pursuing the basketball. We were gang rebounding. A.P. [Aerial Powers] was flying all over the place. Tash did her defensive thing; she's one of the best defensive players in the league. So, yeah, it was going to take a collective effort. But we knew after Game 2, that was the sole reason why we lost.

So we obviously want to win a championship. And so we had to take care of that side of the floor. And we were able to do that and then the rest of it can speak for itself.

Q. You guys made 17 three-pointers today, which is a WNBA Finals game record [Actual figure: 16]. What does it mean for your team when you're hitting it from the outside what it does for the rest of the game?
KRISTI TOLIVER: We're two teams that score the basketball, two teams that can shoot the basketball. So obviously that's great for the game, but that's just how we both have strived and been successful all season long.

So, I don't know, there's a lot of teams that can shoot the basketball in this league. I know it's a lot of fun to watch. And I think so far this series has been really, really fun to watch.

Q. Elena, Natasha didn't seem to sit down the entire game, between when she was on the bench or in the huddle. Leading the way, her evolution as a leader on and off the court, how much did that play a part in you guys being able to come away with a win on the road here today?
ELENA DELLE DONNE: Her growth as a player but even more as a leader has been a huge difference for us this season. She's our energy. That's why you don't see her sitting. She just has too much energy. (Laughing). And she's constantly bringing that for us and giving that to us.

For her to step up, hit some huge shots -- but then the role she's played on the defensive end all season long, she has the toughest role. It's always to defend their best player and she loves it. And she's always stepped up to that. And to have her giving that heart and that effort and that leadership is really big for us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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