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October 6, 2019

Curt Miller

Uncasville, Connecticut

Mystics - 94, Sun - 81

Q. When they make shots like that, it takes away so much of what your team does, getting on the break, everything. Is there anything that you do in the next 48 hours that says if they get this hot again we have to make some kind of offensive adjustment?
COACH MILLER: Defense or offense?

Q. Coming back to offense. I mean, them making that many shots, you're not able to get into the break and the things you do often, do you have to consider that?
COACH MILLER: So you're asking offensive adjustments because we're not in transition? Make sure I understand.

All right. You know, I don't think we played poorly offensively at times. We shot nearly 50 percent. We have nearly identical field goals again. We more than double them in points in the paint, which is important for us in the way we play.

I thought we got a little sped up again, similar to Game 1, where at the back end of plays, when Washington takes your first option away, I thought we did a good job playing through the paint. And that's different ways.

We got low post touches. We got paint touches off the dribble. And then we were able to exploit their rotations with offensive rebounding.

I thought when we took some quick shots, where we didn't get paint touches in a variety of ways, when they took the first option away is when we had trouble offensively.

So again, we've just got to show them that we're having success offensively. Almost 50 points in the paint, and we think it needs to be more. We still need more touches through the paint which will eventually open up outside. We've rarely lost when we've gotten 31 points in a game from the 3 position.

But we couldn't -- we struggled to get Courtney [Williams] going tonight. And again, almost 50 points in the paint, but I thought back end of plays, we could have still played through the paint even more.

Q. I know there were a lot of parallels in between Games 1 and 3, with the early difficult start, and it was playing essentially even beyond that first quarter in both of these games. I would imagine playing in an elimination game would focus the mind in that way, but are there other ways that you think you can find to make sure that from the jump you're playing the way you did in Game 2?
COACH MILLER: Sure. You hit it on the head. We talked briefly at the end of the game, all three games have been decided in the first quarter, essentially. There hasn't been a close first quarter in this series yet. So we were always playing catch up in Game 1, playing catch up in Game 2. We expended a lot of energy.

To hold a Washington team to 11 points in a quarter – I don't know what their worst quarter of the year is, but it's got to rival somewhere in that neighborhood to hold a Washington team to 11 points and that includes a traveling, a true traveling floater at the buzzer to get to double figures in the second quarter.

Did I say that? So, we got it back to four but we expended a lot of energy. And again, you're always climbing out of a hole.

Washington had to feel the same way in Game 2 after our good start and so first quarters have been the story, regardless of all their made threes and everything. First quarters have been a big part of the stories in this series so far.

Q. You guys were out-rebounded 34-27. After last game, having out-rebounded them by an even wider margin, and [Jonquel Jones] was really kept out of the paint pretty well tonight, affecting her offensively and her rebounding skills, what were they doing that made it so difficult and why couldn't that in-game adjustment happen to kind of get her more involved?
COACH MILLER: Again, they defend her well. They're really physical. They're a really good boxout team. The effort that J.J. put forth in Game 2 is insane and should always deserve credit. She was working her tail off. But there was a concerted effort to be physical with her tonight. It was hard at times. Sometimes it's not your night where the ball goes different directions.

Again, it's not the shot attempts, it's the touches. We've got to continue to get her touches. Now, we'll take 50 points in the paint most nights, but again we've got to play through J.J. But a lot of credit goes to them. Physicality what was similar to Game 1; Elena [Delle Donne] was back. She does a good job around the rim rebounding, gives them more size, and so that's an effort.

The other thing is the officiating crew, two out of the three are similar. They're going to let different physicality happen. There's always a style with certain officials. And, again, we had mostly the crew from Game 1, and it was really, really crazy physical around the rim, and we just couldn't, we couldn't make our own breaks at time.

Q. Just as far as the 3-pointers in the third quarter and the fourth, the 13-point run, [inaudible] in the beginning of the four spot, how much did that just take the air out of you guys?
COACH MILLER: When you don't have a timeout in that stretch, we're in a package defense in the first two. Their offense is better than our defense. We have to be able to do two things, and what we were trying to do -- and it's hard because on the backside the rotation is Elena. So you can't rotate off the best player in the world. And then when we tried to switch on the fly, it's hard. We tried to switch to a different scheme. It's hard at times to communicate that on the fly. And we made a defensive mistake.

But they had a really good night in their simple offense. It's really, really simple, middle ball screen offense. And they put a great shooter on the backside. And you have to pick your poison. There's only so many ways that you can defend it.

One of the things they did well in the first half, they didn't have a lot of assists on their baskets. It was a lot of one-on-one plays. We did a good job taking away first actions. But then they played one-on-one, either through the post or from the perimeter, and they made some really, really difficult one-on-one plays.

At times you've got to live with that. And their assists were low. In that stretch, those are assisted baskets, and that's where we've got to be better. And it's not always easy. We're asking players to do two different things to cover that simple package.

But it's frustrating to me because that's why I'm here because that simple package is what won 70-plus percent of my games in college. It's just simple middle pick-and-roll basketball, and we'll be challenged to continue to be better in that defense.

Q. Ahead of today's game you said that you were preparing as if Delle Donne would play. She then starts. How do you then counteract that with the play that they got from [Emma] Meesseman? Is there an answer for that double-headed monster, if at all?
COACH MILLER: Yeah, we'll take a look at different schemes. We'll take a look at different matchups. But, again, they're both 50-40-90 kids. This is not something that they're not capable of doing. They're shot makers. And they're doing things that the league's never seen.

So it challenges you. It tears at your fabric that weaker teams start to change every five minutes and then they have you. So we've got to absorb some of these stretches. We absorbed some of the stretches in the first half even though we've expended a lot of energy to get it back to four.

But we've got to continue to -- we can't -- they're too good offensively to stay in the same thing for 40 minutes. We've got to continue to give them different looks and then withstand some of these runs.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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