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September 11, 2022

Curt Miller

Connecticut Sun

Game 1: Postgame

Las Vegas Aces 67, Connecticut Sun 64

CURT MILLER: You know, certainly disappointed for our locker room with the loss, knowing that we did so much that we wanted to accomplish defensively and got the game, the style of play that we were hoping for.

But unfortunately the big stat line difference tonight in a lot of areas was their ability to get to the foul line and play through contact, and we struggled to get to the foul line and any kind of offensive rhythm there in the second half, and that's a credit to their defense.

But you know, really pleased with holding that high-powered offense down and got the style of play we wanted. So we are encouraged but I'm disappointed that it didn't equate to a win.

Q. You guys worked so hard in the second quarter to bounce back and then things flipped in the third. What changed coming out of halftime?

CURT MILLER: Halfway through the third, I felt still really we were in a good position. In the second half of that third quarter, they started to make some difficult shots and we could not find any kind of offensive rhythm, and missed some shots we were certainly capable of, forced some shots, and got stagnated by their defense.

Q. There were tough shots, again from Chelsea Gray; she's been doing it through the playoffs. What are the decisions you're making as a defense on your defense was there, those were tough shots, she's just knocked it down, on how to defend that and handle that when she's doing it?

CURT MILLER: Yeah, I was really pleased. Nothing came easy for Chelsea. Nearly every single shot, again, was contested or made difficult. So you've got to be pleased with that.

We forced her into six turnovers. She had a 1:2 assist-to-turnover ratio tonight. We did some good things. She just is a tough shot maker, but as long as they are contested, we are going to be pleased that over the course of 40 minutes, if you just continue to try to make them as difficult as possible. We gave her different looks. A lot of different people guarded her. We tried to keep her off-balance.

Q. You were up by six when Dearica Hamby comes in for ten minutes, blue-collar minutes and she goes out with Vegas goes up four. The ten minutes she was in, the impact she had from your viewpoint?

CURT MILLER: Energy. I thought her two offensive rebounds were important to them in that stretch. She got them extra possessions which led to baskets. I might be mistaken but she might have the best plus/minus on the team tonight for them.

So those minutes were big, and it was the intangibles, the hustles and the rebounds. She runs the floor in transition. We've got mismatches. Nothing shows up in a stat sheet for her that way, but her effort creates mismatches right away in transition to their advantage.

Q. Brionna Jones was the only spark off the bench today. Can you talk about how important it is to get the bench more involved were the rest of these Finals?

CURT MILLER: Yeah, we more than doubled their bench production, but that has to tilt in our favor. I was really pleased with Breezy's first half. Again, Odyssey can bring us a spark and she did some good things defensively and she'll run the team.

DiJonai, you know, young, and can be really impactful, and at times with all that length around the rim, she couldn't find paths to the goal tonight. They did a good job crowding her.

But we'll need those three moving forward.

Q. If all of you guys are really toying with lineups and matchups today, especially going bigger towards the end, how did you feel in terms of game planning that and seeing how that reacted throughout the game?

CURT MILLER: Yeah, that's the luxury that we have that we can play some enormous lineups because of the versatility of Alyssa Thomas to guard different people. You know, again, then there's the chess match. They played more zone as we went bigger, and you take some perimeter scoring off the floor when we have those big lineups.

So there's a fun chess match going on within the game when those kind of things happen.

Q. Did you feel like DeWanna was having trouble getting into a rhythm or was it something defensively they were doing that seemed like it impacted her from a scoring standpoint?

CURT MILLER: Yeah, I thought they were physical on her but DeWanna is going to step back. She's a true pro and a champion. I think we got her some three-point looks that were good. You know, we've got to continue to find ways where she can get into the mid-range and get to the basket so she sees the ball go through the net.

But they were physical with her tonight, but she's the ultimate pro and a champion pedigree for us. So we know she's going to bounce back.

And let me take a moment and say congratulations.

Q. You guys were able to hold Chelsea to just six points in terms of their big three scorers. Are you encouraged by that and what did you see out of your defense in that regard?

CURT MILLER: Yeah, I thought we tried to stay in place as best as possible in an elite scorer like Chelsea. She made a big three, a very difficult three in a big moment. So she didn't have huge numbers; she made a big one.

Again, overall, we just held that team in the 60s. We did so many good things defensively, and even some of the shots they made were extremely difficult. We've got to keep them off the foul line and do a better job that way.

Q. You referenced the offensive rhythm. Looks like the Aces were pretty intentional about keeping ball screens on the sideline, particularly when you emptied the corner. Was that something you were expecting, that coverage, and how did you feel about your offensive process against that coverage?

CURT MILLER: I thought we saw more ice coverage tonight. That's the terminology they were using in our league. They were icing us to the sideline. I thought at moments we did good things and we talked about it at halftime. We'll adjust and make some adjustments through film with these guys tomorrow.

But they recognized what they were doing early. We have multiple plans against that. And again, you know, it at times worked to open shots. We didn't always knock them down tonight.

Q. It seemed like you guys were really able to impose your game on the aces in the second quarter. What did you do to throw them out of their offensive rhythm and really take control in that quarter?

CURT MILLER: I think our composure when it came out of the gates and didn't miss a shot for a while was a credit to that veteran crew. As the game settled in, we found rhythms to get consecutive stops.

The second quarter was huge for us but we left some points out there. There was moments where I thought we had some really good offensive possessions and missed some shots we are capable of making, to really try to create some separation going into halftime, and it didn't happen.

But you know, credit to our composure with that shotgun start. I always talk about the cannon effect. They came, shot out of a cannon and were dynamic early. Our defense settled in and got to our pillars, got to the game plan and started to get the type of game that we feel we need in order to be successful.

Q. Kind of going off of that, execution-wise, what do you think the difference was between that second quarter and then the fourth quarter?

CURT MILLER: You know, I'm going to go back and look at the tape and see if we were executing the quality shots we got in the second quarter. Obviously there was more zone play. Some of that was a counter to our big lineup.

We have got to be efficient. At times we know we are going to see zone in stretches in this series. They are going to play more zone than they did all of the playoffs. I think they played three or four possessions against Seattle in totality. So we know we are going to see it.

That was part of the fourth quarter, and again, we got a good three in the corner by Natisha but not every possession was productive against their zone.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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