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September 13, 2022

Becky Hammon

Las Vegas Aces

Game 2: Postgame

Las Vegas Aces 85, Connecticut Sun 71

Q. Kelsey was able to get going by getting to the basket. How is she able to exploit the defensive matchup?

BECKY HAMMON: You have to respect her three ball. Right there you get to attack close-outs every time because you don't want to let her just shoot threes even though she's been a little off this series, just the threat of her, you don't want to let her get rolling from there.

So she's fast, she's fast with the ball. And I just wanted to use her, tell her she needed to live in the paint and we live with whatever she does in there.

Q. Just in general with the offense, I know on the broadcast you were saying you were so happy with the way the team was able to control the paint. What did you see overall that was working so well offensively compared to Game 1?

BECKY HAMMON: They said I said that?

Q. They had that you were very happy that your team was doubling them up in the paint.

BECKY HAMMON: I was just very happy with our paint defense, the fact we were getting downhill in the paint offensively, obviously helped us. Again, I thought Kelsey's drives opened us up. I mean, the other day we got good lucks again from three. We didn't want to knock them down but you have to believe the worm will turn there eventually. The important thing is we are getting good looks once she gets in there.

But yeah, that's a huge part of the series for us is the paint.

Q. In that third quarter, they started to get back in it and cut the lead to 49-46 and you guys answered with a run. What changed at that point? What did you say? Because you guys grabbed control and rolled the rest of the way.

BECKY HAMMON: It starts on the defensive end. Our defense sucks. They went out and didn't suck.

It was them. They know what they are supposed to do, and it's my job to remind them what they are supposed to be doing. And you know, at the end of the day, they have to go out and do it, and they do.

You know, so we've got a group that -- and I didn't like offensively what we were doing. I thought it got real stagnant in that thing, so I wanted to just get the ball popping a bit more. It was kind of twofold.

Q. The Connecticut Sun have been a resilient team all postseason. How do you balance the excitement of going up 2-0 but staying locked in?

BECKY HAMMON: I mean, I don't see any banners. I don't see any balloons. Sure as hell glad I didn't see that confetti again because we ain't won nothing yet.

Q. Going back to the end of the second quarter on the ATO, I was wondering if you could walk us through the play and what you were seeing beforehand that you wanted to exploit with that?

BECKY HAMMON: You want me to tell you that? I just thought they were over-helping on a cutter, so I wanted to slip somebody to the basket.

Q. Dearica gave you 18 solid minutes off the bench tonight. Safe to say she's 100 percent back for you guys now?

BECKY HAMMON: She looks pretty good to me. She keeps looking like that, she's going to keep playing. Her minutes have been impactful. We are still trying to get her cardio back a little bit. I know she got dog tired one time. We tried to get her out as soon as possible. But yeah, she's been a difference-maker in the series, no doubt about it.

Q. You mentioned the paint defense but the last game when we asked what they weren't, you were talking about rebounds. Both ends of the court, your ladies were getting second-chance opportunities. How much was that a point of emphasis yesterday and how did you see that improve tonight?

BECKY HAMMON: Well, I just -- I want us -- this is a very, very good rebounding team. We need to be in the mix with them the whole time. We went back and looked at the Chicago series, and then also the Connecticut series against this team last year. It was just a drubbing, drubbing on the boards.

So that's the key for us is boarding. And I thought, you know, it wasn't that they quit going. They were still going but we had bodies in front of them this time. This is not a team that you meet at the rim because then by the time they bump you, you are under the rim and the only thing you are getting is a make.

You have to meet them outside the charge circle, outside, take up space, so that by the time they bump you, you are where you need to be, and I thought we did a better job taking up space down there overall as a group. Just scrapping for every ball. We didn't want to get out-hustled. We thought we got out-hustled for 20 minutes in the first half of Game 1. We didn't want that to happen again.

Q. It's been quite a chess match, in-game chess match between you, Curt Miller and your respective staff. Can you talk about how prepared your staff has been and particularly coming out of time-outs and how important that has been for you?

BECKY HAMMON: We put a real emphasis today on getting stops out of time-outs. Again, I go back to this is a series of concepts more than, yes, we have our schemes this and that but this is a concepts game. Conceptually, what are we trying to do as a team?

So we have had obviously a little extra focus on ATOs. I thought they destroyed our zone, so they made their adjustments there. I went back to it because I felt like we could still get a stop. We got a couple stops late but early on they pretty much -- it wasn't until we could look at it halftime with the group to nail some things down a little bit.

We also just stayed man when they went big and put Chelsea Gray on AT and just let her manage. Chelsea Gray is just about the smartest basketball player I've been around. We can put her in conversations, her IQ is ridiculous.

So we are just letting her feel out and manage the game and kind of quarterback the game from the defensive end because a lot of times they move AT to the point when they do that.

So both teams made adjustments. You know, I thought the difference really in the game was Plum getting downhill, and it's a lot different when you can take some of their transition points away. They beat us -- well, they beat us tonight, too, but it was better it. It didn't feel as bad. So sometimes you think you're doing something good and then it's like, that did not feel good. I didn't feel that tonight as much as I did the other night.

Q. When you took this job you talked about how one thing that appealed to you is the Aces saw you as a head coach right now, right way. How much of this season has been about proving all the people who didn't think about you wrong and do you think everyone in the NBA feels dumb for not hiring you?

BECKY HAMMON: It's about putting these ladies in a position to win a championship. That's been my focus. That's why I took the job. I felt they had the talent to do it and I felt that I could build the relationships and build the culture in the right way for us to put ourselves in a position to be able to win a championship.

Like I said before, we haven't won anything yet. Alls we did is take care of home court, what we are supposed to do. I'm used to people not picking me; I don't know if you're aware. I just did me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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