September 15, 2022
Las Vegas Aces
Game 3: Postgame
Connecticut Sun 105, Las Vegas Aces 76
Q. So looking at tonight, obviously Jonquel really established herself in the paint, particularly dives coming off from the slot and top of the key. Looking ahead to the next game, what are ways that you look at maybe being able to defend that better?
BECKY HAMMON: Well, first of all, she's getting obviously too deep. So we don't want her touching the ball, so we've got to work harder. I mean we have to anticipate the hard duck-ins. They just kicked our ass in every way possible. There's no two ways about it. If there was a stat on mental toughness and physicality, they would have kicked our ass there, too.
Q. You mentioned all series long, points in the paint, points in the paint and you just said they kicked your ass. That stat gives away, I mean, 64-26?
BECKY HAMMON: Yeah, I mean, there's -- it's not anything -- they just trapped harder. They just dove harder, and if it's going to be a football match down there, the physicality was -- you go look at the tape.
Q. So after a game like this, what do you need to do in the next 48 hours to reestablish your team the way they usually play?
BECKY HAMMON: Mental approach, first of all. They came in, Connecticut came in, with a better mental approach than we did. I don't know if we thought we were just going it show up and they were going to lay down and hand us the trophy, but we should know better by now. That's a team that is very resilient. If there's one thing that this team, if you could encapsulate Connecticut, it's physical, and very resilient.
They are physical and they are resilient, and they have kind of a battle-type mentality, and we didn't match that tonight, in any category. I mean, if you looked at our board, points in the paint, transition, rebounding, take care of the ball, we did none of it.
Q. When the Sun were going on their extended runs, what were you telling your team in the time-outs when you had those moments with them?
BECKY HAMMON: Once they had the 20-point lead, we were just trading baskets with them. You know, that's not going to work mathematically. And we couldn't stop them. Plain, point simple, our defense could not stop them tonight.
Q. It's been a minute since we saw Jackie Young score in the high 20s. What do you need from her going forward?
BECKY HAMMON: Obviously she got her 3-ball going a little bit. They made an adjustment to put Bonner on Chelsea, and Jackie, the way they were double-teaming and blitzing a lot of times, she just found some spots. We need her to stay aggressive and we need to let it fly when they blitz like that.
But if we got it out of the blitz, I thought we were too hesitant a lot of times with that first pass out. We held it, just let the defense recover. They threw in a little bit of zone, and we expected that, because why not, if you're them.
But I thought the first five minutes kind of set the tone for the whole game, and you don't want to be digging out of a hole on the road. There's just too many things that have to go your way. Like I said at the end of the day when we had to dig in and get stops we couldn't.
Q. Can you talk about how difficult it is to face Alyssa Thomas, especially when she has a night like had he did tonight?
BECKY HAMMON: She's a beast. I went to a UFC fight the other night; I would not want to get in the cage with her. She is just tough. Tough, tough, tough. Tough, and then a play-maker. You know, I think they do a good job of finding her in spots where she can be effective but also she does a nice job of trying to find her teammates, reading defenses constantly.
She's the point guard, basically, in a lot of ways. So when she's making great reads like that, they become very hard to guard.
Q. Can you talk a little about, were you waiting for them to put Bonner on Chelsea? Were you surprised by that? Her length really seemed -- Chelsea didn't score in the second half. She only got off seven shots?
BECKY HAMMON: I'm not surprised they did. Why wouldn't you try something different? That's about the only matchup they didn't try. So I think it's a good adjustment by them. And when they had early success with it, it fuels the fire when you don't burn it early.
So again, we'll go back, look at some tapes and things we can do better. You know, but at the end of the day, as great as they were, I think we were way below average in things that we needed to do, and things that we can control. You can't control what they do. You can't control the adjustments or what they do but in things that we can control, we can do much better.
Q. You got a couple days now before Game 4. How much of this do you want to maybe hammer your players about what may have gone wrong tonight but sort of forget it and focus on Game 4? What's the balance there?
BECKY HAMMON: Oh, I've got a ticked off crew in there. I'm not going to have to say much. Go back. Look at ways we can exploit what they are doing and go throw the ball up.
This game was about physicality and mental toughness, and they smoked us on it, period. The physical follows, but the mental for them was there and not us. And kudos to them for executing their game plan and executing it hard. They didn't do it a whole lot different. They just did it harder. They have been blitzing us the whole series. They just did it harder, and we responded soft.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports