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September 1, 2006

Bill Laimbeer


COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Okay, well, I told our team, cliches are cliches for a reason, and the cliche about a series in professional sports is the series doesn't start until the home team loses. We lost the first game and our hearts were severely tested in this game. They got up double-digits on us, we could have folded, we could have put our heads down, but we showed great composure.
A lot of contributions happened today. I thought Swin Cash played the way that we want her to play. She came from the start and brought all the energy in the world to our ballclub. That's the stat line that I envisioned for her when they started the season. I told her, we have additional scorers in Katie Smith, and every time she walks on to the floor, I want her to be capable of having a triple-double. Her stat line tonight of eight points, 11 rebounds, and five assists is phenomenal for how the makeup of our team is. That's what we want from her, every game.
Other than that, our bench played a fine role, Pierson and Braxton. What you won't see on the scoresheet, and also Powell played outstanding tonight, our bench contributed in many ways; 18 points off the bench doesn't seem like a lot, but it was their stability that they brought to our ballclub tonight that was a big factor in this game. Made some big shots, Katie Smith made a big 3-ball ending the third quarter and she did the Katie Smith thing, as did Nolan.
Nolan struggled in the first half but Katie Smith and Nolan played well. But the bottom line, we figured it out. Our ballclub figured out how hard they have to play, what they have to do on the basketball court defensively. And offensively, I think the light bulb came on. You look at the stat sheet, every quarter went from 26 on down to 9, a steady decline. That's defense, that's commitment to your teammates and that's taking care of business on the glass after that first quarter, and partly in the second quarter that really hurt us. But we've got a series on our hands. Now our task is we have to win one of two games in their building, and that's what we are focused on.

Q. You all but exploded in the fourth quarter. What was said or what got into them?
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: When Katie Smith made the 3 ball, we just said, you have ten minutes, okay, to protect your home court, to put yourself back in the series. And it was great to see the response of the players. They had a bounce in their step. They had a more physical presence. I mean, Ruth came out of the locker room with a headband on and I told her in the locker room, come out like a thug. Has to be a smarter thug. She had a couple offensive fouls there for being a little too physical, but it was clear that she was determined, also, to go make her impact on the game, and she did down the stretch with a couple nice blocks.

Q. Well, the last two regular season meetings out there, you've gotten blown out. How do you sort of change the psyche and sort of the losing culture you've experienced the last two times you've been out there?
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: The regular season is one of scheduling, travel, all of those things like that that go into a long, regular season.
This is the playoffs. They are traveling the same as we are. We all move in the same time, we go out there tomorrow. So there's no advantage to anybody. They have the home court. They have the fans all geeked up, okay. We won a game, we have momentum. We think we know some things about their ballclub that we have to exploit. That's what series are about. You go to the next game, you take advantage of what you saw in the last game. I think our players are pretty confident that we can win a game.

Q. They started the second half and missed 20 of their first 24 shots and had ten turnovers this that stretch, how good was your defense in the first 15 minutes of the second half?
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Like I said, we realized that defense is what's going to have to win the game for us and probably win the series for us.
We made some adjustments from the last game to this game that seemed to work. And you know, we went out there and it was commitment. Today we played a lot harder than we did in the last game. When we play hard -- yeah, we're going to have our lows. The first quarter was a bad quarter for us, the first half wasn't so pleasant but the effort was there. When the effort is there for a 40-minute ballgame, while we'll have our bad moments, we'll also have our great spurts, both defensively and offensively and that's what turned the game for us. We kept our composure and we kept playing hard.

End of FastScripts...

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