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September 6, 2006

Bill Laimbeer


COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Well, what I've talked about the entire series and throughout this playoffs is about intensity and effort, desire and will of our players.
There was nothing magical that the coaching staff did. Yeah, we put in a couple new plays, got a couple buckets out of it, a couple out of bounds plays, okay. But this is about the players. I said from the start, and I'll keep saying it, that the Finals are about a test of wills and who wants it more, and the players have to come and play. Today we did. You saw the intensity for 40 minutes of our ballclub. You saw our bench, we keep reading about Sacramento's bench. You saw our bench play well. I don't play them a lot of minutes. I have great starters. I have All-Stars, world champions. Our bench played big, all the way down to Angelina Williams coming in and playing great defense when she was called upon to do such.
It was a fun game for our team because of the last two days, we have watched us be maligned by ESPN's Doris Burke and Nancy Lieberman in particular, calling us all kind of mean, nasty ugly things, and it actually helped us, brought us together. No question about it, we came in today with a chip on our shoulder to prove that, you know, who we are.
We want very badly to go back to Detroit. We're going down to play in downtown Detroit, in Joe Louis and we're going to pack that place. We're going to have a ton of people in the upper rafters screaming, hollering, yelling for the Detroit Shock to win the basketball game.
You know, we joke around a lot with our ballclub, and one of the things that we were laughing about today was, we would like nothing better than to go to downtown and play in Joe Louis and have Doris Burke actually have to go and stay in downtown Detroit because you know she wants to go back there. She probably will go out down there and stay in her hotel room the whole time. That was one of our driving forces today.

Q. Going to the post, was that trying to set the standard for the game?
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Rick always harps on me, go to Cheryl first play all the time, go to Cheryl. That's our horse down there. Go to her, go to her. I've avoided it because their post play has been taking our post away, fronting and so forth.
We put a couple new wrinkles in. We screened well today, and that was one of the keys to getting our post players open was our screens. Deanna Nolan set some outstanding screens, Cash, EP came in the game. Yeah, that set the tone for the game. We were going inside, we were going right at them.

Q. You talked about your team's play in the post and defending the post because obviously you dominated both.
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: We've allowed them just to get any post position they wanted to throughout the course of the series. They just walk in front of us and they are posting up too deep. We continue to talk about fighting for position, and I thought we did today.
Ruth Riley was big, she had a doughnut; doesn't say what she did on the court for us. She was physical out there, she got some rebounds, some big, timely rebounds. You know, that's how we like to play basketball, is be physical down there in the paint and force teams to the perimeter and that's what happened.
It's a phenomenal defensive story here. They scored, what, 26 points in three quarters. I mean, that's just solid defense and effort and will and taking control of the glass.

Q. You just touched on it but my question was, how much of their second half effort was they just stopped making shots as opposed to you guys, the defense that your team is talking about?
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Both teams play solid defense. Their niche is how they play defense. We play straight up man-to-man defense.
You know, so today, we were able to get after the rebounds. We were able to control the paint. We were able to be physical down there, box out, and get those key rebounds when it was necessary. Yeah, they got a lot in the first half. They got a lot of offensive rebounds in the first half, but we took care of business in the second half. I thought we were aggressive across the board defensively, and you could just see it grow. As the game went along, you could see the confidence in our place grow and grow and it showed in the fourth quarter.

Q. Just talk about Katie Smith's performance and she seemed really hungry out there, especially when Deanna had those three fouls.
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: I'm giving Smith tomorrow off. She played a lot of minutes today. I know she was tired. She's so steady, she's so consistent and she made the big shots. Any time she made the run, Katie Smith knocked down the 3 ball.
The best part, when I was playing and the ball was reversed to me and I was open, you could hear the crowd groan when you were on the road. Tonight every time she got the ball on an open shot, even before she shot, the crowd went, ooh. I know you all heard it. That's the best feeling on the road when the crowd knows it's going in.

Q. When Deanna Nolan got into foul trouble early Elaine Powell stepped in --
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Powell was out of control for a period of time there, but overall I thought she was steady, got us into a lot of stuff, got us some big rebounds and dug some balls out. Her job is not to score a lot of points.
It's to make sure we keep an even keel on offense and that's why we got her. She loves it here. Our whole bench played big. EP played really good and solid. They weren't spectacular, they were just solid.

Q. You sound excited about Joe Louis Arena on Saturday, but to play a championship game on a neutral court, how tough is that for your team?
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: It's not tough at all as long as the fans are yelling, screaming and hollering. All it is is a different routine of going to a different venue than what we do.
I played in Joe Louis in a playoff game. I played there when the roof caved in for half a season. The facility itself is great for basketball because it goes straight up, okay. So you feel like the fans are on top of you. The Palace is a little more of an angled venue where it goes back. Joe Louis is right there. They are on top of you. It's downtown, we're going to have just a bunch of people whooping and hollering and having a grand ole time down there rooting for the Shock. You know, our ladies are pretty excited about it, actually. We're looking forward to it a lot.

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