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September 9, 2006

Bill Laimbeer


COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Well, we broke the Joe Louis jinx. Every time I've been down here we lost, as a Piston or now as a Shock in previous years we lost in this building now we won. I thought it was a tremendous turnout. It was great fun for our players. First half wasn't so fun, obviously.
We weren't really in sync. We had too many turnovers. We're a little out of sync. We were playing hard. No question about that, but we could play harder. We talked about that at halftime. We talked about how we had 20 minutes. All we had to do was stop turning the ball over. Don't give them second shots. Run the ball. That was a big important factor we thought in the second half where we had to run the ball up the floor to create mismatches, get some easy buckets against their defense, and bottom line was go out there and play solid Shock defense. Don't give them second shots. Be active all over the place. You saw a fine defensive effort in the second half.
I'm happy for Nolan as the Most Valuable Player. Every year her game has elevated. I'm hoping this brings her to bigger and better things. She has so much more in her than what she's shown to this point. And this would make her that much more of a marquee player. I thought Katie Smith also could have got the Most Valuable Player. Very steady throughout the season. Very steady throughout the year. Probably our most consistent player night in and night out but so many great contributions.
Plenette played big. She's played big a lot of the year, comes in tonight, 16 points, 6 rebounds, attacked the rim, got them in foul trouble. Superior player.
Cash, while she's 0-4, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, I want a double-double opportunity from her every night. We have other scorers, Cheryl double-digit rebounds. That's what she does. Our whole ballclub did what they do well tonight. Got good contributions from everybody.
And hats off to our coaching staff. I thought Rick Mahorn and Cheryl Reeve did a great job preparing our team, coaching our team at times being a baby-sitter to our team. The whole package came together. We knew we were a team that was going to win the championship or come real close to it.
And it proved to, came to fruition.

Q. Bill, you talked about Katie. Obviously she's accomplished now everything in women's basketball. Talk about what it's been like to coach a player like her.
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Consistency that she has every game, every practice. She lost 20 pounds going into this season to make sure -- we asked her to and she did. Make sure she could play the 36 minutes a game that I played her this year.
Her demeanor as far as on the court, just a competitor, true and true, every minute of every play. As a leader in the locker room and as a teammate, solid. She's fiesty at times, no question about it. She'll speak her mind, and we'll listen and we'll take it. No problem.
But she's fun to be around.

Q. It seemed like Deanna could get wherever she wanted in the third quarter, was that by design or something that you --
(Laughter) She has, you know, so much talent that you just, if you don't watch her every night and see the spectacular plays that she makes, you don't fully appreciate what she can do. She chooses not to showcase herself every night. We're working on that one.
But when she does want to turn it on, you can't stop her. You can't stay with her. You can't challenge her shot. She's that good. And she passes the ball well. And she can rebound.
So if she wants to be -- I hope it's a launching pad for her to want to be the best player in the league. Because if she wants to be the best player in the league, you can't touch us, we're unbeatable.

Q. How does it feel to be a champion again?
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: I'm very happy for the players. I'm happy for the coaching staff, because they haven't won a WNBA championship before, besides myself. I know that the last two years have, the frustration of myself, a feeling of frustration we just couldn't get it done. I was unable to figure out what buttons to push. I think our players had to go through that experience. They had to go through the frustration. They had to go through the bad games and through the, quite frankly, through the criticism of themselves and how they didn't come and play every night.
And get that chip on their shoulder again. And they got it. We talked all year from the start of training camp, this was our year. We believed it. We believed we had the pieces in place.
We believed we were going to win the championship. And that takes you a long way, that mental frame of mind, when you believe you are the best team. You believe you walk on the court in the series you're going to win, that takes you a long way, and that's what we were this year. We took a helter skelter road to get there at times.
That was okay this year, it wasn't years past. It wasn't the frustration. It was grinding your teeth, bang your fist and cuss a lot, but the bottom line you still believed in your ball club and we got it done.

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