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September 16, 2007

Bill Laimbeer


KAREN KASE: We'll start the press conference with Detroit head coach, Bill Laimbeer.
BILL LAIMBEER: All right, well, this is an unfamiliar position. Not being up here with a bottle of champagne. It's the first time we've lost in the Finals. We know why we lost, too. And we got beat by a team who was hungrier, playing at the top of their game. And we weren't. And we lost. It's disappointing, but at the same time I'm proud of our group. Overcame a lot of adversity this year. Played through a lot of pain and other sorted things, and I'm very proud of them, what we got accomplished. Our goal remains the same every year to play in the Finals, and we accomplished that goal this year, and missed the player's chance to win the championship. We were unable to get it done. They wanted it real bad. They wanted it more than us. They were playing very well. And we had some issues on our ballclub, unfortunately, that we couldn't overcome. And that's the way it works sometimes.
We don't hang our heads. We understand how the game is played. We're a very resilient bunch. And I think we look forward to playing in the Finals again next year.
Other than that, that's about all I have to say for an opening statement.

Q. I know you've said it many times in the past that you can just tell when they're not focused and ready before the game. Were there any signs of that today?
BILL LAIMBEER: I don't know if there were any signs that we weren't ready to play. I think we were ready to play, I just think we ran out of gas.
You know, we tried to get out there, and we just didn't have it. It's been a long season. Played players a lot of minutes. There's no question that we were tired, we were banged up. We don't -- that is not an excuse, that is just reality. We still could have won the basketball game if we had executed the game plan. We turned the ball over in the first half 10 times. Gave them the confidence. We wanted to go inside. Our bigs didn't perform for us today. And that took us out of what we wanted to get accomplished. Then we got caught up in the perimeter game, they made shots, we didn't.

Q. How effective was Cheryl Ford today for you?
BILL LAIMBEER: In my opening statement I should have made mention of Cheryl. That she played today, was spectacular. I thought it gave our team a lift. And quite frankly, even though she's playing on one leg, I think she did just as well as the rest of our bigs. We didn't have a good day on the inside.
Cheryl came, and went out there and did what she did and played through it. She's got the biggest heart in the world, and I give her a tremendous amount of credit. She can play on my team any day of the week.

Q. What did they do inside against you to prevent you from scoring? Especially like Plenette?
BILL LAIMBEER: I don't think they really did anything, I think it's what we didn't do. We weren't aggressively posting up, and just saying give me the basketball. We got the basketball, we didn't attack the rim. We settled for little turn around jump shots. We didn't convert when we did attack the rim.
So overall it was not anything different, it's just that we weren't that intense or aggressive on the inside, and that was a big key going into this ballgame for us. We knew we had to go inside and get some easy baskets and get to the foul line. And that didn't work. We weren't able to do it. And that was, I think, a major part of this game. Plus, they made a lot of shots. No question about that. When they make shots, they are very difficult to beat, no question about that. And they did.
If we had executed our game plan, we would have been able to score more and take away some of their easy transition baskets, but we weren't able to do it.

Q. You pulled three of your starters within the first five minutes of the game. Elaine never game back, Swin came back for limited minutes here and there, and Katie didn't play much. How much going forward are you going to have to look at those? Obviously, with Cheryl out, that was one thing. But especially, with Swin, is that going to be something you're going to look to add going forward?
BILL LAIMBEER: I don't know. I'll answer the question in two parts. The first part, I pulled players early on in the game. Elaine wasn't going to play a lot of minutes. She got us off to a good, sound, steady start and played defense. That's her job. That's what we look for her to do.
Feenstra always gets tired around the 4 minute mark, and 5 minute mark of the game, and she wasn't as effective as we hoped to start the game.
Plenette's been playing the best in the series of anybody. So I had to get her in the game at that point. You could see the emotion and the way that Phoenix was playing at that time. We needed somebody who had been in the series had been able to score for us on the inside. That's why those substitutions were made.
As far as the long-term, I told our players, we have no idea what's going to happen because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Every team in this league has multiple free agents. We happen to have three unrestricted free agents, and two restricted free agents and they're all starters.
Okay, so it's a wide open situation, depending on what comes down with the CBA as to what, not only our team will look like, but other teams will look like. And also, is there an expansion? There are so many question marks out there for next season.
However, we do have a great nucleus of some very talented players. There are many players in the league that would love to play for the Detroit Shock, and I think our future is very bright.
KAREN KASE: Thank you very much, coach.

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