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October 1, 2008

Bill Laimbeer


BILL LAIMBEER: Well, okay, we'll take that win. I told our players after the game, we've done nothing so far, except win one basketball game. It doesn't mean a whole lot. I don't want to hear about we got the home court back. This is one game. We have another one on Friday, 48 hours from now.
We can use the rest, no question about it. You know, Plenette Pierson may or may not play, we don't know. But in today's game, I thought our team played with great heart, great emotion. And Katie Smith was phenomenal out there. She wanted the basketball. Her will pushed us a long way today it. Was clear they were trying it take Deanna Nolan away, and Deanna Nolan understood that. I gave them all the credit in the world today. She had to do some bail-out shots, which is why she had a bad shooting percentage. But she didn't turn it over. She had two turnovers, as much as she handled the ball today and as hard as she was trapped and guarded, that's great. She was patient. She didn't force on anything. She relied on her teammates to help her.
Katie Smith was huge. Taj was phenomenal. Again, that's two games in a row, and 24 points that made the big go-ahead baskets. A lot of good performances. Schumacher, the minutes that she played, I don't think she scored two points, but her presence on the court helped us tremendously to buy time. Braxton had some quality moments, she had some moments where she was not the best on the floor but overall performance was pretty good.
If we can get -- and Hornbuckle scored two points, but her defense and her rebounding, that's why we got her and why we drafted her, and her presence on the court was phenominal; to be a rookie and to play that kind of pressure game and that kind of minutes. So overall, top to bottom, our players performed. They executed a lot of game plan and they performed admirably.

Q. Could you talk about the play that your guards put on Becky Hammon?
BILL LAIMBEER: I was asked before the game, I asked yesterday at a media session, and again today, they keep asking me, what are you going to do with Becky Hammon. And first, I'm not going to tell you, is my answer, before the game. You can figure it out yourself after the game.
But my answer is this: We have two very, very quality defensive guards in it Deanna Nolan and Katie Smith. We have another guard in Hornbuckle who is also a fine defender. She will in the long run, be an outstanding defender in this league once she understands it. So we have quality guards that play defense.
So an individual one-on-one, they can hold their own, and on top of that, they can push them to where help is going to be, and as long as the help understands their responsibilities, that's how we can keep great players from dominating the game. You're not going to keep her down but you can try to keep her from dominating the game, and I think that's what our team did tonight.

Q. There seems like stretches in which Braxton played without Fire and it opened up the floor for everybody and at one point you're telling her, you can't stop playing; what did her presence mean to the team today?
BILL LAIMBEER: When she plays with intensity and emotions, she's outstanding and you have to recognize that you have to feed her the ball and we did. We got her the ball when she was really into the game. She got six or eight points in a row and was dominating the basketball game.
She gets tired quickly, so you have to recognize that, and try to get her out after that spurt. And hopefully, we have to get her to push her way through her fatigue, because sometimes I don't want to call a time-out. There's no stoppage of play, so she has to push her receive through that. And there's times where she's a little scatter brained out there, and that's who she is and we have to get her out of the game for a time.
Overall I thought she was a great contributor for us. We have to realize, when she's focused, she's dominant. And she's focused and we had to get her the ball and we did.

Q. Following up on that, just talk a little bit more about what Kelly Schumacher meant as far as the defense when you brought her in late first, early second --
BILL LAIMBEER: We brought Kelly in for a reason this year. One, we wanted more bigs, but like her size; she's long. Her length showed today. Whether she was beat once, she still blockeded a shot. On a help position, she blocked a shot. She's able to challenge shots of Wauters or somebody that size, and she played smart.
She came to us and was not a very good defensive player because she was playing on that Phoenix zone, but now we look at her, she's a tremendously improved defensive player. And her smartness, her intelligence of basketball, as long as we tell her where to be, she'll do it and she had a good impact on this game.

Q. It didn't look to me like you were trying to get a technical there.
BILL LAIMBEER: No, I was not trying to get a technical.

Q. Were you surprised?
BILL LAIMBEER: Yes and no. I was not surprised. My boiling point was getting a little bigger. They tried to intentionally foul us on one end and they wouldn't call it, why would you call a foul -- Hammon stepped out of bounds and an obvious three second that was not called so my boiling point was getting so high, I jumped in the air, which I probably shouldn't have done but I was so emotionally in the game at that point. It was not that I wanted to get on the referee's case, but I was so into the game that I saw what was happening, and my temperature was going up so much, and my frustration level was growing that I just got excited.
Now, did I deserve a technical foul? Yeah, I can't jump around, all hysterical and make everybody look bad. But I hope I got the point across that, hey, make calls. And one of them was -- and also, the carry on Deanna Nolan. I mean, we don't carry the ball, and if we do, okay, we'll take it, but they got a player that carries the ball all the time, so that got us a little perturbed, also.

Q. What does this say about your team's poise when the game is tied and on their own floor --
BILL LAIMBEER: That's a really good question. I called the time-out when they were making a little run and then the crowd starts going off and I call the time-out and we were up six. I was not going to call another time-out. I believe on our team, that game was going to come -- if we did not make a spurt and make a stand, that game would still come down to a multi-position game in the last minute when time-outs would be very important.
Did I think about calling a time-out? Yes, but I decided no, I'm going to let my players play through this because they are that good and I trust them. They will make those plays, and they did. I was going to save my time-outs in case I needed them for a knock down drag out finish shot versus shot having to move the ball to halfcourt.

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