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October 5, 2008

Bill Laimbeer


COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Okay. Well, man, this is what we thought was going to happen when we started the season. You know, we had a good team. We knew we had a good team. It was a matter of going out there and executing, staying healthy, which we couldn't do over the year. But we knew we had players. We knew we had heart. And we knew we had a mind-set of that, we are the best team, and we had a bad taste in our mouth from last year.
If you look at our season as a whole, the adversity that we went through, from Cheryl Ford starting the year with no practice time on a half a knee, to Powell going out for 20 games with a foot injury; losing Cheryl for the whole season, multiple suspensions, trades, rookies, the whole package, you wouldn't have thought that we would have been in this position. But we did. And that's all that matters is the players and the coaches that go to battle every game; we knew we would be there.
I gave San Antonio all the credit in the world for getting out of the Western Conference. They played hard their first time here and I think that showed a little bit. We were able to turn it up, and we knew that -- we suspected that San Antonio couldn't, and I think that was the key to our success is we took our game to another level in The Finals, and I think they continued to play at the same pace that they had before.
Going into The Finals, we fully expected to play Los Angeles. We had prepared all year long to play Los Angeles. We thought that they could turn it up, and it would have been one knock down, drag-out series. But we got thrown through the loop and got San Antonio. Didn't know what to expect from them in many ways. But we did our game. We played who we are, and that was enough to get it done.
I congratulate Katie Smith. I don't give her all the credit that she deserves throughout the course of the year, and she really showed it. I do want to say in my opening statement, that the Detroit Shock are a great basketball team and we have great players. And does it grind on us that sometimes we don't get the individual accolades that some of our players may deserve? Yeah, it does a little bit, we'll be honest.
But you know, we take that in stride and that's a little bit of motivation because the most important thing is that trophy that we hold up at the end. I mean, Deanna Nolan is a magnificent guard, might be the best guard in the league because of her all-around game offensively and defensively. Katie Smith should be the defensive Player of the Year and could guard Lisa Leslie if she has to. Hornbuckle, you saw tonight why we drafted Hornbuckle. Great presence. For her not to make the all-rookie team as a leader in steals throughout the year, we don't understand. However, we do understand that at the end of the season, we hold that trophy up, and that's the motivating factor for all of us. And I think we indoctrinated Hornbuckle great this year on what it's like to be a Shock. I think Taj came to this team, and while we have a reputation around the league, teams are intrigued by us, threatened by us, scared of us, pick any of the above, Taj will tell you that we work damn hard for everything we get and we are one damn smart basketball team and she enjoys playing here.
Having said that, what do you want to know? Go ahead -- oh, one last thing. I have the best staff in the league. I have Cheryl Reeve and Rick Mahorn, they have won championships. They have been The Finals three years in a row. I leave a large section of the practice to them. I don't even participate in the practice. I sit over on the side, dribble, run and chew gum. They are in charge of our defense. They do a magnificent job, both in their own right are deserving of every opportunity in the future for whatever their future holds. There was an article written this week about, you know, my future. I mean, I don't know. I'm in the moment and I enjoy coaching and sometimes I feel like I'm in the way of those two, because they are deserving of getting a job of leading the Detroit Shock with somebody else, and it's their turn.
So now, what's your question.

Q. Tweety didn't have her best game offensively, what do you say about the rest of the team?
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Deanna Nolan was not her best series. The last one was her series, this one was not. She just didn't feel it. Deanna Nolan is bionic, she can play forever, but sometimes she gets a little bit tired.
This was Katie Smith's series and Deanna Nolan while she gets forced to taking shots, they didn't go in and that's why her shooting percentage was low; she plays great defense consistently all the time and she passed well tonight. And she's a decoy sometimes. Smith played great. Taj played great. Kara came around in the second half. When Deanna Nolan is not going, we have great players, also.

Q. As of right now, what do you think you're going to do next year?

Q. Yourself, personally.
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: Personally, you know, I'll sit down -- I like doing what I'm doing. Like I said, I feel like I'm in the way a little bit of my two assistants. It's becoming their time, and it bothers me.
But at the same time, I enjoy doing what I'm doing. Last year was brutal. Last year we lost a tough game in Phoenix and it was discouraging and we lost the Championship. I thought about, you know, moving on. At some point I'll move on. I don't necessarily think it's right now. But I don't know. You know, I'll spend a couple of weeks. I want to go down to Florida and launch a boat. And I'm going to go up and get in the woods and sit in a tree stand and look for deer and think about a lot of stuff and what I want to do.

Q. What's it like, I know this year you had to play a lot of games away from the Palace, playing games here and all that, does that add an extra level of difficulty when preparing for The Finals?
COACH BILL LAIMBEER: No. It was our floor and our rims, our baskets. To play someplace else, okay, it happens. We understand that. It's not the best situation, but we understand it.
And we'll make the most of it. The game is played between the lines. Now today, I thought we had a lot of fans in there that had never been a part of this before. They came from this region, this area. That's great. If we can spread it around, that's more better for our league -- that's great English; it's better for our league. Our players, it doesn't bother them a bit. They are focused on who they are and what they do and how they play basketball, not what building they are in.
Thank you.

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