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October 9, 2009

Cappie Pondexter

Penny Taylor


Phoenix – 94
Indiana - 86

Q. Cappie, what happened to the eye? And Coach said you couldn't see as you were walking off the floor at halftime. Did you think you weren't being to be able to play?
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: I knew I was going to be able to play. I wasn't going to let me teammates down that easy. Just got an elbow, couldn't see for a couple of seconds, but I was able to come back.

Q. Congratulations to both of you. This series was a lot different than the regular season. During the season, you won by running teams off the floor, wearing them down, that didn't happen this series. Talk about the adjustments that you made and how you were able to win playing kind of a different style.
PENNY TAYLOR: I guess clearly with Indiana and their defense, we had to at times slow it down and run half-court offense. I think we stuck pretty much to our same style of having quick plays where we were having one or two screens and getting into the attacking mode even though it's a half-court play.
I felt like when we were good, we were aggressive and attacking their defense. When they were trying to trap Cappie or Diana, we were attacking them. And when we would do our best was when we put them on the back foot in that defensive style.

Q. Congratulations. Can you compare a little bit this year to 2007? Only because there is a core of you that were obviously here, but this was a different -- yes, it went five games but it was different than two years ago.
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: It was still a lot of hard work, of course. And I said that I would be able to compare if this team won a championship. Without question, this is probably the best group that we've put together in the two championships, skill-wise.
You know, from the beginning of the season to the end, we worked really hard. Everybody stayed extra and that's why we're here. Such a great feeling right now, wow! It was definitely harder the second time around, but I wouldn't have -- I wouldn't be here without these girls. So I'm happy.

Q. I have two questions, Penny. Could you talk a little bit about the emotion at the end of game? You broke down in tears there, it looked like.
PENNY TAYLOR: Yeah -- (Laughter.) It's just -- it's a really great feeling, you know? I was only here for half the season, but it's been a long half and it's been a hard half and just the build-up of that emotion of wanting to do well and wanting to do well for your teammates and wanting to win every game.
It's just a release right now that we've been able to do it and to do it with these people, with this club, with every single person that's a part of the team and everyone that supported us along the way. It's just a really good feeling.

Q. And Cappie, for you, if you're willing to share with us, it looked to me like Diana when she received the M.V.P. Award leaned over and said something to you. Is that something you can share with the rest of us?
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: I don't know if I was by Diana. It wasn't me. It was probably Ketia is that. But I'll make something up she said. (Laughter.) "We won!"
Q. Cappie, at the beginning of the season, you guys talked about you and Dee as leaders of the team. You talked about the importance of being a cohesive team and also being focused on what you guys do and not worrying about what other people do. Talk about the process the team went through this year in doing that.
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: It's definitely been up and down, whirlwind for us. We had great moments, we had good moments, we had okay moments. But even in our okay moments, we still stuck with it and continued to work hard and stayed together no matter what. And you know what?
I can say every single day, each girl worked hard after practice, every single one of us. And I believe that's the reason why we're here celebrating.
For Diana and I as leaders of the team we stay with it, we stayed focused and we led by example as well as demonstrated it. We demonstrated it in our voice, really excited; and it shows how hard work plays off.

Q. Cappie, at media day before the season started, you talked about Penny potentially coming back. And at that point, it was an unknown. Talk about how important that was to the team.
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: She gave us that push in the second half of the season. It's funny, me and Penny played together in Russia last season. And every other day we would talk about --
PENNY TAYLOR: Every day.
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: -- her coming back to Phoenix and how Corey was and how the new teammates were and when Diana told me Penny was coming back I was like, "We got a chance, we really do."
I know in my heart every championship team that won has three great players. And when Penny came back, it solidified everything for us. And she pushed us to a whole other level. And without her, I don't know if this would be possible.
So, thank you, Penny.

Q. Penny, can I follow up on your decision to come back and you went through a lot in your recovery and you didn't have to come back to Phoenix. Your thoughts?
PENNY TAYLOR: So happy that I did, and it was a question of the injury and making sure that I wasn't coming back with any lingering problems that I could come straight in and be of use to the team.
And once I realized that was a possibility, you know, full steam ahead and the club and the trainer and everyone just helped me get back to where I could contribute to the team. Yeah. Just so glad that I did.

Q. How much time do you have to savor this before you head overseas?
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: Not long. My club wants me there now, but I think I'm going to have to hide for a couple of weeks.
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: For a couple weeks.
PENNY TAYLOR: Probably a week would be stretching it but try and get a couple of days at home in Australia and head to turkey.

Q. Cappie, can you talk about how difficult it is to win two of these? A lot of people can't win one championship, and there really aren't that many teams in a sport that win two championships.
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: For me, it's the first time this has ever happened. I won in 2007 and the first time winning two. It's really difficult. Seemed like we wasn't going to get this one.
Indiana had the momentum the whole series and somehow we found a will to win. I think that's what it's all about. If you want it really bad, you know, you stay committed to that. Anything is possible and we definitely showed that.

Q. Could each of you talk about the final minutes of the game? You had them down for quite a while, then they came back, they tied. What was said in the huddle? What were you saying to each other on the floor? What were your thoughts in that final push?
PENNY TAYLOR: It's a little bit blurry now but I guess what we've said to each other throughout this playoff series is getting stops, containing the ball, rebounding. You know, we -- throughout the series we've had some really close moments. And what's gotten us over the line is that determination and that, just, fight. And in those final minutes we fought, we fought across the board for everything.
So, you know, I think I can't remember exactly play-by-play because it's a little mixed in but the fight and the determination got us over the line.
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: It is kind of a vivid memory, but I can remember Brooke Smith had two crucial shots and that's what gave us our momentum back and if she hadn't hit those it would probably be a whole different ballgame.
And we've got to credit Indiana. They came back hard fighting. "Catch" wanted her championship, and I knew she was going to come out fighting and give it her all. But Brooke Smith, that's what I can remember.

Q. For both of you to play five games in sold-out arena in Arizona and get the reception and you guys probably heard the ratings were up and the games were so competitive, what do you guys hope you did for your league this week?
CAPPIE PONDEXTER: Showed how competitive we are as women. And it's not about flashiness or not being able to play above the rim but just our heart, our commitment level to each other and just our determination.
Hopefully we showed that to the rest of the world, not only boys, but young women who are striving to be where we are because I know growing up we didn't have many women figures. But hopefully we can definitely start some here.
PENNY TAYLOR: Exactly. Exactly. The level of basketball that was shown throughout the series was so high, and to -- I know my family and my friends back home in Australia have watched it and I don't know how many texts and e-mails I've gotten saying this is the best basketball they've seen, male or female. They love watching it, the fight that we've shown on both teams and the level of talent that has been on display has been incredible.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks a lot, ladies, congratulations.

End of FastScripts

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