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October 9, 2009

Diana Taurasi


Phoenix – 94
Indiana - 86

Q. Diana, can you take too many pictures with the trophy?
DIANA TAURASI: Never, never want to give it back. Just such a nice feeling when that buzzer went off for all of us. You know, a couple of us have won a championship, couple of us haven't. But when the buzzer rang, we knew we did something special and we did it as a group.
Whether you play forty minutes or you play zero minutes, it is a team effort, a collective group. The people behind the scenes, I think for that is what everyone is so proud about.

Q. Diana, you've been in so many of these big games at Connecticut. Now two championships here. How much do you embrace these moments going into them?
DIANA TAURASI: You have to because you put so much hard work, you know, throughout the season in, not even in this season.
But like Cappie was talking about earlier all that commitment that you've made your whole life to the game of basketball and to have an opportunity to come out here in a sold-out arena and enjoy that and to play hard and win or lose, sometimes it doesn't even matter.
But the series itself showed where women's basketball is right now. It's at a really high level of play and of commitment from a lot of people.

Q. Diana, the 2007 series went five games and it was good basketball. But I wonder if you could compare as an expert, as a player, the quality of basketball in these Finals maybe compared to that.
DIANA TAURASI: 2007 was amazing, too, when you look at the number of players that were in that series, but I think this series was great players that made great teams. In the locker room, I said I don't think I've played a better team than the Fever: Composed, staying in it no matter what the circumstance.
And I think the same could be said about our team, and that was probably the biggest pride in being in the series.

Q. Diana, two things. First, could you talk about having your best game of the series here in the final game? And when they handed you the M.V.P. trophy, it looked like you were pointing down at one of your teammates and said something to her. Cappie said it wasn't her, and then you picked up the championship trophy and said that's the one that counts.
DIANA TAURASI: Sarver's little boy was biting my ankle, and then I proceeded to give the trophy to the team because that's who deserved it. It's not one player that makes the M.V.P., never has been and never will be. And the big trophy is what we were after. So I'll take that one in the memory of our team.

Q. And having your best game tonight?
DIANA TAURASI: You know, it had been a tough series, but you just -- you can't get frustrated. You can't always play as well as you want. You can't always make every shot.
But the one thing I told myself is there is no reason to get frustrated. You've just got to go out there and put in the effort and play hard and things eventually turn for you. And today it did at a crucial moment.

Q. Was that crucial moment just to extend that, at the end of the first quarter you're 0-3, and your team is down 7. The first jumper you hit in the lane, did that get you going?
DIANA TAURASI: Yeah. Sometimes getting closer to the rim helps, especially when you're struggling from the outside, and I had been getting texts and e-mails from all the great basketball experts in the world, and I took their advice for once.

Q. Looks like you took the role of leader and the team sort of followed. Can you talk about that?
DIANA TAURASI: I don't walk into the locker room and proclaim myself to be the leader of the team. I just do it by example, by being in the gym as much possible, by encouraging people and treating them as I wanted to be treated, as a teammate.
And I think that's one thing we have all taken care of this year, when last summer I don't think we necessarily did that. You can have the best players. But if they don't get along and they don't want to work together, it's not going to work. We found a way to have great players like Cappie, Penny, and Tan make each other better instead of taking away from each other and that's big.

Q. Congratulations on everything. You found your shot in this game. But at the end, could you talk about your teammates and how they weren't afraid to take that shot. They weren't looking at you. If they had it, they would take it.
DIANA TAURASI: That's what we've kind of built our team on, the aspect of all five players on the court being able to take any shot at any time, whether it's Mek in Sacramento at the beginning of the year. Fast forward to Cappie and myself in Chicago, Penny at the end of the game of Game 4; Tan who hadn't scored a point and knocks down two of the biggest shots in the season. That's a team, having the confidence in each other to make plays.

Q. Diana, you have talked about this being a tough year and a good year in personal growth for you. Now you're able maybe to reflect on the whole summer and everything you've been through with another championship.
DIANA TAURASI: It's been a humbling summer, throughout. You know, the last month it's been an incredible high, from the M.V.P. to the championship. But rewind two and a half months ago and I was probably as low as I can get. And I'm the type of person that wakes up every day happy. It was, boy, tough to wake up happy every day for a couple of weeks.
But then I used it to make myself better in areas that you guys will never understand because it's very private, but everything happens for a reason. If you use it the right way, it can be an advantage in life; and that's what I tried to do.

Q. We talk so much about your guys' offense for good reasons. But they were talking about in their locker room that they were not able to get into a rhythm that they wanted, just what you did defensively in that series.
DIANA TAURASI: I'm glad you asked that because you go through a regular season, you win 24 games and people think you're a bad defensive game and that means 24 times we held the opponent to less points.
And we do have great defensive players. The way we play other teams are going to get more opportunities, sometimes it seems the things we're doing are a little crazy with T.J. or myself guarding a 6'5" Jessica Davenport but it seems to work.
It's like you said, it's that toughness that each player brought to the table tonight. At this juncture of a series, of a season, it's all about toughness, has nothing to do with X's and O's, making shots. It's about who is the tougher team. Tonight we were a little bit tougher.

Q. Dee, Corey was asked this about five minutes into his press conference, but he was asked -- and I want to ask you this: Can this team repeat? And what do you think this team needs to do to do it again because this team is going to better.
DIANA TAURASI: They better sign Penny real quick. How about that?
Repeating is hard. It's always hard to do it the next year. Expectations, that hunger us-against-the-world mentality, which obviously we didn't have last summer. But now you can look back on that experience and not let it happen again.
Corey is one of the most competitive coaches I've ever been around. And talk about a man who improved more than any player or any coach in this league from year one to year two, he's been amazing this year. He came in with that toughness and that grit. He was the one who was the most upset about last summer. And from day one in training camp that's how he went every day in practice.

Q. Diana, would you like to see Tamika get her title as long as it doesn't come against you?
DIANA TAURASI: "Catch" is going to get her titles. She is amazing. Sometimes you're on the court -- and she got a rebound today when I think she was in row 110, ran the baseline, got it with one hand, got pushed -- the things she does on the court are amazing and she'll get an WNBA title just by her sheer competitiveness and wanting it more than other people.

Q. Diana, with all that you've accomplished in your career at such a young age, how do you motivate yourself to keep playing and get better?
DIANA TAURASI: I just don't put limits on anything, especially not basketball. There is still a long ways to go. There is still a long way to mature and get better in different areas.
Like I said before, if you still love walking into the gym, then you'll be okay. The minute you walk into the gym and you're board or you don't want to be there, then that passion is probably not there anymore and I'm probably a long way from there.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Diana.

End of FastScripts

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