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October 5, 2011

Cheryl Reeve


Minnesota: 101
Atlanta: 95

THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you would begin with an opening statement and then we will take questions.
COACH REEVE: That was easy. That's what I told our players, wow, what a hard game. We saw so many great things tonight in the course of a game, a lot of things went wrong for us, had players down, our crowd was terrific, they were into it the whole time and we needed every bit that they gave us, and obviously I just told our team that I've been -- this is my fifth Finals that I've been in, so I've seen a lot of playoff games.
I've not seen the type of performance that Seimone Augustus showed us tonight, so the best individual performance I've seen in the playoffs. She's a warrior, she is hurt, and she's tough.

Q. Coach, talk about the impact that Jessica Adair had in the game.
COACH REEVE: Happy for Jess, rebounded, defended with confidence, and as you know, you've seen Jess evolve over the season culminate in a game like this, and she is getting more and more confidence, and it's nice for Taj and Rebekkah. Her game is different. Taj doesn't mind posting up, but Rebekkah likes to play more in the high post, and Jess gets us that dimension where she likes to get beat on down there, and she was productive tonight for us.

Q. You wasn't able to get the defensive stops in a flow until late in the game. Was that frustrating because you would trade baskets back and forth but you finally got that rhythm down stretch but during the game was that frustrating?
COACH REEVE: Yeah, a little bit. I was disappointed overall in our defense, our players know that.
My goodness we gave up 58 points in the first half, they shot 59% against us. They ended up shooting 29% in the second half so we did defend better and we got that separation but we have to be better defensively, and we can be.
They possess challenges, they're fast, athletic, we got killed in the fast break points area, we were in the negative on the second-chance points so we have to play better, you know. We're fortunate that we're talking about the Lynx having a win.

Q. Coach, what did you tell your team at halftime? What adjustments did you make in the second half that, you know, impacted this on the defensive end?
COACH REEVE: As you probably could imagine our halftime was, as I told the team I walked in and told 'em I wasn't going to yell and scream at 'em, and then I started yelling and screaming at 'em. I tried hard to keep it in but we're predicated on our defense and making things difficult. Everything they did in the first half was easy, every shot they took, and we didn't take them out of their rhythm. We didn't contest, we didn't do anything, so it was very disappointing.
So we came out with a sense of urgency and played better in the second half. They're still good, Angel McCoughtry -- the first half we didn't guard her very well, 24 points in the first half, just disappointing. We didn't make any adjustments; we just asked them to play harder and dictate action better. I think we did that for the most part.

Q. Coach, when Seimone is playing so well and giving an exhaustive effort, what do you say? Do you let her go?
COACH REEVE: I stay out of her way. Mone cusses everybody out, tried to sub for her, she was mad at me, we kept running plays for her. I stay out of her way, letting her make free-throws, putting her back on Angel McCoughtry, and she got away from that the first half. She had to score every time, stay on Angel McCoughtry, got rebounds, and she was impressive and I try to let her teammates deal with her because she was, as they say, "Mo was in the zone."

Q. Coach, the Lynx were 0-5 heading into the fourth quarter, so what was the feeling during the break?
COACH REEVE: We were right there, that's kind of what we were -- you know, when you watch Lindsey and I have interaction, that's the conversation, we're right there. We never felt like we were out of it. We were a couple of stops and scores away from turning the corner, so I never felt like it was out of reach, obviously.
You know, we needed to get the combination of stops and scores and once we got that then, you know, we went on the plus side and were able to hang on.

Q. Coach, what did you learn about your club tonight that perhaps you didn't know before? By that I mean dealing with the adversity, rough, physical game, and then can you give us an update on Taj?
COACH REEVE: I think more than anything, rather than learning about them, because I have seen us respond to adversity throughout the season, in the course of a game. I guess I was reinforced with how tough we were. One of the things that we told them before the game is that we wanted to be tough, determined and play together, and we were tough. We were really tough, and I think we were determined. We wanted to make sure we got out of here with a win. Our fans were great, and they appreciate the heck out of that.
This was so much fun. It was strange, I actually enjoyed the heck out of myself tonight. I enjoyed being part of that game and watching our players fight through that and come out on the plus side.
With Taj, I just know I was told she was out of the game. I don't know the extent, it is her knee, you guys saw the incident where her and Monica had a collision, and I'll get more information probably in an hour or so as to what it is and hopefully she'll be okay. We're banged up, Seimone has been struggling and Rebekkah Brunson has been struggling and you add Taj to the mix, we have to win one more game.

Q. All those whistles, was it difficult to get a rhythm with them going on offense or defense?
COACH REEVE: It favored us in the second half. When I saw the crew I actually -- I had an idea that it would be called a little more closely. They called everything. They established it and the players didn't adjust. I think that's important on both sides, that the teams recognize how the game is being called and neither team did. I think the frequency of the calls helped us to have Lindsay Whalen on the court for the full second half. Ordinarily we need to sub for her but the stoppage of the play helped her stay on the court.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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