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October 21, 2012

Cheryl Reeve


Indiana – 85
Minnesota – 78

CHERYL REEVE:  First I want to say how proud I am of our team.  Really proud to be the coach of the Minnesota Lynx.  My players left it all out there today.
The second thing is I really want to thank the Minnesota media that traveled all the way down from Minnesota.  You guys' support was tremendous, and we really appreciate that.  It wasn't the outcome that we wanted, but I thought in terms of today, if you look at today, I thought we really put it out there, and we tried to make it as difficult as we could, and just a couple plays away from being able to make it happen and bring it back to Minnesota, which is what we all wanted.
But give Indiana credit.  That's the last part of that.  Congratulations to the Indiana organization.  If there are some people that you can be happy for, they reside here with the Indiana organization, starting with Kelly Krauskopf, who has built this thing.  Give her so much credit; she's so easy to be happy for.
And contrary to popular belief, I'm a huge fan of Lin Dunn's, and we are great friends.  We did have some fun in this series, but really, really happy for Lin.  She deserved it.  And then obviously you've got some quality people on the Indiana roster, starting with Tamika Catchings.  There's not anybody that cannot be happy for Tamika Catchings to finally get a championship.
We were trying to keep her from getting it, but it just didn't happen, and now that she's got it, she's easy to be happy for, along with‑‑ I thought Erin Phillips had one hell of a series.  I thought she was really key for them.  Obviously really happy for Katie Douglas.  Sad she couldn't be a part of it.  But a lot of great things.  A pretty good series that I think our league should be happy with in terms of two teams that I thought really competed hard.
I guess I'll let you guys ask questions about the game itself.

Q.  The second time around, especially in a game like this, how much more difficult was it than say last year?  Was it a different feeling that your team was having?  You guys are obviously a close‑knit team, but what did it feel like this time around?
CHERYL REEVE:  You know, Candace Wiggins said this early in the season, the hungry lion hunts best, and I think for us we had our challenges with the idea of being hungrier than the teams that we were playing.  Once you have something, it's human nature to not be as hungry as someone else who doesn't have it.  So we really tried to battle through that most of the season, and I thought we did a really nice job of that.  We overcame a number of scenarios where I thought we were really trying to find that place that was wanting it more than our opponent, which was hard to do.
We overcame a lot this season.  It was very, very challenging from the word go for us in training camp.  Training camp was different for us.  We didn't have everybody there.  We kind of got the trickle‑in thing, so I didn't get that chemistry with the first five that I had in 2011, not to say that these guys‑‑ these guys are terrific; they've won 54 games in two years.  This is a great group, three Olympians, and on this day we talked about we needed Seimone to be MVP‑like, and I feel terrible for Seimone.  There's nobody that feels worse for Seimone right now.  A really tough, tough game.  Give Indiana credit, made everything challenging for her.
But to answer your question, it was hard.  It was hard being the hunted, as we all know.  There's a reason this hasn't been done in over 10 years.  There's a reason for that.  I really felt like if there was a team that could do it, it was our team, because we have tremendous resolve and great people that are unselfish, and those are all really key ingredients.

Q.  Can you just sort of expand on two things:  How Tamika Catchings has turned into such a great perimeter shooter which she wasn't when she first came into the league and how that makes her tough to defend.  And then you mentioned what a great series Erin Phillips had; it seemed like she was really a huge X factor, both with her offense and how she was able to play defense with January.
CHERYL REEVE:  I thought Catchings has really evolved into the most complete player.  The people here know her way better than I do.  What I know of her, obviously she's an Olympian, and obviously when you're an Olympian you have that special "it" factor, and for her she has a tremendous, tremendous work ethic as everybody knows.  Catchings, I'm sure she just worked at it and worked at it and worked at it.  I just thought even in the series as the Playoffs just kind of wore on, it got smoother and smoother and smoother, so she had tremendous confidence, especially in the right slot.  We do our field goal percentage by zone, and we kept trying to get her off that spot that she really, really likes, and unfortunately it was just too late.  She just had such a groove.
I thought Erin Phillips more so than her defense, I thought her tough shots, end‑of‑shot‑clock, the game at our place, I mean, I just thought throughout the series, and I just didn't‑‑ you have to have that.  You've got to have somebody other than your star player stepping up, and Zellous did it in one game.  I thought Phillips consistently was a player that was‑‑ that made plays, and that's what the Finals are about, players making plays, and they had players that made just a few more plays than our group did.

Q.  When the dust settles and the disappointment fades a little bit, are you still confident that the blueprint for future success is in place?
CHERYL REEVE:  Oh, there's no question.  I've got a group‑‑ I've got a starting five that obviously we did a lot of great things with.  Every year you have changes, but there's no question that you've got Lindsay, Seimone and Maya and Rebekkah Brunson, who's in her prime.  For me everything is around them.  That's how we go.  So yeah, we've got the blueprint that we mapped out prior to 2011, the group that we have, the way that we play, and I think now that something was taken away from us and we're no longer defending champs, it'll be nice to kind of start fresh and see if we can't keep this thing going.

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