March 8, 2006 Gdynia, Poland
Story || Box
head coach ANNE DONOVAN, Seattle Storm
On the opposing team:
Lotos played very, very well. We were forced to do a lot of different
things that we really hadn't worked on, like the zone, tonight. They did
a lot of good things to stay in the game and really made us work hard
for the win. They're a very good team, we recognize they're one player
down without Biba (2006 EuroLeague All-Star Agnieszka Bibrzycka) and we'll
have our hands full tomorrow night.
It's hard to play a team blind, so to speak,
but did you expect them to play so close and that tough physically?
You know, the big girls who we thought would be a little bit slower
and we could take advantage of their lack of foot-speed. But they did
a great job in the low post with our smaller posts, making us work. Swin
(Cash) was definitely outmatched from a size standpoint, which was difficult
for us early.
Diana Taurasi had a big three and Katie Smith
had some nice plays down the stretch to help us out. How big was that?
Our veteran players, our Olympians really stepped up big in the
fourth quarter. Diana hit two back-to-back buckets, Katie hit a big three
and that little run was the difference.
You also played a zone defense during that run.
Can you tell me about that?
We had no practice with the zone at all so we went out there and
improvised with that, recognizing that their inside game was hurting us.
A number of players were in foul trouble so we decided to go sit in a
two-three zone and see if they could beat us from the outside, which they
How do you prepare for tomorrow night's game
with the addition of a key player on both sides of the court in DeLisha
Milton-Jones and Agnieszka Bibrzycka?
Well we know that we won't be playing as much zone with Biba coming
back for them. She's such a deadly outside shooter with tremendous range.
It's going to be difficult to play that much zone again. But DeLisha helps
us greatly also on the inside, where we struggled at times tonight to
make the offense flow. We became a really perimeter-dominated team, where
we need to have more of an inside presence. D will help us with that.
The team had a lot of defensive lapses against
Sopron, did you think the defense was better tonight?
Yes, our defense was a little bit better, especially playing in
a zone that we really hadn't practiced that much. The girls showed a lot
of grit to pull off that win in that environment, playing zone defense
and hitting some big shots in the fourth quarter, it really showed a lot
BRAXTON, Detroit Shock
How did it feel to get out there and contribute
after having to sit out the first game?
It's good. It felt good, but I didn't come out and play too good
when I first came out and played. I think I was really excited and happy
to get in. But after I got into the flow of things, got settled down and
relaxed, it went smooth.
What was the crowd like?
The crowd, they have a great fan squad. They were up the whole
game cheering them on. Never, at any point, were they down. Their team
is good and they are bringing back another player tomorrow (2006 EuroLeague
All-Star Agnieszka Bibrzycka), so they should really be on top of their
You'll have DeLisha Milton-Jones back from the
EuroLeague All-Star Game tomorrow also:
Oh yeah, we're both adding one, but we're still going to go at
CASH, Detroit Shock
Were you surprised by how much they stayed
with you all night?
No, not really. Their team has been playing together for a long
time now, so I wasn't surprised. They played hard, they had a great crowd,
but I was happy with our effort. We hung in there. Every game is not going
to be pretty. We like the easier ones, but we'll take the hard ones too.
I'm just happy with our team. Everyone kept fighting to the end and we're
happy to get the win.
Is it good to go out there and play a tough game
like that as opposed to having an easy win?
I think games like that build character and everyone's comments
after the game were, we can't wait to get back to the next game
tomorrow.' So you love to see that type of energy. We're still a young
team, we're learning, not only the system, but learning how to represent
your country basically. Even though we have five Olympians here who have
gone through it, (three of us) were pretty young on the Olympic team,
so I'm just happy to see the fight in us.
What did you think about that crowd?
Oh it was awesome. That's what's so great about Europe, you get
those rowdy crowds that are into it. They were chanting the whole game
and that's what really makes it a fun atmosphere.
OHLDE, Minnesota Lynx
On tonight's game:
I think we had some really good moments, then we also had some
places where we were lacking defensive effort and also spacing, that kind
of stuff. I think we're still getting used to playing with each other,
but we need to put together a full 40 minutes and play hard on both ends.
What happened when you showed them the zone defense?
We kind of improvised, we were talking with each other and working
through it. We were able to get them out of a rhythm for a little bit
and hold them to just a few points in the fourth quarter and that helped
us get back on top.
Is it good sometimes to have games like that,
to have to fight for the win instead of cruising through the game?
I don't think those games ever feel good, besides the fact that
you're getting the win. But I think it shows a lot for the team that we
did fight back. We got huge shots and huge stops from people. People stepped
up and made some big plays.
SMITH, Detroit Shock
On tonight's game:
It was a tough game, their low post gave us everything we could
handle. With the team that we have in a short amount of time I still feel
that this win was big. Playing in an atmosphere with these fans was great.
We definitely want to play better tomorrow and as always it's always a
pleasure to be back in Gdynia. They cheered for Chasity (Melvin) and me
a little bit.
Did you think they were going to make it such
a close game?
Obviously they downplayed their team, but when the USA comes to
town, you can basically write off any record or anything they've done.
They're going to come out and play. I thought we started off well. But
as coach Thibault said, we mentally just relaxed and they continued to
play hard and got themselves right back in the game. They believed they
could win and that was our fault, we have to put people away and not give
them the chance, especially in their home arena.
What happened to the team's shooting? It didn't
seem like you all were able to get much to fall.
We probably should have taken a deep breath there for a second.
Obviously some of the officiating was a little hard, like things where
maybe you would have gotten called or whatnot. Besides that we still have
to find a way to but the ball into the hole. But also we just have to
be a little smarter, taking a jump shot rather than taking it into the
crowd. Just things where we need to take our time and play a little smarter.
Hopefully we'll do that tomorrow night and finish this trip off with a
Can you compare this team tonight and the one
you played on when you played for Lotos?
The team now is young and we had I think four WNBA players, some
veterans, but they still play hard. It's just different combinations,
it's a different team. But I like how they play, they don't give up and
What kind of player is Agnieszka Bibrzycka, who
will play against the USA tomorrow night?
I think Biba, being a young guard, is one of the best guards. She
shoots the ball well, she's a good athlete. She's a good size for a guard
(6'2") and she's a solid, fundamental player.
TAURASI, Phoenix Mercury
On the physicality of the game:
That's the European game, to let a lot go, and then it seems that
the softest touch is a foul. But that's just getting used to European
basketball and FIBA basketball. I think everyone's played overseas so
we weren't shocked about it but we have to do a little bit better job
of handling that kind of pressure.
On tonight's game:
You know we made runs and then we let them get back in it. We have
a young team, we've never played together, so we have to get used to each
other. That team's a good European team, people made shots at the end
and we played well to win.
The shots weren't falling on either side of the
court tonight, it showed a lot of character to keep playing through that.
What did you think about the shooting?
It's easy to win when you play well, but to struggle offensively
and to have to chip away at it, little by little, it showed a lot of character
from the veterans and everyone, the coaches too.
What do you think will happen tomorrow night
with the addition of a top player on each side?
It's going to be nice to have DeLisha back. She brings so much
energy and gives us a different dimension that most teams don't really
have with a four-man, she can do so much. Obviously they'll have Biba
back, who can shoot and is one of the best players in Europe, so it's
going to be fun. We got to know them a little better tonight so hopefully
tomorrow we can do a better job.