WNBA Finals Game 3: Maya Moore buzzer-beater breaks the Fever, Lynx win 80-77
Maya Moore stunned an arena full of Indiana Fever fans and drained at three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Minnesota Lynx the edge in the WNBA Finals with an 80-77 win Friday night in a packed Bankers Life Fieldhouse with 16,332 spectators. The Lynx forward joked after game three of the series that the last time she made a game-winning shot at the buzzer was when she was a teen.
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 10, 2015
“That was pretty fun,” said Moore. “Pretty fun just to finish it that way. I guess high school was the last buzzer-beater.” The shot lit up social media with NBA players and even Prince’s band, 3RDEYEGIRL, tweeting about it.
MAYA MOORE…tHAT’S aLL. — Prince3EG (@Prince3EG) October 10, 2015
Indiana coach Stephanie White was also impressed by Moore’s shot.
“That was just a great player making a great play at the end of the game,” said White. “I’m proud of our team for how hard we fought. We battled. We did a much better job in some of the areas that we needed to improve. But that was just a hell of a shot by Maya Moore. Great individual effort on her part. She comes back in, and I think the beginning of the fourth quarter maybe has five straight points, and Minnesota got great balance. Their bench, again, was superb, and we just gave ourselves an opportunity. We gave ourselves an opportunity and didn’t capitalize.”
The Lynx’s bench outscored the Fever’s bench 28-13 led by Renee Montgomery with 12 points and Anna Cruz with 10 points and five rebounds. Overall, Moore was game’s top scorer with 24 points plus seven rebounds. Seimone Augustus finished with 13 points plus four rebounds and Sylvia Fowles contributed a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Four Fever players scored in double figures including Shenise Johnson (17 points and four assists), Briann January (15 points and eight assists), Marissa Coleman (14 points) and Tamika Catchings (10 points and 10 rebounds).
Early in the game, the Lynx led 20-19 after the first quarter but the Fever outscored their opponent 23-18 in the second quarter to take a 42-38 lead going into halftime. Both Moore and the Fever’s Tamika Catching played in foul trouble during the game. Moore had three personal fouls in the first half alone.
“I thought it was an unbelievable basketball game,” said Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve. “I’m a little biased….I think that might be one of the best played WNBA Finals games in our history. I’m pretty mindful of things that have gone on before us, but that one’s got to be up there.”
Minnesota outscored the Fever 21-15 in the third quarter and the two teams battled back and forth in the last stanza, with four lead changes in the last ten minutes before Moore’s trey sealed the deal for the Lynx.
With the victory, the Lynx have a 2-1 edge in the best-of-five series. Play resumes Sunday in Indianapolis, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. If necessary, game five will take place in Minnesota on Wednesday, Oct. 14 in Minneapolis at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.
Points in the Paint: Lynx 26, Fever 32
Second Chance Points: Lynx 10, Fever 9
Fastbreak Points: Lynx 8, Fever 4
Biggest Lead: Lynx 7, Fever 4
Lead Changes: 8
Times Tied: 11
MINNESOTA COACH CHERYL REEVE
COACH REEVE: First and foremost, I thought it was an unbelievable basketball game. I’m a little biased. I think that might be one of the best played WNBA Finals games in our history. I’m pretty mindful of things that have gone on before us, but that one’s got to be up there.
Those are two teams that really had great offense, and just kind of delivering blows to each other and a little bit of a run, and then their run, and then back and forth, and back and forth. We were fortunate to have a chance at the end there to have someone like Maya Moore to step up and hit a really huge shot.
Q. You’ve coached Maya for years. You coached her in the Olympics. You seem to do a lot of things. Where does that last 1.7 seconds rank in your mind in terms of what you’ve seen her do?
COACH REEVE: What I told her was that I’ve been with her since her rookie year, and early on in Maya’s career she used to be one of my worst players at executing a last?second shot. She used to lunge and try to draw a foul tonight. Just didn’t have a lot of poise about her. That was about as poised as I’ve seen her. Lindsay Whalen made a great pass, a great find. Maya had great awareness that you didn’t have to jack a shot and hurry up. 1.7 seconds is actually a long time. I thought she had a nice little escape dribble, got herself collected, and had about as good of form that you can have. So it was a very poised moment for Maya.
Q. (No microphone)?
COACH REEVE: It looked darn good. It looked darn good. I don’t know if I had any thoughts. It looked like what you felt in the arena, it just got quiet. It’s what you’ve seen in the movies with the ball going to the basket. It looked like everyone was watching, then it went through and it (sound) picked up again, and that’s what it felt like. First and foremost for me, I’m somebody that always worries, maybe they were going to wave it off and say it wasn’t good so I didn’t want to get too excited. It felt like it was in time. But we weren’t sure until the reviews. So, pretty exciting stuff.
Q. In addition to Maya’s three, your team overall, 7 of 13, and Renee hit a big one to tie it. So how big was your three?point shooting in Game 3 tonight?
COACH REEVE: Obviously, it’s not something that ?? we’ve struggled there in the series. We think we’re better than what we’ve done. Today, obviously, we don’t regularly shoot 53%, but if you have the right players take it. I thought that the players for us, I thought our bench was big. We got 28 points off the bench. I thought each player, they got an opportunity, particularly Dev, Renee and Cruz. Cruz gave us good penetration when we needed it. Cruz hit some big jumpers when we needed it to take pressure off people.
I thought the player of the game for us, that really, really helped us was Renee Montgomery. She had some, you know, just really, really confident moments out there where clock is running down and her and Cruz, they just play really well together. It was fun to watch and fun to see them be successful.
Q. Obviously that was huge. Right before that you got the big defensive stop. They had the ball with 25 seconds left, and you got a huge stop to have a chance to win it. Talk about that last stretch on defense?
COACH REEVE: Yeah, I thought Indiana, when they left our place and came back down here, it was really clear what they would try to get back to, which was the dribble drive stuff and straight?line drives. I thought they had success with that tonight. We knew the last possession was going to come down to that. We talked about that. We kind of talked about our locations for the help, to make sure we didn’t let them get too deep.
I thought we were pretty active in those moments. I thought we were pretty hard to play against. Got to rebound the ball. That was the other thing. They were pretty relentless in there. You know, the first game, that second?chance points, there wasn’t a big divide. You know, largely because I think the offense was so good percentage?wise. But that’s how we want to win games. Get that stop and give ourselves a chance to have the ball at the end there to try to do something.
Q. Maya seemed to get into foul trouble fairly early, and then even after the break she picked up her fourth foul but didn’t change the way she approached the game. What was the conversation you had with her going forward?
COACH REEVE: I don’t know that it was a conversation. Maya’s going to be Maya. Oftentimes in her career, when she gets in foul trouble, it doesn’t end well. Again, it was another game where I thought she just decided just to go play. Her third foul was unfortunate. We had a player that gambled in the back court and put Maya in a bad spot and got that third foul. Fourth foul was another silly foul. We were fortunate to be able to ?? because we got that small. We decided if we were going back to Maya we’ve got to put her small and try to get some advantage out of that before maybe she would foul out. We can try to get some separation there.
But Maya’s Maya. If you’ve never been around Maya, she throws caution to wind at every turn, and she just plays. Sometimes it goes really, really well. Other times you can pull your hair out on watching her try to do some stuff. And tonight was probably a little bit of both. But it ended where we were really happy for her.
Q. I’d like to go back to your earlier statement where you thought this game was one of the best played in the league’s history. Can you elaborate a little bit on that and in terms of what do you think has attributed to this growth, this intensity, how you’ve seen the league progress over the seasons?
COACH REEVE: Well, everybody wants to watch offense. I just thought it was really, really well played in that area. It’s two good defensive teams. Indiana’s style is fun to watch. I think we’re fun to watch. I remember Indiana’s series with Phoenix back in I think it was 2009. And I remember watching it going, man, these are some really, really well?played games. It was fun to watch. I think what you see is our league just the evolving more and more good players.
Look at the number of good players on the floor every time a WNBA team comes out? Now you’re in the Finals. Now it’s just I can’t help but think obviously no other leagues around. Kids are playing at a younger age, the level of play goes up. Indiana does a great job with an unbelievable environment. It was fun to play in. I think if you’re watching at home on TV, like I said, the back and forth nature of it. The players making plays. That’s what I love about this game. I can speak for myself. I can’t speak for Steph [White]. We’re trying to guide them a little bit.
But this is the epitome of what I tell our players what The Finals are about. Coaches are going to spend all their time worrying and strategizing. What when it comes down to it, players out there just playing and making plays is what it’s all about. And I thought this game epitomized it.
Q. Were there any other options on that final possession?
COACH REEVE: There were two options.
Q. What were they?
COACH REEVE: The first one was we had Brunson and Fowles screening for Maya. Indiana has a tendency to switch on screens. So we thought if Sylvia got the last screen on and switched, she was going to jet to the basket. So we were going to lob a direct pass to Sylvia. If that lob is not open, that means that Maya’s got to be open. Lindsay Whalen made a great read of Marissa’s defense, kind of identified what was open and she made a nice, crisp pass, because that was necessary, and just like I said, Maya just read what she needed to do in that. So we had two options in that.
Q. Going back to where you put this game, what does it say story line, Superstar wins it, but you have two players who many who cover the league would sometimes refer to as cast offs also doing big roles?
COACH REEVE: Yeah, that’s what we liked. Indiana has prided themselves on that all season. We haven’t been healthy enough to kind of get that same thing where we’ve had it all season playing with our bench like Renee and Cruz. We had injuries and that sort of thing. But that’s what Indiana does. I don’t know if I like the word castoffs, per se. I understand what you’re saying. This is the time of the year where you just don’t save yourself. You’re not holding back but get your opportunity.
I think each team has players that they’re confident when they go in there they can do their thing. This came at a good time for us and our bench. They’ve been knocking on the door to be able to do that. I can’t say enough about what Devereaux Peters and Renee and Cruz have meant to our team through our playoff run.
Q. In the first half when you had to sit Maya, it didn’t go particularly well. In the third when you had to sit her your team actually outscored the Fever 19?13 over the rest of the third quarter. I mean, you wouldn’t have been in position for that last shot if that hadn’t happened?
COACH REEVE: Right. And I think for me, I think Seimone. That was her better quarter if I’m not mistaken. I think our defense was solid in the third quarter, held them to 15. That was really important. I think Brunson was active, I thought Dev was active. I know nothing was easy.
But like you said, just get through that darn third quarter. I’m sure it was the same way she was feeling on game 2 with Catchings out and just kind of buy us time. Like you said, it went much better in the third than it did in the first half. So I joked that Maya was rested. Maya had her legs about her and, like I said, I just can’t say enough about what a fun game it was to be part of.
INDIANA COACH STEPHANIE WHITE
COACH WHITE: That was just a great player making a great play at the end of the game. I’m proud of our team for how hard we fought. We battled. We did a much better job in some of the areas that we needed to improve. But that was just a hell of a shot by Maya Moore. Great individual effort on her part. She comes back in, and I think the beginning of the fourth quarter maybe has five straight points, and Minnesota got great balance. Their bench, again, was superb, and we just gave ourselves an opportunity. We gave ourselves an opportunity and didn’t capitalize.
Q. What were you trying to do defensively against Maya on that final possession with 1.7 left?
COACH WHITE: We were just trying to make her hit a contested shot. I mean, I guess if you think about it and you go through it again in your mind, all you have to say is you’ve got to stay down on the pump fake.
But you’re not thinking about a pump fake with 1.7 seconds. I felt like Marissa [Coleman] did everything she could do to keep her from getting the ball, and when she got it, that little head and shoulder fake. One of the great things that Maya Moore does, she always stays poised. She always stays under control. Marissa wanted to contest, and got suckered a little bit in the head and shoulder fake, but I just thought that was a heck of a shot, heck of a play.
Q. In the first half Maya went out and you went on a run to take the lead, I think, and then the second time she went out with 8 minutes left in the third quarter; you guys couldn’t really capitalize on that. Was that the difference that you just couldn’t take advantage of her being out in that third quarter?
COACH WHITE: Yeah, I think so. We’re trying to make a run, and I think if I’m not mistaken, that was the quarter where Dev Peters hit the jumper or two jumpers maybe. Our defensive energy, and I said this to our team in the third quarter, our defensive energy just went down, and I’m not exactly sure what that was. I hope it wasn’t that, okay, Maya Moore’s out of the game, we can relax, because they’ve got plenty of other Olympians out there on the floor. I don’t think that was it. But we talked about that in the timeout that our defensive energy needs to get better. I felt like we did. We got better. But you can’t afford those type of runs against a great team.
Q. In the huddle during the timeout with 1.7 left, was there any question in your mind who they were going to go to?
COACH WHITE: Not at all, not at all. Maya Moore’s going to get it. We talked about switching to try to keep her from catching, and then we had to be able to contest any shot that she put up.
Q. What were they doing early on that caused you guys problems defensively, especially with Tamika? She seemed to have a difficult time getting going in the beginning of the ballgame?
COACH WHITE: Especially when they go with that small lineup, when they go with Renee Montgomery and Anna Cruz, they just have a tremendous amount of ball pressure. Those two defensively do such a good job of not allowing you to get into a rhythm offensively. And then they denied passing lanes, and we found a little bit of rhythm at some points and then at others we allowed their pressure to affect us. We weren’t helping each other out.
We weren’t setting or losing screens. What happens with that pressure, they set you up and not lose the screens. You sort of lose a little bit in terms of your execution and your details. So you just have to give them credit for great defense.
Q. Shenise Johnson had a great first half. What caused the drop in effectiveness, so to speak?
COACH WHITE: I don’t know. She was getting some easy looks before. They matched her up with good looks in the second half. I think she got loose early and changed the match?up and she didn’t get quite so loose. They made her a little bit of a focal point.
But other players stepped up and scored the ball for us in the second half. We can’t afford to have eight turn overs in the half. We did a better job on the boards and still turned it over. We had mental lapses at critical moments, whether it be mental lapses of execution, coming out of timeouts or knowing what we’re trying to get and mental lapses in terms of just not being on balance when we have the ball. Not being in the right coverage on defense, and you can’t afford to have those at this time of the year. You certainly can’t afford to have them against a great team.
Q. You mentioned that Cruz and Montgomery defensively, but combined for 22 points tonight. How important do you feel that also was for them?
COACH WHITE: I think it was critical. I think that three that Montgomery hit when she tied it up, that was huge. That was huge. When you can get some production from those guys, the way they’re able to pressure you, but then also attack you and get into the paint, they just do a very good job of keeping you off balance with their quickness, and their decision making was very good as well.
Q. You’re down 2?1, and you’ve got Game 4 here on Sunday. How much does this have an impact on your preparations on this team for what we can see on Sunday?
COACH WHITE: How much does being down versus being up 2?1? Is that what you’re asking?
Q. I’m asking that, plus with the disappointing loss, how does that impact your preparation?
COACH WHITE: It doesn’t impact it. We prepare the same way regardless. We still have to make adjustments to some of the things they heard us on. We still have to find different ways that when they get up on us that we can create space offensively. Whether you win or lose, and whether you’re home or away, whether it’s Game 4 or Game 5, or Game 1, I think the way we prepare, and I’m sure the way they prepare is the same.
MINNESOTA’S MAYA MOORE AND SEIMONE AUGUSTUS
Q. Maya, a two?part question: When was the last time you hit a buzzer?beater to win a game, and just what’s your feeling in that last 1.7 seconds and the shot you made?
MAYA MOORE: I don’t think I’ve hit one on the Lynx. There was one close when I was overseas this past winter in China, but it wasn’t necessarily a buzzer?beater.
So that was pretty, pretty close today to not making it. That was pretty fun. Pretty fun just to finish it that way. I guess high school was the last buzzer?beater. I was 16, to win an AAU championship, so (laughing) exactly ten years ago today. Yes, yes.
Q. You got into foul trouble early, but it didn’t seem like you panicked at all, even when you got the fourth foul early in the third quarter you seemed to keep your composure. What was your thought process in continuing to play as aggressive as you did?
MAYA MOORE: Well, I’ve been, unfortunately, in those situations before. It’s not a situation that I want to be in. I don’t want to put my team in that situation. They thankfully played through my lack of good judgment for those moments, and really stepped up. Our bench played wonderful. I think coach said 20 ?? I don’t think it’s on here, but 28 points to help me when I was out. So that’s huge.
I was just trying to make sure whatever I did, it was something that was going to help my team move forward, so I was trying to be the loudest one on the bench, trying to make sure we were communicating and connecting. Then when I got on the floor, just trying to stay locked in and focused.
I’m still not satisfied with what I did for the whole game. I want to be better. Our team wants to be better, and we’re going to bring that mindset into Game 4.
Q. Cheryl was saying that early when she coached you were not very good in late, late game situations, or last?shot situations. Would you tend to agree with that? Do you think you’ve become a better player in these kind of final shot situations?
MAYA MOORE: Yeah, absolutely. The closing out of a game with a few seconds left is a really hard thing to do. There’s a lot of pressure. People are definitely going to be focusing on me because I am an offensive threat. So year by year, Coach Reeve has put me in those situations in practice, and I’ve gotten a little bit better, a little more poised.
Getting a chance to watch Seimone do it. She put me in a situation and I’ll not do so well, and she’ll put Seimone in a situation, and I’ll watch the poise that Seimone does it with. And I remember those memories from my rookie year, my sophomore year, second year. Just really admiring (Seimone). Especially Seimone. She is one of the most poised shot-makers, so I have a little bit of an advantage to learn from her, and that’s exactly what you saw today. After four seasons under my belt, coming into my fifth?year in the playoffs, I’m hoping I would have picked up a few things from Seimone.
Q. For either of you, how do you bottle up a huge win like this, getting one on the road and carrying it over to Sunday to try to finish the series on the road?
SEIMONE AUGUSTUS: Knowing that it’s going to be more of the same. Indiana’s been playing great, Briann January has been carrying the team tonight, and Shenise Johnson came out and had an efficient scoring night. They’re not going to give up. And they’re Tamika Catchings-led. The team is not going to give up. But this gives us the momentum and the energy to know that five minutes to go, 10 seconds to go we can close out a game and pull off a win. So it gives us a lot of confidence going into Sunday.
Q. Maya, 1.7 seconds left, do you have some sort of internal chronometer that you know you have time to make a pump fake? And can you tell me what was going through your mind as the ball was going through the air?
MAYA MOORE: Well, 1.7 is a lot of time. I’m a basketball junky. I watch basketball all the time. I’ve been playing almost my whole life, so those situations you see so often; and, again, having coaches that prepare us for those moments as well, putting us in end of game situations, but everything kind of fell into line. I did what I could. I can’t say I completely masterminded the whole situation. It was just a basketball move, and I was able to get it off.
Fortunately I have a pretty quick release, so it worked out where I didn’t actually ?? I haven’t seen the replay yet. I couldn’t see it from the court, I don’t know how close it was, but it felt pretty close. When I let it go, I knew I got it all.
Q. One thing Lindsay was saying, she said for great athletes sometimes things slow down when they’re really fast for everybody else. I’m wondering when you talked about the evolution, watching Seimone and everything, do you feel like now that sort of you don’t rush even though it’s 1.7 seconds?
MAYA MOORE: Yes, and no. I think 80% of the time I have that poise and I have that feel. And I think my natural state is to go really fast. That’s just my personality, and that’s just the kind of kid I was playing. Just go really fast, play really hard, and ask questions later. So I’ve had to kind of grow step by step, you know, high school, college, pros, changing your speeds, knowing when to go fast, when to go slow, when to turn it up, how to move my body, change directions. Again, I’ve got great leaders around me that have demonstrated that. You have Taj McWilliams?Franklin, when I’m a rookie my second year, she was the master. She would get people going five miles an hour because she just took her time, deception, finding that poise and that rhythm. So there are moments where I have to channel my inner Taj to really get my feet under me, get balanced. It’s part of the evolution of, I think, a lot of players and just coming in and learning how to play with poise. Fortunately the last shot today was an example of progress.
Q. Back to the buzzer?beater. Was it the Jordan’s?
MAYA MOORE: The shoes?
Q. Have you had a moment to just let that shot, what you just did sink in in terms of what it means for a Finals, a Finals match and what it speaks to, just the level of talent that you have and also the league?
MAYA MOORE: Well, one of the first things Coach Reeve said when she “W” walked into the locker room, that was a great game. One of the best Finals games ever. It was just so competitive. Both teams are probably not as satisfied with their defense because we both shot very well from three and from two.
So it was a lot of scoring, a lot of back and forth, very competitive, no team was giving up plays made so, again, it’s just another play. It just happened to be in the last two seconds. But this is a long series, and no one’s won anything yet. So we’re looking forward to Sunday, but glad that we were able to do it with this game being ours.
Q. Tonight you played the most of anyone on the floor tonight. Do you feel like you’re back from your injuries and time off and getting reacclimated?
MAYA MOORE: Yes.
SEIMONE AUGUSTUS: Yeah, I just thanked the trainer. As a matter of fact it was a hard process getting back on the floor. And going into HydroWorx®, and doing drills on the floor, but you said, I was thankful that I’m back at the best time of the year to be able to play. Did I expect to play 37 minutes? No way. But things happen. Maya got in foul trouble and I had to step up. Just like Anna (Cruz) had to step up and Renee had to come in and play great minutes because (Lindsay) Whalen was out. That’s just what we do. That’s our motto, that’s been our motto all year long. Man down, man up. We don’t make excuses. We just come out and do what’s necessary to keep our team together, keep our composure, keep our poise, and pull out victories.
Q. If you look at these two teams superficially, the Lynx have a lot of star power, three Olympians, the Fever one and a lot of very good utility players. What is it in your opinion that these two teams have in common that makes this such a competitive and really exciting series?
MAYA MOORE: Chemistry. I think it’s clear to see both teams are very connected and very much about each other. They’re tough minded. We’re both tough minded teams. We’re both physically tough teams that are willing to do the dirty work. At this time of the year your chemistry and your will to win is really what’s going to separate you, because everyone’s talented. Whether they’ve been to the Olympics or not, everyone who is in the Finals is a ridiculously good athlete who knows how to win. So I mean, that’s why this series has been so phenomenal. It’s two teams that are tough?minded, who really want to win and are very talented. So we’ll see what happens on Sunday.
Q. Besides all the excitement with Cheryl Payne, a little tribute to Renee. The last couple years Renee (Montgomery) has struggled and taken a lot of criticism. How close was she to vintage UCONN tonight?
MAYA MOORE: That was fun. I had a flashback for a second. She’s even talking to me like we were in school again. But she’s a baller. She’s a competitor. I remember really being connected to Renee when we were in school together because we were the two most competitive people everywhere we went. We were never on the same team because we’d kill the other team, so we always had to be on opposite teams and we would just duke it out because we were competitors, and she’s brought that to the Lynx. Her coming to our team wasn’t part of her plan, but she’s embraced it and really taken on her role and made some huge plays. When she doesn’t hit that three to tie it at 77, we might have needed my three. So it was just Renee locking into Renee, and we know she can do that. I think it’s only going to help us, it’s only going to help her mentally going into Game 4 knowing that’s what she’s capable of and remembering that. So it was fun to watch. It was a huge three, huge.
Q. You said you knew the shot was good time?wise. Did you know it was good and it was going to go in?
MAYA MOORE: It felt good. It felt good. There’s not much you can do after it leaves your hand until it goes in the rim other than hope it goes in. But it felt good coming off my hand. It felt a little off center, but not so off center that it couldn’t go in. But I’m just glad it went in.
Q. Also the defensive possession before that, they had the ball with a chance to win it with 25 seconds left, and you guys came up with a tip and a shot and also the rebound. Just talk about the defensive play that got you a chance to win at the end?
MAYA MOORE: Right, right. Just team defense, pack the paint, make it hard for them to score easily. It was a weird miss, and I think it kind of got batted around a little bit. It eventually went off them and they reviewed it to make sure and it was our ball. We knew we had a chance to win. That’s all we were thinking about at that point. It was, all right, let’s put the ball in the hole. We’ve got 2 seconds. That’s plenty of time.
INDIANA’S SHENISE JOHNSON AND TAMIKA CATCHINGS
Q. You had a great first half and 14 points I think led all scorers at that point and made 3 the rest of the way. Can you talk about what adjustments were made at the half that limited you in the second?
SHENISE JOHNSON: It’s not really about me. 14 points, 17 points is irrelevant. We’re about wins and losses. So 14 points is great, but we’re walking away with an L right now.
Q. Catch, how do you guys rebound from a disheartening loss like that?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: I mean, we have to stay together as a team, and we have to focus on the thing that’s we did do well tonight. I felt like we fought really hard. We did some really, really good things in the second half. We did some really good things all night long. So we have to dwell on the positives. That last second shot, if it doesn’t go, we go into overtime and who knows what the outcome of the game is. So I think instead of dwelling on, oh, man, we lost. It is a heartbreaker to lose like that.
But at the same time, when you know what you’re capable of as a team and we know we’re so much better, we did a great job. Sylvia, we did a great job on Seimone and everybody else. The bench players that came in kind of kept them in the game. You look down their stat sheet and all the people that got double figures, Maya coming in, I mean, we did our job on other people ?? on the people we wanted to, but we let other people step up, and we can’t afford to do that.
Q. You got Maya in foul trouble and their bench stepped up and kept you guys from capitalizing. What would you make of their effectiveness tonight?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Just like I just said, they were able to do a lot of different things. For us as a team, we just have to do a much better job.
Q. I just had to ask about that lay?up.
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Oh, my gosh.
Q. 99. You make that 99.9 times out of a 100. What happened?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Yeah, this is probably the worst that I’ve played, period. It’s just frustrating as a player when you know you’re so much better. But it’s not about me like Mo [Shenise Johnson] said. It’s about the team and making sure that as a team, everybody’s ready to play. And [me] playing my role right now and trying to do everything else until my game gets going, but we don’t have much time. Come on.
SHENISE JOHNSON: Running out of time. We’ve got to come on, baby.
Q. Shenise and Tamika, it seemed like the Lynx really ramped up their defense a lot in the third quarter as they did in game 2. Were they forcing you to start your offense a little farther out on the court in the third quarter, especially? And maybe even the whole second half?
SHENISE JOHNSON: Yeah, I thought they did a great job of denying us, but we work on that. So we have to be prepared to execute that. We can’t allow their pressure to get us pushed out. But you’re right. I thought they did a great job of taking us out of our sets.
Q. Tamika, the end of Game 2, you made a statement about how you wanted to take your frustrations and bottle them up and explode when you got back here to Indiana. Tonight, how close to that do you think you got? Do you have a little more that you want to explode?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: Got a lot more now, right? Yeah, I felt like we came out and it was a great game. That’s what you want to see for The Finals. That’s what you want to see representing the WNBA when people tune into the WNBA game and they’re looking at The Finals, you want a great game. You don’t want a blowout on either side.
So I felt like we came out and we played really, really well. But when it comes down to a last?second shot, I mean, she [Marissa Coleman] doesn’t go for the steal, and she’s in front of Maya, maybe she doesn’t get such a wide?open look. But it’s a team effort. It didn’t come down to just that last shot. It’s shots that happened throughout the fourth quarter that we didn’t do a good job on our defensive execution, offensively, turning the ball over, not getting rebounds. It’s a combination of different things.
So I felt like we did come out and play really, really well. And Sunday we’re going to come out and play even better. We have a really good team. Really young, really good, but everybody’s locked in. We’ve been in this situation before, and before we came into this game we talked about it being the best of three series, back to best of three instead of best of five, so now our back is against the wall again and we have one more game to live. We’ve got to focus on what we need to do to get better.
Q. Catch, Cheryl said that last shot was in slow motion like you’d see in the movie. What was it like on the court? Was it same sort of thing, like she released and was it going to go in or not or was it quick and done?
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: In hindsight it was oh, I should have done this, oh, I should have done that. For me it just happened so fast. It was like okay, it didn’t go in, it couldn’t have gone in. Then you’re like 1.7 seconds, that’s a long time for a dribble, a shot fake, a dribble, a dribble to the side and a shot.
So, you know, it’s kind of like in your head okay, it didn’t go. But watching the tape and watching it go on the big screen, you see it went in.
SHENISE JOHNSON: It was in slow motion for me.
TAMIKA CATCHINGS: It was so fast.