As we continue to promote the WNBA, we want to try and provide as much coverage as possible. On top of the game recaps, we’re going to make a stronger effort to provide even more player interviews from the game. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the players after the game, including a quick exclusive interview with Jewell Loyd. Check out our player interviews from Wednesday’s win against San Antonio.
Breanna Stewart:When asked about the 12-7 second quarter and what went wrong scoring only the seven points:
"I mean 12-7 isn’t much of a difference in score. But they went on a run. Teams are going to go on a run and it’s just how we react to that ... We weren’t really playing the way we wanted to. That’s why we came out (strong) in the second half."
What was the key to big 16-0 run in the 4th quarter?:
"Really just pushing the ball. Playing with our tempo and that kind of thing. We really locked-up defensively and didn’t let them get what they wanted."
Was their any extra added pressure with Coach Geno Auriemma in the crowd and did you chat with him before the game?
"No I didn’t speak to him before the game. But no, I don’t think there was any added pressure. I’ve played in practices in front of him multiple times, but it’s cool to have him come to the game and I’ll see him later tonight."
What’s your mindset and are you doing anything to prepare to join the Olympic team?
"Definitely. I’m packing. I have to be ready by tomorrow. I’ll be playing in Minnesota and then it’s time for USA Basketball. Obviously I’m excited!"
When you’re not knocking down the 3-pointer early in the game, is there more incentive to attack the basket and draw fouls?
"You want to get a variety of shots. The ball wasn’t going in, but the shot felt good, it just wasn’t going in. Being aggressive and just trying to get things in a different place."
Jewell Loyd:Against Washington you had an incredible game scoring and today (Wednesday against San Antonio) as well. But you struggled against Chicago. What do you have to do in order to become that elite scorer that you can be?
"I really wouldn’t consider Chicago a struggle. I mean those are shots I make all the time. And I had 10 assists, which I’m actually more proud of than me scoring. It works out both ways. As a young player, you always want to focus on consistency. For me, it’s being able to get to my spots. With these three games, Washington, Chicago and here (San Antonio) I got to my spots; the better games I’m just making it."
On the games where the shot is struggling, does anything feel different? Or does it feel good and the shot just doesn’t go in on those games?
"It’s more fundamental than anything. I know the past couple games I’ve really been working on my fundamentals; just getting my form, my shooting back in rhythm. Sometimes it’s legs. I don’t think it’s anything drastic. Just have to get more repetition."
Could you tell the difference in the atmosphere today, with all the kids in the stands? Could you sense that on the court as well?
"Yeah definitely! Anytime we’d score it’d go super loud. We’re trying to get calls from the bench, with their talking, we had to amp it up a little bit. But it was good energy. We definitely needed it with the early game. We had to find the energy and they gave us that."
What are your plans for the Olympic break?
"I’ll be practicing with the USA team. And then just trying to relax and have fun."
Sue Bird:On the struggle of the 2nd quarter:
"Even though their record might not indicate, they’re a team of good players and they made a run at us in the 2nd quarter. Overall the first half was a little back and forth, in terms of our play .... Usually our practices are around noon, actually Noey (Noelle Quinn) was joking but it played out. Usually we start practice at 12(pm). And by the time we really get going it’s 1(pm). So by the time the second half started she was like ‘Alright guys, we should be used to this now. It’s our practice time.’ So it worked out."
Was there an emphasis in the locker room at half time to come out strong in the second half?
"Yeah, I think this was a game where, we weren’t playing bad. We weren’t playing good. It was just kind of one of those games. And in the second half, we talked about coming out and playing a good full twenty minutes, so it was good to see that. A lot of it started with our ability to rebound the ball. We’ve been able to get people to miss shots, we just haven’t always been able to finish it. So with that, that leads into our transition. That’s what you saw on display at the end."
On getting the 24 second shot clock violations on defense in this game and struggling on defense at times this season:
"You know it’s not really the defense, and I get that these two things are connected, as much as the offensive rebounding. The defense is what it is. I mean, sometimes you have a player like Elena Delle Donne come in, a great player, hit shots. We generally make teams take tough shots, but we just don’t always finish the play. That’s where our problem lies (rebounding)."
This team (San Antonio) is at the bottom of the standings, how important is it to beat a team like that, when you’re trying to make the playoffs this year?
"Oh very important! Every game is important, to be honest. A win is a win. But for a team like San Antonio, who’s had some ups and downs, who lost their best player to injury. You want to make sure you take care of business."
Can you give me some thoughts on Moriah Jefferson as a player and her potential for the future in this league?
"Yeah, clearly she’s having a great year. Her quickness is really the story. You know, she can obviously shoot the ball. She can obviously pass the ball. But her quickness allows her to get into spots to shoot the ball, to pass the ball. That’s really going to be huge for her throughout her entire career. It’s great to see her get off to a good start. She’s kind of been given the reigns in San Antonio, which I think as a rookie is important. It allows you to play through mistakes; to see what works and what doesn’t. Build your confidence up. So it’s really great for her to get off to the start she’s gotten off to."
San Antonio’s Moriah Jefferson:On the game overall:
"I think we fought well in the beginning and then there was that spurt where (Seattle) went on a run. Our half-court defense is really good, but they just killed us in transition. When that happens, they get easy buckets and you’re not going to be able to beat the other teams."
On having to take over the scoring load with Kayla McBride out with an injury:
"It’s tough. Any time you lose a player like Kayla it’s really hard on the team. She was our top scorer so when she leaves, it’s not just me, everybody has to step up. You see a lot of guys taking shots more than they normally would and adjusting to that. You have to take what you got. We don’t have her for the rest of the season so we need to figure it out and keep going from there."
On playing against former teammate Breanna Stewart with Coach Geno Auriemma watching courtside:
"I didn’t even know he was here until I heard them announce it. When I’m on the court, it’s basketball. I’m not thinking about the left or the right. After, it was kind of weird seeing him over there and not coaching me. I enjoy it, it’s fun and it’s a new chapter of our lives and we have to keep pushing to get better every day."
On the team’s focus going into the Olympic break:
"Building chemistry. We’re a really young team. Everybody here has only been here one or two years and then we have a few veterans. It’s tough just jumping right into it, especially for me coming out of college. I think it’s a good time for us to gain momentum, to learn about ourselves and get better."
This concludes the interviews from the Storm’s 83-69 victory over the San Antonio Stars. Make sure to keep following SonicsRising.com and Storm Chasers all season long for additional Storm coverage.