Enough has been written about this series from the Phoenix perspective. Today at shootaround we got to hear what the Silver Stars are thinking.
Head coach Sandy Bordello knows that her team is up against it in this series.
"Everyone knows and is predicting Phoenix to win this, but we like the underdog tag. We have nothing to lose; all the pressure's on them. This is their home court," she said.
That's what almost every underdog says. What else are they going to say?
Her game plan for slowing the Phoenix attack starts with transition defense. Bordello listed her keys to getting that done: not turning the ball over and giving them easy baskets; making sure they (San Antonio) get a good shot each time down the floor; having the sense of urgency and focus to know that you can't rest and you have to sprint back every time; only sending two people to rebound and keeping three back; taking away the Phoenix pass-aheads; running with Dupree, who gets a lot of easy baskets just through her hard running.
That's easier said than done, but in the first game these teams played, Bordello was able to make a half-time adjustment that slowed the Mercury down and allowed her team to come from behind and win the game.
The key was being physical and aggressive and getting to the line. Sandy said that was a big for them in slowing the game down and they will certainly look to do it again. The more free throws on either side and the more times the play is stopped, the more it helps San Antonio.
The Silver Stars half-court defense starts with the understanding that Edwige Lawson-Wade on Diania Taurasi and Roneeka Hodges on Penny Taylor are tough matchups, not only in skill level and experience, but in size. She expects Phoenix to post up either of those wing players.
Brondello wants her team to be active off the ball and bring help and then aggressively close-out and recover. It's a game-plan that's going to require a lot of effort for the full forty minutes if San Antonio hopes to win.
In shootaround today, San Antonio did not look like a spirited, motivated or confident team. We will have to see if that's a quiet determination or focus on their faces or if they know how overwhelmed they really are and can't help but let it affect their mood.