April 17, 2007 Pomezia, Italy
head coach Anne Donovan, Seattle Storm
You have been setting some goals
in these blow-out games. What were they tonight and did you achieve them?
We didn't quite achieve our goals tonight. We wanted to get under 15 turnovers
and obviously we didn't take care of that. Then defensively, our goal
was to hold them to 40 points and we missed that one by one point. But
I thought that overall we had pretty good focus against this team.
This being the fourth game, how important
was it for some of these players to end the games on a strong note?
It was really good to see the focus from all of our veterans and it carried
down to the younger players. Courtney did a great job off the bench tonight.
But they don't have those kinds of performances if Taj and Katie and Catchings
aren't taking care of business.
You've got two more practices and then breaking
for the WNBA season. What carries over to September?
I think there will be carry over, especially with the chemistry.
This team has been tight knit, we've been small and they've gotten a lot
of opportunities to get to know each other on the court and off the court.
Hopefully we'll also carry over our defensive work, learning how each
other plays, our style of play, our point guard knowing how and where
to get the ball for the players to be successful. I think that will go
a long way for us when we get back together in September.
You've missed the last two games
due to your bruised shoulder. What were your impressions of the team from
the perspective of being on the bench?
I think the team, you can tell we're gelling. The practices have all paid
off because everyone is coming together and feeling more comfortable with
each other. Defensively it's been great. We've beaten teams by 30 and
40 points because our defense has been tremendous.
How important is this training camp for
some of the younger players?
It's very, very important. Not just for the younger kids, but for
the older kids also because I truly believe that this is a transition
period. A lot of the vets, this might be their last Olympics. Bringing
the younger kids in at this time to learn from the vets is very imperative.
On the training camp overall:
I thought we played really well. I was really happy with our younger
guys and how well they worked together. You could see their growth from
the first game to now, having a lot of confidence in their play. That's
what you want to see. You want to see your team get better and I thought
we did that. I thought we accomplished a good amount in four games.
You and Katie Smith were off from basketball
this winter. How much do you think this training camp has helped you heading
into your WNBA training camp next week?
This is going to help me tremendously. It was about a month before
I came here that I was able to get back out onto the basketball court
and actually play, play pickup and stuff. This is kind of a pre-training
camp right now. I'll be ready to go back and run coach Laimbeer's 17s
and get ready with all that conditioning.
Looking ahead to the fall, how much of
this will carry over to September?
I think a good amount. I think you have to come into the first
session and set the tone. I think that we did that. We grew as players.
For me, the one thing I learned from the 2004 Olympics is that it doesn't
matter when you go back to the WNBA, whenever you come back to play for
USA Basketball and put that jersey on you have to understand what you're
representing. You have to understand how to play and be a professional.
I don't think you lose that. I think, if anything, you learn how to gain
that and keep it.
You had two weeks together, what
are you going to work on in your final two practices?
I think one of the things we want to work on is to continue to
learn how to play together as a team, continue to get comfortable with
one another. I know there are still quite a few players who were missing,
who will be out come September, but I think the group that's here will
have a base to build off of. I think that's the most important thing.
What kind of goals did you have for tonight's
game and did you achieve them?
Our ultimate goal was to keep them under 40 points and obviously
they had 41 so that's kind of a disappointing thing when you look at the
big picture. But coming into the game, in the fashion that we did, a little
later than normal (due to traffic), but still being able to come out and
focus as a team was quite a step. I think overall the coaches were pretty
pleased with each one of us coming out and playing great defense. Jessica
gave us some great minutes, Courtney played great tonight. Letting the
young players come in and being able to show they're focused is key.
Looking ahead to the fall, how much of
this will carry over to September?
I think the hardest thing is probably going to be the first day
because you know the plays, but you need to go through them again. Once
we get through the first practice and go through the plays over and over
again it comes back and it's like, okay I know this. I can cut here
and I can cut there.' That's why it's been so important over the past
few weeks for the coaches to ingrain this into our heads just what we're
going to do when we're playing with one another. When we get back together
in September we'll have that comfort with one another as well and that'll
make it easier.
On tonight's game and the importance
of having a good night to end the tour:
I think it's important to play well every night. But a lot of times
the last impression is what sticks with you until the next training session
and hopefully I left a good impression with the coaches and everybody
How much did these games and practices
help you prepare to start the WNBA season?
It's going to help a lot. This is the best environment to be in
heading into the WNBA training camp . You're playing with some of the
best players in the world. So going into New York I'll have a lot of confidence
and play to a higher level.
On finishing out strong:
I think the main thing, coach Donovan said it when she came into
the locker room. We're taking a big step in the right direction. Whether
we make the team in the fall or not, we're helping to make the best team
How much has this camp helped you, not
only with USA Basketball and the international game, but heading into
the league next week?
It's been a great confidence builder. I'm going to training camp
and I was a little nervous about that before I came here. But now that
I know that I can play and hang with some of the best in the world here,
I'm playing with the best of the best, I've gained a lot of confidence
and I'm going to be ready to go.
You have to leave in the morning
and will miss the final two practices. How important was it for you to
leave a strong impression with the coaching staff?
Leaving, you always want to leave with a good impression. I had
a talk with our coach and Miss Carol (Callan, assistant executive director
for women's programs) today and they told me some things. I talked with
them about some things, about being here, about being with this group
of kis is great. It's really helped me a lot in terms of focusing with
USA Basketball and what they're trying to do with this new group and the
new training season that we're going to have with the team together. I'm
leaving but playing tonight was a great end for me and I can't wait for
the next session to come out and work again, hopefully with the same group
of girls and add in the rest of the players.
On tonight's game:
Tonight's game was really a game about focus and about coming out
and establishing who we are and what we want to do no matter what the
competition is like. I think we accomplished that in the second half.
I think we came out in the first half awfully flat for a team that just
killed a team last night. You can't have that because there's plenty of
teams that want to beat the USA, that'll be better competition and if
you come out flat against them you'll find yourself in the hole. At halftime
we settled down, we got told off a little bit and we buckled down and
played extremely hard in the second half.
On tonight's game:
I felt good tonight. I think I got a lot better while I was here
and it just showed with how I progressed during the little time that I
How important was this training camp for
you as a group? I know it's only 10 of the 22 in all, but you're starting
to build chemistry for the future.
Definitely. Even though I know everyone's not here, but for me,
personally, and Lindsey, it's our first time being with the senior team.
I'm here to get that experience so next time we'll have something. We're
going to be better and because we're better we can challenge other people
that come and everybody gets better. That's what USA Basketball is about
- challenging each other and then taking your best group to try and win
a gold medal.
Your age group has the U21 World Championship
this summer. You've played the last three years on the U18, U19 and U20
USA National Teams, do you want to come back for more?
Oh yeah, anytime USA Basketball invites me I'm there.
How much will this experience help you
and the USA U21 National Team (provided of course you make the team)
I feel like that as you get older the competition gets better and
you can tell from year to year as we play. This is going to do a lot for
me and I think it's going to be a big advantage for me to play some of
the best players from other countries as opposed to the younger guys.
So I feel that I'm going to have a big advantage and I'll be able to help
my teammates more because of what I've learned here.