ADDITIONAL QUOTES >> USA 86, China 61
Anne Donovan, head coach
We knew we had to come in and play a good game. We've seen China quite a bit and have been following their progress. We recognize that this is a very good team that's done a lot of training and has improved dramatically since 2004. We knew we needed to come in focused to get this win.
What are your thoughts on the venue?
The venue is fantastic. I think it's so great to have a test event here in Beijing. We have the chance to come in, see the facility and get comfortable here. We've had a fantastic trip here and the facility is one of the highlights.
Which Chinese player impressed you most tonight?
I think (Xiaoli Chen) did a great job tonight. She did an outstanding job against our post players. She attacked both our starters and our subs continually throughout the game.
After beating a team by 25 points will it be difficult to keep everyone focused to come out with the same intensity in the gold medal game against China?
We have one loss, China has one loss and we're still looking to win this tournament, not just by winning our last game but with our record also. We recognize that China's a great team playing at home and that will go a long way.
Swin Cash, Seattle Storm
We were just really excited to come into this game today and have the opportunity to play a China team that we know has improved so much over the years. I felt that coming out in the first quarter our team really set the tempo. We were trying to be aggressive and establish our post players. I have to give a lot of credit to our posts, they played an excellent game tonight on the offensive end and also on the defensive end. At the end of the game the results showed that.
Your posts scored 62 points to beat China overall. Can you comment on that?
We have two of the best post players in the world in Lisa Leslie and a newcomer in Sylvia Fowles. Everyone will know her name real soon. It's amazing, they're both very gifted and talented. And then some of our younger post players came into the game and really established themselves. They worked really hard inside. We gave a lot of credit to the Chinese post players as well because they were being physical with us. But at the end of the day Sylvia and Lisa have an array of moves and they're very talented post players.
The USA lost to Australia by 14 points and China beat Australia by three, statistically both teams should have been very close. However, you defeated China by 25 points. How can you explain this?
That first game against Australia, the game was actually closer than the score showed. They scored some buckets in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter that made it a bigger margin. But we've put that loss behind us and tonight we came out with the mentality to play for 40 minutes from start to finish. It didn't matter if the starters were in or players came off the bench, everyone played their all. We focused on the defensive end. Sometimes your offense is going, sometimes it's not, but you can play defense for 40 minutes, it's about effort and I thought we gave it our all today.
Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky
The USA has possibly the strongest inside game of the tournament. What was China doing to try and combat that?
They tried to double- and triple-team us in the post. We utilized our quickness and the high-low with the post players or just kicked it back out. Most of the time they just tried to double- or triple-team us in the post.
You and the rest of the team defeated China by a point in the paint - 62 points in the paint to China's 61 points overall - what does that say about the strength of the USA's post play?
That you have to utilize it. Everybody has strength in their post, but our posts are something special. Just to have the opportunity to use that, to realize what we have, it says a lot.
Are you having fun out here?
Oh yeah, I think I'm having too much fun playing with these guys. I'm definitely enjoying it!
You have the gold medal game against China in two days. What do you expect to see from them?
Pretty much the same thing. They'll probably work on some things they didn't do so well. For the most part you can't relax. They're a team that won't go away even if they're down by 15. You have to maintain your focus and be ready for everything that they throw at you.
Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
On today's game:
China is a very challenging team for us so I thought it was important to come out strong and really send a message. But at the same time we need to recognize that it didn't really mean anything. We wanted to win, but that was not the gold medal game.
Our posts really established a great presence inside. Even though China is bigger than Korea was, we still needed to get it inside and our team did a really good job of that. Overall our team defense was really what stood out to me. We listened to the strategies that Anne (Donovan) and the coaches gave us, we played their plays very well and really executed defensively.
Do you realize that the USA scored more points in the paint (62) than the Chinese team did for the night (61)?
I think we have the strongest post play in the tournament and we're going to continue to get better and better the more comfortable we get playing with each other. It was a good challenge for us to get down low and challenge their posts. Even through the double teams we were able to make some nice baskets inside.
What kind of adjustments would you expect to see from China in two days?
I think they'll come out a little more physical. They'll take more long 3-point shots. They didn't shoot as many as we expected. They'll probably look at the plays that they were able to beat us on and probably try to execute those a little more. I think they're going to come out stronger and hit more shots. We can't get complacent and think about the big lead we had tonight. That game is over and it's going to take another 40 minutes for us and it's going to be a harder game.
Courtney Paris, University of Oklahoma
How was the team able to pull away in the second half?
Coach Donovan said in the locker room that the defense wasn't where it needed to be today. And Sylvia (Fowles) and Lisa (Leslie) are two of the best post players in the world, they just went to work today and it showed. That's the reason we did so well.
Will it be difficult to come back and play the same team in the gold medal game after defeating them by 25 points tonight?
It's always a hard thing to do, play the same team back-to-back, but the fact that it's a gold medal game makes it a non-factor. You want to go out and win it.
As the youngest member of the team and the only one still in college, how much are you learning from some of the veterans and will this help elevate your game next season?
The veterans, and even Syl, she's been saying stuff to me since we got to Chicago, I'm definitely learning a lot. I'm seeing some amazing players play so it's been a good experience for me.
Katie Smith, Detroit Shock
On today's game:
The first half was pretty tight, we were getting a feel for them more than anything. We haven't played them in a little while. I am real happy about our third quarter. We came out and put some distance between us and them, we locked them down better on defense and almost got our goal of 60 (points). We got good contributions from a lot of different people, everyone was moving on the defensive end.
China does a lot of cutting and moving, catch and shoot, how do you combat that style of play?
They use to play a lot more like the Asian basketball style, penetrate and kick, a lot of reads, and that's sometimes harder than when you're running sets. But now they run a lot of sets like we run in the States and the stuff that we're use to seeing. They are versatile, able to beat you off the dribble, drawing help and kicking to the bigs, their bigs knocking down shots. That's key for them and for us it's limiting their opportunities. They got a couple of offensive boards there in the first half. They play well and when you make a mistake they make you play. But I thought we handled it well, our defense was pretty sharp but offensively I think we can do a little bit better.
Will it be hard to bring the same kind of focus and intensity to the next game after defeating this team by 25 points?
It's the gold medal game. We've put ourselves right where we wanted to be. We lost the first game to Australia but we can improve on what we did tonight. Obviously we're satisfied we won and did a decent job, but there are some things we can clean up and hopefully finish off this tournament on a high of playing our best basketball.