USA Women's National Team Quotes >> USA 100, ZVVZ UKA Prague 81
GENO AURIEMMA, USA Head Coach
What are your thoughts about the game, how your team played?
Like I told the players, we didn't know anything about each other going into the game; we didn't know anything about the other team going into the game; so it was a real learning experience for all of us. I thought we played pretty well offensively. Not having Candace (Parker) the last 30 minutes of the game and we still put up 100 points is pretty good. I thought defensively we looked like we didn't know exactly how to guard them and that's probably something that we have to take care of. For the first time out I thought we looked pretty good to be honest with you.
What did you think about Sue Bird's play at point guard?
I think she's a little disappointed that she didn't shoot the ball better. When the ball is in her hands, guys get layups, guys get open shots, she sees everything, she knows when to push the tempo, when to pull it back. She is who she is because she's talented and she's smart.
What about Angel McCoughtry play in today's game?
You know Angel is just a scoring machine. She has a knack for where the ball is; she goes on these spurts where when she starts making her shot she makes all of them. That one stretch kind of opened the game up for us in the second half where she got a couple of threes, and I think a layup. She's just one of those players that the ball finds her. Whether it's a shot, a rebound, a steal, it doesn't matter.
What happened when they cut the gap down in the second quarter to four points.
I thought once we got the lead to 14, and I think we got it to 14 twice, then we would come down and take a quick shot and miss and we started losing them when they were making their threes. That's kind of when it got away from us because one of the things we're trying to do here is give everyone an opportunity to play. So by that point in the game we had already played 10 or 11 players and we lost a little bit of our chemistry, a little bit of our cohesiveness because guys didn't really know each other. That's part of what s going to happen these three days. I don't know that we can prevent that because we're trying to play a lot of people so we're constantly mixing and matching but I thought we did a much better job in the second half.
Anything surprise you, or were you happy with anything?
I was happy that we were able to get a many shots inside the lane, I think that's where one of our strengths is going to be. I was disappointed we didn't get enough threes because I think we're a pretty good three-point shooting team. If we can keep scoring in the post the way we scored today I think that's a great sign because our guard play is going to be there, but to get those post players, who are pretty young, it's encouraging, it's a good sign.
What were your impressions about the team's first game?
I thought we did a good job. The first game you never really know what to expect, there's some jitters you have to get out, you've got to kind of get your feet, but we definitely have some things to improve on but for the most part we did a really good job, everybody played hard and did a good job.
How nice is it to have a lot of options in the post?
It's great. We're very deep at the post, we have so much talent and so many different players who can do different things, it just makes us extremely difficult to guard.
Coach mentioned not having a lot of threes in today's game, but don't you think a lot of that could be attributed to having the ball in the post so much?
Yeah, you always want to play inside-out and I know Coach Auriemma does like the 3-ball though; we just have to create more opportunities. We did have some open looks, myself included, that just didn't fall and hopefully we can do better next time.
How did you feel out there in your first game?
I felt pretty good individually and then as a team I think we did a good job. Just to get out there with those girls and to do what we did, in our first time playing together, I was a little excited but we still have a lot to work on.
In the USA's post players all together, there seems to be a lot of different combinations, a lot of different strengths.
That's a secret weapon for our team. We do have a lot of bigs and each of us does different things. To have a big out on the wing like Candace Parker and Candace Dupree, and Asja (Jones) and Swin (Cash), you can switch them up and I love that we have combinations and teams have to be prepared for whatever we give them.
Did it take an adjustment to get back in the swing of international basketball?
I kind of went with the flow. I would say that in the first five minutes it was kind of different, they kept calling the traveling calls so I had to think about â€˜I'm back overseas so you have to watch your feet a little bit and watch what you do.'
It seemed like you were getting the ball in great inside position.
I felt like I was getting the ball where I wanted but I felt like I was missing too many chippies and that comes with just being patient and taking your time and reading the defense. But it's like I said, this was our first game and I'll be better prepared for the next one.
Did it feel good to get the first one out of the way?
Yeah, I was really nervous at first and I'm sure the team was a little nervous too. But it was just those first game jitters, we got them out of the way, once we started getting sweaty everything started to come along.
Was there anything that was surprising to you in today's game?
No, I mean the game's always the game. You've got to play the game to the best of your abilities and not be so tense. Just relax, you're playing in a new environment, new refs, new system, so just play your game and relax, it's all fun.
You had a couple of real good offensive spurts, do you just let that come to you?
You never want to worry about stats, you just want to play the game. At the end of the game if you know you played your hardest that's all that matters; but at the same time you just let it come to you. It comes naturally, you just play.
The USA seem to really dominate inside in today's game.
We have the best post players in the world and I don't think anybody can guard them
Does that help you?
Well of course, it helps the guard, that's why we get so many shots, because they're sucking into the post because they're so good. It just helps us. That's what people don't see, they see us making the shots but they don't see how we make the shots.
What things do you think need to be cleaned up?
Just turnovers, we were a little sloppy with the ball early but that was because we're learning about each other and so that's common. And I think defensively too we need to get better.
Talk about the injury to your shoulder.
I just went up for a rebound and came down and it kind of popped out. Right now it's feeling good, but we'll go back (to the hotel) and do treatment and reevaluate from there. It's happened numerous times before.
You got off to a great start. The U.S. seems to have so many different options inside.
I was really proud of Tina Charles, I thought she did a great job tonight battling. Sylvia was big as always, she's always big for us. Asjha Jones came in and did well as well as Candice Dupree, Crystal Langhorne, so te list goes on. We're very strong at the four position and we're able to run up and down the floor with anybody. We're big, we're talented, we're athletic, we're long and I think we did a great job tonight. Coach mentioned we need to rebound a lot better, but it was our first game so we'll improve there.
How much does it help to have a veteran like Sue Bird getting the ball to the post players in the right spots?
It does, it helps a lot to have her a point guard as a leader. I think she really understands the game and really has an effect on the court, she's like a coach on the court, she understands where the ball needs to go.