Additional Quotes >> USA 89, Australia 56
Sept. 10, 2010 ē Hartford, Conn.
Geno Auriemma, University of Connecticut
On tonight's game:
Itís like the first game of the season, and you donít really know what to expect. Weíve been practicing for five days; weíve had five practices. Thatís not really a long time in coaching time to do a lot. So, youíre never really quite sure what youíll get out of it. The one thing I really explained to the players was everything that weíve done in those five days, I want you to do as well as we can do it. The stuff that comes up that we havenít worked on, thatís fine.
Coming out of the game I felt like the five days that we spent working together, what you saw out there tonight was a result of that. They were really good in those areas. They played together; they played hard. We really did a great job on the defensive end.
(Tonight) was two teams playing without all of their players. We understand that. But the two teams that played tonight, I thought of the two, we executed and we did the things that we wanted to do, and Iím really, really happy for that.
Despite your lack of size inside, were you happy with the teamís rebounding?
Thatís just one of the things that we have to emphasize. If weíre not going to have the size that other teams have, then weíre going to have to be a little quicker than them and we have to be a little tougher than them. I thought tonight we were. I said to the kids in the locker room that I donít know if thatís an indication that weíre that good, or that theyíre not. I donít think thatís going to be the case.
USA head coach Geno Auriemma talks about the different match-ups he used against Australia.
Tonight there was a little bit of energy on the floor for our team. That energy wasnít just on the offensive end trying to get a shot. It was on the defensive end trying to get a shot. It was, every time we shot the ball, we wanted to get another possession. Thatís something that will carry us, whether we have our big guys or not. If you play like that, you have a chance to win against whoever youíre playing. With that kind of energy, going after the ball, pursuing the ball that strongly, thereís not much I can add to that. What Kara said, I donít know that thereís a lot of things that we have to get better at, no question about it. I donít want to just win because we have more talent. I donít want to just win because we have more depth. I want to win because we play better, we execute better, we work a little harder, that weíre a little bit smarter. We took a big step in that direction today.
On Australiaís Elizabeth Cambage and Jayne Appelís defense of her:
Sheís young ,and sheís a lot better than when I saw her the first time. If sheís made that much progress in two months, I can only imagine another three or four weeks before they get to the World Championship and then two years when we get to the Olympics, youíre talking about somebody thatís Ö sheís got a good touch around the basket. She makes free throws. She does a real good job of getting position. Sheís got good footwork and that teamís really well coached. I think sheís going to be somebody that weíre going to have a hard time with, regardless of when we play them.
Jayne was the answer tonight. A different answer. Asjha (Jones) knows how to play someone like that from being in Europe all these years and having to play some of those kids, Asjha knows how to play. She knows how to get you off of your spot and she knows how to not let you take advantage of your size against her.
Jayne just did a really good job of being there. Jayneís 6-5, she puts her hands up, sheís not 6-9, but it was Ö she had eight rebounds in 11 minutes. Jayne was exactly what we needed her to be. To be honest with you, thatís the best sheís looked in the five days weíve been together. Maybe she finally had someone big enough, weíve got to get some bigger practice players, I donít know. Weíre just not used to guarding anybody whoís 6-9. I was really impressed with Jayne. I thought she did a great, great job.
On Lauren Jackson in 2000 compared to Cambage at the same age now:
Everybody in the world seemed like they were waiting for Lauren Jackson, from the time that she was 13, thatís all you heard about: Lauren Jackson, Lauren Jackson. Sheís proved to be everything they said. There are not many 6-5 players who can do what she does. This is a whole different scenario here. This kidís come out of nowhere, really. They havenít been talking about her for five years. This is now the first time that the rest of the world is really getting a chance to see her. I can imagine that when we go over to the Czech Republic, thereís going to be a lot of eyes on her. I want to see how she and Lauren work together, I havenít seen that yet. But if the two of them can work together, thatís going to be a tough combination to play against. Sheís going to be a great player. Will she reach the level that Lauren has? I donít know. Maybe in a different way. Sheís an impossible match-up. I donít know if you can guard her. You might have to give her her 40 and then hope nobody shoots the ball. I donít know how you guard her.
Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars)
Youíve been injured and havenít played a lot this summer, when did you start feeling like yourself again?
This week (laughs). Itís been a whole process, coming back from all my injuries. Itís probably been since Ö coach asked us the other day in practice ĎWhenís the last time you had a really hard practice at this level of intensity?í The first thing that came into my head was February. Itís been a definite battle trying to come back, get into shape and have that confidence.
Did you think you would be physically prepared to make a run for a spot on this team?
It definitely was in the back of my head. I was trying to do extra workouts all summer long, knowing that this tryout was coming up. I knew when I came here that I was going to do what I can, even if I only got out there for two minutes and come out, Iím going to do my job for two minutes. I think that as we start adding more and more scorers and more players, itís going to be the players who are doing the little things, not necessarily scoring the points, who are going to fill in those last couple of spots.
Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever)
Did you feel like you were playing well together as a team?
I did. I thought that everybody came out real focused, real determined and I think the biggest thing for us was the opportunity to get out there and play. A lot of players are still trying to make the team and they were really stepping in. Geno talked yesterday about everybody contributing something, whether itís a good screen, a good shot, a good rebound, whatever it is. I thought everybody came out and did something positive.
Was this a good win for you?
I think itís a good gauge just to see where weíre at, especially after what happened at the All-Star weekend. That game in itself and not coming out with the win, going through that scrimmage and getting a feel for them. I think that as we keep forming our team and keep getting closer and closer, weíll use this game as a gauge to see who fits, who doesnít. We still have some players who may or not be coming, so it was really good for the coaching staff and USA Basketball to see everyone out there.
Did you play better than you expected, was everything clicking tonight?
I think it was definitely better. From not really having much practice, for me just getting in a couple days ago and having only one practice, Diana literally flying in tonight and coming out here and playing. The offense is something that sheís used to, but for those who have been here a week, they practiced and practiced and practiced, played against some guys, but this is the real thing. Having the experience of playing against a team that we know weíre going to face, I think itís a great game for us. Definitely. I donít know if they expected us to play as well as we did.
Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun)
On tonightís game:
As players, we watched the tape of our scrimmage against Australia earlier in the summer. It was embarrassing to watch on tape, the way that we played and the way they manhandled us. Most of us, if not all of us, were members of the team that played in that game, so there was a huge motivation for us to not to just, as weíre building toward the World Championship, but to send a message. Coach wanted us to send a message to Australia about the type of team that weíre going to be moving forward. I thought everybody contributed and did a great job of that.
How do you see the competition for the 12 spots this quad?
Honestly, I donít spend too much time thinking about that. There are many talented players that we have in our pool that are here, some who will be joining us later. Coach just wants us to focus on doing what we do well and trying to play as hard as we can. Itís not our job to worry about anything else. Itís always stiff. That speaks to how great our womenís program is. The fact that weíve won so many titles internationally, and the one thing on our minds right now is to try to get that World Championship title back that we lost in í06. I think weíre on the right track.
Kara Lawson disusses Tamika Catchings' game.
After the scrimmage at Mohegan Sun you went right back into your season and didnít have much time to think about that loss to Australia. Was it when you got back together that the memories of that scrimmage came back?
Yeah, coach has reminded us about every day about the way we played. Especially because Australia was our first game again, and talking about trying to establish this team and our dominance as a team. Thatís what we want to do, we want to try and dominate the game and dominate each segment that weíre out there. We have the depth and the talent, we have all the tools that we need, we have the staff, so itís just a matter of us going out there and executing what the coaches put on the board.
On Tamika Catchings:
You guys see it, when she comes in the game, her ability to impact first and foremost on the defensive end. I definitely think our teams look to her to make plays. Some of those blocks she had early on to kind of spur our fast break, she gets out in the passing lanes, she probably leads our team in deflections, all things that our coaches talk about defensively. Sheís just relentless. Sheís relentless in the way she plays. Iím fortunate to be able to call her my teammate for a few years, and you just canít help but love playing with a player like that.
Maya Moore (University of Connecticut)
On tonightís game:
I thought that coach brought up a great point in the locker room: the fact that we had I think about nine turnovers and we scored almost 90 points, so that was good. We were sharing the ball, getting good shots. It was a fun game to play, and it was a great start to this portion of our time together, just to show that weíre going to play hard the whole time. Weíre going to play together, and itís always fun when youíre surrounded players who feel that way, who are going to compete and go to war for you.
Maya Moore on being the youngest player on the USA team.
Have you ever been awed in your career, playing with athletes older than you? You seemed very calm and comfortable out there tonight.
I feel like Iíve had an opportunity to play with this group, with this USA pool a few times now. The more Iím with them, the more comfortable I get at this level. I think thatís a little bit of what youíre seeing. Iím still trying to get a feel for this level as well, certain things that I can get away with, certain things that I canít, and knowing how to find my strengths at this level. Growing up I always did play up a level, so maybe that helped. I feel like itís just that Iíve gotten the opportunity to play with this group, and theyíve helped me kind of adjust to this level.
Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx)
How did it feel to finally play a game?
It felt really good. I think thereís a lot of anticipation energy that you have coming in before your first game. Weíve been working towards this, and it felt really good to get out there and finally play a game, put some of those things weíve done in practice together on the court. It was a lot of fun.
How did you feel out there?
I felt good. I wanted to push the ball when I could, get the team organized when I needed to. I just wanted to go out there and make some plays, hit some shots if they were there for me. If not, find other people and make some plays, play defense, rebound the ball, pressure the ball. I felt like I tried to do all those things, and I felt good.