Additional Quotes >> USA 93, Senegal 51
Sept. 18, 2010 • Salamanca, Spain
Geno Auriemma, University of Connecticut
On todayís game:
I thought that defensively we were much better than we were last night. Obviously the level of competition was much different. We are much more talented than Senegal. I donít want us to be dependent on that. Hopefully what we brought to the defensive end today is going to be more indicative of how weíre going to play. Itís evident that unless weíre committed, especially on the defensive end, itís going to be very difficult to reach our goal of winning the World Championship.
On the different lineups he was putting in against Senegal:
We had to do that. I thought there is still a process that we have to go through to try to identify who the team is. I think that going in today, some things were made a little bit clearer, but not enough to know who the 12 are. When you factor in that thereís three players missing who are still on their way, weíre closer. Weíre not all the way there, but weíre closer. Todayís Saturday and we play on Thursday. So, by Tuesday night weíll have to make that decision. Tonight went a little ways towards that. The committee and everyone else are going to have some tough decisions to make, but itís time now. Itís time to make them.
Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx)
What was the biggest difference between your game last night and tonight?
I guess the disappointment from last night motivated us today. We just had the energy coming out on the defensive side, being aggressive and trying to dictate the pace early on instead of not being aggressive and letting other people dictate it.
On the importance of coming off the bench with a lot of energy:
Thatís the most important thing. When you have vets like Diana (Taurasi) and (Tamika) Catchings and all those players who come out with a spark, you have to keep it going. There canít be a lapse when the bench players come in. You want to try to keep it going until they get back in and wear out the opposing team for when (the starters) get back into the game.
What do you feel you still need to work on before the World Championship starts on Thursday?
We just have to be patient. Thereís a lot of things on the offensive end where it feels like weíre just rushing through everything. Itís not in sequence, itís not in motion on that side of things. On the defensive side, just continue to have each otherís back. Be in the right position at the right time, take care of the ball, guard the ball, keep people out of the paint and rebound.
On playing with the different lineups over the past two games, including playing small with four to five guards on the floor at once:
Itís different, but it feels good because weíre able to get up and down the court. On the defensive side of things, weíre at a disadvantage with height or whatever, but speed and quickness have always been our thing since day one. We have post players who can get up and down the court, so itís not really that much of a difference.
Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun)
On the difference in the way the USA played against Australia last night and the energy brought against Senegal tonight:
Our energy level tonight, particularly on the defensive end, we made more of a commitment to limit them to only one shot. Australia really killed us on the offensive glass last night. That translated into some 3-pointers and also them getting to the free throw line. That was a major difference in the six-point game. We just wanted to get back to defensive fundamentals and really try and work on getting our offensive flowing.
After you opened up the lead, were there things you were working on as a team or was it just a matter of trying to play with the different lineups?
Youíre playing with different people constantly. Obviously thatís the nature of what weíre doing right now. We know itís getting closer to the end and you want to put your best foot forward as a player. I thought we did well handling the different lineups that coach put in there. We seemed to have consistent energy throughout, which is a big thing that he really preached before the game.
Your ball movement was better tonight:
Theyíre certainly not Australiaís caliber. Australiaís one of the top teams in the world. Our spacing was better. Our energy was better. I thought that we took our time, Australia was being really physical with us, really distorting our cuts, so we didnít space last night. We kind of got all jumbled together and were just running around in circles. Tonight we were spaced more. Our cuts were more purposeful and we kind of read stuff better.
Maya Moore (University of Connecticut)
How was it for you playing tonight against Senegal?
It was great. I knew when I stepped out there on the court that I was going to bring a lot of energy, just by virtue of not getting to play yesterday. Knowing that thatís what our team needs, energy. Thatís what really hurt us yesterday. I know one of my jobs is to bring that energy.
Was it frustrating not being able to contribute last night?
Definitely. You never want to sit on the bench and see your team struggle. Hopefully that wonít happen again. That was something that was out of my control. Iím not going to dwell on it. Iím going to use it as motivation the next time Iím out on the court.
They play hard. Theyíve got some talent on the team. They never stop fighting. I respect them for that.
What do you still need to work on, where would you rate the team right now?
I think we have pretty good team chemistry, itís just a matter of tightening up of the little things. Just continuing to come with that focus and continue to figure out individually where each person fits into coachís system. Once we understand that individually, we can come together and work a lot better together. We did a lot of good things tonight. I think tonight was good with all the back cuts that we had, sharing the ball pretty well. Thatís something we donít worry about, selfishness, because people here really want to share the ball. Weíre moving forward.
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
On the USA teamís energy against Senegal:
We went back and looked at film and we didnít do the things that we needed to do to win. It was definitely a reminder. Today we just wanted to focus on getting back to the things that win basketball games. I think we did a pretty good job of that.
How difficult is it to not play down a level when youíre the better team?
We did a good job focusing on ourselves. After yesterdayís performance I think everyone was really down. We wanted to get back on the court and do well and thatís what we did.
On the different lineups over the last two games:
Some of the lineups we had in there, youíll never see on the basketball court ever again. Coach was giving people a good look out there and we got the best out of it.
The FIBA World Championship starts on Thursday, what do you still need to work on before that opening game?
Itís always going to be a work in progress, but as long as every single day we feel weíve worked on something, and got better at it, hopefully by the end weíve given ourselves an opportunity to win a gold medal. Thatís all we can hope for.
Did anyone standout tonight?
I think Lindsay played a really good game. Whalen came into the game, started the game and set the pace early. We had been looking for someone to do that and I think she did a really great job.