Additional Quotes >> USA 99, Greece 73
Sept. 23, 2010 • Ostrava, Czech Republic
Geno Auriemma, University of Connecticut
On tonight's game:
What coach (Kostas) Missas said is absolutely true. The way the people think in America is because we're in the USA and we play basketball, we should go out and be up by 20 points at the end of the first quarter and then 40 points at halftime and then win by 100. I don't think they realize that there are teams out there like Greece that are very smart, very smart on offense. They had two players tonight that we couldn't stop, and they kept going to those two players. Those two players kept getting open, and those two players kept scoring. It was a difficult assignment for us. Yeah, we played really well on the offensive end. We have more talented players than Greece and we have more of them. Because of that, after awhile we started to wear down the Greece players. As (Missas) said, we did a really good job of rebounding the ball.
For our first game we're very, very happy with the way we played and not happy with some things, but very happy with the (outcome). The first game's always the most difficult of games because you're not sure what your team is going to do. I thought we played a really good team, we played really well for long stretches and I'm excited about tomorrow.
Are you happy about your depth,
with Diana Taurasi not playing well you were able to go to other players?
I know every team that has players that they depend on. You have to go to the players you can depend on and are going to be able to deliver when you need them. We're very fortunate that we have a few of those players. Tonight was a pretty good example of that. Diana's one of the best players in the world, but tonight wasn't meant to be for her. The fact that we have players coming off the bench, when you can play Angel McCoughtry off the bench, that's pretty good. You've got a great offensive player (coming off the bench).
Sometimes in these tournament games, I've noticed that you can't just rely on your defense. You have to outscore people. You've got to keep scoring points every time down the floor, because it's difficult to stop the other team sometimes. I think we can do that. Tonight was a good example of that, we've got not just Diana and some of the players people know. We've got a lot of players where this is their first time in a World Championship, who maybe people don't recognize, but who are very good players.
On Sylvia Fowles being back on the
This is Sylvia's first game since she had the surgery on her knee, and I thought she looked very good for the short period of time that we played her. Sylvia changes the game. She's so big. She's so strong, and I hope to be able to play her a little bit more every game as we go forward.
On Maya Moore playing in her first
Maya looked like a college player tonight playing against experienced professionals. She got lost a little bit a couple of times on the floor. She'll adjust to that. She's a smart player. Defensively and those sort of things, when you're young and you play against two experienced players like Greece has, they're going to take advantage of you. And they did, but she'll be better tomorrow night.
You've coached a lot of games in
your career. What was it like coaching in your first World Championship game?
This is difficult, coaching in the World Championship because first, you're not coaching the University of Connecticut where only the people in Connecticut care. Now you're coaching the United States, where everybody in America cares. So, it's much different, much more difficult. I was probably more nervous before this game than I was before the national championship game last year.
I have to get use to some of the rules, some of the things that the officials call, some of the things they don't call. You just got to get use to how the games are called, some of the little nuances. But I have Carol Callan sitting next to me, so I always check with her before I say something so I don't look stupid (laughs).
On Angel McCoughtry:
Angel played in our league in America and she was one of the best offensive and defensive players in America. This is her first time with USA Basketball and she's one of the rising stars in America. She's going to be part of USA Basketball for many years to come. She's incredibly quick and has great anticipation on defense. She has a lot of energy, the way she plays. I love coaching her. I hated playing against her, but I love coaching her. She changes the game. As soon as she gets into the game, the game changes, and she's only going to get better after more experience. She's only played internationally overseas one year, and she's going to get really good soon.
On McCoughtry taking more shots
than anyone else on the team:
Angel knows how to do two things: steal the ball and shoot the ball. She tries to steal it so she can shoot it more. She's just an offensive player in her head, all the time. I don't care how many shots she takes, as long as they're good shots she can take as many as she wants.
(Bonus Quote) Evanthia Maltsi (Greece)
On tonight's game:
First of all I want to congratulate my former teammate Swin Cash. She had a great game. Unfortunately she had to guard me, which made me have to work extra.
What can you say when you play against the USA? I guess we just
did decent work against them. I think it was the best we could do. Only if we
were faster as athletes could we play better against them.
Sue Bird, Seattle Storm
On tonight's game:
I think we're still getting to know each other. At times there is a little bit of uncertainty. But our team is so talented, that we can overcome that and just make plays. So, I think as we go on, we are going to get better and better.
What is one of this team's strengths and one
of this team's weaknesses?
I think our biggest strength is going to be our depth. The fact the we can go 12 deep. Not a lot of teams can do that. And with nine games in 11 games, that is going to be huge. Come that seventh, eighth and ninth game, it really starts to wear on you. So, I think that will be our greatest strength. Obviously weakness, just compared to other teams, is going to be our lack of preparation time. Other teams had months, we've had weeks. So, that is where our weakness lies, but I wouldn't really call it that. I think we are still just working on our chemistry each game.
Swin Cash, Seattle Storm
On tonight's game:
I thought it was a good game for us, first game out. It was very competitive from our standpoint. When you have two scorers like (Evanthia) Maltsi and her teammate (Styliani Kaltsidou), they made us work defensively. We saw a lot of things against Greece today that will help us throughout the tournament. I was happy with my teammates' play today, and we'll move on from here.
You missed out on a spot on the U.S.
Olympic Team two years ago. What does it mean for you to be back here, playing
for your national team?
First, I'd like to say that it's an honor to represent my country and to be part of USA Basketball. I've always thought it was a tremendous honor. Obviously I was disappointed in 2008 not making the Olympic team. But, as an athlete you can do one of two things: you can quit or you can figure out a way to put yourself back in the mix. I just really took the last couple of years to get healthy and work on my game. I'm honored to have the opportunity to be back here with some of the best players in the world and compete for a World Championship.
You and Angel McCoughtry seemed
to be at another level tonight. Is it due to coming off the WNBA Finals and
being sharp from such a competitive series of games?
I think we were probably just as tired as everyone else out there (laughs). To be honest with you, that's just my style of play, to try to be aggressive. My strength is to go to the glass and try to make things happen defensively, and I just try to play within myself. Angel is one of those players who can just get hot. When she's getting steals, deflections, attacking the basket, she's really hard to stop. I had to defend her during the Finals, so I understand that. But, it wasn't just Angel and I. If you look at just the numbers or how people played today … I thought Candice Dupree came in and did an excellent job. Everyone on our team contributed and that's how you compete and have an opportunity to win a gold medal.
You've only been with the team for
a couple of days. What do you think about the chemistry on the U.S. squad?
I thought our effort was there. I was really happy with how everyone played, and came in the game and contributed. For us, we haven't had a lot of time together, so there were a lot of mistakes defensively that we can clean up. You're happy that those are mistakes that you can fix. Having the talent, having the effort is going to be something that's really going to help us throughout this World Championship run.
Tina Charles, Connecticut Sun
On tonight's game:
It was lot of fun out there getting a chance to gel together as a team. We have people that just got in, like Swin Cash, and she was killing it tonight. So, I think it was great chemistry for our first game. We have great players on the floor; nobody has to force anything.
Are there some areas this team still
needs to improve?
Yeah, definitely. Things like knowing how the refs are going to call the game. For me, that means not being over-aggressive in the post. And we can always get better defensively.
What were some positives from tonight's
I thought we rean the floor and executed plays, so that was great.
Is this a team that looks to score
I think this is an all-around team. We have different weapons that we can use, and I think that is the best thing about this team.
Candice Dupree, Phoenix Mercury
Does this team have an identity yet?
I don't know if we know yet, after one game. In practices, we've had so many people coming and going. I think as we get further along into the tournament, we'll find out. But based upon the way Greece played us today, you would think we were an inside team. They doubled teamed every time the ball went into the block.
On tonight's game:
I think we executed well at times. I think in the third quarter we came out a little too relaxed, but we picked it up. Coach told us he thought on a scale from one to 10, tonight's game was about a five, but you can see the potential. I think the more we play together the better we will be.
are some positives from tonight's game?
We had a lot of energy on the defensive end of the floor. We did a better job in the second half of contesting shots. Offensively, I thought we moved well. At times we got stagnant, but overall I thought we played really well.
Asjha Jones, Connecticut
On tonight's game:
I think offensively we played well from the beginning. We moved the ball, got everybody involved and got a lot of open looks. Defensively, we had a couple of breakdowns on the ball, but we cleared it up in the second half.
the USA's defense:
Teams are just too good now to try and outscore them. Every team has a great team or great players, so the more stops you can get, you don't have to rely on trading baskets.
the USA's offense:
It feels pretty good actually. We have three players who just got here, and they blended in really well. So, so far, so good.
Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream
What was your first world championship experience like?
Oh my gosh it was so much fun, playing with all these great players. It was a great experience, and the crowd was kind of behind us, so it was good to see the crowd cheering for us. It's fun to hear the different languages on the court. But it was just a good experience overall.
Did it help you in a sense to still
be in game mode after arriving from the WNBA Finals?
What makes it easy is the fact that you are playing with great players that know the game and have great IQs for the game. That makes it so easy for you. Coming over here, it's tough because you want to really gel as a team, but it seemed like we had a great solid day for our first game.
On the USA's depth:
That's what coach tells us. He said if you put all of the names in a hat, you could just pull out a name and that could be who starts the game.
Lindsay Whalen, Minnesota
On tonight's game:
I thought it just felt good to get out there and get that adrenaline and get a feel for the court. We got off to a good start and had a good win today, so that feels good for sure.
Today was a good start. We just got a couple of people in after the WNBA Finals. Sue, Swin and Angel just got here the other day. They were busy in the finals playing each other. We came together today, had a nice shoot around and come out here and play, and we played well. I think that that's encouraging, and to just have the emotions and the adrenaline of everything -- first game, first (time togehter as a team). So, it was good to get out here and get the win.