Additional Quotes >> USA108, Senegal 52
Sept. 24, 2010 ē Ostrava, Czech Republic
Geno Auriemma, University of Connecticut
On todayís game:
We had just played Senegal when we were in Salamanca, so we knew a little bit about their team. We wanted to come out and make sure that we didnít give up a lot of 3-pointers early on and that we were able to get out in transition and score (inaudible). I thought we did a great job of that. We ran the floor well. We moved the ball well. We got a lot of people involved. I think we had five or six players score in double figures. I think their coach is right, we just have more good players than they do. When we sub our second team, it just puts a lot of pressure on the other team, and thatís what we wanted to do tonight.
Youíve played some games where the team was flat in the third quarter. Was that something you wanted to work on tonight?
Yeah, I think sometimes in the mentality of professional basketball players. They play so many games that you get a big lead and itís almost like Ďalright, we get a chance to relax.í You donít have a lot of games in this tournament. If youíre lucky you get to play nine. So, thereís no time to relax and just wait and celebrate that youíre up 15 or 16 points. So, yeah, we talked about it yesterday when we got home. The players responded great. We had a better second half than we did a first half, which is a good sign.
You started Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Sylvia Fowles, all of whom missed most of the training camp. Are you pleased with how your team is coming together so quickly, given the late additions?
Sylvia (Fowles) hasnít practiced with us regularly because of her surgery. Swin (Cash) and Sue (Bird) just got here the day before the first game, along with Angel McCoughtry. So itís been a little bit more difficult to get everybody involved, but theyíre great players. The reason why they were late is because they were winning a championship. I think if you can put players out on the floor who won championships, I think youíre going to be okay. Who the starting lineup is? I donít know how that comes about, but on this team it really doesnít matter. The leading scorers tonight were players who came off the bench, rather than the starters. So, it doesnít really matter.
You had nine of 12 players score eight or more points. Is that proof of the team concept?
One of the dangers, one of the problems, when you try to put together an all-star team like this, is that everyone thinks that itís going to be their opportunity to show the world how good they are. Every day in practice we talk about this being an opportunity for the U.S. Womenís National Team. Itís not an opportunity for you as an individual. Weíre trying to make sure the ball moves and that the person whoís open shoots it. When we get good ball movement, when the ball moves a lot, you get a lot of people scoring. Thatís what happened tonight.
On the teamís offense averaging 103.5 ppg. over the first two games:
Again, the players that the coach has with Senegal, itís difficult for them to match us because theyíre just not big enough or quick enough. So, sometimes the offense looks a little better than it really is. Tonight it looked really good at times, but weíre still not there yet. We donít know each other well. Hopefully, every game we get a little better. We still havenít gotten a big game out of Diana (Taurasi). So, Iím waiting for that. There are a lot of weapons on our team, and every night we just try to use as many as we can.
On the USAís 14 turnovers:
You have two players in the backcourt, Sue (Bird) and Diana (Taurasi) who play together in Europe and played together in college. Thereís a familiarity thatís there, that doesnít exist a lot of times on teams like this. Iíve got a couple other players that played together in college. They know each other, and they know a little bit about where itís going to go next. It hasnít been as difficult for me as it might be for another coach whoís dealing with 12 different players that they donít know. Iím fortunate that I have six different players on this team who I know, who know me, know what I expect, where the ballís supposed to go, where itís not. So, itís made it easy to control the turnovers.
Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars)
Do you feel like this team put together 40 minutes for the first time?
I think tonight was good. We still need to work on our third quarter a little bit, but I think with each game its growing, so thatís a good sign for us.
On the USAís chemistry:
Our chemistry is building. Itís kind of the same mindset every night, in the sense that each game that goes on, everyone is getting more comfortable, starting to trust each other a little more. So everything is definitely starting to work, and weíre getting more and more pieces of the puzzle.
Did you make the defensive improvements this team had talked about yesterday?
I think we were trying to come out and play USA Basketball the whole time and really just trying to improve and make ourselves better, and I think that we did that.
Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)
On the USAís depth:
Itís funny because we have so much talent on this team, and at any point any player can go off. But thatís where our advantage lies, where we donít have the training we have the depth. So, we can go 12 deep, and it could be anybody in double figures. It could be six people, seven people, and thatís really where our strength is.
Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury)
On tonightís game:
I think both teams came out and played pretty hard. We came out with a lot of energy and intensity, and we were able to keep it up for the entire 40 minutes. Overall, I thought we played pretty well.
Is it fun playing in a system like this?
It is. Everybody has an opportunity to score the ball. You have a lot of movement out there. As long as weíre able to get stops, weíre able to do what we need to do on the other end of the floor.
How has it been for you to join the team late?
It was pretty tough for me at first. To come here, I wasnít there at the beginning of training camp. So, I had to learn things pretty quickly. I struggled the first couple of exhibition games that we had.
Is it easier to play some of these teams after having played in Europe for a couple of seasons?
Some of these teams weíll play here, you tend to see these players (in the EuroLeague), so you kind of know what theyíre going to do out there on the floor. Thatís one of the biggest things, knowing the personnel a little better.
Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky)
How much fun was tonight for this team?
It was a lot of fun, knowing that we havenít been together that long as a team, and to just go out there and be able to pull together and get better game-by-game. Iím excited to see where we are going to be at tomorrow and in the next 10 days.
How do you feel you played tonight?
I came out a little antsy tonight because I knew I was going to get more than five minutes, and the first half I was too hurried. We got into the locker room, talking to my teammates, and it was like, Ďjust calm down, play your game, slow down and take a second,í and thatís exactly what I did in the second half and it worked out for me. It felt great.
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
On the USAís third quarter:
Itís something that we are going to have to concentrate on in this tournament, coming out of the half strong because those first minutes are important, so I think today we did a good job.