Additional Quotes >> USA 77, Famila Schio 48
Geno Auriemma, USA head coach (Connecticut)††††
On tonightís game:
All-in-all, I didnít know what to expect in this game after just being with these guys for two days, but Iím really thrilled with the way we played. We just beat a really, really, really good team. Probably the best team here in Italy. Iím really pleased. I really am.
I thought there were stretches where we worked really, really hard and we made a lot of hustle plays. Swin (Cash), especially, kept a lot of things moving for us and everybody took turns contributing. You look at the box score, itís pretty even. We didnít really rely on any one person.
When Brittney (Griner) got in the game, that changed things a lot on both ends of the floor. I thought Danielle (Robinson) had a stretch there where she changed the game.
What was your game plan?
Thereís not a lot of thought involved, you know like whoís going to play where. You donít have many to choose from. So, basically you got one guard and one post player on the bench and you just try to keep an eye on everybody. I wanted to get Brittney, bring her into the game slowly. This is her first opportunity to play USA Basketball, and same with Danielle. The two of them kind of worked their way in. Obviously you lean on some of the older guys who have been here, Swin and Tina and Cappie. When we get Asjha back in the next couple of days, I think that will really add to what weíre doing. But, we only have one defense and you can only hope that we play it half decent, and we did. I donít know that we had a game plan. Usually the game plan for USA Basketball is to make sure we win. So we did that.
This was Brittney Grinerís first game playing under the international rules. She looked like she adjusted pretty well.
I think that Brittney and Sophia Young, as their first time playing USA Basketball, were a little bit nervous going in, didnít know what to expect. But, once you start playing, basketball is basketball and I think their instincts took over. Even when Brittney doesnít know what sheís doing out there, she impacts the game because everyoneís looking to see where she is. Once she starts to figure out why sheís doing what sheís doing. Sheís just gonna be Ö I heard one of the other guys from the Italian contingent tell me that she could dominate womenís basketball for the next 10 years. Personally, I hope that starts two years from now (laughs).
Not next year?
Well, here and there. I want her to dominate international basketball, I donít want her to dominate college basketball yet. (laughs)
Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun)
What were your goals for tonightís game:
Just to do the little things that we know how to do. Coming from different teams and everything, different backgrounds, just calm and collectively playing USA Basketball. Knowing that USA Basketballís not just about yourself, itís about playing like a team. Coach Auriemma is really good at prepping us for that.
On tonightís rotation:
Coach was just putting people in and out. He already told us that we were going to be in situations weíre not comfortable with, but we definitely worked and it definitely helped us.
What can you get out of these five games?
More reps. Definitely getting more confidence, because youíre going to get more reps out there. And just competing and playing collectively with players youíre not used to playing with.
This was the first game in a USA Basketball uniform for Brittney Griner and Sophia Young. What did you think of their play tonight?
Really impressive. Especially Brittney Griner, the way she went out and competed, the way sheís coachable, especially being the youngest one on this team. Sophia Young was really happy she was able to get her citizenship and have a USA jersey on. It was really good to see her play.
Brittney Griner (Baylor University)
You just finished your first international game ever. How did it feel out on the court tonight?
It felt good. The play was a little different. I didnít get a travel called on me, but I noticed our team got it called a couple of times. I was asking questions the whole time on the bench. It was a little bit more physical, but it was definitely fun, definitely fun.† I had a great time.
You seemed to adjust to the international rules pretty well, especially in the second half:
Yeah, in the second half I kind of got a better feel for it. I was just trying to post strong, listen to the coaches and do the little things and try to be involved in every play.
You went in with around five minutes to play in the first quarter and scored 10 points during that span. Were you getting good looks or do you think it was more because the other team didnít know how to guard you?
No, I donít think they really were expecting me (laughs). But, my team did a great job Ö we just did a great job working with each other, feeding each other and they found me when I worked and got open.
What was it like playing with Sophia Young?
It was great. I didnít get to play with her at Baylor, but I had fun playing with her. She was always talking to me on the court, letting me know where she was, where my man was and helping me out on the plays.
What was the teamís game plan tonight?
We had two days of practice, so we came out and wanted to play hard, play good defense, play smart like coach said and have fun.
What are you doing off the court here?
Keeping my head in the books a little bit. Me and Tina (Charles) have been on our computers in my room the whole time. Thatís about it.
Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty)
On tonightís game plan:
We play hard. We were able to watch some film at halftime and kind of see ourselves and the mistakes we were making. We learned from that and came out with a lot more energy in the second half.
How difficult is it to play with just two subs?
Itís taxing, knowing that we just finished a whole season of WNBA, but itís about USA Basketball at the end of the day. Thereís a lot of pride in wearing that jersey and representing the country that we live in. You try to give everything that youíve got, no matter if youíve got one sub, two subs, three subs, whatever.
On the teamís overall effort:
I thought we played really well in certain periods. I thought we gave a lot of energy, especially with one person in particular and that was Swin (Cash). She came out and led us with her energy. We all fed off of it. Hopefully as the games continue go along, weíll all get better and bring that kind of energy that coach needs.
On Brittney Grinerís first international game:
Sheís not bad. Sheís going to be unbelievable. With her talent, skill level, size and ability, sheís going to continue to grow and Iím sure this experience will help her.
Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars)
You were just sworn in as a U.S. citizen earlier this month and now youíre playing for USA Basketball for the first time. What was it like playing for the first time in a USA Basketball jersey?
I put on my jersey today for the first time right before the game and I was beyond words. I was speechless and I was like, ĎI pretty much canít believe that Iím here.í I just was thinking God for the opportunity, regardless of what comes out of it, the opportunity is amazing. To be here, representing the USA is an honor. I feel blessed. I feel privileged that they would even give me an opportunity to come three weeks after getting my citizenship. It says a lot about USA Basketball and Iím honored that Iím here.
Did you play with a little more sense of pride with that U-S-A across your uniform?
I did. But I think I was a little nervous at the beginning, because of not really knowing what to expect. This is my first time and youíve got players here who have been in camps numerous times. I was playing really tense at the start because I was trying to play so hard that I would tense up. I think as the game got going and Coach Geno spoke to me a couple of times, I kind of just relaxed.
On tonightís game:
I donít know. Coach was just stressing about playing hard, playing smart. So, whenever weíd go out there, after all, weíre all trying to make the USA team, so we donít have much room to mess up. We have to get out there and go hard to try to show our talent and to do whatever we can for the team and to make the team. So, whoever weíre playing, weíre going to go hard. I think that was our mentality: to go as hard as possible.
What was it like playing with Brittney Griner, who also was playing in her first USA Basketball game?
I really like her. I think sheís very teachable. She has a lot of development to do, of course sheís just a junior in college, but I enjoy playing with her. Sheís a big presence on the inside. Iím really hoping she can come to my WNBA team whenever she gets out of college (laughs). But I totally enjoy playing with her. Itís going to be fun. Today was a fun game, it was fun playing with everyone. Cappie (Pondexter), Tina Charles, Renee (Montgomery), I think it all worked out really great.
What have you been doing off the court?
Weíre just hanging out. Weíre staying in a very gorgeous city. The view from the hotel where we are is just amazing. Just coming outside, chilling, relaxing, reading a book and hanging out. Weíre getting to know each other. We try to talk with each other, hang out and get to know each other on a personal level. I think thatís important because sometimes playing in the league, we just compete against each other and we donít really know each other personally. So, this camp with eight people has become very personable.