Additional Quotes >> USK Prague 83, USA 77
Oct. 8, 2011 • Prague, Czech Republic
USA head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut)
On today's game:
They have an excellent team and I think they played very consistently for the entire 40 minutes. They didn’t have ups and downs. We played really well at times and not so well at times. We were more up and down and they played steady the whole game. They’re a very, very good team and they played really, really well. It’s difficult for us. We only have seven players and it’s not always easy. I was really impressed with their team.
Why do you only have seven players?
Some were playing in the WNBA finals, some are injured. Diana and Sue could not make the trip because they were injured. Sylvia Fowles couldn’t make the trip because she was injured. Candace Parker is injured. So, there’s an awful lot of players who would have been here, but for whatever reason couldn’t. So we only have seven players.
Why did you choose to come and play USK Prague?
The relationship we have with your coach is very strong. We wanted to come over and practice a little bit. They were very good in wanting to play us and they have a very good team, so for all those reasons.
What do you think about Brittney Griner?
She’s just inexperienced right now. She’s young and she hasn’t really learned how to play international basketball, so it was very difficult for her at times. But, you watch her and you try to think ahead at where she’s going to be in a couple of years. She’s going to be really, really good.
How frustrating is it to watch the turnovers today?
It was almost kind of a replay of what happened in Valencia, where you get it to a two-point game. You come out of the second quarter in great shape and then we come out at halftime … it was’t just one thing. It was a series of turnovers. The kind that just lead to baskets at the other end. You get so frustrated as a coach, as a player, and you could see it take the life right out of your team and you don’t get a shot at the basket. Missing shots is all part of the game, you’re not going to make every shot. But you should at least have the expectation of getting a good shot every time down the floor. That third quarter, maybe in the first 10 possessions we had eight or 10 turnovers and they capitalized on every single one, it seems.
Do you think it was a lack of focus?
Sometimes it’s not so much the physical part of it, it was just bad decisions, when to pass it, where to pass it. There were a couple decisions, there was just a mental lapse here and there and next thing you know, you had a four-point lead and now you’re down six. To their credit, they took advantage of every single mistake. It wasn’t like we played a really bad team. They’re a really good team and every time we gave them the opportunity to do something, they did it.
Swin Cash (Seattle Storm)
What was it like to be back here where you played a few years ago?
It was really nice. It was great to be back here, to see the girls, the coaching staff and the organization. I had a really nice time playing here a few years ago.
On today’s game:
It was tough. Obviously you want to win every game that you play. But for us, we’re not making any excuses. We’ll go back, watch some film and hopefully get better by tomorrow’s game. Right now, this is all a training session for us. We’re preparing and looking toward 2012.
Why do you think the USA team chose to play at USK Prague?
USK has done an excellent job over the years of not only bringing in talented players, but a lot of the Czech players here have developed into some really good players. USK is now a force in the EuroLeague, so why not come play against some of the best competition here in Europe?
On the turnovers and miscommunication:
It was one of those things where today we were really just not on the same page. I think a lot of it was just timing. Sometimes we threw the ball to one spot, thinking that your teammate was going to be there and that just comes with having practice time and playing together. You can’t use that as an excuse, but obviously you look at it as one of the issues of a lot of the turnovers.
What’s the biggest difference between the first two games and your last two games?
When you have just seven or eight players, you’re going to get players who are playing a lot of minutes. Maybe some are playing out of position. You can look at that as maybe a little bit of our problem. But, I think for us, we really have to lock in and try to keep or sustain our energy level that we somehow get in the fourth quarter. We just have to play at a high level for 40 minutes and push the limits. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that tomorrow.
Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun)
Do you think the loss has to do with having only seven players?
Regardless, everybody has to play as a team. Everybody has to play together. There are no excuses as to why we lost. We have to play more together, collectively, and we have to execute better.
Why do you think the USA is playing USK?
It’s good competition. USA Basketball has respect for this league, for every team that’s in this country. It’s the competition, and they came out and played very good today.
On the turnovers by the USA:
It’s all about the execution. In the third quarter we turned over the ball a lot. We were trying to force it in, then cross-court passes and just trying to force things.
How important will it be for you to come out tomorrow night and finish this tour on a strong note?
It’s really important. You want to leave on a good note. All seven of us, we’re the ones who chose to come here and to go out with a win would be great.
Despite the two losses, is it good to be out here to get some time playing together?
Yes, it’s really important. Individually and collectively, just to try to get better and try to understand coach Auriemma’s system.
Brittney Griner (Baylor University)
What’s it like to be playing with and against professional players?
It’s fantastic. I’ve loved every second of it, playing with the pro players I look up to. When they were in college, I watched them when I was in high school. It’s like a dream come true.
This is also the first time for you playing European teams. What do you think about the differences between the college and international games?
It’s definitely different. There are different calls. It’s a different style of play, but I like it. It’s a different challenge for me. I like to be challenged in basketball, it makes it fun. I’m definitely enjoying playing over here. I can’t wait to come back and play some more.
How important will it be for the team to end on a high note tomorrow?
It’ll be real good to end with a win. These last two games, we let it slip out of our hands. So, to get a win to close it out would mean a lot.