Additional Quotes >> USA 90, Angola 38
Additional Quotes >> USA 90, Angola 38
London, England • July 30, 2012
Geno Auriemma (head coach, USA and University of Connecticut)
Thoughts on the game:
I agree with what our opponents have said because it’s obvious that there is a level of talent that’s … the gap is really, really wide. And it’s important that in a game where you know that there is that disparity that you just do the things you need to do to be a better team; to work hard; to make sure we get the kind of ball movement we want; make sure we get the shots we want. The fact that we had 25 assists on 36 baskets, that’s an incredible number. I think that’s the kind of team we have. I wanted us to get better from Saturday’s game, and I thought we did.
On Candace Parker’s performance:
I thought it was a tremendous performance by Candace. We saw a little bit of everything that she’s capable of doing. There are things that Candace can do that no other player can do. Tonight was a perfect example of that. And it started right from the beginning of the game.
The one thing that we’ve been really, really, really harping on Candace is to really sprint the floor and get herself in situations to score before the defense gets set, and to be a factor in every possession and I thought tonight she was .
On whether the team is gelling:
Yeah. It’s been a little bit challenging. We played one game and one scrimmage in Seattle, and then we played one game in Washington D.C.; we played one in Manchester and we played two in Istanbul. And that’s the extent of this team’s preparation. You watch China play, and see how well they are playing. They played 30 games before they even finished these games. We would love to have had that preparation but it just doesn’t allow for it. So, every practice the day before a game, every shoot around the day of the game, every game, we have to use it as another training session to get better and better. Where other countries have been able to do it other ways we have to be able to do it while we are here. Fortunately, we’ve got the kind of players who are able to adapt and adjust very very quickly. But it’s not going to look pretty all the time. Sometimes it’s going to look great and sometimes not so great. Today, there were stretches where we looked really really good.
On subbing for the starting five in the first quarter … was there something you were upset about?
No, no. I had planned on doing that. We did it in the first game, in the second half. I like that second group as a unit. They change the tempo of the game. When they come in it’s a lot different. There were things that were frustrating but that wasn’t the cause of the substitutions; that was planned.
On whether late start times allow morning shoot around to function as a practice:
This morning we did. This morning we had a workout for about an hour, so that helps. Tomorrow we’ll have practice. We’re staying … it’s a 45-50 minute ride to where we are staying in the city, so it’s not easy to get here and back on game days, but the players want to get together. Again, it’s an opportunity for us to get better. No matter how much they know each other from playing against each other and playing together, just putting players together doesn’t make a good team. We’ll work out tomorrow morning, I think like 11:30 or so, and we’ll get better; we’ll improve on what we did today and hopefully that will be evident against Turkey. Because we’ve got a really, really tough game coming up. They are a very, very good team. As a matter of fact, the next three games are going to be very difficult.
On whether he saw Turkey play earlier in the day, and areas that still need improvement:
France is one of the best teams in the world, so whenever you’re playing one of the best teams in the world, I don’t know that … I guess it was a mild upset, but you can understand teams winning here at the Olympics. Everyone thought the China win over the Czech Republic was an upset. Then you see China play again and realize, maybe it wasn’t such an upset. They are really good. Turkey is very good and they proved it at the European Championships. I saw them play a lot. And then when we went down there to play … yeah, they cause a lot of problems for you. They are big and they are smart and physical. They are really, really well coached. And for us, every game is a practice for us. So it may take us 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes … I don’t know how long for us to figure out what we are trying to do. We played Croatia in Istanbul and beat them by 50 and it was a great game when we played them here, so I’m sure that the same team we played in Istanbul when we played Turkey probably won’t be the same team we play on Wednesday. But they are not going to be playing against the same team either, so it all evens out.
Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx)
When you come up against lesser competition you’ve got to take your foot off the pedal and just relax?
No that’s not the mindset we have. Each opponent is tough in our mind, we look at each opponent as a contender for a medal so we want to come out and play tough every night.
Has it been comforting to have your two Lynx teammates?
It’s been fun to see how they’ve grown over the last few weeks. We’ve been together on and off the court and we’ve gained a lot with each other and when we’re out there together the chemistry is there so we know where we want the ball and what we like to do.
Do you think Maya knows exactly how good she is?
No she doesn’t. She still thinks she has a lot to do and I think she’s just tapping into her potential. She can do some amazing things and we’ve seen some wonderful things out of her early on into her career and just think about 3-4 years from now how she’s going to develop into probably a Jordanesk like player.
When you play a game like this, you don’t want to take anyone lightly, but you probably know what is going to happen is going to happen, how do you get yourself engaged competitively for a game like this?
We watched video of the Croatia game and we saw a lot of things we needed to improve on and whether we were playing Angola, or the Czech Republic or Australia tonight was going to be a night where we felt like wewere going to get better at the things we were inconsistent with against Croatia. So tonight was preparation for the next night and the next night after that.
Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)
How much did Coach Auriemma get on all of you after the Croatia game?
He’s actually been, in terms of getting on us, very laid back. I think it’s because he knows that we know what we need to do. Right now we’re just feeling each other out, getting comfortable. In that Croatia game there was a moment in the first and second quarter where we probably could have put them away. Because we didn’t, we gave them life. And it became a little bit of a problem for the rest of the game. But, we know that we have to kind of play within ourselves. We’re so talented that we don’t have to make spectacular plays or crazy plays or try to go for the touchdown play every time. If we just play within ourselves, we’ll be fine. And that’s what he’s been telling us.
Tonight you’re up by a lot and yet you’re still pressing and double-teaming. What kind of message are you sending out?
If somebody got a message, great. For us, it’s really about how we play. We’re not really worried about the competition. Obviously we talk about them and prepare, but it’s more about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, no matter what the score is. We can really use games like this to get to know each other better and to learn because the training time has been limited. So, whether it’s practice or a game, we still have to work on things.
On the play of Candace Parker:
Early in the Croatia game she missed a couple easy ones that she normally makes and I think she kind of had that in the back of her head and she really wanted to come and was focused. Coach Auriemmma told her in the beginning of the game anytime we get a rebound on the defensive end she should just get out and sprint, and she did that. She was able to score easy, we were able to get her looks and she obviously did the rest from there.
Are you where you want to be?
No. I think we can get a lot better, I really, really do. It’s good to have a test early against Croatia, maybe a game like this and now we’re going to have another test with Turkey. That’s all going to help prepare us for hopefully what will end up being the gold medal game.
Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream)
On the win over Angola:
I thought it was a very well game played by the girls. Everybody shared the ball well; everybody scored a lot of points. So I think it was a very good game by the girls. And congrats to Angola for playing a good game. I think we need to move on to the next game. We have a tough one Wednesday, so we’ll go tomorrow and adjust; work on some things. Overall, we played a good game. We got a lot of assists; very poised. We have a tough game Wednesday, so we have to come out of the gate ready to play.
One tightening up the defense in the second half:
We have to come out of the gate doing those things. We can't have people asking us about that every single game. We need to make sure that doesn't happened again.
On Wednesday’s game:
I think we’ll look to make some adjustments and if we correct our mistakes it will go our way.
Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks)
How did you feel tonight?
I think that Coach and the team is looking for me being confident and playing with intensity. I think that’s my biggest thing is sometimes I get in my own head. I think tonight, he just gave me two things to do: just rebound and run the ball. We’re going to play defense but I tried to focus on that and my teammates did a good job of getting me the ball.
Are you your own biggest critic out there?
As a kid, my dad always taught me to be that. You expect more of yourself and I think everybody on this team expects individually we’re going to play better. After the first game, I think we were all a little disappointed in ourselves but the goal is to continue get better every game and I think that’s what we did tonight.
Is getting a work in progress?
I think so. If you take it possession by possession … we played a little zone tonight and that might help us in the future … a lot of zone actually. I think we’re just continuing to work on things no matter what the scoreboard is or whatever that can help us down the road.
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
Turkey’s a good team. They’ve played together for a long time. They’re well-coached. They’ve had a great tournament so far and we just hope we play really well.
On the game tonight?
We played well. We did some good things. We improved from the Croatia game so I thought it was overall a good 40 minutes for us.
Thoughts on Angola:
They’re African champions. We have a lot of respect for them. They went out there and played hard no matter what the score was. That was good for them.
What was the difference in the game tonight?
Sometimes there is a fine line … I mean we held that team to zero points in the first eight minutes. Offense part of it, it always take a little bit of time. I think today we found a little bit better organization within ourselves and you can tell on the court.
On the improved play of protecting the ball in the second half:
We probably turned the ball over a little bit too much in the first half. In the second half, we only had three so I think that was good for us to know against better teams you can’t give away possessions so that was really good for us.