Additional Quotes >> USA Practice: Day 3 in Spain
Sept. 16, 2010 • Salamanca, Spain
Finalists for the USA Women's World Championship Team took the court for the third time since arriving in Spain and contiued working on various drills, while USA head coach Geno Auriemma also added new plays. There was a noticible difference in practice today: The USA's 6-6 center Sylvia Fowles got into practice for the first time since having her knee scoped a few weeks back. The U.S. squad will shoot around tomorrow and then face Australia Friday night at 5:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. EDT), followed by the Spain vs. Senegal contest. The winners of Friday night's games will meet up on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. EDT), while the losers will square off in the earlier game.
Geno Auriemma, University of Connecticut
On the three days of practice in Spain:
Every day that we get together, we get an opportunity to do a couple things that we didn’t get done the day before. Obviously with this group, they pick up things very quickly. So, we’ve been able to make some progress and add a couple of things, enough that we feel comfortable going into the game tomorrow.
On having Sylvia Fowles back on the court during practice:
Yeah, it really makes everything different. When she’s on the floor, it changes the game a little bit. She’s able to bring the size and athleticism that we don’t have enough of. It’s encouraging to see her out there. I think it’s a great confidence booster for the rest of our players. Little by little … by the time we get to the World Championship, we’re going to have a different team with her out there. She looked good and she feels good, but it’s one day at a time.
What are you hoping to get out of the two games here in Spain, aside from a couple of wins?
Every game that we’ve played so far, we’ve tried to get a little bit better at some things that we want to get better at. Obviously you want to know a little more about our team. There’re still some players on the bubble that we have to make some evaluations on. So, we want to win two games, we want to win tomorrow night against Australia. But at the same time we want to make sure that we’re getting a better rhythm for each other and that we’re also starting to make some final decisions about what the World Championship team is actually going to look like.
On the training time for the USA prior to the World Championship:
The WNBA schedule, it is what it is. It doesn’t offer us an opportunity to practice as long as some of the other teams in the world. So what we have to do is make sure that we use our time effectively and try to develop other players to the best that we can, until the WNBA Finals are over and then do the best we can with what we have. We may be at a disadvantage time-wise, but we have some of the best players in the world. So hopefully that balances it out.
Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky)
On getting onto the court today for the first time:
It actually felt good being out there on the court. Just to be a part of it was good, you know I had to sit on the side while I was hurt and I wish I was out there. Ed (Ryan, USA athletic trainer) gave me an opportunity to go out there and get it going a little bit. So, I’m happy about that.
How does your knee feel?
The knee feels very good. Actually I can’t feel anything. I have a little bit of pain in the middle of my knee, but Ed says that’s from not having a stronger quad. Eventually I’ll get there. I’m not in a rush, but I’m ready to play.
Did you feel as if you got back into the system easily?
Probably in about two or three plays I was kind of confused, but for the most part I remember.
What’s it like being out here with this group?
It’s the same. The bodies are different, but it’s the same when we’re out here playing for the USA. We always know what we’re out here playing for and what we’re trying to compete for. It’s the same in that aspect, but it’s just some different faces.
Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun)
How has the team been progressing over the last three days in Spain?
It seems that every week we’re adding somebody new, new players. We got Dee (Taurasi) and (Tamika) Catch and (Candice) Dupree at the end of last week, so we’re just trying to define the offensive sets that we run, the offensive concepts that we have with three new players. We’ve added some offensive stuff as well. We continue adding stuff every day. It’s coming in and being mentally ready to not only remember what you’ve done the last couple of weeks, but to also be ready to learn something new. We’re trying to build our whole set of plays going into the World Championship.
On having Sylvia Fowles back on the floor:
It was good. She’s obviously a huge piece to our team. You look at what she’s done in international competition for us, what she brings to the offensive end, particularly on the boards, and what she can do as far as going and getting the ball. You can just throw it up offensively and she’ll go get it and put it in for you. It’s nice to see Big Syl out there and again, it’s another new piece we’re trying to help out. We’re trying to get her to learn what we’re doing as quickly as possible.
On playing Australia and possibly Spain over the next two nights:
I think now that we’re getting closer, we’re probably going to see a little more about who they are. Penny (Taylor), Snelly (Belinda Snell), not playing against us in Hartford. They’re their starting two and three players. They’re players who are really hard to defend and are really good all around offensive players. That’s going to be a challenge with those guys playing. Now they’ve got every significant player, with the exception of Lauren (Jackson). So, they’re going to be closer to the team that will be in Czech.
You look at Spain, it’s a team now that’s at home. They’re probably going to be more comfortable being here, being in their home country. A lot of these players have played in this gym for their club team. We expect them to perform a lot better. They’re a very, very skilled team. If you look at the two games in Hartford, they gave us some trouble there late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. They cut it to five points. We definitely know how dangerous they can be when they start hitting shots.