USA Women Touch Down In Europe
Sept. 14, 2010 ē Salamanca, Spain
Finalists for the 2010 USA Basketball Womenís World Championship Team departed their hotel in Hartford on Monday morning to start the next step of their journey towards the FIBA World Championship. Flying to Washington Dulles and then onto Madrid, the squad then hopped a bus for a nearly three-hour ride to Salamanca, where theyíll call home for the better part of a week. Lunch, featuring fish, pork, pasta and a salad bar to die for, was ready upon arrival and after eating almost everyone spent the next few hours napping before heading to the court for a little training.
Practice ran from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in an arena with which several players are familiar. Diana Taurasi won one of her four EuroLeague titles in the arena, Tamika Catchings and Lindsay Whalen were both members of the USA squad that competed here in an exhibition game in 2006, both Catchings and Taurasi also competed in Salamanca with the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team prior to Athens, and a number of other USA team members have played here during their EuroLeague season.
The U.S., Australia, Spain and Senegal teams are the first guests in the brand-new hotel as it opened only two days ago. But there were no opening glitches to be found. The rooms are spacious, the elevators quick and quiet, the kitchen has turned out two spectacular meals and, most important, thereís wireless available for free.
What do the players think about practice, traveling and being in Salamanca? Find out for yourself!
Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars)
Did you feel like you had your legs underneath you?
It wasnít actually as bad as I thought it was going to be. We got a good practice in, got out and ran a little bit. I think it will be a little bit harder tomorrow, and then after that, weíll be good to go.
As far as travel days go, how was this teamís trip to Salamanca?
It was OK. I didnít sleep at all on the plane, so that was a little rough. But we all napped when we got here, and hopefully we get some good sleep tonight.
Everyone on this team has traveled to play in foreign countries, do you have tricks to help you stay on track?
A little bit. Definitely getting a workout in on the first night will help us sleep tonight. I think itís never good when you travel somewhere and then just sit and sleep all day and then try to get to sleep that night. So, I think working out will turn out to have been a very good thing for us.
Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx)
On the addition of players over the last few days:
It feels great to have (Tamika) Catchings here, Diana (Taurasi), all the experienced players who have done this before. Itís great to have them here, so now you can tell the chemistry is getting a lot better.
Was it good to get out on the court after spending the majorty of the day traveling to Spain?
I wouldnít say it was all that good, today was a hard practice. Like coach said, it was tough on the legs, but I guess it felt good.
Diana Taurasi Interviewed By Spanish Media
Are you looking forward to your game against Australia later this week?
Yeah, itís always fun to meet up with Australia. As we go along and add players, Iím quite sure they added a few players. Penny Taylor is probably playing the next game, so that will add more depth to their team. Theyíll be more competitive.
What have you been asked to contribute to this team?
What I always do, try to focus on defense. Try to strenghthen your weaknesses and thatís one of my weaknesses. So Iíll try to bring energy and play solid defense.
Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury)
Youíve had a game and a practice with the team, how is it going for you?
Itís been a good experience so far. The game was a little tough because I had gotten in the night before. I was trying to learn a new system, get adjusted to all of that. Today was a lot better. Iím a little tired from flying, obviously, but Iím just trying to learn the new sets. I think the team chemistry looks great so far.† The majority of the players have already been here, but so far Iím having a good time.
Speaking of team chemistry, how are you fitting in?
Itís not that hard. For me, the hardest thing is just to learn the plays and try not to look lost. Like Coach Auriemma says, keep moving, set screens, communicate, but everybodyís playing really well together so far.
What are you hoping to contribute to this team?
If anything, rebounding, scoring on the inside, picking it up on the defensive end. Thatís something that he stresses for us to do.
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
What was the general tone of your two interviews in Spanish?
Mostly they were asking some questions about two years ago when we played a EuroLeague final four here. So, our team played in this building, and itís a great, great atmosphere. Itís probably the best in Europe. They were just asking me how it felt to be back.
When did you learn to speak Spanish?
Well, it was my first language because we were speaking Spanish at home. My parents speak Spanish.
Diana Taurasi Interviewed By Spanish Media
It must be nice to be able to travel and speak the local language?
Yeah, especially here. If we need help doing anything, getting food or getting around, itís nice to have someone who knows the local language.
What is it like to have fans all over the world?
Itís cool, you know.† It just makes you feel good that youíve played really good basketball all around the world. There are great fans everywhere. There are fans of womenís basketball all over the world.