QUOTES >> USA 91, Argentina 32
USA and University of Hartford head coach
Comments on the USA vs. Argentina:
I thought it was a good first game. I was really pleased with the energy and the kids were really excited to get going. I feel like we've definitely made some progress in the last few weeks of training, and it's nice to see it all come together.
The USA had a big lead early in the game, what did you tell your team at halftime or even after the first quarter?
We just keep sending the message that we are competing against ourselves, and we want to always play up to the best version. It's not about the score or the opponent, but we want to prepare ourselves for a gold-medal opportunity. So, I really just kept reminding them to focus on the little things and focus on the details and to find something to try to accomplish. There is nothing boring about basketball; it doesn't matter what the lead is. You can always challenge yourself, and I thought they did a pretty good job of that.
The first minute or so of the game was unsettled. Did that surprise you?
It was nerves. I think they were a little over-excited about playing finally. We've been here a long time, and to put the uniforms on and get out there, I know they were excited. Our first three possessions we turned the ball over, but once we settled in I felt pretty good. We've really focused a lot on valuing the ball and not turning it over, so minus the first minute, I was pretty pleased with their effort overall.
Did you see something you want to improve upon?
Well, we talked a lot at halftime about defending without fouling, and then we went out and fouled four times in the first two minutes. So, I just addressed that quickly after the game. I don't want to have to burn a timeout reiterating something that I spoke about at halftime. These guys are young, but they need to understand that those five to seven minutes that I come in at halftime to give them some points of emphasis, they really need to take that into the second half.
(Minisink Valley H.S./Port Jervis, NY)
On playing first game:
It felt wonderful, honestly. We've been scrimmaging all week so it felt good to finally get our first game in and get all of our nerves out. I thought we played really well.
On her shot selection:
I haven't been shooting well this week so I was focusing on finishing my shots and finishing my moves. I went out there and got a rebound and put it back so that boosted my confidence.
(San Clemente H.S./San Clemente, CA)
On the game:
I think we were all a little bit nervous so it was a good game for us to get all of our kinks and nerves out. It was a lot of fun. They (Argentina) was an aggressive team defensively, so it was good to get out there and see what we can expect.
On keeping focused:
At halftime, coach reminded us that we're not here to win this game but to win the gold medal. It encouraged us to keep our focus and staying strong with our defense and executing on offense. As a team we knew we had to keep our focus.
On her first game:
I missed my first three free throws but after that I felt a little more comfortable and started making plays and doing the small things. I felt like there was good team chemistry.
(North Babylon H.S./North Babylon, NY)
On six assists:
It's easy to get that stat when I'm getting the ball to Chinenye. She's just a very versatile player, which makes my job easier.
On playing first game:
It was such a relief to see that our hard work was finally put to use. We've been down here since the 8th so it's been a long road. Coming out here, I think we all had a large amount of energy because we knew what we put into practices.
(Cy-Fair H.S./Cypress, TX)
On the game in general:
I thought we did a lot of things well tonight and it was a good first game to get out on the court as a team officially and see what we can expect.
On staying focused:
It's very important that you don't see the big picture but you see the little picture. We have to get through Argentina before we can move on to our next game. We know we have a lot of things we can work on and do better at. We have little goals, like winning the offensive goals and defensive goals, and I think that makes us better in the long run.
What skill she prides herself in most:
I'd say my aggressiveness is what I pride myself most in. I try to be as passionate as I can and use my athleticism to get to the rim. It helps me get inside to grab a rebound and fight for loose balls but also helps me with my offense. I felt good tonight and hopefully we can keep feeding off each other.
What she knows about Brazil:
We've scrimmaged them (Brazil) twice so we know their personnel, we know their style and we've tried to study their offense as much as we can. We just know that we have to be the ones initiating the offense and setting the tone for the game. If we let them set the tone, they'll have things going their way.
Being on the court:
I do get tired but I try not to show it. Coach always says you have to fake it to make it so if you fake that you have energy your body will follow. Being our team captain, I feel like I have to represent this on the court at all times.