QUOTES >> USA 108, Puerto Rico 44
USA and University of Hartford head coach
I'm happy with the balance. We knew it would be a good opportunity to make sure everybody got a lot of playing time. To have eight different guys in double figures means we did a good job sharing the ball and finding different ways to score. Our goal going into the game was not to settle. We knew we could get a good shot every possession, but we really wanted to work for a great shot. So, I'm really pleased with the 22 assists, because I wanted them to be unselfish and share the ball.
Yeah, you know, it's hard. We've played against some good teams, and Puerto Rico has struggled a little bit, coming into the game 0-2. We just didn't want our girls to get complacent. We wanted them to give good energy, respect their opponent and just play up to our level and challenge themselves at what we want them to get better at. So other than maybe one or two lulls during the game, I thought we did a good job of keeping our focus and not really thinking about what the score was.
The next three teams left -- Brazil, Canada and Chile -- we've played all three. So, our players have to understand that even though we've beaten them, this is another level. This is the medal round. We're playing for something now. Our intensity has to be there. I was really happy when we started pool play with Argentina, how excited they were. So we just need to recreate that excitement by saying, 'Hey, we're done with pool play. Now we're in the next round. Let's try to make sure we come out with that same excitement level.'
Yes. I've been hearing that since high school. It used to bother me because I knew I couldn't dunk, but now I know I can dunk.
You can dunk?
Yeah, I can. I can get up there. It's just, I don't know how my coaches are feeling. If you miss, they might feel like you're trying to disrespect the other team or something. So I just get the easy two points and get back on D.
How do you feel about tonight's performance?
Yeah, it was good. When you play with a big lead, it's hard not to lose focus. I think everyone did a good job of staying focused and keeping their composure when PR got a little scrappy at times.
How are you feeling about playing Chile in the medal semifinals?
I feel good about tomorrow. We played Chile twice in a scrimmage, and we did pretty good. And we've been making improvements everyday. So hopefully this will be another day for improvement.
We played hard, we didn't let up. We kept our minds focused. We stayed focused because we're here only to accomplish one thing, and that's to get the gold medal. We had our bench. We had our fans. And we just stayed positive.
What's the whole experience like?
This has been a great experience for me, because I come from LA. Whoever comes out of LA, it's like they ain't nobody, and I'm like the first to prove them wrong. Like I am somebody. I've become somebody. So, like, this has been a great experience, because I get to play with the best.
Have you gotten better?
Yes. So when I come back to LA, they better watch out.
Have you been working on anything specific?
I've been working on my jump shots and on my defense.
What's the team like now?
It's great. Everybody's focused. We're focused and we're not going to let anything distract us, because we're here only to get one thing, and that's the gold medal.
(Twinsburg H.S./Twinsburg, Ohio)
It feels great knowing that we played our hardest to get to this point. And we didn't give up during the games. We kept playing hard and stayed focused on winning with pride.
What was it like to start?
It's exciting starting. I didn't expect to, but it's fun. It's a talented team, and I'm glad to start.
On the game plan:
The game plan was to just focus on defense and take away their strengths, and I think we executed it out well. I think we made sure we got the ball into the post and used our height to our advantage and kicked out when we needed to and hit open shots when we needed to.
Do you think you keep improving?
Yeah, we improved a lot. We share the ball a lot better and are able to see open people. The whole two weeks we've been here we've gotten better as a team, and I think we deserve to be in the gold medal round.
(Madison H.S./Middletown, Ohio)
On her increased role against Puerto Rico:
I think it was just the flow of the game. I got a lot of minutes, and I went out there and just did what I needed to do.
On being on a team this deep:
I work really hard to get my minutes and stay in the game and do whatever I can to make sure Coach sees I'm working hard. But everyone can do it.
What does it feel like now to be in the medal semfinals?
It feels amazing. We've been here for so long, and we've been working for this. Now, we're right where we expected to be.
(Vandebilt Catholic H.S./Marerro, La.)
On the game plan:
The game plan was just to keep our heads on straight and just set goals for ourselves, knowing that maybe they weren't as strong of an opponent. Just set goals for ourselves to get the ball inside more and work our offense to set us up for the medal rounds, and just work on rebounding and boxing out, because we've been struggling in that area. After tonight, I guess we're going to have to work on free throws.
Did you accomplish those other things the coaches pointed out?
Yes. They read over the stats and we out-rebounded them by 38. So they were pretty pleased with that.
How excited are you for the medal semifinals?
Really excited. It was one of our goals to finish first in pool play, and our second goal was to win the whole thing. We have to complete the second goal, and we're doing everything we should be doing.
How is the experience for you?
It's amazing just to represent your country, especially playing against other countries. They have their pride for their country, but nothing can compare to the pride we have for ours.