Additional Quotes >> USA 85, Great Britain 33
Aug. 16, 2011• Shenzhen, China
Bill Fennelly, USA head coach (Iowa State University)
On today’s game:
I thought defensively that was probably the best we’ve played. We started a little bit slow and I don’t know if it’s because it was our first night game after our two morning games. But, Great Britain had a couple players who were not playing. That’s another thing, we anticipated a different line-up and whwne you don’t see it, sometimes you relax. Overall, we had three pool games where we played really well. Tonight was a good way to finish it. We won the pool and that’s the first step in the process.
On the USA’s defensive effort:
We had a little bit of a slow start, so we pulled the starting team out and talked to them a little bit about some defensive things and they went back in. Our pressure defense, coach Flo (Terri Williams-Flournoy) put in a 2-2-1 press and that really changed the game when we went to that. Skylar’s (Diggins) on-ball pressure is relentless. She just totally took them out of their offense and picked them for layups a couple times, too. When you have someone at the point of your defense dictating the pressure and dictating how the game is played, it’s hard for the other guy. Certainly that was the case tonight.
On the USA’s improved free throw shooting:
We’ve talked a lot about it. We have a lot of kids who can get to free throw line, but it doesn’t do any good unless you convert them. We came in shooting 61 percent and if you look at their individual numbers back home, most of them are really good. A lot of it is contagious. When we start making them when we get to the line, it’s contagious. We were 13-of-15 at halftime, that’s important. There’s going to be close games. When you’re not making jump shots, a good way to get points is to pound it into the post, get fouled and get to the free throw line.
On heading into the quarterfinals:
I still think we get a little loose fundamentally. The game is going pretty easy for these kids. We’re so talented and we rely so much on our athleticism that sometimes we get a little too quick and fundamentally we break down a little bit. But, they’re all smart. They all understand the process and we’ll be ready to go Thursday night. They’re excited. They understand that there’s a whole other level that we have to get to. That’s the nature of this tournament. You’re in a pool, here’s who you play. They did a great job and got through it. We did what we needed to do. We got everyone a lot of minutes. We got a good look at everyone, got a lot of combinations. Hopefully we’ll prepare hard tomorrow for our next opponent and be ready to play.
Elena Delle Donne (University of Delaware)
On tonight's game:
They played a little bit more of a pressure defense on us, which is kind of what we’re used to seeing where they’ll hedge ball screen and things like that. It was a lot more like our style, but I thought we were able to handle it really well. This team’s phenomenal because when we’re in the locker room and we’re not happy with that win, then that shows that this team is really is hungry for that gold medal. It wasn’t a clean win, but we got the win and we’re happy to get out of pool play and get ready to play our next one.
What was it like going up against some of the opponents you see in the CAA?
I noticed yesterday when I saw them in the village, I was like, ‘I know these girls.’ Two of them are on ODU’s team and one was from Drexel, so it was pretty cool out there playing with girls in my conference.
What does that say about the CAA?
It says the CAA is definitely a strong conference. I’m definitely proud of the conference and glad to see we’re out here representing it.
On the USA’s pressure defense:
Our guards, especially Skylar (Diggins) and Odyssey (Sims) were able to pressure their point guards and make it hard for them to get into their offense. When they finally got into their offense, the shot clock was going down. So, our guards did an amazing job putting on that pressure and disrupting them.
Skylar Diggins (University of Notre Dame)
On tonight’s game:
Like any other team, they were very relentless. They pressured the ball probably more than or just as much as Brazil did. They’re really tenacious. I thought they were really motivated because they had a couple players down. They knew each other well and you could see that on the court tonight. At times they outplayed us in spurts, but overall we had good defense on them. We only gave up 33 points. We’ve been averaging about 57, giving it up, so even though we didn’t score 100 points or so, we only gave up 33.
On holding Great Britain to four field goals in the second half:
Coach kind of lit a fire under us at halftime, as far as telling us that our third quarter had been our worst quarter, but not tonight. I think that was our motivation. He switched around a little bit, changed some matches. Certain groups work really well together and I think he worked off of that. Definitely we understood that we had to step it up because in our first two games, against Brazil, against Czech, they were scoring a lot more points in the third quarter. We wanted to make sure that didn’t happen in tonight’s third quarter. There was a sense of urgency on our part that we should have had in the beginning. We had it in the second quarter and carried it to the third quarter.
On heading into the medal round:
Like coach was saying, it’s like going into the NCAA Tournament. Everyone’s level of play has to step up. We definitely have to take advantage of the day off tomorrow and rest our bodies because we know every team is going to be coming after us. They’ll be banding together to beat us. This team has to have the mind-set that we have the biggest target on our back and we have to perform up to Coach Fennelly’s standards, which is perfection at times. We can do perfection in stretches. We just have to make sure that we buy in. We have to be focused and ready. Now, it’s anybody’s game. It’s 0-0 and a lot of teams are just as hungry for that gold medal as we are.
Jacki Gemelos (University of Southern California)
With three games under your belt, how is the team chemistry coming along?
I think we’re starting to gel a little bit more. Game-by-game I can definitely feel the improvements. I can see the improvements on the court. We’re just taking it one game at a time. Each game we’re going to build on the things we did well and eliminate the things that we didn’t do so well.
How were you able to pull away from Great Britain in the first half?
I think our press really just flustered them a lot. The pressure from our point guards was amazing and the key to the game for us tonight.
Off the court, how has the team been getting along?
We’ve been together for the past three weeks or so. Just being around one another, building chemistry off the court has been really helpful for our team as well.
Keisha Hampton (DePaul University)
On tonight’s game:
We got the job done tonight. We won our pool, that was the goal. The ultimate goal is to win the gold medal. We just have to continue to be aggressive, play hard, go into these medal games looking to play every game like it’s our last.
On the USA’s depth:
It’s very important. Plus, the way we play, we’re a pressing team. You need fresh legs every couple of minutes. We wear teams out like that. We can go 12 deep and wear a team out really fast.
Have you ever been on a team like this, one that’s 12 deep?
Never in my life, I haven’t. This is the first time ever being on a team like this. We’re 12 deep, I’ve never been on a team that’s 10 deep, so that’s pretty good.
It looks like you’re all having fun playing together:
It’s great playing with the best players in the United States. You don’t often get that opportunity and the fact that we’re out there playing together and having fun, it makes this experience even better.
What do you think about the village?
It’s fun in the village, we’re getting new experiences. We’re chilling in our rooms a lot, though. We chill with our men’s team, get on the computer, watch movies, just chill.
Glory Johnson (University of Tennessee)
On today’s game:
Great Britain was a strong, really powerful team. They were quick. A lot of them wanted to drive and sometimes we had a problem guarding their guard penetration. They did that, but luckily our press killed them. We brought that energy at the beginning of the game. We let up a little bit in the third quarter, but we picked it up again in the fourth quarter.
Heading into the medal round, what do you need to work on as a team before the next round?
Communication is key. Sometimes we don’t have it in the zone. We’ve been playing zone a lot in the last couple of games and if we’re not talking, then we’re getting beat. So, just communication and keeping our hands up on defense.
How important is the USA’s depth?
It’s important and it’s a really good thing. Because, having five post players and several guards who can play both the post and the guard positions, two really strong point guards and also other guards who can play point guard. It’s crucial because a lot of teams get tired. They can’t play as many people as we can and be as powerful defensively.