28 , 2004 Athens,
USA head coach Van Chancellor
I thought that first championship (with Houston Comets) was big but I
thought that was as big as it got for us (tonight). To win like that,
we dropped down four but we had the mental character to come back. What
a win! This has been the ultimate...the cap on my coaching career. It
makes it all complete.
When they named me the coach in 2002, these three players (Lisa Leslie,
Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes) bought into everything I tried to bring to
the table. I find it unbelievable that we were doing break down defensive
drills on Thursday before we played on Friday and nobody said a word.
I knew they were unhappy when I subbed them (in the game tonight), but
I wanted to have them for the last five minutes. That's why I subbed when
I did and that's why I brought them back when I did. They didn't say a
thing to me, they might have griped among themselves, but they didn't
say anything to me. That's been a great part of our team.
No one. Not even the players I didn't play, I did not play three players
tonight but for 17 seconds at the end of the game. All three players came
up to me and said hey coach, thanks for putting me on this team.
Yolanda Griffith. What a great player. Pee Wee Johnson, great player.
They accept roles with USA Basketball and that's why we win.
I thought Australia played well, but when we went down by four I was
really concerned, but I was proud of our team. These two victories (Russia
and Australia) make winning this gold medal very, very sweet.
Why did you have three point guards on this
When we started putting the team together in 2002 I told coach
Anne Donovan one thing I wanted was three point guards on this team. We
wound up with four, Diana Taurasi can play it. She wanted to know why
we want three point guards. I said that if one gets hurt and one needs
a sub. So we go out tonight with three point guards and Dawn gets two
fouls before she can even say her last name. So we put Pee Wee in and
she came out and played super. We had Sue Bird we could have used. You
have a pretty good team when your third point guard is Sue Bird.
Talk about Tina Thompson and her role on
I told them in the dressing room, you put four (WNBA championship)
rings on my fingers, you help make me the Olympic coach and then tonight
when the pressure was on and we couldn't do anything... I told them the
coach doesn't get a gold medal but I've got one around my heart right
now. It doesn't matter. I'm going Monday just as soon as I get home and
make one up at Wal-Mart. I'm going to get a gold medal. My wife and I
are going to make one up and me and my grand boys are going to take turns
But I'm so pleased with her tonight. You get in a game and Tina Thompson
as a college player had to play second fiddle to Lisa Leslie. Then she
comes into the WNBA and there's (Cynthia) Cooper and (Sheryl) Swoopes
getting all the headlines. And everybody knows about her. Tonight she
has 18 points and they were all clutch plays. You feel like a proud father.
What do Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley and Sheryl
Swoopes mean to women's basketball?
It's so great. I cried at the end. When they got through taking
their pictures in the medal ceremony each one of them gave me their flowers.
I thought to myself you can't get much luckier than that.' To coach
three great players and you can bench all three of them at the same time
in the game, I didn't realize that until you mentioned that, but to have
them, that's why we win. Our experienced players come in here and that's
why we win. That's the only way you're going to do it.
On Dawn Staley as a coach:
I don't run the WNBA and I don't run USA Basketball. But I would
definitely highly consider Dawn Staley to be one of the assistant coaches
in 2008 to make sure Lisa Leslie would want to play. (laughs)
Have you ever seen a better point guard than
For the ultimate, ultimate team game, and that's basketball, there's
only one basketball and everybody wants to shoot it. Dawn Staley is the
ultimate. Tonight I'll give you one reason. Both of my assistants who
were sitting next to me were just pulling my arms. Yanking me almost in
a wrestling hold saying coach. You have to put Dawn in the game.
You have to get Dawn back in there. One was on this arm, I'd walk away
and Anne (Donovan) was on the other arm. I said, Dawn has two fouls.'
they said it doesn't matter, get her back in the game. I said okay, back
in the game. I wasn't going to fight those two women.
On the younger players and what their roles
will be within USA Basketball:
Their roles were to be great practice players and to be ready when
called upon. I'm not speaking for anyone, but there's going to be some
people on this team retiring from USA Basketball so Ruth Riley, Swin Cash
and some of those other young players had better be ready to step up.
I thought that was the greatest thing about our team. We had experienced
players, we had young players getting ready to do it the USA way. When
you look at Ruth Riley, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, we'll be fine.
ASSISTANT COACH GAIL GOESTENKORS
This was a perfect ending to a great experience. We were tested
- our character prevailed when we were down five but were able to surge
ahead. I am so proud of this group and what they have accomplished. I
am so glad I had the opportunity to be around such a great bunch.
SUE BIRD (Seattle Storm)
It's unbelievable - for so long all of us have dreamed about putting
a gold medal around our necks and now we are about to do just that. Nothing
can be better than this!
First time lucky?
This is just an unbelievable experience. To come here and play
the waay we played and win a gold medal, it doesn't get any better.
What was it like the last few moments of
Therre is so much to think, so much to feel. It's almost like you're
numb, you don't know what to feel. When I looked over and saw Dawn, and
Sheryl and Lisa and there are tears in their eyes, it's just such an emotional
Was it special for the older players?
Of course, especially for Dawn. Just what she brings to this team,
what she means to USA Basketball. For her to go out like this with a gold
medal, I couldn't be happier for her.
On defending the men's team honor
The guys came in with a really big mountain to climb. A lot of
them weren't supposed to be here. It says something about them
they didn't pull out. Some of them were the second or third choice but
they came in and gave the effort. My hat definitely goes out to those
guys because they competed at a high level with all they had.
On their gold medal
Our ultimate goal was to win the gold. I would not have been happy
with anything else that is all we have talked about the entire
time we have been here. You play to be the best you can possibly be. This
team assembled was awesome and we had all the tools we needed to win the
gold medal so we set our standards high.
SWIN CASH (Detroit Shock)
This is the best piece of jewelry I have ever gotten in my life
so far! I am going to cherish it and show it to everyone in my life who
helped me get this far.
When you look back over the Olympics, are
you satisfied with your role and your contributions?
Yes, I am very satisfied with my contributions. I think I got my
feet wet. I got a better understanding of the international game, the
refereeing, how it is played. We were able to get some minutes to give
our starters some rest for the medal round games. I think we needed extended
minutes from our starters to help us win the gold.
What is the most inspirational thing you
saw from a teammate. I am guessing it was from Dawn.
Yeah, it came from Dawn. She basically said it was gold or failure.
And for me, failure is not an option. I knew that the only thing would
be gold. That meant in practice pushing Sheryl, pushing Tina as hard as
possible, so that when it comes time to win, it wouldn't be a problem.
So I felt my role was to always help them prepare, help them prepare.
And I didn't want to let them down. And once we got there to the gym today,
Dawn basically said it is our gold medal. We are going out and taking
it . We're not the letting the refs dictate anything. And I think she
played like that tonight.
Where is your gold medal going?
It's going home to mom's. I'll probably put it up in my case for
awhile, but it will be going home to my mom's so that everybody in McKeesport
can get a look at it. I'm sure she'll take it around and tour the city!
What were you all doing when you were standing
in the middle and you all had the flag and you were all huddled. What
were you saying and doing?
Just basically saying that this is what we came here for .Dawn
wanted us to put the flag in front of us and just get our chant in to
the USA because we have been doing it from the start. After every game
we got together and USA has been the chant. And to raise that flag up
was really emotional. That's what you work hard for. I totally understand
what the whole Olympic meaning is, representing your country. I mean,
in Detroit I represent the Shock and our fans, but when you come over
here, it's a whole other ball game.
TAMIKA CATCHINGS (Indiana Fever)
To win a gold medal my first time out, I am so grateful for the
opportunity. This team is the greatest talent I have ever been around
and everyone shared in the wins. I am going to frame this (gold medal)
along with other things from this trip so I can always remember this experience.
I hope there are several more in my life!!!
How do you celebrate the gold medal?
I don't know! We are going to find out. We'll have a little celebration
when we get back to the ship.It's going to be an all night thing. We have
to be downstairs at 5am, so I don't think anybody is going to bed tonight!
On winning the gold medal:
We wanted to send Lisa, Sheryl and Dawn away with a gold. Dawn
has been a mentor for me and I wanted to do whatever I could to help her
get her third. It would be so cool and great for her if she could come
back and coach us in 2008. I could see her doing that because she is such
a great leader.
I can't explain how I feel. It is a dream come true I am so excited
and my hands are still shaking.
This is the 3rd straight gold medal for the
women's team. What does this mean for basketball in America now?
I think women's basketball is growing. It means a lot. For us to
come out of here with a gold is great. We go back to the middle of the
WNBA season and hopefully we get a lot more fans from watching us here.
On the play of Shannon Johnson, today and
throughout the tournament?
PeeWee, she has come out in a couple games and has just dominated.
She has done a tremendous job coming off the bench to back up Dawn. Unfortunately,
she got in some early foul trouble but PeeWee came in and did her thing.
The national team might have some changes,
might not, but you will be a part of the core group going forward. Will
everybody be ready for 2008? And do you look forward to it?
I came in knowing what my role would be on this team. Between having
Sheryl and Lisa, Tina and Dawn, I knew to be on the starting five; they
weren't looking for me to score. In 2008, if I turn into someone that
they need to score or anything else, I will step in and do what they need
me to do. They did a great job in teaching us the ropes, of knowing what
it takes to win a gold medal. I think we've learned a lot from them. I
hope Lisa and Sheryl come back, but if not, we'll be in good hands.
What do you learn from Dawn, as a few players
have said that everything Dawn said has come true?
Everything. She's a great leader and a great mentor. Being able
to talk to her
I talked to her before last game and told her that
I wanted to be a great player, what did I need to do? She told me, Just
play your game. You are a great player. Hearing that from somebody that
has been in the game so long, she is a true veteran and a true leader.
Going into the game tonight, she said it's going to be a hard fought game
for 40 minutes and we have to play hard for 40 minutes.
She is everything. She is the glue to this team. Even with her sitting
on the bench, she didn't shut down, she was constantly talking. I mean,
she's a coach. She was talking, up in everybody's ear telling us what
we needed to do. She's always talking with Lisa and I think that was big
deal, especially tonight when we were trying to get the ball into her.
She was having some difficulty scoring.
And, she doesn't just talk, she does it, too.
On her feelings when the gold medals were
on and the flag of the United States of America was being raised?
It's almost like something that can't be described with words.
You are standing there and everybody that is around you
all the people
that you love and all the people that came here to support you. As you
see the flag going up, it's like, that's the reason that were here. We're
here to win a gold medal. We're here to play for our country. This is
the final moment. As you see the flag going up, you don't know what to
feel. You are so excited. My hands were shaking (she brought her hands
up shaking to show). I'm excited.
You hear the national anthem being played. You always hear it
games and in places you go. But to hear it in front of all these people
who supported us in a foreign country for something that means so much.
Everybody around the world was watching and when that flag was going up,
it makes you proud to be an American.
YOLANDA GRIFFITH (Sacramento Monarchs)
I can't tell you enough how great this feels. It is my second one,
wish it was my third but I'll take two. We knew we were the best team
- we got a little challenge today but we prevailed. I am going to show
this thing off to everyone.
On difference between this team and 2000
In 2000 we lost Chamique (Holdsclaw to an injury) and this time
we lost Katie (Smith). Both teams were very talented and both medals mean
the same to me. This team had more veterans and they are playing in their
last Olympics so it was special to send them home with the gold.
When you look at the U.S. women I these Olympics,
you got the gold medal in beach volleyball in soccer, in softball and
now in basketball. What does that say about women's sports in the U.S.?
It means we work very hard, thaat's what it means. I think the
level of our play has pretty much caught up with the mens. We all put
in a lot of hard work and we were able to get the gold medal.
How did Van bring this team together?
He handpicked every last one of us. He told the coaches I'm taking
your player and that's the player I want on the Olympic team and that's
how he got the 12 players that formed this team. He wanted players that
would accept their roles. And that's why we're great.
How are you going to celebrate?
I cant tell you!! (big time laughter)
You came in in the foutth quarter and gave
then some good tough interior defense and rebounding and reealy gave the
team a lift.
"It's not about the offense. It's about you accepting your
role when you play international basketball, I think that's one of the
main reasons Van Chancellor tells me to get some rebounds and putbacks
and hit some free throws, but mostly to get rebounds. That's what we were
lacking today. The shots weren't falling for a while, offensively they
were getting a lot of boards and we just needed somebody to come and give
us a boost .It's not about the points, it's about the little things that
you're willing to do and Dawn was like, Yo, get every rebound, touch the
ball any way possible and that's what I did. That's what we do. We have
such a great team. We have Lisa, we have Tina. Tina played big for us.
She hit some really big shots. It was her first Olympics. We have so many
great offensive players on this team, you have to give up something. If
their shots aren't falling, sometimes I come in and give us a boost offensively.
But I am there to do whatever I can to help this team win.
Is this second gold medal sweeter than the
Both of them are sweet, but I think that I am going to cherish
this one because , you know, this is 2004 and the next Olympics aren't
until 2008 and that is four years away. I hope my body lasts that long.
But I cherish both of them.
What was the feeling like on the medal stand?
It is unbelievable. You are just speechless. Just to hear your
national anthem and letting everybody know that you are the best. We proved
it to a lot of teams.
When the USA flag was being raised, what
was going through your mind?
My heart starts pumping fast and my mind? I'm just lost for words.
It is just unbelievable.
What was the key to winning this tough game?
When we needed to make a stand, we came in, got some key rebounds
and made a defensive stop and I think not letting Lauren (Jackson) get
in a groove. He (Coach Chancellor) stressed that he didn't want Lauren
to touch the ball a lot and make other players have to play. We did.
When it was a 1 or 2 point game, you got
your hands on some of the balls and made some plays?
They brought me on this team to get some points and get some rebounds.
Dawn said, Yo, we need every rebound.' So I went out and got my
hand on a steal got some deflections and we got a big put-back when (Diana)
Taurasi hit a three off an offensive rebound. This team? We're a great
team. We do the little things. We got some key steals and some stops.
That was the turn-around in the fourth quarter and it got us the lead.
SHANNON JOHNSON (San Antonio Silver Stars)
It feels fantastic. To say we are No. 1, the 12 best players in
the world means everything to me. A gold medal is the best thing that
has ever happened to me.
On winning the gold and her feelings when
the flag was going up
I felt it all the way in my stomach. It is unbelievable to feel
something like that. You have 12 other young women who strive so hard
to be where we are at. And there are other teams that played just as hard
as you did. I've been with USA Basketball since '93, so to become an Olympian
now, it meant the world to me.
I shared it with my family and shared it with the friends I have here
to let them know how much I love them and how excited I am to have my
family here with me. It meant the world to me.
LISA LESLIE (Los Angeles Sparks)
Opening comments on the game:
Today was really exciting. To come out and play Australia, the
match-up that they wanted, it's what we wanted. It was a great game, back
and forth, especially in the second half, they went up by three or four
and then we came back. I thought we fought hard. This was a greata team
effort, that's what I liked most abou it, all my teammates were really
involved. We were really challenged today and we stepped up to the challenge.
On shutting down Lauren Jackson:
For me, I thought it was a great challenge when coach Chancellor
asked me to guard Jackson. That was a pleasure for me. Lauren's had a
lot to say during the whole period of the Olympics, wanting to play the
USA. I felt we had to close her down out there on the court. We had to
stay in her face and make her shoot tough shots. She was bound to get
some shots, she's a great player, but we did a good job of making sure
I was leading her on the screens. Our coaching staff did a really good
job of teaching us their plays. We pretty much took her out of her comfort
zone and then let the chips land where they may.
On playing so many years with Dawn Staley
and being at the end of the road as teammates:
It's hard for me to think about suiting up without Dawn and Sheryl.
Sheryl had struggled with her injury and we didn't know if she was going
to play. I ran to her and hugged her when I saw her at the airport (in
New York). Because I'm like yes! She's here! Alright, we're okay.'
It's an amazing feeling to have these two players out there on the court,
I don't care what the score is. I remember one time we were in Lithuania
or Russia, down by like 20. We started the second half and came back and
won. I don't think there was ever a time in my mind when I thought I'd
lose a basketball game. That's a credit to both of them, their heart and
I feel like I'm still young and I'm still having fun playing this game.
The most difficult part for me would be suiting up without having Swoopes
and Staley out there on the court with me.
RUTH RILEY (Detroit Shock)
It is an amazing experience. We beat a great team in Australia
in a very close game. Just being here to experience this is an honor.
To be able to win the gold and be the best, that is more than anyone can
KATIE SMITH (Minnesota Lynx)
I am so happy for everyone, especially Lisa (Leslie), Dawn (Staley)
and Sheryl (Swoopes). They helped build this and we want to keep it going
over the next four years. It was so much fun ... I wish I could have stayed
healthy but it was so exciting to be part of it.
On Dawn Staley
I think Dawn could definitely be an Olympic coach. I don't know
when it would be. She's got that knack and she knows her stuff. I think
it would be great.
What about her play in the clutch moments
of the game?
It was awesome to see Dawn step up and do her thing. She's like?
They're not taking my gold medal.' Every time she plays, she brings
out the best of you and you know she is going to handle hers. She did.
She made some huge plays. She played some great defense this tournament.
DAWN STALEY (Charlotte Sting)
This was awesome!!! It was a competitive game with some very talented
players but we all stepped up and grabbed the gold. I get to go out on
top, in style. The first one is always special because it is your first.
The second one was significant because we beat the Aussies (Australia)
in Sydney. This one, being my last one, with such talent makes me elated.
I am at a loss for words.
Opening comments on the game:
I thought we stepped up and played 40 minutes of great basketball.
Our bench proved to be significant in all of our games and today was no
Were you motivated or more focused after
the men's team lost in the semifinals?
Regardless of what the mend did, we were focused on the task at
hand. We weren't going to let any one thing distract us from the task
at hand and that was winning a gold medal. Of course we were very supportive
of the men, cheering them on to get to the gold medal game. When they
didn't get there, certainly it made us a little more focused.
We're sorry they didn't get what they set out to get. But you have to
take your hat off to the other teams, Argentina, Lithuania, the teams
that beat them were very good.
On the difference between the competition
and team from 1996 and 2004?
96 for us was the Olympic dream because we practiced for
14 months prior to the Olympics. That team really came together as we
prepared to win the gold. As far as the competition, I think the competition
is about the same, the team play, our styles are very similar to 96.
But I think the biggest difference is that individual players are a lot
better for their teams. That's probably the biggest difference. Take Lauren
Jackson. I think Lauren Jackson is a better player because she's able
to play in her country as well as playing in the WNBA.
On the USA's point guards scoring a combined
I thought Australia had a game plan and they were going to double
team off of their point guards onto our post game. I think that they were
focusing on Lisa and Tina. They were really picking and choosing their
battles. Picking and choosing what weapons they were going to use, double-teaming
and leaving us open. Fortunately our post players found us and inside
so we could be effective tonight.
On playing so many years with Lisa Leslie
and being at the end of the road as teammates:
Our run has been over a 16-year path and I knew Lisa when she was
... actually I changed her diapers (laughs). But our friendship has grown
off the court and it's really helped us on the court. I can talk with
Lisa, we have a mutual respect for one another. Sometimes I don't say
things appropriately, but she knows I mean well. I think Lisa, by far,
is the best player in this world. Until she retires she will hold that
title because she can do so much with the basketball. She's a great ambassador
for this game. Not only for what she does on the court, but what she does
off the court. The way she carries herself, the way she speaks about the
game, she's very passionate about the game. We have that in common so
it's quite natural every time she suits up for USA Basketball, I want
to be there to help her.
Why are the U.S. women's teams dominating
so much here at the Olympics?
For women, the pinnacle of our careers is on the Olympic stage.
We don't have a whole lot of professional women's sports and the Olympics
are a platform for us to showcase our talent after college. Fortunately
the WNBA allows us to continue our careers as basketball professionals.
Soccer had a little taste of it. I don't know about the softball or volleyball
players, but if we can continue to come and win gold medals in each and
every Olympics, certainly somebody should embrace the fact that we are
On the possibility of coaching for USA Basketball
I do have aspirations of coaching an Olympic team. Coaching the
best players in the world .. it's a challenge at times. But I wouldn't
mind sitting up here one day and feeling what coach Chancellor is feeling.
To do it as a player and a coach...I'd like to know what it feels like
to be a part of a gold medal winning team and all the preparation it takes
On her scoring late in the game
I feel like I still have some offense left in me. It shows up every
now and again. Fortunately, tonight, I hit a couple buckets. My teammates
were looking for me. Lisa gave me the ball down low, and she's never done
that before in 16 years.
SHERYL SWOOPES (Houston Comets)
Opening comments on the game:
I would definitely agree with what Lisa and Dawn said. I thought
it was a great team win for us. We had some players come in from the bench
who really stepped it up for us when we needed that extra lift. Down the
stretch Tina was huge for us and Dawn as well. Like Lisa said, it feels
really good to be sitting up here with another gold medal, knowing we're
going home as winners.
This third one (gold medal) feels extremely good. I don't think there's
many people out there who can say they won three gold medals at three
Olympics in any sport. To be able to share this with all of my teammates,
especially Dawn (Staley) and Lisa (Leslie) because we have been here before,
make this one a little more special.
What was going on in your minds when you
were celebrating out on the court tonight?
For me, I was speechless. I couldn't really believe that we, myself,
Dawn and Lisa, had the opportunity to be where we are today. Coming in
(to the press conference) Caroline (Williams) said that we had nine gold
medals between the three of us alone. I never really looked at it that
way and I did get emotional. Some people said that we couldn't do this,
myself, Lisa and Dawn. We were too old or it was time for the younger
players to move in. But when it came down to it, regardless of who had
gotten the job done, we definitely turned to the veterans. We knew we
had each other's back and we got the job done. But the celebration on
the floor was a wonderful moment. It was something we wanted to embrace.
To be able to celebrate with each other, our family and our friends made
it that much more special.
How are you going to celebrate tonight?
If it is truly going to be Dawn's last time, and I don't know about
myself or Lisa, it's going to be a special moment for us. We're going
to go out and celebrate. Not only the three of us, but with our friends
and family. What will make it even that much nicer of a celebration will
be if the guys can go out there and win a medal themselves.
DIANA TAURASI (Phoenix Mercury)
It was great. Just the emotions of the older players out there
- to see how much it meant to them and how much it meant to me...it was
amazing...it was a joy to be out there on the court with them.
I wouldn't trade this for anything in the world. All the effort that goes
into it and for it to pay off means the world to me. I want to win more
of these babies...if I am invited, I will here.
What were you thinking out there when Australia
kept fighting back?
When we were down by three or four there was never any sense of
urgency. Every time we came into the huddle we knew we needed to weather
it out, we were going to make a run and that's what we did.
With about three minutes left on the clock
during a timeout, what were you saying to everybody?
Just that we had three minutes (to play). Let's have that poise
that we always do, that the veterans have always shown through all those
years. And they did that. They're great.
What does this gold medal mean to you?
It means the world. To go out there and represent your country
and make them proud, it means a lot.
How does this compare to winning the national
I wouldn't even compare them. They're not even on the same scale.
They're two totally different things. At school you spend four years with
those people and that means a lot. But here you're representing your country
and playing against the world. They're both equally important.
On Dawn Staley:
She's probably the best leader I've ever known or I'll ever meet.
I've learned so much from her in two weeks, she's an amazing person. For
her to come on this team and will us to victory, which she did. When we
were down she got into the lane and made a couple shots, some free throws,
a layup. She was just amazing today.
Dawn, Sheryl and Lisa have been together for so long and it is so great
to see them go off with a gold. They are all great leaders and great players.
What she learned with this experience
It teaches us that teamwork pays off. Eventually everyone gets
their chance to play and the important thing is we won the gold medal.
It is a great feeling to look up in the stands and see my family there.
I remember watching in 1996 and 2000 and I remember hoping that one day
I could be there representing my country.
TINA THOMPSON (Houston Comets)
I am more than happy, I am elated. This was a long time coming
for me so I am soooo excited that it finally happened. Emotions just took
over (she spent final minute of game in tears on the bench) - it's okay
to cry now...it's all over and we accomplish our goals.
I am going to wear my medal all the way home for sure...after that I will
put it somewhere next to my WNBA championship stuff. The fact that I got
it (the gold) means more than anything.
How important was Dawn Staley tonight?
Every time we deviated from our game plan just a little bit, she
was right there to tellus to get back on track. We listened to all the
things she said and it happened. It happened. We won the gold.
Can you see her as coach in Beijing in 2008?
Oh, I could. If you have ever seen Dawn on the sidelines with her
team at Temple, she is amazing. She is definitely a student of the game
and that has flown from her to her players. She has them doing exactly
what she wants and needs them to do. Dawn is a connoseur of basketball.
She is an exceptional player and an exceptional coach. The sky is the
limit for her. Whatever she wants to do, she can make it happen.
Why is it that you guys can cope with tension
down the stretch?
Australia is an exceptional team
Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor
have a lot of gret players. We knew it was going to be a very tough game
and it was. This was not a team to be overlooked. They wanted that gold
medal just as much as we did. We stayed strong and did the things our
coaching staff planned for us and followed our game plan almost to a T.
We wanted to create a lot of things from our defense. And there was a
stretch in the fourth quarter where our defense was just awesome.
At the end of the game you were on the bench
in tears. What was that about and what were you thinking at the time?
Well, I started playing USA Basketball in 1993, 1994. This has
been a long time coming. At that time there was nothing other than USA
Basketball. There was no WNBA and the only other option was playing overseas.
So USA Basketball was the ultimate goal for women basketball players.
There was nothing else. There was no other high. The ultimate prize was
the gold medal in the Olympic games. For over a decade now this was something
I wanted to be a part of and wanted to do. And it finally happened for
me. I guess this was all the emotions from all those trials and all those
training sessions and going overseas and spending months together and
Colorado Springs. It was just kind of an overflow of all those things
and just finally reaching the goal of winning a gold medal.
On getting her first gold
Some things happen for a reason. The other ones weren't meant to
be. But, I'm here in this moment and right now, it's where I'm supposed
to be. It's a blessing and I'm very excited to be here.
On the USA comeback after the third quarter
Dawn kept calling my number, like every single time and I did whatever
I could to make it happen. I don't know what else to say. I'm so elated
to get my gold medal, finally.
On coach Van Chancellor
He's very open to all kinds of talent. For us, it's been very easy,
because he's welcomed all the individuality and allowed us to be ourselves.
Everyone put there egos aside and sacrificed to be the best team we could
be. And, that's a credit to him.