March 6, 2006 Sopron, Hungary
Story || Box
head coach ANNE DONOVAN, Seattle Storm
Congratulations on your first win as a USA Basketball
head coach. How does it feel?
It's great. To have four practices in and get a win is good, against
a good team. Sopron is a competitive team obviously, they're at the end
of their season so they're very sharp, they're very organized and I can't
say the same for us just yet.
You had a good mix of veteran players and younger
players. How do you think they meshed together out there?
I think, again for the first time out, we did a really nice job
offensively. We scored a lot of points, we shot the ball very well, particularly
from the 3-point line. So it's nice to see that. Defensively we've got
a lot of work to do and we'll need to get focused on that once we get
They pulled to within five points in the fourth
quarter and then your veterans fought back for us. What does that say
about the veterans?
It shows that they've been here before. They understand that all
of these games are crunch games, that you have to play well to beat teams
in Europe. DeLisha, Katie, Sue, Taurasi, Swin ... we also had good minutes
from young kids mixed in there. Kristen Mann did some nice things off
the bench, as did Kara (Lawson) late in the game. So that mix you're talking
about really came into play late. It's good to see our young kids get
good, valuable experience.
You talked about the defensive lapses, what kind
of improvements do you think you'll see over the next two games?
We have to be better defensively. We can't give up 80 points a
game, we just can't. Really it starts and ends there for us. Offensively,
we have a number of players who can score. As long as we stay unselfish
and keep moving the ball, we had 22 assists on 35 field goals. We're moving
the ball well and getting the right shots. Our focus really has to be,
for the next game, has to be defense. Getting back in transition and doing
a better job with individual defense.
assistant coach MIKE THIBAULT, Connecticut Sun
When you first took the position at the
Connecticut Sun, you already had a gold and a silver medal under your
belt from coaching two USA Basketball men's teams. Did you ever imagine
you'd get the chance to work with a USA Basketball women's team?
Let's hope it means another gold! I never even really thought about
it at the time. It's an honor to be chosen and be a part of this and working
on a great staff. The rapport is great that Anne and I have, and with
the players the entire week. As to whether or not I've ever thought about
it, I probably never thought about it until about 10 months ago.
On tonight's game and whether it differs from
the men's international game:
They let them go out there and be really physical. That seems to
be the common denominator. We got beat up a little bit. We have to get
used to it because you're not going to get calls when you're in these
types of games. But I was extremely pleased with our offense, they moved
the ball, passed it, we had 22 assists on 25 baskets. We shot the three
as well as anybody ever expects. But we still have a lot of work to go
defensively. I thought that was the best part of getting out there and
playing this first game. Now we can go back in practice and work on things,
say hey look, this is what we need to do.' It's different telling
your players that until they actually see it in a game. Now they know
the little things. Much like the men in Europe, all the big players can
step out and make shots. We don't always see that and I think it was a
good first experience for a couple of our post players to have to get
out there and guard people 15, 17 feet from the basket.
MANN, Minnesota Lynx
How did it feel to play with the USA Basketball
jersey on again after three years ago winning the 2003 FIBA World Championship
For Young Women?
I was a little nervous at first, but once I got out on the floor
, got up and down a little bit, I got a lot better. I got the jitters
out after that first shot. But it was good, I like playing. I like the
red, white and blue.
Talk about your second quarter run:
I think we got out and ran quite a bit in that little run. I was
just going with A.B. Alana was just running the ball really well and I
followed through and she got me the ball. It was a collective effort.
Did it help having previous experience playing
with some of these players in the past with USA Basketball and at the
Definitely. It's hard coming in, getting just (four) practices
in and going into a game. But luckily a lot of us have played together
on different teams so I think that definitely helps.
MELVIN, Washington Mystics
On her aggressiveness in the post tonight:
I just tried to bring some aggressiveness on defense and just work
hard. The girls aren't usually too physical, but they're offensively-minded.
So I was just trying to bring the physicality to the game, being aggressive.
What did it feel like to step on the court wearing
the USA Basketball jersey?
It was a great feeling. This is a really good experience for me
and I'm just glad to be a part of helping USA Basketball out.
Milton-Jones, Washington Mystics
On tonight's game:
I think going out into tonight's game everyone was feeling confident
and the energy was at a great level. But defensively we faltered a little
bit. I think individually we did not play good one-on-one defense and
because of that we had to help each other a lot and the secondary line
of defense wasn't there so they scored a lot of easy baskets. They ended
up scoring almost 80 points in the game and that's too much for international
play when you're playing against teams that can shoot this well. That
means the game is never over when you're up by 10 with three minutes left
they can come back very quickly. But all-in-all we're pleased with the
win and we're pleased with our offensive production. But defensively we're
going to work on things the next couple of days.
Talk about the fourth quarter when Sopron closed
the game to five points. Aside from Kara Lawson's three with 16 seconds
to go, all the USA's scoring came from Olympic champions, the veterans
really stepped it up. Would that just be the experience out there on the
I think that experience pays big dividends and in this situation
it showed up huge. When you have people out there who understand the European
game and the play at crunch time, I think we went out there and did just
that. We hunkered down, got some big buckets and started shutting people
down defensively. As a result we won the game.
SMITH, Detroit Shock
On her shooting:
I felt good. I came out trying to be aggressive, it's something
I haven't really done in the past with USA Basketball. I've always kind
of been more of a glue man. But if you're open, take some shots. I felt
good, I got the ball and didn't force anything. There were a lot of people
... we spread the wealth basically, but we have got to get the D together.
You have only had four practices, while your
opponents tonight have been together all season long. What does that say
about what you can accomplish with this group of players over the next
I think that the personalities and the talent ... it's all about
winning. It's all about what we do together. It's not about one person.
On the fly, in four days, I thought it was great. I haven't played overseas
this year, a lot of people are playing for different teams (in Europe),
but I think the mind set is what maybe put us over the top and what kept
us on top. It's the willingness to be unselfish and do whatever it takes
What did you think about some of the younger
players' play tonight?
I think some of them stepped up, they understand, they've been
overseas. But it's just that pressure, when you put the USA jersey on
it's totally different. They basically are out to whoop you and you have
to be on your toes. You don't want to lose the game to anybody, you don't
want anybody to get an edge. So I thought they did well. The young kids
are out here working hard, they're listening and doing what they're asked