USA 93, Hungary All-Stars 67

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March 22, 2006 • Gyor, Hungary
Story || Box Score

USA head coach ANNE DONOVAN, Seattle Storm
On tonight's game:
They really showed why they're the Hungarian All-Star Team in the fourth quarter when they finally settled down and ran good offense, we didn't play exceptionally well in the fourth quarter, giving up 22 points. We didn't start the game exceptionally well, we didn't end the game exceptionally well, so as a coach that frustrates me. But I remind myself that we've only been together five or six days and with everyday we're getting better.

I thought that they really showed that they were an all-star team and they got better as the game wore on.

What did you say between the first and second quarters?
We talked about the back cuts and a lot of the off-ball movements that they were doing and I thought we responded to that in the second and third quarters and did a nice job. It seemed like we relaxed a little bit in the first and fourth quarters and they stepped it up. The third quarter was pretty good for us.

Nicole Ohlde had a nice fourth quarter:
She did. She's been playing very well on this trip. It seems that she took the lessons from a week ago and really has come back ready and consistent for us.

You have your final game coming up against a very tough professional team. How will you prepare for the final game in Europe?
The first thing is mentally. We have to be very focused not to let the physical game bother us. I think it took us out of it a little bit tonight. They were bumping, pushing and shoving and we didn't respond really well. So first thing, mentally, we have to get right and get prepared for that. And then defensively to do a better job than we did defending cuts.

CHASITY MELVIN, Washington Mystics
On tonight's game:
It was really physical, they played the European-style tonight with a lot of back screens, a lot cutting. So we had to stay really, really focused and it was a good match-up for us, especially going into our game Friday against Pecs.

How do you feel you played tonight?
I was trying to be more aggressive and it was a little easier because we had to move so much as far as having to keep up with them. So I was just trying to keep moving and be aggressive on the boards.

What does the team need to work on in order to close out this three-game tour strong?
We need to play together and stay focused. Pecs is going to play really well at home, but as long as we stay with it and help each other we'll be alright.

NICOLE OHLDE, Minnesota Lynx
On her play tonight:
I got some nice passes from my teammates that let me make some good layups, people were moving the ball, that kind of stuff, that really helped me out.

You seem to be playing much better than in the first tour. Are you gaining confidence?
I'm feeling better. I don't know what was going on in the first tour, I was kind of out there, I didn't really feel good about myself. Definitely in the second tour I feel like I'm more in the flow. Like I said, I'm getting some great passes from my team and getting some nice layups. Everybody's kind of working together right now.

Did you expect it to be so physical tonight?
I don't think I really expected it, it was a little surprising. But, luckily for me, I was able to see it from the bench at first so I was aware of it when I went into the game.

What are you learning from the veterans out here?
I think I'm learning a lot actually. Whether it's in practice or a game Taj (McWilliams-Franklin) is always talking to me about screens on the ball, Sheryl (Swoopes) is talking to me, Katie (Smith), Chas (Melvin), they're all talking to me. I think these trips have definitely been helpful and it's so nice of them to be concerned about us younger ones and they want to share the wisdom that they have with us.

SHERYL SWOOPES, Houston Comets
What did you do defensively to pull away in the second quarter?
There were some good things we did and a lot of not so good things we did. The bottom line is that we got a win, regardless of how ugly it was. This team gave us a small example of what's to come in the next game and what's to come in the World Championship. You can tell that players were getting frustrated with how physical it was and they tried to do what they had to do and that was to be physical and try and take us out of our game. I thought the first quarter, especially, they did an incredible job of getting us frustrated, getting us out of our rhythm. Defensively we kind of let them do what they wanted to do. They penetrated, they kicked, they got it inside to their post players, set a lot of great screens. Those are things that you know are going to happen when you play internationally, they pass and cut. With us not having a lot of days of practice, they're so many things we have to work on. But, again, I thought after they did enough of it and Anne (Donovan) probably used every timeout that she had and said, ‘look, I don't want this to happen again.' After that I thought we did a good job of buckling down on defense and not letting them do what they wanted to do.

What do you think about some of the younger players who are really fighting for a spot on this team?
I think it's going to be tough, it's a battle. But at the same time I think they know that. Just to look at the expressions, to look at the faces of some of them, it's kind of a shock to them exactly how different international basketball is from playing in the States. Whether that's playing in the WNBA, whether that's on the collegiate level, it's a complete different game. But at the same time I think they're working extremely hard, they want to learn and they want to get better. I think it's great that we have some younger players mixed in with some of the veteran players. It's going to take a lot of talent and a lot of experience, hard work and determination, all those things, to make the team. Regardless of who you are, what you've done or what you haven't done. You have to come in and work hard and understand what it is that the coach wants. It might not necessarily be what you're use to be doing on your WNBA team or your college team, you have to come out here and adjust to whatever your role is. For the younger players who can understand and can accept that, they have a great shot at making the team.

KENDRA WECKER, San Antonio Silver Stars
You haven't really played competitively since your college season ended last year, you were injured and didn't play the 2005 WNBA season, tell me how you're feeling after two games under your belt out here:
Tonight was a lot better than the other night. On Monday I really struggled with playing with the speed of the game and mentally thinking, ‘hey, it's okay to cut hard, make a run, play defense.' Tonight I felt a lot better. I don't want to say that I was satisfied with my performance by any means, but it was good to get some shots up and feel comfortable doing it.

Do you feel like you're getting your confidence back?
I hope so. I felt better tonight with everything. Mentally, staying focused. I think the biggest thing for me is to know it's okay to play hard. It's different playing in a game than it is playing in the rec center, playing pick-up. There's definitely a lot more nerves out here (laughs).

Have some of the veteran players helped you this week?
They've been great. That's one of the main reasons I wanted to come on this trip. I knew I wasn't going to play much, but I knew I wanted to come and get everything out of it as possible and they've been great to me, especially on the defensive end. I haven't played this type of defense in eight or nine months and I didn't get much of that during training camp, so to come out here and learn from the best, soak everything in and learn as much as possible has been great. It's building my confidence and getting me in the right place. Talking through screens and how to get through them, that's probably my biggest struggle defensively, so they've been wonderful.

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