March 24, 2006 Pécs, Hungary
Story || Box
head coach ANNE DONOVAN, Seattle Storm
On tonight's game:
I expected it to be very competitive. I knew that Pecs would be the most
competitive game on this trip. I'm just glad it was last because it seemed
that everyday we got progressively better. I thought tonight we were very
focused and really confident. That was a matter of being together this
week and working hard together.
What did you talk about in the locker room?
We talked after the last game about not letting the door open again
and letting someone back through it. So really, trying to seal the deal
and close it out. I think they took it to heart. Sheryl (Swoopes) and
Katie (Smith) led the way in terms of that mentality. You saw it down
the stretch This isn't the place you want to be close down the stretch,
and let the officials get in the middle of it. The fact that we were able
to really push ahead in the second half was important with how we finished.
Are you pleased with the way this week has progressed?
Very much so. It's such a great mix to have some of the more experienced
players with some of the younger players and to see the younger players
grow. Look at the game (Michelle) Snow had tonight and how (Nicole) Ohlde's
grown from last trip to this trip, Alana (Beard), same thing. It's nice
to see the younger players get the opportunity and learn from the older
players. I'm really pleased. To be six and oh at this point, I'm thrilled.
assistant coach MIKE THIBAULT, Connecticut Sun
What did you talk about at halftime?
Keeping the defensive focus and taking care of the basketball.
We had 11 turnovers in the first half, a lot of them were sloppy. Some
of them were walking, some of them were charging, but to not give them
extra possessions and we did a much better job of that. The third quarter
was 22-7 and that was probably as good a quarter as we've played on this
How do you feel about how this three-game series
This has been terrific. We've gotten better each game, which is
the most important thing. We only had a couple practices, we had one less
practice than we did in the previous session. With only nine players,
a few injuries here and there, some people in foul trouble, but we played
better and better, especially defensively, in each game. Particularly
the second half of the last game and all of tonight's game we passed the
ball much better. It was fun to watch. We just did everything well tonight,
for the most part. This has been a very good trip, we've had a chance
to get some good evaluations on some players.
BEARD, Washington Mystics
On tonight's game and blowing it open in
the third quarter:
I think in this game we came out with more intensity than we did
in the other two games. To start the game we played great team defense
and that was the difference in the third quarter. We played better team
defense than we did in the first two quarters.
What did the coaches talk about at halftime?
The cuts, the open cuts that we were giving them. The same cuts
we got beat on the game before were the same cuts we got beat on tonight.
They wanted us to get into better help-side defensively as a team, push
the ball better, push it down their throats and open the gap a little
You've now been on two USA Basketball Women's
Senior National Team tours, how do you feel about your play over the past
I think in the first trip I played like I (didn't know what I was
doing). But the second trip, I think I'm getting more comfortable with
her system. I like her system, it's easy to get into and it really helps
me to have veterans on the team. They've helped me out with a lot of things.
Speaking of the veterans, what have they taught
The way they handle themselves mentally, that's one thing I really
look at. Katie (Smith) had an unbelievable first session, she didn't have
as good a session this time, but the way she handled herself you could
never tell. Taj (McWilliams-Franklin) is always talking to you, helping
you out. And then you have Sheryl (Swoopes) talking and helping you out
also. I love that about the veterans, I really do.
HAYNIE, Sacramento Monarchs
On tonight's game:
We started out good. I think the first quarter, we really came
out together. We played well with good intensity. We kept that up throughout
most of the game. I think it's important to get a good start in the first
quarter and the third quarter and we did that.
With only a week of training, the team seemed
to play like you've been training together for much longer. Why do you
think that is?
A lot of it is that we're basketball players, it doesn't take that
long to get use to people and know their tendencies. We've played against
each other as well, so I think that helps out a lot. But I think each
day we got better, we gelled more and we went to each other's strengths.
That's what you have to do to be a good basketball team.
McWILLIAMS-FRANKLIN, Connecticut Sun
What do you think about this week, working
with this mix of veterans and younger players?
I think you always need a mix, especially players with experience
playing the type of basketball that so often differs from the European
leagues and the WNBA. I think it's good to see what we look like together,
there's not many people out here, just to see the talent, see what everybody
needs to work on. As a coach, I guess, what the coaching staff and the
organization, what they need to bring in to complete the team.
You really came together as a team tonight, especially
in the third quarter, what do you attribute that to?
Just knowing that somebody's back there for you. A lot of times
you want to play really hard defense, but you're afraid that nobody has
your back. When we were in the third quarter we kept talking, let's
get another stop. I've got your back.' Every time there was a break down
somebody rotated and another person rotated, and I think we had about
five steals in that quarter. It really helps knowing that everybody's
playing just as hard as you and they're out there with you and you've
got a group on the bench that's cheering for you.
Were you surprised at how fast this group was
able to gel?
Not really. When you watch these players, you scout them and you
play against them for so long, you pretty much know what they can do.
That helps you when you get into situations like this - tough team, tough
arena, tough crowd - you can gel together because you know what they can
do in any situation because you've played against them for so many years.
SMITH, Detroit Shock
On tonight's game:
It was a physical game, but I thought we came out and it was even
for a bit. But then we took the crowd out of the ball game and they never
got as rowdy as I remember it being in this place. We made a little run
and we kept our distance, which is what we wanted to do because anything
can happen in a game. It got physical, but I'm glad we all got out of
here healthy and we were able to get the W. It was a great win, especially
with our history here, we've always had tough games here.
How does it feel to not only close out this tour
on a winning note, but with such a dominating win?
It's great. It's been fun on all these trips with the diversity
of the teams and how different they are. We're all just kind of getting
to know each other for the first time, but we played great. I think it's
a tribute to Anne (Donovan) and Mike (Thibault) for the style that they
play and for everybody coming in here and being like, hey, let's
go play.' It's been fun. I'm glad we're undefeated.
SNOW, Houston Comets
On tonight's game:
Pecs is a great team, a great European team and one of the best
teams in the EuroLeague. So we had to come in and respect their game,
they have great depth, they have height, quick players, everything to
match-up with us. They came out focused. But, as expected, we came out
with our focus and were determined to pull this win out.
You looked like you were really coming together
as a team tonight, especially in the third quarter.
Definitely. In the first couple games we needed time to gel, time
to get to know each other. And once we had some time to practice with
each other and understand what the other person was going to do, we got
better. I thought the defense was a lot better today, we got up and down
better, rebounding ... everybody contributed. You can look throughout
the stat sheet and see the steals, the turnovers we forced, the rebounds,
everything. It was a team win.
What about your performance tonight?
It was just a matter of learning what she wanted, how she wanted
me to play and what she needed me to do. I was determined to show her
that I could do that tonight, I wanted to leave an impression with the
(USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team) Committee.
You came out for spring two years ago trying
to make the 2004 team, but you really didn't play well during that time.
What's been the difference?
It's definitely more international experience under my belt, but
also I was going through a lot mentally. I had just lost my mom. Right
now I'm a lot better, I've dealt with that situation. So for me it was
a lot more mental than anything.
How do you feel about your play over the last
Honestly, I'm not happy with my play this week. I know I need to
work on my defense. They already know that all of us can score, all the
posts can rebound, they want to know who can defend these European players.
That's something that I'm really going to take to heart and work on when
I leave here.