USA 91, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) 66

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April 11, 2006 • Canberra, Australia
Story || Box Score

USA head coach ANNE DONOVAN, Seattle Storm
On today's game:
We've been watching Chinese Taipei and we've been really impressed with how hard they played. They play like they're fearless and they played like that tonight. We didn't meet our goal in the first half , to hold them down defensively, they blew us out of the water in the first quarter. I wasn't really surprised with they way they played, I was really surprised with how we started the game. It set the tone throughout the first half.

I really thought we were going to start the game better than that. I didn't think we'd take them for granted. But I think our approach was that we were going to walk out of here with the win. I'll take some of that on myself, in terms of being mentally prepared for this game. With a lot of the younger players we have on this team, we had to work hard at it. I'm really disappointed with how we approached this one.

You play Australia tomorrow, what do you need to do to tighten up and make sure you close out the spring training strong?
I'm assuming that our preparation for Australia and the way we start the game will be a little different than what we did against Chinese Taipei. I think we recognize what kind of match-up that is going to be. It's going to be a full building, people are going to be closely watching that match-up and Australia wants to make up for what they didn't do in Cairns. We're going to have to come out defensively and be much stronger in how we start the game. Again tonight we got in foul trouble, we kept putting people on the free throw line. I keep preaching defense, but really that's where it starts. We've got to set a tone and have a mentality that people can't score on us.

What about Tina Thompson's play tonight?
She had an incredible first half. It carried us offensively. We recognized that our bigs were going to be the answer offensively for us. That's one thing we did a good job of, getting the ball inside.

Chinese Taipei came out and surprised you in the beginning of the game. What happened out there?
I think they put the pressure on us on the defensive end and got to the free throw line. That's one thing that we didn't want to do. They played within their system, getting to the free throw line for points.

What about Tina Thompson's play tonight?
Man! I didn't even realize she had so many in the first half. It was so smooth. She just played within her game, that's what she does every night, but it was more points in a small period of time.

You're playing Australia tomorrow night. You missed the first game, but what are you going to do and what can we expect from that contest?
I know that they have one of the best players in the WNBA in Lauren Jackson so I know it's going to be very difficult. I watched them play yesterday and they're a very structured team. They don't get out of their system, everybody plays within themselves, they know where the ball needs to get to – Lauren Jackson.

ALANA BEARD, Washington Mystics
Chinese Taipei seemed to take you out of your game to start things off:
We didn't start things the way we wanted to. I give them credit, they came out here and played their butts off. But as a team, we weren't focused and ready to go. I was disappointed with how we came out, we didn't do a good job of guarding them. Physically we lagged and that was disappointing, but we came out with the win and that's what matters.

Tomorrow night you're going to have to be focused against Australia:
That is without a doubt. We're going to have to be focused. Australia is a great team and we can't afford to have another let down like we did tonight.

What about tomorrow night, what's the game plan against Australia?
We haven't really talked about tomorrow night yet. But I'm sure the coaches are already thinking about it. We know we have to come ready to play them the best that we can. We know that they're good. We can't afford to come out and have another beginning like we did tonight against Chinese Taipei. We have to get it going early.

SWIN CASH, Detroit Shock
Chinese Taipei seemed to take you out of your game to start things off:
When you play a team like that that really has nothing to lose, they're the same size at every position and they played for awhile together. What helped us was that we went inside early and we were able to execute and get early buckets in the paint.

The post players had some good numbers tonight:
Yeah, it was great. We kept moving the ball, getting great looks inside and we were finding the open man and making open shots. I think Tina (Thompson) started us off early and then you've got Candace (Parker) who came in and played great, and Ruth (Riley) and Jessica (Davemport), all the bigs did a great job.

What's tomorrow night's game going to be like against Australia?
We have to pick up our defensive intensity. I think it's going to be an intense game. We just have to sit down defensively and guard them. That's going to be our main focus going into tomorrow.

JESSICA DAVENPORT, Ohio State / Columbus, Ohio
On the slow start to tonight's game:
We knew from the start that every team that we play is going to give us their best shot. We didn't play our best tonight, but we got the win.

The team got a lot of points from its inside game, was that part of the plan?
We had a big height advantage over them so we wanted to make sure tried to throw the ball over the top. We doubled all up top and if they doubled we kicked it outside to our guards.

How would you rate your performance tonight?
I think I played well, there were some defensive let downs that I had, I was ball watching a little bit. But overall I thought I played a good game and did what I knew I could do.

What about Tina Thompson's game?
Oh she had a big game. She had 24 in the first half. That's pretty good. She's our post leader out there so we try to go out there and follow her lead.

Against Australia tomorrow night, what will you need to do as a team?
Go from the jump and start defense a lot better than we did in this game. Just go out there and have fun.

CANDACE PARKER, Tennessee / Naperville, Ill.
You seem to be getting comfortable out there, playing at the senior level. Is that the case?
I'm just trying to follow the lead of the veterans and watch what they're doing, then go out there and just play my game.

Did you expect Chinese Taipei to come out like that?
We're USA, we're going to get everybody's best. They didn't quit, they kept playing hard. That's what most teams are going to do and that's what we should expect from them.

What do you need to do against Australia tomorrow night?
We need to continue to move forward. Every game we've gotten better. In this past game we kind of took a step back, but we've improved in a lot of areas. We're not fouling as much and defensively, help side, I think we're getting better. Putting all that together in one game, we've done bits and pieces of things in each game, but we haven't had a complete game yet.

How important will it be to walk out here strong tomorrow?
I think it's very important, like coach said, to let the world know that in the USA we're serious about basketball. We need to put our best foot forward.

TINA THOMPSON, Houston Comets
On the slow start to tonight's game:
I think we came out a little flat. We watched a couple of their games and in the first few games Taipei didn't play to the level in which they could have. I think we had that in mind and we didn't come out as aggressive as we should have. That's kind of the motto of a young team, but I think we're going to bounce back. We know that Australia is a tough team and we're going to have to start well in order to compete with them. They're a good team. We have to definitely be on the top of our game.

Do you think part of Chinese Taipei's start had something to do with the fact that they had nothing to lose?
I know that, as long as I've played USA Basketball, countries always give us their best, no matter how bad they've played in other games. When they play us, we always see their best. Tonight was an example of that and we have to have that mind-set going into every game that we play. I think that the unfamiliarity and the lack of experience on our team as a whole played to that tonight. They showed us that we can't come out with that attitude. Hopefully tomorrow that won't be a problem.

Were you feeling like you were in a zone tonight?
Unbelievable! You know though, Anne (Donovan) and Dawn (Staley) said in the beginning of the game that our inside game was definitely going to be the key to the game tonight. I played to the strengths that they said we could take advantage of and it was there. I just kept on going there and as long as they let me keep going there, I just went on ahead and did it. The numbers, wow, I didn't know the numbers were like that. As long as we get the win, I'm happy.

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