September 23, 2006 Sao Paulo, Brazil
Story || Box
Score || Photos
Additional Audio (mp3) Quotes: Augustus
|| Beard || Bird
|| Catchings || Ford
|| Milton-Jones ||
Parker || Smith
|| Snow || Swoopes
|| Taurasi || Taurasi
Part 2 || Thompson
|| Press Conference ||
Roar of the Crowd
head coach ANNE DONOVAN, Seattle Storm
Opening Comments about the game:
We knew we had to bounce back. We knew that not just Brazil would be ready,
but we knew the fans would be ready. We knew we had to be ready to play
a great game, so our mental preparation and our emotional preparation
had to be high. I give a lot of credit to the girls. They came in knowing
that it was going to be very hostile and we had to match up. Brazils
been playing such good basketball. We knew we had to come out and play
our best game in order to walk away with the bronze. We did have a good
game, it was one of those days for us, very different from our game against
Russia. I give Brazil a whole lot of credit for a great tournament and
a great finish despite the score.
What would the impact be of the USA not
winning the gold medal, and what do you think will be the outcome of the
gold medal game?
It definitely impacts womens basketball in the world. What
people seem to have forgotten is that we had this 50-game winning streak,
we won all these gold medals, but for the last (several years) its
been very competitive. We havent waltzed away with anything since
the Olympics in Australia. Since then its been very competitive.
I think now theres a little chink in our armor and how we respond
is the key. This was the first game in that response, so Im very
pleased with how we came out against a very good Brazilian team in a very
tough environment. We have to fight to get it back, but I know that we
The game at 2:00 p.m. is going to be very competitive. Russia played
the best basketball weve seen them play (against the USA) so itll
be interesting to see if they can put two games like that together.
On the final World Championship game for
both Janeth Arcain and Sheryl Swoopes:
They are two of the all-time greats. Janeth, its great to
see here again, weve missed her in the WNBA. Im sorry to hear
that shes talking about (playing) just one more year because shes
still got game obviously. We were actually talking about that, the coaching
staff in warm-ups, trying to figure out how much more she could go. As
an opponent, Ill be happy to see you retire (talking to Arcain),
but as somebody who admires your game so much, stick with it you have
And Swoopes, I cant say enough about Sheryl. Shes been injured,
was questionable on this trip and yet she decided to come. She wasnt
able to perform the way we know she can perform, but her leadership was
second to no one. Being the captain of this team, in particular due to
the loss to Russia and being able to come back with such focus, I thought
Sheryl was instrumental throughout this tournament in how well we played.
On any changes in the way the USA Basketball
Womens Senior National Team would prepare in the future due to the
bronze medal finish:
We had six weeks of spring training so weve already stated
to make that commitment out front in the time periods we can before the
WNBA season and immediately after. There will be no more national team
program like there was in 95 because the world and the game has
changed so much. But the commitment from the players to come to those
training segments is what will be important. Its quality versus
quantity. Again, the continuity of these players to continue every summer,
the qualifying tournament next year and into Beijing is what will help
us. I dont think well need to completely revamp like we did
in 95. These players are good enough, we just need a little more
It seemed like you did a great job of getting
everyone going, getting them relaxed and in the flow if the game:
It felt good. The last two games against Russia
and Lithuania we didn't really get out to our normal good start and that's
what everybody was talking about. Also, no letting the crowd get into
it and that's even more of what we were talking about and I think we did
a good of that. Brazil is a good team, they're going to make shots, they're
going to make plays. But every time they did something we came right back
at them and that's really what gave us the advantage in the game.
Could you feel everybody getting in a comfort
I think for us this was an emotional game, we didn't want to leave
without a medal. But also going against a Brazil team who has 10,000 people
cheering for them on their home soil and they don't want to leave without
a medal. So it was a very emotional game. I think for us we just calmed
down, we played the way we wanted to play, we played the way we normally
play and "D" (Diana Taurasi) was just ridiculous in the second
half and opened it up for us
With it being an early morning game, did
it help to have a big crowd?
Yeah, it kind of woke you up. Right now it's like 11:30 a.m. and
I don't feel like that at all. I think it took some time to get everyone's
adrenaline flowing, but the music was loud, the crowd was cheering and
I think it definitely helped jump start us.
Comments on the game:
I think we were really disappointed and really looking forward
to another test. One of the things we knew coming into today's game was
that we were going to have to be mentally focused, mentally prepared for
this team. Brazil playing on their home turf, they always do really well
and we just needed to respond.
The USA team seemed relaxed and able to
get in a groove early:
I think so, we wanted to have fun. That's the last thing Anne said
before we left, 'hey, have fun." Yeah we wanted to win, yeah we want
to complete the task, complete our journey together, but have fun while
doing that. With that being a lasting memory, that's what we took away
Does this win helped take was some of the
disappoint of the last game?
I think so. This isn't the game we wanted to play in but okay we
were off and we hard to figure out another route to go. We came out today
and we played really focused and we just had fun and that's what it's
Comments about the game:
We came out and took care of business early and just never looked back.
Ww all were fired up. It's hard to get fired up for a bronze medal game
but we looked at it like it was our gold medal game and playing against
the host country we had to come out and start early.
Did it help to get
out to a start where shots were falling early?
I think so, but I think we also learned that we've got to come out playing
defense no matter what.
What about the crowd?
I think we fed off the crowd. Anne stressed using the energy no matter
if it was against you or for you, just using it for our advantage and
Comments about the game:
It was great, it was nice to come out and have
everybody play, hard, no let down. We're obviously disappointed about
our performance last time we came out but we came out here and represented
ourselves and the USA well and finished off on a high note. This is something
to build on and hopefully this will motivate us and keep us plugging away
for next summer's qualifier and then Beijing. We're obviously a little
disappointed but we're very happy with the way we finished this thing
It was an early game,
did it help having a crowd even it was almost all pro Brazil?
It's awesome. In Basketball having the energy whether it's for you or
against you it makes it fun to play. It can make it difficult but if you
are ready to play to really kind of feed off it and get yourself going.
This is what it is all about to have people come out and watch the game
and be passionate about it and I think it maybe helped being an a.m. game
and having this kind of energy. If there's no one in the gym it might
might have been a little hard to get going.
When I think about this game my first game is
why couldn't this team show up for our game against Russia. I was very,
very pleased with the effort, very pleased with the way everybody came
out and performed I think it would have been very easy for us to come
out and just kind of go through the motion considering what happened against
Russia and playing for the bronze medal. But Coach Donovan said it best,
that this game was about pride and passion. Every single player from the
starters to everybody that came in contributed, everybody put it all out
on the line and we approached this game like this was our gold medal game.
You know we didn't want to go home with bronze, but we're going home with
a medal and that's the most important thing.
Defense helped set the tone early, that
and the USA was shooting the ball well:
I think those are two of the biggest differences in this game and
versus our game against Russia. We didn't play very good defense in that
game and we didn't shoot the ball well. This game was totally different.
I said to everybody that Brazil was going to approach this game like it
was their gold medal game. For us it was all about pride. We wanted to
come out and play well awe wanted to go home on a good note and also send
a message. We know we still have a lot of work to do because we didn't
win the gold medal now we have to go qualify. But the good thing is that
we're leaving on a good note and we're leaving here with a message that
we wanted to send to everyone of 'yeah we lost that game but we'll be
ready when it really counts - the Olympics.'
On her shooting against Brazil:
Individually you could talk about it being a very good night, but
as a team we learned a lot about ourselves. We came off of a tough loss
to Russia, who played a great game, hats off to them they deserved it.
This morning we knew it was going to be a very difficult game against
a wonderful Brazilian team, with Janeth (Arcain) and Izi (Marques) we
knew it was going to be tough. Our focus was the highest its been
all tournament, which is a testament to the coaches for getting us prepared.
For us, well take it for what its worth and be ready the next
time we come out to these tournaments.
Did you feel you had something to prove
this morning after that loss to Russia?
Yeah, I think we had lot to prove, not to anyone but to ourselves.
We knew the Russia game was a difficult game where we were out of sorts
and out of rhythm from the get-go. I guess you could chalk it up to being
one of those nights. But we werent going to leave it to chance again.
Everyone in the locker room was ready to go, knowing how tough this game
was going to be. We lost a little bit of our pride the other night so
we had to get it back tonight. I think we did that. Obviously were
disappointed that were not in the game today at two, but things
happen for a reason.
Was this one of your best performances
with the USA National Team?
It was just one of those mornings where youre just feeling
it. I think everyone was just so focused and I was the one who got the
open looks and knocked them down. Probably, individually on the U.S. team
this was probably one of my best performances. Then again whenever you
win the game it makes the night a little bit more special. Tonight it
was more about the team than anything else.
The U.S. hit shots early and it seemed like
everyone then got it going:
You know what, I think we started the way we
were suppose to start. The game against Russia, no excuses though, but
it wasn't a true viewing of how we can play and how we are. Today we were
very focused and came out and played our game. We were on top of them
defensively and it was very close in the beginning, but they are a good
team but they were not going to stop us from scoring completely. We have
so much depth on this team, we continue to come at them hard and not let
up. We can make so many positive things happen
Did it help to have
a big crowd even if it was so much pro Brazil?
Oh for sure. I think if you're a competitor
you love that. It doesn't matter who the fans are cheering for as long
as its a full house. When you get a setting like that it's always awesome
to be a part of. I think we fed off that a little bit. They're a great
crowd, they cheered their team on even when they were down 20-30 points.
They were still down and being supportive.
Is it better to finish
up with this kind of game?
I would be telling a story if I said I'm satisfied. I'm okay with
our effort and the fact that we left with momentum and on a good note,
but we have a lot of work to do and we have a job that is unfinished that
needs to be done. Next summer we're going to have to come out and get
after it. But I think the effort more than anything else I'm proud of.
I don't know if I could necessarily say I'm happy to get a bronze medal.
I'm not at all especially in my first World Championship. But things happen
and it was a good learning experience for us and we'll grow from it.