Additional Quotes >> USA 104, Argentina 53
USA head coach Anne Donovan, Seattle Storm
On today's game:
I thought it was another great effort on our part. Defensively we came out focused and took charge of the game right from the beginning, I was really pleased with that. Our running game was top notch. From start to finish I thought we handled it well.
On possibly playing Cuba:
Obviously that was a great test for us in the first game of this tournament. We got to see just how good Cuba is and how much improved they are. To me they're playing with such confidence and with an intelligence we haven't always seen from them before. We're going to have to come out and play just as intelligent, take care of the basketball and take advantage of some of the things they do and switch defensively. We really didn't capitalize on that the first time out. The second time out we need to take advantage of the mismatches that they give us.
On possibly playing Brazil:
Brazil is always an interesting match-up as one of the premier teams in women's basketball, coming off of (the World Championship in) Sao Paulo and the bronze medal game. We scrimmaged them here, we've seen them here already, so we're well aware of what they bring. They have great athleticism. They run as well as we run. Our objective will not to let them rebound so they can run like that. Brazil will be a great match-up, just as Cuba will be.
You had one tough game, the first night against Cuba, and then three fairly easy contests. How do you change focus for what you know will be another difficult game?
I honestly think that our three games since Cuba have been easy because of our focus. I thank the Cuba game for giving us that focus and that level of understanding of what we're facing now. These have been big margins of wins. But if you really look at our statistics, other than this afternoon, we have stayed focused at both ends of the floor. Looking back, I realize that Cuba was a great way to snap us into the reality of the moment and play in the moment. I don't think it will be difficult at all to raise the level again tomorrow.
Have you been pleased with the all-around play of this team?
It's so great to see everybody take the floor and there be no drop in effort, no drop in competitiveness in terms of our execution. Cappie's (Pondexter) been running a lot of minutes at point and that really stands out to me. She came in late and didn't have the benefit of any training. She's not only been thrown into the fire offensively for us, but is running the show also. I really like the mix of players we've got. More than anything the focus we have. Again, I'm not so sure we have that if we didn't have Cuba right out of the gates.
Sue Bird, Seattle Storm
You look to be improving from game to game:
We played really well today against Argentina. I think with this team it's pretty obvious that the more we play together the better we get. Hopefully we're peaking and clicking at the right time, which is just in time for the finals.
Do you agree with the thought that the game against Cuba was a wake up call for you?
Oh yeah. I think it served as a wake up call. The bottom line is that we really haven't played together that much. The Cuba game, when we went back and watched film we saw a lot of miscommunications. Passes that people thought players were cutting one way when they weren't. Little things like that. I really think we've been able to sharpen things up since then.
You'll have a tough contest facing you in the gold medal game. What do you think about Brazil and Cuba?
Those two are very good teams. Brazil right now don't have the players we're use to seeing, they're very young. But they're very talented and they're a very good team. Obviously we know what Cuba can do. Both teams ... it's going to be tough no matter who we play.
Candace Parker, University of Tennessee
On today's game:
I think we did a good job with our defense and pushing the ball, pushing tempo. Our defense created offense. I felt that today we really played a complete game.
The team seems to be clicking more as the tournament goes on. Is that the case?
I definitely think so. We're learning each other, learning what one another likes to do and just playing off each other.
With one final game to go of a string of five games in five days, how important is it to have the depth that you have?
I think it's very important. Nobody has really logged huge minutes, which will help us going into the championship.
Cappie Pondexter, Phoenix Mercury
On the contributions and energy of the bench players:
That's what makes us a great team, we have 12 great players. We kind of wear down on other teams because we are strong. When we come in with the mind-set like the starters, there's really no stopping us.
How important is it to be able to spread around the minutes, playing five games in five days, going into tomorrow's gold medal game?
It's important. It's good when everybody's fresh and they're able to move. We have four games in four days and tomorrow is the fifth one. It's going to be key.
What can you tell me about Brazil and Cuba?
They're both crafty. They're hard-nosed, they work really well with each other. They've both been playing with each other for a couple of years so they know each other really well. I think if we keep playing the way we've been playing our depth will wear down on whichever team we face by the third or fourth quarter. We'll come back tonight, watch some film, adjust what we need to adjust and go out and play.
Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
On today's game:
I thought coach Donovan said it, we came out from the get-go aggressive on both sides. Whenever we can rebound and run it makes us difficult because we have so many versatile parts with Candace (Parker) and Tina (Thompson) and Sue (Bird) at the point, who obviously finds people really well. I think it was a good win, building on what we did yesterday. Tomorrow is going to be even harder so it's good to get some more confidence today.
Was that as well as the team can play in the first half?
Yeah, that was pretty good. It's funny because in the first game when we came out kind of shaky against Cuba DeLisha said, ï¿½come on. You guys are the earthquake and we're the aftershock.' After she said that, you know what? The first five really set the tempo for the game and in the last three days we've really done that. It's really been nice to see how in each game we've gotten better.
It's probably nice to get an early lead and not have to worry about things in the second half:
Oh yeah. We kept a nice 50-point cushion. I think Argentina scored 15 in the first half and 16 in the third quarter. They're a good team, they're tough. They were tired. They played a long game yesterday until midnight. They played tough.
How many more left?
One more. One more to get a step closer to getting that gold medal back that we lost in Brazil last year. To us that's very important.
Tina Thompson, Houston Comets
On today's game:
I think it was a great game. I'm really excited that our defense is getting better and better each game. That's a good feeling going into the gold medal game. We started from the jump against Argentina, really getting out there defensively. It created a lot of opportunities for our offense. I'm really happy about that.
Was the Cuba game somewhat of a wake-up call for you?
Yeah, of course. I don't think we expected the game to go like it did, back and forth all game. Cuba is a good team, but the way we've been practicing and coming together as a team we would have thought we would have played a lot more smoothly. It was definitely a wake up call.
How important is it to have so many players you can go to, especially with this format of five games in five days?
Especially in a situation like this, it's very important because we don't want to lose or take a step back at any point. We have so many talented players on this team so we have the ability and the opportunity to do that. It's really important, especially with what's at stake. We definitely want to qualify for the Olympics right now. With five games in five games, having the confidence of knowing whoever is coming off the bench is going to give the same effort that you are is awesome.
How fun is it to play with this team?
I could probably speak for everyone when I say that this is the best basketball when you play with players who are going to be in the right spot at the right time all the time, who are going to make the best decisions on the best plays that are necessary, it's a good feeling. All of us who play hard, this is kind of a mental breakaway to know that we don't all have to play that extreme leader role. At any point someone can step up and make things happen. In every game it's been a different person for us and that's great.