Additional Quotes >> USA 92, Cuba 60
April 20, 2008 ï¿½ Beijing China
Anne Donovan, head coach
I'm really pleased with how we came out today, we started the game really well. It was our focus to start the game very strong and aggressive. We felt like we needed to come right at Cuba and attack them early and we executed that game plan very well.
I think Sylvia was extra motivated today since she wasn't on the floor very much yesterday due to foul trouble. She came out and had a monster game and Lisa (Leslie) came out and took a smaller role today. It's nice to see the versatility of our players.
Did Cuba give you any surprises?
We're very familiar with Cuba because we've been able to play them recently quite a bit. We played them in the qualifying tournament in Chile in September and then again in October in a tournament in Russia. We're familiar with them and we understand that they're very dangerous. They've given us very good competition and it's a team we never take lightly. We recognized that we needed to come out and be focused.
Their pressure certainly caught us off guard a couple of times and I don't think we handled it as well as we need to. Again, we have great respect for Cuba and the capabilities of their players.
What do you think about the arena?
We've had a great trip so far. The facility is fantastic. The players are very comfortable in the arena and the locker rooms. It's been a good test event for us to get some comfort so when we return in August we'll feel quite at home.
There are a lot of young players on your team, including Sylvia Fowles. Can you comment on her play today?
Sylvia Fowles is an outstanding player, a tremendous player. She's been with our national team a few times, but has been injured. This is the first time she's been with us healthy and we've been very excited to get her back and into the mix. She and Candace Parker are two young players that make a tremendous impact on this national team despite their age.
Sylvia Fowles, Chicago Sky
First of all I'd like to give credit to Cuba because they came out and played a very good game. They made us step our 'A' game up and I'm very proud of how my teammates and I responded.
Did you make it a point to come out strong like that today?
Yes. After our loss yesterday we kind of had a chip up on our shoulders because we didn't do some things very well. We made it our business to come out here today and make sure we got off to the right start and get things flowing within our offense.
On her play today:
Today I was more focused. I told myself to let the game come to me, don't get into any silly foul trouble because my teammates need me. I thought about (yesterday's game) a lot all night and I came out today and let the game come to me and performed to the best of my ability.
How tough were Cuba's big players inside?
I kind of got this mindset from college where if only one player is guarding me, it's like there's nobody guarding me. I tried to take that perspective and every time I saw just one person on me I tried to take advantage of it.
On the team's performance overall against Cuba:
I think the team came out and played very well. We got it started right from the jump ball and got on the same page. We let it be known to Cuba early that we weren't going to give them the game. I think we responded very well from our loss yesterday.
Lindsey Harding, Minnesota Lynx
It looked like you all came out with more energy today, do you feel that way?
Yeah, I think we just had to put that first game out of our minds. We came out fired up. We wanted to come out and work hard and attack. We were playing a little passive yesterday but today we had that attack mindset to be more aggressive.
On the team's improved shooting against Cuba:
I think we just moved the ball around a lot better. I found against Australia that we were holding the ball a little bit, we weren't pushing it up like we normally do with our passes. Today we were passing it around and making those assists. A lot of people, especially Syl down low, she just dominated. Passing the ball was important for us.
Crystal Langhorne, Washington Mystics
On the team's play overall against Cuba:
I think we played better overall today. Yesterday was our first game, we still aren't that used to playing with each other, but today was a lot better. It was really knowing what it takes to go out there and play a whole 40 minutes and not make it a 30-minute game like we did yesterday.
This is your first time playing at the USA National Team level. Does it help to have teammates from previous USA teams like Courtney Paris, Candice Wiggins and Laura Harper, who you played four years with at Maryland?
I think it definitely makes it a lot easier, especially knowing that I'm not the only young one here. Because there are a few of us that makes it a lot easier for me.
Is this going to help with your transition to the WNBA?
I hope so. Playing with WNBA veterans, great players and all-stars is really going to help all of us rookies.
Katie Smith, Detroit Shock
Can you compare the USA's first game to this one and talk about the differences in the two?
You know what? It was a tough game to start right off the bat with Australia. Today I'm glad we came out the way we did. We came out with a lot more energy, a lot more focus. I thought we executed a lot better on our offense. We didn't give up as many easy buckets, we boxed out better. Overall we did almost everything better. We still have to work on turnovers though, we had some unforced ones. Across the board I thought we picked it up a notch. Obviously we still have a lot more that we can do but I'm glad to see some of the improvements.
On the play of Sylvia Fowles:
She came out, didn't get into foul trouble, didn't get any cheap ones early. She established herself down low, got the ball, finished and made her free throws. Defensively she was blocking shots, rebounding. It's fun to watch her. Sometimes I'm like 'wow, that was a nice one.' If she tunes in to what we need to get done, she's going to be a special player who will give us some great minutes, however many she gets out there. She had a phenomenal game today, she was huge inside for us.
On the team's shooting against Cuba:
We knocked down some shots. I think (Candice) Wiggins got a couple looks, got a couple shots to go down to get her confidence going. Lindsey got one, Lisa, everybody was moving the ball a little better. We were executing a little bit better so then we got some better looks. I'm just glad everything was a little bit better. I'm excited to get on the floor again tomorrow and keep things rolling.