2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11
2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11

Additional Quotes >> USA 73, UE Sopron 63

Oct. 9, 2011 • Sopron, Hungary

Geno Auriemma

USA head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut)
Were you pleased with the way the team played tonight, especially in the third quarter?
It was the complete opposite of the way we started the other night. There was a much better focus on the defensive end to kind of limit what the other team was doing. Because the defensive stops were there, we were then able to convert that into good offense. I think we took them out of their rhythm. They had a really nice flow offensively in the first half. And then, some defensive things that we did really caused them some problems. We had great ball movement in the third quarter and got open shots. It sounds so simple, but that’s basically what it was.

What did you talk about at halftime?
Exactly what I just said, that the focus was on, right now our defense. In the first half our defense was … they were getting threes and getting the ball in the lane and getting layups. We talked a lot about, let’s take one of those things away. If they’re going to make threes, then let’s not give up layups. If they’re gonna get layups, let’s not give up threes. And we did. We took the lane away from them in the third quarter and forced them to go to strictly a jump shooter team. That’s when the game turned.

What did you learn overall about this team during this whole process?
I think the trip was well worth it in a sense that the players got a chance to see what it’s like for USA Basketball under adverse conditions. Usually when the U.S. shows up in Europe, we’ve got all our guns blazing. We’re ready to go and, wow! We’ve got the best team, we’ve got the best players and we’re deep, we’re talented. In this particular trip, we had to struggle. It was a big struggle. We got to find out which players can function under that kind of adversity. So, it was good. It was unfortunate that a lot of players didn’t make the trip. But, at the same time, for those who were on the trip, it was a worthwhile time for them. It gave them a chance that they may not have had, had those other guys been here.

Swin Cash (Seattle Storm)
What kind of team is Sopron?
I was really impressed with their team. You could tell they’ve played together for awhile. They were really working their offense and getting the best shots that they wanted. I think they have great support here in Sopron. The team and the atmosphere, it was exciting to play here.

There was no panic when you fell behind tonight. Is that something you talked about?
We collectively have talked about the last two losses. I feel like we’ve had a lot of growth on this trip individually and collectively as a team. We just really tried to go out there and stay mentally focused on the game for 40 minutes. Sopron’s a good team. We knew they were going to make a run, but I felt like we held our ground and we kept fighting, playing with a lot of intensity and in the end we got the result we were looking for.

What did you talk about at halftime?
That it was an even game. We wanted to come out and make sure that in the first five minutes of the third quarter we came out with a lot of intensity, executed and played solid defense. The last two games, going into the third quarter we really let teams make a run on us, so it was a big focus and emphasis for us.

How important was this trip for you?
For me, this was very important. Obviously my goal is to be in London next year. To come out here and not really be in the ideal situation, but to be able to have growth on this trip, I think knowing what USA Basketball’s been about, having experienced players that I’ve learned from in the past, just trying to share some of that with the girls that are here. Everyone is working for a position on the team next year. I thought the eight of us, then the seven, we all had a lot of growth on this trip. We got closer.

Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun)
How important was it to close out the European tour on a positive note?
It’s real important just to play a certain way. It’s not necessarily about the outcome, but playing a certain way and get one more chance to be with these players. This group alone will probably never be together like this again, so just to end one a good note for each other was an important thing for us.

What did you talk about at halftime?
We talked about letting everything go and just play. No matter, we can’t think about the two games we already lost, the two games we won. Right now, we’re in a position where it’s tied. The score is zero-zero and we control the outcome.

What did you learn, what did you get out of this trip?
This trip was interesting because you come in with a certain mind-set and nothing’s ever going to go the way it’s planned. You come in thinking that it’s going to be a 12-man roster and then you find out it’s seven. A lot of things changed on the fly, but it was kind of a blessing in disguise for some of us, because it gave us a lot of chances to be seen. You know that the committee’s going to look at all the games. It gave the people who are trying to make the team the chance to get some experience.

You’ve played the entire 40 minutes a couple games out here. Is that tough to do?
It’s tough. I think the main thing I was thinking the whole time was, how often do you get the opportunity to play the whole game for USA Basketball. I had to put things into perspective that, I’m here with USA Basketball and to be able to play the whole game is more chances to be seen. So, I just try to take every possession, be a good teammate, I want to do this or that, just try to do the kind of things that will make me and the team successful.

Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty)
How important was it to close out the European tour on a positive note?
It was very important. Winning makes everything easier. Winning makes everybody happy. Coming off two losses was tough for us, so we definitely needed to close this road trip with a win.

What did you talk about at halftime?
We talked about being more focused and giving it a little more energy than the beginning. That way it would make things a lot more smooth. The last two games we came out at halftime and totally gave it up. This time we really wanted to focus in and go home on a great note.

Were you trying to focus on anything in particular tonight?
Yeah, I was just trying to be more assertive and aggressive on the offensive end than I have been. I just wanted to be more aggressive and help my team win.

What did you learn, what did you get out of this trip?
I got a better feel for what Geno expects out of his system. I haven’t run his offense in a very long time. As a kid (in 2000 and 2001) you really don’t think about it. Now that I’m older, I know the game a little bit more. Just to get used to it again was definitely great. I wish everybody was here, but I think overall this group, we had fun playing with each other.

Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars)
How important was it to close out the European tour on a positive note?
Winning is obviously very important. It was important for us to leave on a positive note leaving this European tour. We had two bad games where we’ve kind of let up and slacked up. We watched film and saw that we did some terrible things, so we tried to learn from that in this game and work through that. I think we did that tonight.

What did you talk about at halftime?
The last two games we kind of came out just okay, lackadaisical and not really playing hard. Obviously we learn from our mistakes and we don’t want to keep repeating that kind of mentality going out there in the third quarter. We kind of talked amongst ourselves and said that we need to come out as intense as possible. Coach did a pretty good job of getting us prepared to come out in the third quarter. I think that we were able to keep that mentality from the first half to the second half.

What did you learn, what did you get out of this trip?
I think that what I’ve learned is about the intensity of USA Basketball. It’s obviously the best team in the world and everybody is out to get USA Basketball. In order to make this team, every night you have to show up. Every night you have to give your best game. Every night you have to do all the little things in order to make a team. Coach said it best, you donít have to score 20 or 30 points, but you have to do the little things in order to win the game.