Additional Quotes from USA 97, Argentina 51
Head coach Dawn Staley (University of South Carolina)
On how the team performed tonight:
I thought we put a good first half together in which we built ourselves a big lead, and then we had a letdown in the second half. I don’t know if it was their youth or just being complacent, letting their guards down, and if it was, then it’s our job as coaches to keep them level. I think we got exposed on not boxing out, and we want our players to constantly create good habits just so they can get better as individuals, and put ourselves in a position to win a gold medal.
On the team having 24 assists on 34 made baskets:
That’s a great stat to look at. Our players are a great group to work with. They’re very unselfish. They move the ball around and try to find the open player; they do a very good job of that. I’m very proud of that particular statistic. I’m always thinking about ways in which we can get better, and our defense definitely has to get better, so we can point to a defensive stat that can make our game a complete game.
On the rematch against Canada tomorrow night:
It’s going to be a tough game. I think Canada will be ready to play. They’ll watch some film, and they’ll see where they can get some advantages against our basketball team. We’re going to do the same thing. I think there are some small adjustments we can make to hopefully put us in a position where it won’t come down to a possession here or possession there.
Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O’Fallon, Mo.)
On how the team played today:
I thought it was kind of ugly in the second half because we held (Argentina) to 16 points in the first half, and then they scored 35 in the second. We weren’t going for rebounds and playing how we should have been. Tomorrow is going to be a tough game; it’s tough to beat anybody three times, so we have to tighten everything up.
On coming out strong from the get-go against Canada tomorrow:
I think we’re going to have to stay focused and stick to the fundamentals of rebounding, boxing out and all of that stuff.
On playing for her very first USA Basketball medal tomorrow:
I’m super excited! Hopefully we’ll walk away with first place.
Marina Mabrey (Manasquan H.S./Belmar, N.J.)
On advancing to the gold medal game:
We’ve worked really hard for it, and we’re excited to play and compete for a gold medal.
On how the team played against Argentina in the semifinals:
The first half we came out ready. We scored, we got stops and we boxed out. I think we rested a little in the second half, and they got some momentum and made shots. We didn’t rebound at all, so we didn’t have a good second half.
On playing Canada:
Tomorrow we’ll be ready, and I think we’re also going to be ready in the second half. I think we’re going to be ready to win.
Beatrice Mompremier (Miami H.S./Miami, Fla.)
On how the team played tonight against Argentina:
I think everybody played hard, and it was a good game. We all can pick it up and have a better game tomorrow.
On making it to the gold medal game and face Canada again:
I’m excited, and everybody else is excited. I think it’s going to be a great game. We have to come out and play hard.
A’ja Wilson (Heathwood Hall H.S./Hopkins, S.C.)
On her overall thoughts on tonight’s game:
Every game, it’s just an honor to play here. We all gave it our all and took it in stride, but we know tomorrow is the gold-medal game, and we have to get ready for that.
On allowing Argentina to hit seven 3-pointers in the second half after allowing only one during the entire first half:
Coach (Staley) was really focused on us not getting into bad habits. It’s kind of happened to us in each game here; that third quarter is that sleeping quarter where we kind of fall back, and that really can’t happen. Tomorrow is the gold medal game. We have to play every possession like we would in the first half. She just kept saying we have to break out of the bad habits, because anything can happen. If you saw, after every dead ball it seemed like they would come and shoot a three. Yes, we had a lead, but they kept cutting it. We can’t come into the third quarter asleep like we have been.
On the USA finishing with 24 assists on 34 made baskets:
We care a lot about sharing the ball. We just want to get the easiest bucket possible. That’s the biggest thing with Coach Staley, make the easy pass, get the easy bucket and we’ll come out with a win every time. That’s the biggest thing for her, and it’s also easy on our bodies and ourselves. The game also becomes easier.
On playing Canada for the third time tomorrow and possibly winning her second international gold medal for USA Basketball:
It’s all going to depend on how we play in shoot-around. It’s all about what we talk about in there. Also, just coming out with a great attitude, not cocky or with a big-head attitude, because we have already played them twice. We have to play our best to win the gold medal. I’m very excited, plus it’s here in the United States, so it’s going to be a very exciting game.