Additional Quotes >> USA 104, Canada 74
Head coach Dawn Staley (University of Carolina)
On the USA’s gold-medal winning performance against Canada:
I thought Canada played extremely well. I just thought overall, over a 40-minute period, I thought we kept fresh legs in there and made them play a little bit quicker than they wanted to play. I thought our players just really, on both sides of the ball, executed the game plan.
On the team’s progress throughout training camp and the tournament:
I thought especially our point guard play saw the biggest improvement over the course of the two weeks that we’ve been here. I thought Paris Kea came in and gave us some key minutes. It took her a little while to get adjusted to what we needed her to do, which was different than what she was used to. I thought she made the most improvement throughout it all. But I look at what our post players were able to do over the course of the entire tournament. They shot an incredible percentage on the floor. It was a great effort by our perimeter players and our post players.
On the significance of winning another gold medal as a part of USA Basketball:
This is what I’m used to, I think it’s gold or failure. Every time I’m part of a USA Basketball team, we want to win gold. If we don’t win gold, I don’t think we do our country justice. We put our kids in the best possible position to win as far as having fun, working hard, eating good meals. I thought Jeff (Walz) and Kim (Barnes Arico) did a tremendous job at preparing our team and players to win a gold medal. So when you have all of those things working in your favor, our kids should come out and perform.
Assistant coach Kim Barnes Arico (University of Michigan)
On what this experience has meant to her:
It’s truly been an honor to be a part of this coaching staff and to be involved with USA Basketball. It’s always been a dream to put on a USA shirt and represent your country, so to be out here with this staff, especially with someone like Dawn Staley who has been one of the best in the game -- to be surrounded by her for the last 16 days as well as these incredible athletes has been an incredible experience. I have enjoyed every second of it, and I just feel so fortunate every day to be involved in it.
Assistant coach Jeff Walz (University of Louisville)
On what this experience has meant to him:
Having an opportunity to get involved with USA Basketball has been something that I’ve always wanted to do. For it to come true and be able to do it, it’s better than what I would have expected. You get the opportunity to work with some fantastic young women, great players; and you get to learn their personalities and try to mold them into a team in about a two-week period. It’s fun to work with them.
On the significance of winning a gold medal for the USA:
It’s hard to put into words. It’s great. Every tournament you come into you want to win, and to come into this and win a gold medal, it’s wonderful.
Ariel Atkins (Duncanville H.S./Duncanville, Texas)
How does it feel to win a gold medal?
Really good. This is my first one, so I’m really hyped about it.
On hearing the national anthem being played:
It just hit me that I actually have the jersey on and have won a gold medal.
On what this experience has meant to her:
It’s been amazing. I got to learn and be coached by the best coaches, not just in the country, but by the best coaches in the world. And I got to play with the best players in the world, too. It has been amazing and very humbling, just an amazing experience.
Receé Caldwell (Homeschooled/San Antonio, Texas)
What has this experience meant to you?
It’s just an amazing experience. I was very blessed to have this opportunity to come here and to compete for a gold medal, and it’s just great to know that your hard work paid off. We did two-a-days for probably 12 days, and it was just crazy – it’s a great feeling.
How does it feel to win your second gold medal?
The first time I didn’t play very much. I played my role and supported the team, but I think this one is great because I actually played, and I contributed on the court. It’s an amazing feeling, and I’m blessed.
How hard was it to beat Canada three times, even if one of those wins was a scrimmage?
We for sure had to execute. It’s just like in college, they had their scouting report and knew our sets, but I think on the second or third options, they didn’t know what we were going to do because we had so many options. And then, we just pounded the ball inside to our bigs. That was our advantage in this tournament, and Coach Staley has been harping on that the whole time. I think our bench is deep. That is where we get people. The first quarter, you might be able to stay with us, but once the game keeps going, you won’t be able to stay with us.
On the USA coaches:
It was amazing. Just the stuff they told me in practice, what I learned from them. To be a point guard under Coach Staley, it was hard. It was for sure hard. I would go home to the dorms and think, ‘Wow, this woman is crazy.’ But she knows what to do, so you’re crazy if you don’t listen to her. I really got better here.
Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O’Fallon, Mo.)
On her thoughts of tonight’s gold medal-winning game:
I thought we came out super focused because it’s the gold medal game, and we were playing Canada again, so all of us were in the zone.
On what they worked on to beat Canada three times (once in scrimmage, twice in competition):
I think because we were playing them for the third time, it made us want to get everything perfect and be more focused and play our hardest game.
On winning her very first gold medal for USA Basketball:
I feel awesome. It’s feels awesome to play and win for the USA.
On what this experience has meant to her:
It means a lot. This is my fifth gold medal, but the feeling never gets old. This is really exciting.
On what clicked today for the team to come out with the win:
We just had to run our sets, and they’re a physical team so we had to be physical too and just jump from the start and not let them jump back.
On sharing this experience with this group of teammates and the coaching staff:
It’s really great. I really loved our coaching staff and everyone in the team got along so that was just awesome.
Paris Kea (Page H.S./Greensboro, N.C.)
On her overall thoughts of the game:
It was the most exciting game of my life. We knew their weaknesses and strengths. I’m personally never satisfied, so I know there are still areas I can work on.
On what it feels to have her very first USA Basketball gold medal:
It felt great! I was jumping around and everybody was looking at me like, ‘Paris, what are you doing?’ I was like, ‘I’m too excited you guys!’
As a point guard, what did it mean to her to work with coach Staley?
It was such a great honor. Coach Staley, she knows the position better than anyone, and learning everything I can from her is just amazing.
Marina Mabrey (Manasquan H.S./Belmar N.J.)
On winning the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship gold medal:
It’s an honor and a great experience to play for the USA and a gold medal. It’s great to be a part of it in any way I can.
On her improvements throughout her time at training camp and through the competition:
I think I started off slow, and in the second and third games I picked it up with the help of the coaches. I think I definitely learned a lot these past couple of weeks, and I’m going to take it back with me in every way I can.
On sharing this moment with her sister who won a gold medal playing for the USA at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship:
I’m following right in her footsteps. She’s at Notre Dame, and I’m going to Notre Dame. She came here when she was my age and she played, and they won a gold medal, too. I think that there’s more to come for us.
Teaira McCowan (Brenham H.S./Brenham, Texas)
On what this whole experience meant to her:
It's been a great experience. I feel like this is what I needed to push and strive harder in my every day workouts; just to be better.
On winning her first USA Basketball gold medal:
It feels great. I'm the only one in my town that came to USA trials and actually made the team.
On how special it was to compete with her team and learn from the coaching staff:
It's great because I got to go against people who are better than me, and it shows me what I need to work on. I feel like I've grown a lot and learned a lot on how to better myself in the long run. I just loved hanging out with the girls, having fun and winning the gold medal.
Beatrice Mompremier (Miami H.S./Miami, Fla.)
On the final game against Canada:
We all were amped to play Canada, and we wanted to come out and go hard and win to get the gold medal.
On winning a gold medal in her very first USA Basketball team:
Its’ everything that I’ve always wanted, just playing for USA Basketball and meeting new people and playing with amazing athletes.
On what she will take way from the experience:
I’m taking everything from the coaches; better posting up, better approaches to practices.
Mariya Moore (Salesian H.S./Richmond, Calif.)
On what this experience meant to her:
I’m at a loss for words. It’s all just crazy, and I’m so blessed for not only winning gold, but also by being around amazing people. If it had not been for my team, it wouldn’t have been as special as it was.
On how special it is to win her first USA Basketball gold medal:
It’s very special, and I actually didn’t realize how special it was until the beginning of this game when I looked up and looked at the Olympic rings and realized about the fact that I was representing the United States. Winning this gold medal is just so much. I don’t want to start crying, but it’s so special.
Jessica Shepard (Fremont H.S./Fremont, Neb.)
On winning her very first international gold medal for USA Basketball:
It’s a great feeling. We’ve been here for so long working so hard, and to finally have a reward for all of it is amazing.
On what she’ll take away from this experience:
I think how hard you have to work to be at this level. Everyone is really good, and you have to constantly keep working to keep up with them.
Destinee Walker (Lake Highland Prep School/Orlando, Fla.)
On what it feels like to win a gold medal:
It was a great experience to come play with a lot of good players and be able to compete for a gold medal.
On how this experience helped her basketball game:
It’s definitely helped me a lot on defense. When I came here I wasn’t good playing on defense, but with (coach Staley) there wasn’t any dull moment in practice. We had to always be on point on our defense and offense. It taught me to be more alert and always maintain confidence.
A’ja Wilson (Heathwood Hall H.S./Hopkins, S.C.)
On the team’s performance during the gold medal game against Canada:
We went out there and this game was special, because it was the gold medal game. We took care of business and executed everything. Great things started to happen, and things fell into place. It was a great game.
On earning MVP honors at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship:
It’s a great feeling. All my teammates deserve MVP. They are great girls on and off the court. To be chosen is a great feeling, and I’m blessed to be in this position.
On winning her second gold medal with USA Basketball:
It’s great! It never gets old to get another gold medal. It’s a great feeling to play for the USA.
On what she will take away from this experience:
That’s a tough one. There’s just so much to gather. Just having a great opportunity to play international ball and play with coach Staley. I’m just taking it all in