Additional Quotes From USA's Win Over El Salvador at FIBA Americas U18 Championship
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Head coach Dawn Staley (University of South Carolina)
On the team’s performance tonight:
I felt we were ready to go. I felt we used our length to our advantage. The players who started the game got us out to a big lead, and then we pretty much cruised the rest of the way.
At one point in the game, the USA was shooting 77.0 percent from the field; what can you attribute that to?
One of the goals we had coming in was to continue to try to get the ball inside and shoot high-percentage shots by giving the ball to our post players, and I think we did a good job of that. Then when we started hitting down low, it got contagious to the outside. Destinee Walker came in and knocked down some threes; Marina (Mabrey) knocked down some threes. It’s good to see that phase of our game get jump started, because if you’re looking at our team, that’s probably where our weaknesses are. It was good to see them hit some open threes.
On continuing to work on defending the 3-point line:
That’s certainly a concern as we move further in the tournament. I just think our post players are not used to running out on the perimeter constantly chasing smaller guards, but they have to do that. We have a size advantage, and the way teams even the playing field is to make them play on the perimeter. We have to continue to contest shots.
On facing Canada tomorrow after scrimmaging them last Sunday:
We’re really excited. After scrimmaging Canada we have a little bit of a feel for what they like to do, but we know it’s tournament time. It’s a time when they’re playing their best basketball, and so are we. It will be a highly contested game tomorrow, and hopefully we will continue to work inside-out because that’s where our advantage is throughout this whole tournament. Hopefully that will help us get the victory.
Ariel Atkins (Duncanville H.S./Duncanville, Texas)
On her thoughts on how the team performed tonight:
We could have done better. We set goals for ourselves at halftime, and we didn’t really meet them, that’s one thing, but overall I think we did pretty well.
What were some of those goals?
We didn’t want them to shoot any more threes, and they got a few.
On sharing the ball:
In practice they always tell us to find the best shot on the floor, and I thought we did a very good job of that.
Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O’Fallon, Mo.)
Overall thoughts on the USA’s victory tonight:
I think we played really well together, and it was a good opportunity for us to work on the things maybe we’re not doing so well.
On maintaining focus once the team had built a big advantage:
I think you have to focus more, because if you make the little mistakes then you get in more trouble.
What did the team try to work on after building a big lead?
We focused on defense and running our offense all the way through, because we need to always do that.
On getting ready to play Canada next:
We need to bring our A-game because they’re really physical. We have to get the rebounds, get the defensive rebounds and just play as a team.
Teaira McCowan (Brenham H.S./Brenham, Texas)
On tonight’s game overall:
It was a great game. I liked the way we played together as a team and kept our energy high and up throughout the whole game. We encouraged each other to push more and more.
What do you guys still need to work on a little bit more?
Moving with the ball quicker to get more open shots.
On excitement of playing Canada tomorrow:
I am excited to play. We want to go out there and play the best basketball we can play.
Destinee Walker (Lake Highland Prep School/Orlando, Fla.)
How do you think you guys played tonight?
I think we played really well and executed what Coach Staley was telling us to do, which was to come out and go straight into the post. For the first half we really focused on that. In the second half the 3-point line opened up for our guards to shoot and sink some threes.
Was there any trouble for you guys keeping focus after jumping out to a big lead?
No, there wasn’t any trouble. We just have to keep working on our sets.
On facing undefeated Canada tomorrow:
It feels like a big game. We have scrimmaged them before, and they’re a physical team, so we’ll have to stay focused and execute.