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Women's National team

Practice Quotes >> USA National Team Gets Infusion Of Experience with Addition of Candice Dupree, Diana Taurasi

  • Date:
    Sep 18, 2014

Paris, France

With a WNBA championship with the Phoenix Mercury recently added to their resumes and just a few days to celebrate behind them, USA veterans Candice Dupree and Diana Taurasi joined the mix of USA Women’s National Team players training in Paris, France, bringing the U.S. roster up to 15 players in contention for 12 spots on the 2014 USA World Championship Team.

With two practices for the day, the USA put in final preparations ahead of its exhibition game against 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Australia tomorrow night, and then capped the evening session by mingling with local girls basketball players for about 20 minutes on the court, including a few games such as Bump, lots of shooting and even more pictures.

USA head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut)

What does the infusion of Candice Dupree and Diana Taurasi do for this team?

Obviously you’ve got two players who are coming out with a great deal of confidence. They both had phenomenal years. They’re such great offensive players that whatever problems you might have, they get fixed pretty easily when you throw one of them the ball. With Diana being such a great leader, such a great and amazing winner, that just having the two of them in the building, you can see that it gives the rest of the players a lot of confidence as well.

On playing Australia tomorrow:

They’re always incredibly tough, incredibly difficult. They’re kind of like us; they’ve got a lot of experience. The only difference is that they’ve got some really, really tremendous size up front. It’s not an easy challenge to stop them, but this tournament’s perfect for us because we’re getting a chance to play some of the best teams in the world, and it’ll prepare us for sure for what’s coming up in Istanbul.

How much will you need to rely on someone like Tina Charles, who four years ago was a rookie at the Worlds, to give that veteran leadership in the post?

That’s going to be interesting to see. Tina played really well at the World Championship; she played really well at the Olympics. She obviously is capable. What we have to do now is make sure we get consistent points and rebounds, a consistent effort from her. It’s even more important because the people coming off the bench to help her out don’t have that. So, whereas in the past it’s like, ‘well, if I don’t play well, so and so will pick me up.’ I don’t know that she’s got that luxury right now.

 

Tina Charles (New York Liberty)

How is the team coming together and what was it like having Candice Dupree and Diana Taurasi join the team today?

Oh, it was great. Dee is always going to bring that leadership quality. She’s a very unselfish player, always there to tell you anything if you have questions. CD, she’s just smooth. Just the way she plays, her body language, how she carries herself, always finishing around the basket. Those things you take in.

Are you ready for Australia tomorrow?

We’re the only country where we’re only together for about three days for a training camp, and then you put us together for a couple of weeks to prepare for the World Championship. But, I think we’ll be fine. We’ll be able to hold our own. We all know what we can do individually, and we’re going to take the most out of that. Of course there are still parts we want to work on, but until then I think we’re in a great space right now, great standing.

 

Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury)

How did it feel to take the court with USA Basketball today?

Definitely an adjustment, trying to get used to all the sets that coach Auriemma runs, the defensive schemes, but it feels good.

Were the other players ready to help you get into the flow of things?

I’m trying to be a fast learner, so I don’t hold up the team. But usually after seeing it once, I pick it up pretty quickly, and they are doing a great job of communicating. So, that always helps.

You look like you haven’t skipped a beat. Are you able to carry that momentum with you?

I sure hope so. I had a couple of days off, but I am just ready to come here to perform the way I know how.

Did you ever think about not coming and taking a break instead?

There was never a doubt in my mind that I was going to come here, regardless of the outcome of the WNBA season. It was just a matter of when I would get here. It’s always nice to win a championship, and next is a medal at the World Championship.

How do you keep your body in shape through this long schedule?

Never stop. For me, the more I sit the harder it is to get back up and running, so I actually enjoy the nonstop of playing, and I keep from getting bored. I like to stay busy.

 

Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks)

How do you think the team is coming together?

It is coming together really nice, especially since (Candice) Dupree and Diana (Taurasi) just got here. It kind of takes the team to another level, because they have been here, they know what to expect, they are such great leaders. It's been fun so far. I think it will be great to see how we compete against Australia and some of these other great teams.

How tough will it being going up against a team like Australia, who you haven't even seen yet?

It is going to be tough. We play against them in the WNBA. They have a lot of great guards in Erin Phillips, Penny Taylor, Belinda Snell. We play against them overseas all the time. And then Liz Cambage, who we haven't seen in a year, and we know how good she can play under the basket. So, it will be tough. I just think every body has to come out and play really hard.


Kayla McBride (San Antonio Stars)

What does having Candice Dupree and Diana Taurasi add to training camp?

A lot of high energy, positive energy. Diana, she's always talking, always making sure everybody is on the same page, so that's really good. Candice is more calm. She's kind of a calming presence, but she is very intense at the same time. It's good to have their experience out here, especially being one of the younger ones. Just seeing how they play — I'm just trying to learn every day. 

What are you learning out here with all these players?

It's really cool to be playing with (Lindsay) Whalen and Sue (Bird) and Diana (Taurasi). The game is probably so slowed down for them. As a rookie, knowing that's a different pace, different type of game, I'm just taking anything that I can from them. Whether it's coming off a ball screen, spacing, different things like that, it's going to help so much in the long run, because if I can get ahead of the curve, that is going to make me that much better as a player and give me that much more confidence. So, it's just cool to be able to pick their brain and be able to feed off of everything they've accomplished and their experience.  

 

Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks)

How much did Candice Dupree and Diana Taurasi add to the team’s practices today?

Oh, a lot. You have two championship teammates coming, and they’re here for a reason. They got the championship in the WNBA, and I think it’s very respectable to come out here in such a short period of time to help us out and add a lot of value as a team.

How do you feel the team is coming together?

I think everyone is getting to know each other. This is always a special situation, because you get to know people that you always play against. To play with them, the chemistry can be at crazy levels because of all the talent that’s on this squad. It’s fun. I think everybody’s happy to be here. Everybody’s ready to work. We want to have a good time and win gold.

This isn’t your first time in Paris, what do you think about the city?

I love it. I think it’s great. It’s very cultural, with still a little familiarity from the U.S. But it’s nice to be able to be in a different country and learn more about the country while you’re playing basketball. That’s the blessing that we get to live through playing basketball, traveling and getting to know people.


Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)

How did it feel to take the court with USA Basketball today?

It’s just always fun coming back, seeing everyone. This group has been together for a while now – a couple of newcomers, but we all get along really well. We all enjoy playing with each other. I took a couple of days, and now it feels good to be back with everyone.

You look like you haven’t skipped a beat. Are you able to carry that momentum with you?

Definitely. It was definitely a tremendous high. Now we have to change gears and come in with the USA mindset. But it’s pretty easy. We are easy going.

How do you keep your body in shape through this long schedule?

You have to stay in good shape physically. You have to take care of yourself. When you are 24, you can pretty much do anything and you’ll be ready to do. But as you get older, you have to take care of yourself a lot more. So, I’ve just been keeping an eye on that.

What was the WNBA championship celebration like for you?

We spent the night in Chicago. We hung out as a team. We kind of enjoyed it. And then went back to Phoenix and had the celebration on Sunday, so it’s been a pretty cool week. 

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