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Quotes >> USA Basketball Women’s National Team Wraps Training at U.S. Naval Academy

  • Date:
    Sep 10, 2014

Annapolis, Maryland

After two days of training and drills, the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s National Team members were split into two groups -- the teams they’ll be playing ontomorrow during the USA Basketball Showcase -- and spent most of their third and final day of training camp at the U.S. Naval Academy scrimmaging against each other. As one can imagine, when something like a shot at playing for your country is on the line, the morning’s scrimmage was extremely competitive, something fans will be able to see on Sept. 11 at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center (7 p.m. EDT on ESPN2).


USA head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut)

Where were you on 9/11 and what kind of impact will that have on tomorrow’s game?

I was in Denver on a recruiting trip and obviously there is a two-hour time difference from New York City, so I didn’t really see anything or hear anything because of the time difference, until I got a phone call from (inaudible) ‘are you watching television?’ I said no. ‘Go turn it on.’ So I go and turn on the TV and just as I turned it on, I started to realize … I thought it was an accident and then I saw the second plane and I remember the next three days being stuck out west. It was something that you just … you know, it’s like, where were you when Kennedy was killed? Things that happen, where were you when the guys landed on the moon? There are things that happen in your life of such unbelievable … it’s so impactful that it’s … I think that the unfortunate thing is that as time goes by, if you’re not careful of it, if you don’t pay attention to it, you tend to forget. I’m sure the families who were affected by what happened, they’ll never forget. I think for the rest of us, it’s important that we work really, really hard at keeping that at the forefront.

Is it important to have that reminder tomorrow?

Yeah, you know, no matter what you do, it’s never going to be appropriate. It’s never going to be enough. But, the fact that we’re going to have the opportunity to be with some of our servicemen and women and coming off of being here, and you’re playing for USA Basketball, I think those things are all just going to keep it at the forefront.

How pleased were you with the USA Red Team and USA White Team today?

When you first put those guys out there to play, things are happening so quickly. They’re all trying so hard to impress you that they’re not really able to play to the best of their ability. They’re moving a little bit too fast, they’re trying a little bit too hard. But, the competitive spirit, the competitiveness that they exhibited, both teams, is what I was looking at. The other stuff, we’ll get it. We’ll get that figured out. But how competitive people were and how hard every possession was played. That was key for me and that’s what I was looking to see.

Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)

What is the significance of playing on 9/11?

It has been 13 years since 9/11 but it still feels like yesterday. I could tell you exactly where I was, exactly what I was doing and I know it will be like that for the rest of my life and everybody else who was in America that day, everyone who is an American for that matter.

The one thing that I have always really enjoyed about USA Basketball, was the minute that you put the jersey on, obviously you are in a competitive environment and you are trying to win gold medals and you get focused on that but really at the end of the day you have an entire nation behind you and you are representing them and they are cheering for you. It is always good, especially on days like 9/11, on the anniversary of it to have a good feeling in those moments. So, I know tomorrow when we put our jerseys on we’ll know people are watching and thinking about that day but also hopefully watching us just enjoy ourselves out there on the court and supporting us.

Where were you on 9/11?

I was in college. I was in class, I was in college, our professor’s phone kept ringing, he’s ignoring it, he’s ignoring it, it kept ringing, it kept ringing, he’s ignoring it, he’s ignoring it. And actually, Swin, who was a little late to class, she’s my roommate though; she came in and was like guys, I think something happened at the World Trade Center today and we were like ok, but she didn’t actually see the news.  It kept ringing, it kept ringing, So we go to the next class and the teacher was like everyone go home and call your loved ones, what just happened might be worse than Pearl Harbor. So we were like ‘what the hell is going on?’ I finally got back to my dorm room and turned the news on. I will never forget that story. 


Tina Charles (New York Liberty)

What do you remember most about 9/11? Where were you?


I usually get very emotional when it comes to 9/11, just being born and raised in New York and being in the eighth grade when it happened. My mom works in the Empire State Building, so she got caught up in everything down there. I just remember being in eighth grade, my mom was covered in debris when she came to get me so it was very, very emotional. Tomorrow will be very emotional for me. But just to the families, prayers and thoughts are with them.  I was able to check out the 9/11 museum that opened this May and that was awesome, just to take it from what it was and what they were able to do with everything was very emotional.


On the significance of playing for your country on 9/11:

That is even more humbling. It makes you appreciate what you do – playing basketball and how basketball breaks many barriers and can take you away, help you put things aside and put your focus on this and let you enjoy something instead of remembering everything that happened.


Bria Hartley (Washington Mystics)

Is there more of an impact for this team, playing tomorrow on the anniversary of 9/11 after being around the military the past three days?

I think so, especially me being from New York that was definitely a moment that really stands out from when I was younger and just the fact that all the military was there and that we’re playing and representing the country that definitely means a lot and shows a lot of pride for the US.

Where were you on 9/11?

I will always remember, my mom used to work across the street from the Twin Towers and actually that morning for some reason she decided to drive into work and she was late because I dropped her keys between the seats. So I was really fortunate that she wasn’t there. She was actually on the bridge when the planes hit. And I just remember that I was with my aunt getting ready to go to school. I’m sitting in the van and she went inside for a quick second and I was wondering what was taking so long so I went inside and I saw it on the TV. It was really disturbing but it was something that I will always remember even though I was only in the fourth grade at the time but that is a memory that really stands out.


Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Stars)

Today was the first day that you went 5-on- 5, how did that feel?

It felt pretty good actually to get up and down the court a little bit. It was really competitive obviously, the best players in the world are out there and we have played against each other all summer – minus Stewart – but it was good to get out there and get a little preview of tomorrow. 


Did anyone’s performance stand out to you today during practice?

Not necessarily, I mean people do what they do and what they have been doing so you just have the expectation that we have to get a little chemistry going fortomorrow.


What should fans expect from the Red and White scrimmage tomorrow?

A really, really, really competitive game and just great players making great plays. Obviously the fan support there will be great and we are excited to get there and actually play a game. So we hope the fans enjoy it and that we put on a great show.


Odyssey Sims (Tulsa Shock)

Today was the first day that you went 5-on- 5, how did that feel?

I think we did pretty good when we got out in transition. The players that we have on our Red Team, they like to run, and I like to run as well just being a point guard. I like to see Maya (Moore) run the floor, give her lobs and everything. Angel (McCoughtry), she is great on the wing. I think we did good, we had a lot of intensity, we came out fired up, we did the little things. We made shots but it was crashing the offensive boards, taking the charges doing those things that go on the stat sheet but that most people don’t really see. We’ll take what we learned from each other today and carry it over to tomorrow.


What can fans expect tomorrow?

A lot of fun, I think there will be a lot of ohhs and ahhhs.  We are just going to have fun and we are not going to take anything personally.  I mean, we are going to play on TV, you’re always excited to play on TV, especially on national TV so we are going to just have fun and give the world a show tomorrow.



Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut)

Today was the first day that you went 5-on- 5, how did that feel?

I felt like the first game we played was a little rough. I think we were a little all too excited, I mean, that was the first time we have really scrimmaged this whole time. Once we settle in and especially the second game, we cut it a lot closer we had the lead for the majority of the game. So that makes us feel better going into the game tomorrow. Just to be able to get some kind of chemistry with your team obviously that makes you feel more comfortable and confident when you go out there tomorrow.


What did you do well and did you feel you need to work on?

What I feel like I did well, I feel like I was trying to keep moving on offense. That is the one thing that has been instilled in me at UConn - keep moving – because it makes it harder for the defense. And I think that Sue is a vet and she did a great job leading the team today. Whenever we seemed to be struggling she brought us all in together, talked to us and kind of calmed us down. I think that to finish the way we did, that is a good start for us for tomorrow


What can fans expect from tomorrow’s scrimmage?

I think fans should be looking for a good game. Obviously the committee split the teams up for a reason and to create some good matchups and that hopefully the White Team can pull out the win.



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