Additional Quotes: USA Women's U19 National Team 104 Egypt 41
USA U19 head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina)
On tonight’s game:
We got off to a really slow start. We missed a lot of easy baskets in the beginning. It kind of took the energy away from what we were trying to execute. But when we went to our bench, the people who came in -- Shakayla (Thomas), Crystal Dangerfield, Lauren Cox, Chatrice White and Ali Patberg -- they all energized us and gave us the lift that we needed. They sped up the game by pressing them, as well as making layups so we could get back in our press and speed the game up. The tempo shifted in our favor when we went to our bench.
Are you worried about something like that happening -- shooting 7-of-27 field goals to start a game -- as the games get tougher in the medal round?
It was a little concerning, but at the same time, we feel real good about the 12 players who are on our roster. So, if we do get off to a sluggish start, whether it’s at the beginning of the game or a lull during the game, we feel good about going to our bench and making sure that we keep five players on the floor who can play up-tempo. The depth of our team is the strength of our team. So, as we continue to advance in the tournament, we’re going to rely heavily on our ability to play all 12 players.
What were you working on in the second half?
We did a really good job of playing disciplined. We talked to them about not playing to score, but executing the things that we wanted to execute. We still wanted to work a little bit more on our three-quarter court press, and we got some great work in with our half-court zone defense. That’s something that we will be able to utilize if needed later on in the tournament.
On Argentina, the USA’s next opponent:
With Argentina, it’s a team against which we’re going to have to use our length. We’re going to have to get the ball inside. We have to make sure that we’re not giving them open 3s and we’re not allowing them to run up and down in transition. For us, we’re going to have to be really calculating with what we want, and I think our players are up for the challenge.
Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas)
On her rebounding performance tonight:
I got pretty good position on them. I was able to work my way behind them and seal them off, so I could get on the back side of the goal when people were shooting on ball side, and then get the rebounds that came off the back.
How was your team able to take control of the game in the second quarter?
We got off to a slow start. Our transition and our defense really helped. We got a couple steals from our ball pressure. We were running with it and started to get more comfortable with each other, we started playing together really well.
Having gone through this with other USA Basketball teams, have you seen this team improve through the past few weeks and start to gel a little more?
I have. This is probably the best team that I’ve been on, because everybody has so much experience and I’m learning a lot.
Are you where you want to be as a team going into the medal round?
Yes. We’re really starting to get comfortable with each other and play really well together, which is a good thing going into these last four games.
Gabbi Ortiz (Oklahoma/Racine, Wis.)
On tonight’s game:
Egypt likes to play zone. They sat in a zone, which we knew they would. We scouted them for that, so we knew we had to get the ball in the paint, get inside touches and move it back out to make sure we were playing as a team and being patient. So, they did a good job of trying to pack it in, but we really improved on how we moved the ball. That got us some easy and open shots.
Who really stood out tonight?
Kristine (Anigewe) coming in, she played really well after not having played as many minutes, and Lauren as well. Lauren had 17 rebounds, so I think they really took advantage of their minutes and they played really well.
How important is it for your teammates you mentioned to have a game like today heading into the knockout phase of the tournament?
It’s great because it’s going to give them confidence. We’re a deep team, and we’re going to need everybody to play well. It’s going to benefit them because if we need them at any specific time, they’re going to be ready to play and going to be confident about it.
Is it difficult to stay focused after getting such a large lead?
It’s one of those things. It is difficult, but you just have to zone in and have fun playing with your team. You can’t let your mind drift away and think it’s fun and games. You still have to stay serious, but still be respectful about it and play together.
Ali Patberg (Columbus North H.S./Columbus, Ind.)
Do you feel the team is starting to gel?
Yes. I think we’re getting comfortable with one another. Coach has been telling us to make the extra pass and get people involved. Once we start doing that and see that it’s working, we will continue to do that and share the ball.
What did coach Dawn Staley talk to you about between the first and second quarters?
She told us that we’re getting the shots, it’s just that kind of night where they’re not falling. She told us to continue to get those shots -- they were good, quality shots, they just weren’t falling. She said to keep shooting and they’ll start falling. She also said to keep moving the ball. She’s told us that if we move the ball, we’ll get open shots.
They’re not a bad team, we’re just really talented. We’re just really deep. They never gave up and they played hard the whole game, so props to them.
What needs to improve before the medal round begins tomorrow night?
Like coach said after the first quarter, when shots aren’t falling, we need to pick up our defense or pick up our press. We’re going to have those times where we don’t hit our shots and we’re not making shots, we’re going to have to work on other parts of our game, work on our defense. We have to continue to do what we’re doing, share the ball, because we’re all talented and anyone can score.
Shakayla Thomas (Florida State/Sylacauga, Ala.)
On the USA's first quarter shooting:
We just got off to a slow start. Our minds weren’t in it, then it took us awhile to get into the game.
On the overall game:
After the beginning, which was just slow, we got into and it and we really played as a team.
On the team’s ball movement:
We work on it in practice and so it really shows in the game. As a team we’re learning to click together. It’s not just one person out there.
How hard is it to stay focused after taking such a large lead?
It’s one of those things that you just have to practice. We’re doing better. We’re getting better being focused as a team and not drifting off.
What needs to be tightened up prior to the knockout round?
We need to keep continue working as a team and getting better every day.