Additional Quotes: USA Women's U19 National Team 72, Spain 57
Chekhov, Russia • July 18, 2015
USA U19 head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina)
On the USA's slow start:
Any time you start a tournament, you want to play so well. We came out with a sluggish start, but that's why you have assembled 12 of the best young players in the country. When we're not getting the execution that we need on both sides of the ball, we'll just substitute and try to find the right combination to get us going.
We did a really good job when we inserted Shakayla (Thomas) in. Even Destiny (Slocum), getting off the plane, flying over half of the day and being able to give us some valuable minutes. Crystal Dangerfield was great in being able to push the tempo and get our defense going in the right direction.
On the USA's second quarter's free throw shooting:
That's truly important. Anytime you're able to be the aggressor, especially offensively, you put defenses back on their heels, and we were able to capitalize on them. We need to do that throughout this tournament. If we're getting to the free throw line, we're being aggressive. I think we're a hard team to guard. Now we just have to keep packing our defense and maybe get some outside shots to go in for us.
On the USA's depth:
That is probably the biggest advantage we have, our depth. We're going to need it, facing a team like China, who will probably run us around. It may take more than a quarter or a half to impose our will on them. But, that's the true beauty of our team and our ability to play all 12 players.
What do you want to work on before playing China?
We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. We got a bit careless with it in the fourth quarter. We still have to make adjustments. International play is a little bit different for the first timers. Being able to put the ball down before taking any step is key. It takes us time to adjust to. Now, we'll be more conscious of it, since we did turn the ball over in that fashion a lot in this game. We look forward to correcting that and hopefully having a better 40-minute effort tomorrow.
Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O’Fallon, Mo.)
On the slow start:
I was nervous. I don’t know what everybody else was feeling, but I don’t really don’t know why we came out slow. I think it took a little time, but we picked it up a little bit.
How difficult is it to play the same team twice in less than a week?
It’s really hard playing a team twice, because what you do know. It’s harder to get off the shots that you did before because they know you better.
How were you able to pull away?
We had a lot of steals. Mariya had about five in a row. So, that helps. When we were pressuring them, they were turning the ball over, so we were able to get out in transition. And our rebounds, we rebounded really well tonight.
On Destiny Slocum flying straight from Idaho to the game:
She did amazing. I can’t believe she played so hard after just coming off the plane. We did that last week in Spain and we were horrible, so props to her.
Destiny Slocum (Mountain View H.S./Meridian, Idaho)
How was it for you to fly from Idaho, land in Moscow and go directly to the arena to play this game?
It was a long trip, but I slept a lot on the plane, so I was okay.
I knew that my shot was probably going to be off because I hadn’t shot in over 24 hours, so I thought, why not come out, play some really hard ‘D,’ and then maybe everything would fall after that. I also wanted to help the team with energy. That was my goal.
On playing in her first USA Basketball game:
It was pretty great. It was worth 24 hours of travel, I can tell you that. You wait 17 years for something and then it happens. I think it just felt awesome.
What is it like playing with this team?
When everyone on the team knows the game and I know the game, it's just a mix of knowledgable basketball players.
Were you given any plays ahead of time?
We wrote them up before the game, then they wrote two of them up on the bench and I just kind of tried my hardest to remember them and play them.
Shakayla Thomas (Florida State/Sylacauga, Ala.)
Was it difficult to play Spain again after just having played that team on Tuesday night?
It was kind of tough coming out, because they already knew our plays. We played them literally the last game we played, so they knew our plays and we really had to work hard against their defense.
What were you doing differently in the second half than you were in the first half?
We were pressuring the ball more. The first half we weren't pressuring it as much. We were more laid back and letting them score. In the second half we got on them.
On the play of Destiny Slocum after spending 24 hours traveling:
She was straight of a plane and did great tonight. There's not much more you could say. She going to make a big impact.
What do you think the USA team needs to work on?
Just defensive rebounding. Basic communicating with one another, like who has who. Things like that.
On Mariya Moore's four-straight steals in the fourth quarter:
She's the real MVP. I don't know. I wouldn't have gotten that ... four in a row? That's amazing.
A'ja Wilson (South Carolina/Hopkins, S.C.)
On tonight's game:
It was a good game. Coming off of just playing them, we knew how to scout them and they knew how to scout us. It was really just about going out there and seeing who wanted it more. I think we showed that and it was a great team win.
What was the difference in tonight's game?
This time each team knew we were playing for something. The last time we were of course playing for that win, but now there is a gold at stake. That's something we really take pride in, winning gold. So, I think both sides knew that we're playing for something more. That gave us the extra edge to play hard, but I think both teams played great.
Grade your team on its overall effort.
I think I'll give us an eight. We did a good job pressuring the ball on our press and executing things off of that. We have to communicate more, talk more on defense and let each other know where we are so we can feel more comfortable about each other. That's kind of hard, because this is our first time really playing with each other, and that's something that's even hard to get through with college teams. So, I think we're really coming along. Communicating is going to be huge for this team, in order for us to win gold.
On the USA's depth:
Our depth is huge. That's something that USA Basketball really does well with. We have that bench to go to. Not a lot of countries have that. They have that five or maybe another one coming off the bench. But now, we can go from five to another five, which is always great to have, knowing that when the starters come out, another good group is going to come in and hold it together.
On Destiny Slocum's contributions in her first day with the team:
She gave a great contribution, especially coming off of a plane. I know it would be tough for me, especially with a flight that's not just a couple hours. This was a full day. For her to come out and give us the things that she did and was always ready, that's something that the coaches stress, always being ready, and she was ready when her name was called. She did great for us.