Additional Quotes: USA Women's U19 National Team 75, Spain 51 (Exhibition)
USA U19 head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina)
On today’s game:
We came out and executed on both sides of the ball. We knew that Spain wasn’t going to be a team that just went away. They’re getting acclimated to getting a couple of post players back from the U20 European Championship. It was good to play Spain in Spain, just to give us a taste of what it’s going to feel like being in Russia. I think our players are getting better each and every day. We look forward to seeing us play our best basketball next week.
About half your team has never played internationally, have they been adjusting well to the style of play?
Everybody has been adjusting well. The ones who have international experience are the ones who have been helping those inexperienced ones along the way with USA Basketball. When you’re with USA Basketball, you buy into the culture of what we’re all about. For us, it’s helping each other and having one like mind of doing what we need to do to help us try to win a gold medal. And that doesn’t start when we’re playing in the gold medal game. It starts prior to that. We have enough experience going in to help those players who are new to this style of basketball.
Were you happy with your inside game today, especially on the glass?
Coming into this tournament, being down a guard and the length we’re coming in with and having four of our six post players having that college experience, it really helps us, and we need to use that to our advantage as much as possible. They are gelling, and they have great chemistry amongst the post players, and with Lauren (Cox) and Kristine (Anigwe), they’re getting better. Every game that we play they’re getting better and better.
Now we’re looking forward to getting to Russia and practicing. We haven’t practiced in a few days, and we need to practice in order to make sure we can fine tune some things that we’re going to need going into Russia.
Mariya Moore (Louisville/Richmond, Calif.)
On what she hopes the team will carry over from the exhibition games:
We will focus on keeping the energy and hard play that we have had in these exhibition games. We want to carry that over, especially because we did pretty well.
On what the team has done well:
Rebounding, we did really well rebounding. People are going to miss; we can’t make all our shots, but as long as we rebound that give us another chance.
On her expectations for Russia:
I am expecting it to be super tough because international play is different from how we normally play. So no matter what team we play, it will be good competition.
Chatrice White (Illinois/Shelby, Neb.)
On the exhibition games:
It has been a good look at the teams that we are going to be playing against. These are the top teams in the world. So, it is giving us an idea of what other players are out there and the competition we will be facing, along with how different the game is overseas compared to (the way it’s played) in the USA.
On the difference she has noticed about the game overseas:
It is so much more physical. The refs see the games a little differently than in the U.S., which you don’t complain about, you just adapt. You play how they expect the game to be played.
On what she will focus on moving forward in international play:
Being able to finish through the physicality, pressure on the block and getting rebounds, will be the focus for me, personally.
A’ja Wilson (South Carolina/Hopkins, S.C.)
On the win over Spain:
It was great. It was a good game. Spain was a great team, but we went out there with the mindset of not backing down to any opponent. We played to our strengths. We played a great game together, which got us a win.
On the togetherness of the team:
As the veteran, it is something that I focus on - sticking together at times when the game is not going our way, when people are not being themselves. It is something that I always say when we break out of the huddle. I say, ‘Together on three,’ because it is a reminder that we have to stick together to win a gold medal.
On the USA outrebounding Spain 59-29:
It is like coach Staley always says, ‘rebounding is a choice.’ It is something that you have to put in your mind. You have to say, ‘I am going to get that rebound.’ You have to go after it. We have a length and height advantage over some of these teams, so it makes it a lot easier, but rebounding is a choice that you have to make. It helps us out that we are taller than their post players, so we just go get it.