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USA Basketball

Additional Quotes: USA National Team 84, Uni Girona 52

  • Date:
    Oct 4, 2015

Girona, Spain

USA head coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut)
How do you feel about this team's first game?
We talked about that. We had two practices and a shoot around, so we really didn't get to do a lot and even in those two practices, we didn't have more than nine players, so we couldn't even play five-on-five, full court. But, I think it shows that we've got a great group. They love playing together. They're very, very competitive. They pick things up quickly. They shared the ball and you saw Candace Parker with 12 assists. You've got some of the best scorers in the WNBA and they're looking to make plays for other people. I think that kind of attitude is why we are who we are.

You can't take a lot out of this game, but you can take enough things that when we go to practice tomorrow, we can build on the effort that we had, the way we executed our offense a lot of times, how we got contributions from a lot of people. So, all in all I was pretty happy.

On the games of USA National Team rookies Elena Delle Donne and Courtney Vandersloot:
With somebody like 'Sloot, it's all about experience. You watch Sue, the way she handles herself out there and how she runs the team, it's just through years of experience. And Sloot doesn't have that, so it's great for her to be put in this situation. I just thing she is going to get better and better, the more she's in that spot.

And Elena Delle Donne is just Elena Delle Donne. She's one of the most gifted players in the world. She's just never been in the position to do this. And you could tell, she might have been a little nervous, who knows, but she missed a lot of shots that she normally makes very easily. But, having her and Candace out there on the floor at the same time, they're fun to watch. They were really fun to watch tonight.

At halftime one of the things you wanted your team to work on was offensive boards. Were you happy with the adjustments made in the second half?
To a certain degree. I thought we had a little better effort going to the boards. We didn't miss a lot of shots, but I thought we did a better job of keeping the ball alive and giving ourselves a couple more possessions. That's always something that coaches harp on, because it's not easy. Your tendency when the shot goes up is to get back on defense. It's hard to run in there and get knocked around and try to get an offensive rebound and I though we did a really good job with it.

Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)
On tonight's game and playing her first time in a USA National Team game:
It was so much fun. Probably the most fun I've had playing the game of basketball with all these incredible players elevating everybody's game. It's a blast and the fans were awesome. It was just a great experience.

I couldn't believe the game was sold out for an exhibition game. It was amazing to have that type of support.

On Spain hosting the next FIBA World Cup:
That's great news. Their fans are so excited about women's basketball. Them chanting U-S-A as we walked up to the bus, their excitement was really awesome. So, that's great news to hear that they're going to be hosting.

On the overall play of the team tonight:
We only had two days together, so to be able to put forth that type of effort in that game was really impressive. Obviously there are going to be some mistakes, there are going to be some missed shots that you wish you could change, but the effort was always at a constant high. We're just going to continue to get more and more comfortable playing with one another, but the pace was fun.

Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks)
On tonight's game:
We came out and we played hard. That's what coach preached to us. But, I think that as the game went on we got more comfortable with each other and I think that's what's USA Basketball is about. We don't have a lot of time, but we are able to get used to each other fast. Everyone played well, we all came out and played hard. It was the first time playing together, so it was good to get back out on the court.

On her triple-double:
I didn’t know I was even close to a triple-double and didn’t realize I got it until now. This is my first one. I’ve always been really close, but never got it.

On Elena Delle Donne and Courtney Vandersloot, who were playing in their first USA National Team game:
They played well. The key to USA Basketball is that everybody's capable of playing and being featured, it's just about being able to play alongside the best players. And we were able to do that today. We got to know each other, we got better and we're one more step closer to winning more medals.

Has this been a good start to this trip?
I think this was a good start. We haven't had a lot of practice together. Tomorrow will be our first practice with 10 people. It'll be big for us to continue to build. We don't have a lot of time before the Olympics, so this is important for us to get acclimated with everybody.

Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky)
Tonight was the first game you've ever played in a USA Basketball jersey, how did that feel?
It's great to be around everyone. You're out there and around such great players, you're automatically very comfortable. I have a lot of improvement to do, but that's what you expect when you go out for your first game.

Does it help having Elena Delle Donne out there with you, as well as having experienced a couple USA National Team mini camps?
Yeah, it does. Whenever Elena is out there, she's always a great option. You could say that about a couple of the players out there. I have been to camps, so I'm familiar with how to play with them, so it was fun.

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