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USA Basketball

Additional Quotes: USA 62, Italy 36

  • Date:
    Jul 18, 2017

Suzie McConnell-Serio (USA and University of Pittsburgh head coach)

What are your thoughts on today’s game versus Italy?
Defensively, we were much better. We were more aggressive picking up their guards full court and disrupting what they were trying to do defensively, limiting them to a shorter clock in the half court. We stayed in plays. We played good help defense, so I’m very pleased with our improvement from yesterday to today. I think we had our legs a little bit more on the defensive end. Offensively, the ball movement was good and we made a lot of good decisions in transition within the half court and the open floor. We still struggled to shoot the ball like we are capable of doing. One thing I continue to tell this team is, continue to shoot the ball with a lot of confidence. As long as it's in rhythm and you’re open and it’s a good shot, then you have the green light to take it. We will be a dangerous team once we start hitting shots, because if we can put in a defensive effort like we had tonight with a great shooting performance, this could be a great team.

In a short time, we are asking a lot of them. They are coming together as a team, but we still have a ways to go. You never settle for anything you’ve done. You’re always trying to improve moving forward and going into the next game.

Who really impressed you tonight?
There were spurts where different players had great moments. I thought Chennedy Carter had a great spurt. I thought Megan Walker had a good spurt for us. I thought Joyner Holmes gave us great minutes tonight as well as Sug Sutton. Just, the effort we were wanting them to play with – I felt like everyone contributed at some point tonight, and this was definitely a total team effort offensively and defensively.

What have you seen from Latvia?
They’ve played two competitive games from what we’ve seen with Spain and Italy. So, for us, going into this, it’s a final tune-up. I think an area we need to clean up moving forward are turnovers offensively, with travels. Our players aren’t used to the footwork, and they are getting called for those travels, so hopefully we can cut down on our turnovers. That will be a goal going in. They are a team that is very physical. They are very fundamentally sound. A lot of movement, a lot of cutting. I think they are a team that executes well, and they play hard defensively, so we have to be ready to execute against what they throw at us. Offensively, I would really like to see us score some more points.

Chennedy Carter (Timberview H.S./Mansfield, Texas)

What was the difference in the halves of today’s game?
We just played a little bit harder. We focused more on the defensive end. When you focus more on the defensive end, it creates offense, and that allowed us to run in transition and finish some breaks.

Where was the improvement today from yesterday?
Really, just defense. We played together and played as a team tonight. We helped each other out. We stayed within coach’s plan and we came out successful.

What is the early verdict on Latvia tomorrow?
I don’t know much about them. We saw them play. I know they can run the floor. To improve before tomorrow night, I just think we can focus more on us and focus on our plays, finishing, and continue to stress the defensive end. If we defend, we should come out successful again.

Joyner Holmes (Texas/Cedar Hill, Texas)

What was the difference in the halves of today’s game?
I think we just got more comfortable after we played yesterday, when we weren’t as comfortable as we should have been in our first game. Just, our nerves settled in and everything, and we got into a flow of the game. Our defense really picked it up, and the game was uptempo. Our defense led to our offense, and I think that was what got us going tonight.

What was the halftime adjustment to help the defense in the second half?
She just told us post players to not let any of the opposing post players shoot any more 3s, so we clamped down on them at the 3-point line, in the post and whatever they did. We just tried to get every rebound that came off, so we could push the tempo, push the ball up the floor as much as we could.

Who do you think stepped up well tonight?
Megan (Walker) stepped up really well, Sug (Alecia Sutton) stepped up and played well. I think our players did well rebounding today, and we hedged hard on screens for our guards. I think we all played well. It was a good team effort tonight.

Alecia “Sug” Sutton (Texas/St. Louis, Mo.)

What were your thoughts on the game?
Italy was really fast. They could score. But, what we focused on tonight was defending, and I think our defense played really well. I think that’s what made us successful tonight.

What did coach tell the team at halftime to inspire the second half defensive effort?
She just told us to keep getting stops. Once we got those stops, to focus on running our offensive sets. I think our main focus was defense tonight, and that’s what made our game go.

Where was the improvement as a team from last night to tonight?
I think we improved on executing our plays, defending more, and just playing as a team.

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