Additional Quotes: USA 104, Puerto Rico 46
USA head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio (Pittsburgh)
How do you approach a game like this when the other team is such an underdog?
Coming into today, this was about us getting back on track, playing like we are capable of playing, with multiple people scoring the basketball, controlling the boards, defending like we need to defend. You are in the round of 16. You’re playing to advance. Our goal was to come out of pool play winning our pool, get to this game and advance past the round of 16. Now, we’re into the quarterfinals. This game was all about us and a focus on execution and playing with a lot of energy at both ends of the floor.
You look at Ty Harris, she had 10 assists. Look at players that had double-doubles or near it. Players are sharing the basketball, and that’s the way we need to play. We’ve talked about it – moving forward, we need contributions from each and every player. It was a fun one to be a part of today.
What are your thoughts on the team notching a new rebounding record (72)?
We had an advantage inside, and we looked to attack them early inside. Ruthy (Hebard) got us off to a great start. She was running the floor, so we were able to go inside. She even stepped out and hit a 3. It was a play we drew up for her to get that outside shot, because everything she got earlier was around the rim. She’s one of our top shooters in shooting drills. It was just a game where we felt we had an advantage size-wise, so we wanted to dominate the boards at both ends. We got on the offensive glass to give ourselves second and third chances.
Having scrimmaged France before the tournament, what can you say about that team ahead of Friday?
France is very talented. They play hard. They run a lot of good sets offensively. They have an inside-outside game with perimeter players that can shoot. They have really good athletes who can take you off the dribble. They execute well with their post game – inside they are strong. And defensively, they will get up and pressure you to disrupt what you are trying to do. It’s going to be a battle, and we have to come ready to play. We will have to have a focus with how we defend their personnel, but also execute against their pressure.
Bella Alarie (Princeton/Bethesda, Md.)
How was there such a large margin in rebounding today?
We definitely had the height advantage over this team, but if anything, we crashed the boards every time. We didn’t let up on the glass. We just went for every ball possible. It was good hustle and energy by our team to try to get every board.
Tyasha Harris (South Carolina/Noblesville, Ind.)
What helped you break the USA women’s U19 single-game assist record (10) tonight?
It was more of my teammates being open. I was seeing them, and they were finishing the plays. It was more of a team effort than an individual one.
How tough is it to go out and play a team like this that others may view as a big underdog?
You just have to stay in the mindset. It’s more of a bigger picture than what it is during the game. We just have to think of that bigger picture, continue to do what we do, run our plays efficiently and play good defense.
What needs improvement ahead of the quarterfinals on Friday?
Defensively, we will have to stay up and pressure the guards and post players. We have been doing a pretty good job of that. Offensively, we will have to get into a flow earlier and get a spark right when the ball is tipped off. Hopefully, we’ll keep it running from there.
Ruthy Hebard (Oregon/Fairbanks, Alaska)
How fun was it out there for you tonight?
It was super fun. It’s great to see everyone make their shots. It was fun on and off the court.
What did you think of the overall team effort tonight?
We just wanted to come out with a lot of energy, and I think we did that. When we have fun, and play hard, we can break those records. Shout out to Ty (Harris) for getting those assists. She works super hard.
What was the focus out there tonight?
We just wanted to execute, run through our plays and dominate where we felt we had the advantage.
What is the outlook on France on Friday?
They have a really good team. They are really athletic, so I am excited to play them again.
Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian School/Little Rock, Ark.)
What are your thoughts on the team’s effort today?
It was fun. It was definitely a confidence booster for us going into the quarterfinals, so that was really good for us. We had a lot of fun.
You hit a couple 3-pointers today – how did that feel having your teammates cheering you on?
Everybody getting to play, everybody scoring and getting themselves on the stat sheet, that is so much fun.
What is the outlook on France on Friday?
They are competitors. We scrimmaged them, and they were pretty tough. But, we can do it. We will have to work together, like we did tonight, and we will be fine.