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Crystal Dangerfield

Additional Quotes: USA 78, France 51 (quarterfinals)

  • Date:
    Jul 28, 2017

USA head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio (Pittsburgh)
How were you able to take France out of their game in the second half?
Well, in preparing for them, it helps when you have scrimmaged them previously. We had a scouting report from that, as well as games we have watched them play. They are very physical. They play, offensively, at a high pace with a ton of on-ball screens. The guards have to chase hard off of down screens. Defensively, they run so many screens – we tried to defend in different ways. We tried to stay home on players and fight over screens, but some we were going under based on personnel and where they were set.

Really, we just tried to disrupt what they were trying to do. We tried to stay contained, disrupt shots and rebound the basketball.

The struggles that we could have anticipated happened offensively tonight, because they are very physical and they disrupt what you are trying to run offensively. So, we got off to a very slow start, but then I thought, as the game went along, we got more comfortable defending their sets and the pace of the game.

Joyner (Holmes) was great energy off the bench – just her presence, she was instant offense and defensively, she looked to hedge on-ball screens. Chennedy Carter in the second half was difference maker, especially offensively. But, ‘Sug’ (Alecia Sutton) set the tone defensively, for this team, because she had the task of guarding Tima Pouye. She was chasing hard off of screens and was working so hard, and that became contagious for our team. We just needed to settle down and find ways to score throughout the course of the game.

What’s the outlook on Japan in the semifinals tomorrow?
Japan is very talented. They play very well together. They are very fundamentally sound, disciplined and they move the ball very well. There could be possessions where the ball doesn’t even hit the floor. They make the extra pass, they find the open players and then they hit the shots. They are actually really fun to watch when you watch them play, just because they play with high energy and a high-pace. But, for us, they are not as physical as the teams we’ve seen, so hopefully we can match the speed of the game and execute offense without having to fight the contact constantly. We have to make sure that we can limit penetration on them, so they aren’t just penetrating and kicking it out to open shooters. We don’t want to come off shooters on a contested drive. We have to stay in plays and not give them second chances, because typically that results in an offensive rebound, a kick-out and a 3. Offensively, we will have to find ways to score. They are very smart defensively, and we have to find ways to have a balance. When we’ve been successful, we’ve had a balanced scoring attack across this team inside and out.

Bella Alarie (Princeton/Bethesda, Md.)
All four teams in the semifinals are undefeated. How tough are these next couple games looking?
They will be tough. We’ve been coming into a lot of games without enough energy, and I think, coming into these final two games, we are going to have to come out really strong from the start. We have to come out to the best of our abilities with a lot of confidence and just battle with these other teams that are going to be feeling just as confident as we are.

What do you think was the key in tonight’s win over France?
In the end, it was getting boards and getting steals and just playing lock down defense. We held them to 51 points. It came down to our defense and how gritty we wanted to be down at that end.

How good was Alecia Sutton’s defense tonight?
It was incredible. People couldn’t even get the ball when she was guarding them. She’s a lock down defender, and she just plays hard the whole time. That really helped our team out, for sure.

Chennedy Carter (Timberview H.S./Mansfield, Texas)
The team went on a big 14-1 run in the third quarter. How’d that come about?
We all were just playing as a team. Coach was calling a lot of plays and my teammates helped me get open. We made the extra pass and finished on the offensive end, and then we played great defense at the other end.

What was said at halftime?
Coach just told us to keep playing and keep making the extra pass. We all, kind of, started off a bit slow in the beginning. Coach just told us to keep our heads and keep playing, and then let’s build a big lead coming out of the second half and try to start off better.

What’s the outlook on Japan in the semifinals tomorrow?
We are going to focus on the defensive end. We know this team moves a lot, both on offense and defense. We will have to come out and execute plays and just be smart on both ends of the floor, and then just stick with coach’s game plan.

Alecia ‘Sug’ Sutton (Texas/St. Louis, Mo.)
How did your defense help dictate the game tonight?
At first, we started off slow on defense, but after the half, we picked it up a little. I came out with energy, and I wanted to bring energy for the team. We had been coming out slow after halftime, so I tried to tell them we needed to bring more energy and just pick it up on defense.

What did you think of Chennedy Carter’s play tonight?
Chennedy did an amazing job of picking us up and putting points on the board for us. She was hitting shots when some of us others weren’t hitting our shots, so she just came in, handled her business and hit shots.

What’s the outlook on Japan in the semifinals tomorrow?
I think they are going to pressure us a lot. We respect Japan, and we think they are going to come out and compete really hard. We just have to respect them and play hard, too.

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