Quotes: USA Basketball Women’s National Team Training Camp (10/1/17)
USA head coach Dawn Staley (University of South Carolina)
How did practice go today, did you putting anything new in?
Yeah, we put another set in. The sets that we’re putting in are pretty simple. We know that we don’t have a lot of prep time, so when we start getting other players in, they can pick these things up fairly easily. I like the energy. I like the focus that I felt in the gym today. We kind of went in a different direction as far as practice because we fed off of what the players were giving us. We got a lot accomplished.
It seemed as if the jitters that were out there yesterday subsided somewhat today. Was that the case?
Once we played a little bit more competitive things, they don’t think about the jitters. But, when we’re doing drills and breakdown stuff, you can feel it a little bit more with them. We just tried to capitalize on the energy they brought in, because they wanted to play, they wanted to compete. And they did that for us today.
On the leadership of Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart:
This camp would look a lot different if they weren’t here. Because they’re here, they elevate the play. They elevate the stretching. They elevate putting energy into drills and you can’t substitute what their experience brings to this training camp and that’s why I’m so appreciative of them coming.
Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky)
How was practice today?
I thought practice was really good, it was better than the first day. I think we’re all learning coach Staley’s rhythm, how she coaches, her drills, and it was really competitive. The first day we were learning from her and today we were just out there competing, playing hard.
What kind of style of play is she implementing?
Just movement, dribble hand-offs, a lot of screens in transition, roll and rises with the bigs. We have a lot of athletic bigs, so I think we’re trying to use that to our advantage. It’s just constant movement, moving and motion offense.
On the young players, the first-time USA National Team camp participants:
They bring legs, fresh legs (laughs). They bring youth, kind of a fresh perspective in a way. They’re coming straight from their colleges. Since we’re running the floor, you can tell that they don’t really have anything to lose. They’re coming out with a lot of confidence and doing what they’re good at.
Kelsey Plum (San Antonio Stars)
What have you gotten out of this camp so far?
For me, it’s just been so joyous being around so many women who love the game. Everyone is playing really hard and we’re all playing for something bigger than ourselves. Personally, being on Sue’s (Bird) team the last couple of days, the way she sees things, the way she communicates with the team, I have learned a lot in terms of what she’s looking at, time and score situations, things like that. I’m just super excited to be able to learn from someone like that.
Speaking of learning, you have two extremely talented and decorated USA National Team point guards in the gym in Sue Bird and USA head coach Dawn Staley. What have you learned from them?
It’s an amazing feeling, being in the gym with them and getting to be on the court at the same time with them. You grow up dreaming about moments like that, so for it to actually happen is pretty awesome.
On the leadership of Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart:
They raise the level of intensity from a leadership standpoint, but also in the way they make plays. The way they move, they make great basketball plays. They are just at the elite level and it makes everyone try to compete and rise to their game in order to stay with them. So, for them to be here really helps all of us.
Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm)
How is camp going?
Yesterday, there were a lot of jitters. I guess everyone was really excited. It was a very frantic pace almost. And today, things kind of calmed down. People understood more of what we were trying to do, the sets we were trying to put in and how we want to play. We scrimmaged a lot more. When you do that, you compete at a high level and it makes practice a lot more fun.
What do you think coach Dawn Staley is trying to accomplish this weekend?
I think she’s implementing a style that lets the players play, lets us make most of the decisions. She’s going to give us options to go to offensively, but then it’s our turn to go play. We’ve played the game for a long time and we have the ability to make those decisions. And also, defense, we did a lot of defensive stuff. She wants us to be aggressive, be on the attack, because the sooner we get stops, we get to the ball defensively, the more we’ll score on offense.
As the second-most USA Basketball veteran player at this camp, are you trying to be more of a leader this weekend?
I think that’s definitely it. Obviously, I’m still young, 23, but I feel like I’m really experienced with USA Basketball. And being here with the (USA) National Team, especially with so many young people, college players, I’m just trying to be a leader. I was in this position four years ago, five years ago, whenever that was, so I’m just trying to help the young guys, getting them to play at a high level because they’re going to bring it back to their colleges and universities
Courtney Williams (Connecticut Sun)
How is training camp going?
It’s been fun. I’m just enjoying playing with great competition.
What’s it like being coached by Dawn Staley?
It’s great. I’m just trying to suck in as much as I possibly can. She’s been through all this. So, I think we’re all just trying to soak up everything she’s telling us.
What are you hoping to get out of this camp?
Great competition, learning more and more as I go. Playing with older vets. You know, we got Sue Bird out here and I’m learning from her. I’m just digesting it all.
What would it mean for you to make the USA National Team?
I think it would mean a lot. It’s the highest level of competition. Its USA Basketball. It would mean everything, really. It’s exciting jut to think about. But like I” said, I ‘m just trying to soak in and learn as much as I can. By the end of it, if I make the team I’m going to be super-ecstatic.