Practice Quotes: USA Women's National Team
Dawn Staley (USA head coach)
On playing Canada:
I’m hoping we come out and just execute on both sides of the ball. We put a lot of information in. Some of it is review, some of it is new, so we are looking to see some of the players who are actually able to grasp it all and set themselves apart from some other players. We’re still in a trial basis in that we are looking to build a 12-member team. I hope the players put their best foot forward and make it really hard for the committee.
What are you looking for tomorrow to build on the Red-White exhibition?
I’m looking for us to push the ball down the floor. I’m looking for us to force some turnovers with our defense, and then create some offense from our defense. We have to execute, to share the basketball and not have a stagnant offense. We want the ball to find the person that is supposed to shoot the ball, and those are wide open practice shots. We’ll have some of that, but we’ll also have some players who break down the defense to make something happen. You need that. You need a mixture of it all because if you’re one-dimensional, you’re just like any other team. If you have a lot of facets to your players, you use them all on both sides of the ball.
Cheryl Reeve (USA assistant coach)
How have you prepared for the exhibition game against Canada?
We had a chance to watch video from play that they participated in in August. They were still finalizing their roster, but you get an idea of what the system is going to look like.
I think at this point, all the teams are working on themselves. We would be no different in that, just installing what Dawn (Staley) wants and working on executing those things. It is a very fluid process. We still have players trying to make the team, so we are still evaluating and mostly focused on ourselves.
What do you expect Canada’s strengths to be?
Canada has always got the physical and mental toughness about them that you have to prepare for. They have some new players on the national team and some of the older players have moved on, so a little different style of play. What Lisa (Thomaidis) was running before is different than what they are doing now, so that will be a big change for us. It will a be a great test – certainly for the younger athletes to see what this is all about.
Napheesa Collier (University of Connecticut)
How excited are you to make this 15-member roster to play in Connecticut?
It’s going to be really cool. My whole team is coming, so just having their support is going to be great, and then also the Connecticut fans. I think we have the best fans in the country, so having them be there should be really fun.
Are you excited to play a game with the senior national team against a real opponent?
Of course, especially because Kia Nurse, one of my old UConn teammates, will be on the other team, so that will be kind of cool, too. I don’t know who all the (UConn) people will be cheering for, because we have teammates on both sides, but it should be fun.
Has anyone reached out to you in support about coming back to play in Connecticut?
Yeah, everybody has been very supportive. Coach Auriemma has told me what he thinks I need to keep doing well in order to keep playing and maybe make this team.
Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever)
On playing against her Indiana Fever teammates who will be suiting up for Canada:
It will be good to see them. I haven’t seen them in a while now, since our season has been over. They are really good people, and I know they are going to represent hard for Canada. They love where they come from, and throughout the course of the season, they would bring stuff back from Canada, like snacks and stuff. I guess a friendly rivalry. I haven’t thought too much about it, honestly.
Have you given your teammates any scouting report?
No, Tiffany (Mitchell) was kind of telling them how Natalie (Achonwa) is and her demeanor and what she brings to the table mentally and how good she is. I think knowing that is enough, and we will just play from there.
Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream)
How did it feel to get off the plane and head right to practice?
It felt good. It is always exciting anytime I come play with USA Basketball.
Was it tough to get up to speed?
I remember a couple of the plays from the last training camp that we had, and, obviously, they added a couple of new ones. But, I felt pretty comfortable.
What made you so ready to arrive at the USA’s training camp?
Anytime I have the opportunity to play with USA Basketball, I always want to take it. After the season, I didn’t want to sulk too much. Obviously, we came up a little short. But, I know that preparation for this tournament is really important, so I was ready to get here.
Anybody congratulate you or give you a hard time about losing?
Yeah, but mostly they were saying congrats on a good season. We surprised a lot of people, and we took it to game five of the semis.