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Additional Quotes: USA 84, Canada 68

  • Date:
    Sep 15, 2018

Game Story
• Box Score
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USA head coach Dawn Staley (University of South Carolina)
How different was this game from the game you played against Canada on Sept. 8?
It was a very physical game. I thought our players stayed engaged. They were able to adjust to the type of officiating that was happening out there, especially in the second half. We used a lot of players to make an impact on the game. We needed that. It’s a hot gym, and we’re going to need that for the rest of the weekend. Hopefully we’re going to be able to continue to spread the minutes around and get the results that we need. 

How much difference does it make to have Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi on the floor?
It’s huge. It gives us a really good feeling, knowing that you added two Olympians to the fold. Obviously, we still have a good mixture of young players who are learning the ropes. But when you have Brittney and Diana in the fold, they just add some help with the learning process for some of the younger players. 

What will you work on to continue to improve before tomorrow’s game?
We need to continue to work on ball-screen defense. That’s something that we’ll continue to constantly look at in order to execute in different ways. But for us, we have to get a little bit sharper offensively. We give up shots because we’re over passing. We’re pounding the ball too much. We have to work on getting a little bit more fluid with our offense. 

Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury)
On the game:
We knew that they were going to get after us, knew that they were going to play real hard. I think we did really well – having everybody here now, me and Dee (Diana) getting into it, getting through the offense. We made real big stops and advanced the lead really well in the second and third (quarters). We just got done a couple thing that we needed to do, and we know what we need to work on in the next game. 

How did it feel for you, playing in your first game with this group?
It felt good to get back on the court playing again. I had a little time off, so it just felt good to be with USA, be with the team and get up and down the court.

Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
On the game:
There were a couple of things that we wanted to get done – getting off to a better start was one of those things, and I think we did that for the most part. Overall, it was just a great effort from everyone. From the start, the bench came in and gave us great energy, kind of got that lead, and I think we just built on some things that we are going to have to get better at to beat the top teams.

How did it feel for you, playing in your first game with this group?
Getting back to USA Basketball is a different world. It is a different type of basketball. Being here in Europe, obviously, everything is a little bit different. So, it was a good first day to kind of get acclimated to everyone and the things that Dawn wants to get done, so I think it was a pretty good day. 

A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces)
How different was this game from the game you played against Canada on Sept. 8?
It was a lot different. They were more physical with us. The refs were letting us play, so the energy was definitely different. We came in with a mindset that we’re here to win, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to win. We stayed poised. That’s the best part about it. When you have a great group of women and they stay poised through the tough calls and tough plays, and the easy, missed shots that we could have made.

How much difference does it make to have Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi on the floor?
Oh man, they changed the pace tremendously. It’s a great change. The come in with veteran experience. Diana’s always in our ears, telling us what to do, telling us different ways to do things and how to get the job done. BG (Brittney), she’s a presence that you know you have to guard, but at the same time you can get it to her any way. She has great ball control. So, to have the opportunity to play with those two now, it’s a great feeling. 

Is it much better to have them on your side after going up against them during the WNBA season?
Definitely. It’s a lot better knowing I don’t have to guard them, that they’re my teammates. 

What will you look to work on tomorrow against Senegal?
Just getting the flow for each other, the chemistry. We’re there, we understand the plays, but there’s still nothing like playing basketball with girls that you know are feeding off each other. That’s something that’s going to really help us in the end, because if you know each other, you don’t necessarily run plays. That’s when people can’t scout you. So, we just need to continue building our chemistry. This is the first time playing together with this group, and we got a win. We got a clean win. That’s all you can ask for.


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