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Additional Quotes: USA 109, Senegal 58

  • Date:
    Sep 16, 2018

Game Story
Box Score
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USA head coach Dawn Staley (University of South Carolina)
On tonight’s game:
I was pretty pleased with three of the four quarters, in which we played pretty good on both sides of the ball. There are some things we do have to clean up, some ill-advised shots, some turnovers, all contributed to not having one of our better quarters in the third quarter.

Overall, everybody came in and gave some great contributions. And, above all, we got better.

On the game against France tomorrow:
It’s probably going to be a loud gym tomorrow night. We’ll have to approach it like any other game. We have to be focused on playing well on both sides of the ball and also playing together, getting more and more chemistry. I’m really looking forward to it, because I was part of the staff that lost to France in a prelim tournament leading up to the 2014 World Cup. I’m looking forward to hopefully avenging that loss.

How difficult is it for you as a coach to go through this process and try to blend a team together when you don’t know who your final 12 will be?
It is tough for everybody. But, basketball is basketball. We’ve all been a part of a trial period. We’ve all been a part of finding the best 12 players to represent a team, whether we’re a part of it or not. I think they do have an understanding of that. I also think they want to be a part of it. That’s the beauty of playing for USA Basketball, we have the players who want to be here, who want to sacrifice, want to help us continue to win gold at World Cups. It’s a sad time, because we know we’ll have to send four people home who won’t continue. But, we’ve always stressed that they’re helping us, and they’re helping themselves by being here and preparing for a World Cup.

Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun)
On the USA’s 35 assists:
It’s fun. That is when basketball I think is the best to play, when you are moving the ball and everyone is involved and everyone is touching it and you feel good. It really started on the defensive end, because we got stops and then we could get the ball and get out and run and get the ball moving, and then you get the easy buckets.

Did the team execute the game plan tonight?
We did. When you get stops defensively, you can get out and run. It is kind of hard when a team is putting the ball through the basket and you have to take it out, and they get a chance to get back and set their defense. It all starts on the defensive end for us. It fuels our offense.  

Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces)
On tonight’s game:
Senegal was very athletic. They played really hard in the third quarter. We kind of got away from what we were doing in the first two quarters, taking care of the ball, moving it and taking good shots. So, credit them, they pushed us for 40 minutes. I was just glad that we got back on track in the fourth quarter and got things going again.

On the game against France tomorrow:
It’s going to be super tough. It’s a late game, they’re going to pack the house, so it should be a fun, hostile environment.

How has the process been for you as each roster decision has been made?
It’s extremely different. Previously with USA Basketball, you make a team, and you just make it. Here it’s cut by cut. Mentally, it’s very challenging. Whatever happens, I’m just grateful for the opportunity. It’s a growth experience, and I’m excited to be here.

Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun)
On tonight’s game:
I thought we played really well. Beside our third quarter, we played more at the pace and style that we want to play with all of our games. So, I think it was good that we had that game and get that feel of how we want to play.

On the game against France tomorrow:
It’s going to be a tough game. They’re a tough team, it’s going to be physical and they’re going to have the crowd on their side. For us, it’s just making sure that we have a very high intensity level. We know that we have to come in from the tip, all the way through the entire 40 minutes.

How difficult has this process been and is it stressful not knowing if you’re going to play in the World Cup or not?
It can be, but for me, I just try to go out there and play and do whatever I can that I don’t feel like I left something out there, I didn’t bring something or I’m going to regret something. For me, I’m trying to do whatever I can. And then whatever happens, that’s what’s meant to be.

A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces)
Did the team execute the game plan tonight?
I would have to go off of what coach said – we executed pretty well except for the third quarter. We gave them some open shots. Turnovers were a huge thing – that’s something that we don’t need. Other than that, we executed. The pace was where we need it to be. We are slowly starting to get chemistry together.

On her 22 points:
It feels good to be out here. My teammates are setting me up in a great position to score the basketball. I’m just out there trying to have fun and take it all in, and getting in all this information. Not necessarily just talking to my teammates, but observing things, observing people and learning from these vets.  

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