Additional Quotes: USA AmeriCup Team 100, Argentina 50
Dawn Staley (South Carolina), USA head coach
Argentina had a little run there in the second quarter. How did you adjust?
The adjustment for us is to stay disciplined. We got a little bit out of whack in how we were defending the middle ball screen. Once we got back on it and started playing with a little bit more pace, we started opening up the game. We’re going to get everyone’s best effort in the beginning of the game, but it’s a 40-minute game and I like our chances of winning a 40-minute game with the depth that we have.
What has been your team’s biggest improvement through three games?
I like the fact that we’re being challenged from a defensive standpoint. People are showing us different things. We like seeing challenges. We like taking people’s best, whatever they’re best at, we like to challenge ourselves to be able to disrupt that. I thought for stretches we did that against Argentina. I thought for stretches they were able to move the ball from east to west, and that’s something that we try to come into the game an eliminate.
Looking ahead to a possible match-up with Canada, what have you seen from that team that will give you a challenge?
It’s Canada. Canada’s always … we’ve played them a whole lot, so I think we know each other’s tendencies. What we need to do is really continue to concentrate on a 40-mintue game plan, because the depth that we have is challenging for other countries. We also have to play our best basketball. We’re encouraged by what we’re seeing now, so if that match-up ever comes to fruition, we’ll be ready for it.
On the play of Katie Lou Samuelson:
It was great. I think that Lou would think that her shot wasn’t as sharp as she would have wanted it to be early on. But I thought that giving her extended minutes today to get her footing, get her feet under her, really helped. Because sometimes it’s hard to play choppy minutes. You sometimes play choppy minutes here, when you play for the United States. Obviously, we try to share the minutes, but tonight was an opportunity for us to play players for longer stretches, and Lou benefitted from it.
Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings)
What is this experience like for you so far?
It’s really cool being able to play with all these great players. Obviously, you play against them in the WNBA season, a whole bunch of great players, and to be able to play on the same team as them, it’s a lot easier. I’d rather play with them than against them. It’s super fun, and I’m learning a lot. So, I’m excited to be a part of the team.
Katie Lou Samuelson (Chicago Sky)
On tonight’s game:
Argentina was really tough the whole game. They really put up a fight, got our posts having to work hard and be aware where they were and what they were doing on the court. So, we really felt that we needed to step up and bring that energy off the bench, especially since the starters have been really solid for us every single game. And now we’re excited to take on Brazil tomorrow.
With most of your bigs in foul trouble early, who did you feel stepped up for you tonight?
Phee (Napheesa Collier) played a little bit of the four, I got into the four a little bit. You just have to be ready for anything at this point. Tina (Charles), Sylvia (Fowles), Stef (Dolson), E (Elizabeth Williams), really struggled with fouls, but I think Stef did a really good job stepping up and being solid for us when Syl had to come out pretty quick in the second half. So, we just have that versatility as a team that we know the next person is up when something goes wrong.
On her scoring 18 points and hitting 3-of-5 from 3-point:
Being a shooter, you know that when you have a couple bad shooting games, that’s when you just need to keep shooting. You don’t get in your own head about it, you just keep doing what you know how to do. So, I felt good. My teammates got me some really good open shots today, so I kind of got back into a rhythm.
Brittney Sykes (Atlanta Dream)
What is this experience like for you so far?
It’s great to be out here and to be able to play with a great group of girls. To go out, play these three games and go 3-0 in our quest for gold, it’s an honor.
With three games under your belt, how have you seen the team improve?
We’re getting better at sharing the ball. We’re getting better defensively, we’re looking at the schemes the coaches are giving us, and we’re executing them. We just have to go in, lock in and put 40 minutes together. Coach said we did about 30 minutes out of 40, and we’re looking to do 40 from here on out.
What does Jordin Canada contribute to the team?
If you’ve seen her play, she’s quick off the dribble and she can really, really get going off ball screens. She puts a lot of pressure on the post players to really get down and defend. And then she has a really good IQ to find the open players, to get the ball out of her hands to get it to the people who can make shots.