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Jul 15, 2020 12:00 AM est
2020 U.S. Open Basketball Championships
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Godl MEdal

Additional Quotes: USA AmeriCup Team 67, Canada 46 (Gold Medal Game)

  • Date:
    Sep 29, 2019

Dawn Staley (South Carolina), USA head coach
On tonight’s game:
We got off to a slow start. I thought we were forcing things a little bit. We played at Canada’s pace. Once we turned up our defense, got into transition and got some easy buckets, I thought we got into a better flow. So, we stopped trying to run sets and we just ran our transition stuff, where we got really good ball movement, really good shots. They didn’t all fall, but we created enough separation with our defense that it helped us win the game.

You have been emphasizing defense all week. Have you seen the defense improve?
We got off to a great start at the beginning of the tournament.  But, when we started playing more competition, we had a little bit of breakdown. But today, playing against Canada, when we needed to score, it came from our defense. It was really promising that we were able to bear down, get some stops and turn them into some easy transition buckets.

How important were the three on the FIBA AmeriCup All-Star Five, Jordin Canada, Diamond DeShields and Sylvia Fowles?
I really don’t think we could have done what we did without Syl. Syl was just a monster on and off the court. I thought that Diamond and Jordan had some really great spots throughout the tournament that put them there. I think what separates us from every other team in the world is our ability to have depth that no other country can compare to. So, we’ve got to keep getting the commitment from our players to pull out tournaments like this.

Do you feel good about where the program is, knowing you’re not going to be coaching at the next FIBA window due to your commitments at South Carolina?
Our national team program is going to be in great hands. As long as the players commit to it, which they do time and time again, Cheryl (Reeve) and Dan (Hughes) both have won championships, they know what it’s like to be under pressure to win basketball games and we’re going to pass the baton to let them have it throughout the next stage. I’m super excited to see how they’re going to take our team to the next level.

Winning gold never gets old, does it?
Winning gold never gets old. It’s gold or failure, and we put that pressure on ourselves. I’m glad we came out victorious.

Jordin Canada (Seattle Storm)
How different is this golden experience from your previous USA Basketball teams?
This is very different because this is my first time being a professional, being with the national team, and getting to play with other professionals. It’s just been an amazing experience. I’ve learned a lot from the veterans, the coaching staff, and even some of my teammates who are around the same years of experience as I am. This has been a wonderful trip. I’m glad we came out with the win.

On being on the FIBA AmeriCup All-Star Five:
It felt great to be amongst those other four. To be with Diamond and Sylvia up there, it’s a great feeling.

What does Sylvia Fowles bring to the team?
She brings so much. Her experience, her veteran attitude, how she carries herself on and off the court. She’s taught me a lot of things when I’m on the court, to do the little things. It’s all about the details, how you treat people, how you act on and off the court. So, just hearing her voice constantly on and off the court helps me and it helps my teammates as well.

Diamond DeShields (Chicago Sky)
How different is this golden experience from your previous USA Basketball teams?
It’s much, much different because we’re playing with a larger goal in mind. This is the first time where I’m faced with the opportunity to possibly play in the Olympics, and that’s something I’d obviously like to do, as well as the rest of us. So, playing with that goal in mind was probably the biggest difference.

What does it mean to you to be one of the FIBA AmeriCup All-Star Five?
It’s always an honor to be recognized as one of the top players in a tournament like this. There are so many great players, talented players, and I’m just honored.

What improvement did you see with the team through the week?
I think we were able to get through the kinks, work through the kinks a little bit faster as the tournament progressed. We are unfamiliar with each other, as far as being teammates, so we worked on developing that chemistry as quickly as possible. But we had great leadership with Tina (Charles) and Syl (Fowles), who helped us get over those humps.

Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx)
How were you able to separate from Canada?
Just paying attention to details. Our movement was kind of slow, but we did well on defense against Canada. It kind of slowed them down a little bit and made it hard for them to make shots. We tried to rebound off them and get out in transition, so it made it easier for us in that area.

What did you do this week to earn MVP?
I think I just went out there and played my game. Normally when I’m on a platform like this, I tend to rush and speed up. I think I’m at the age now where I can slow down and let the game come to me. I think that’s what I did throughout this tournament, I just let the game come to me and played well for the most part.

How different was this experience as compared to your last few competitions with the national team at an Olympics or World Cup?
It was different in the space of having these young ones coming in and learning something new, having to talk to them about giving of themselves, because it’s not about them. It’s about the bigger picture and Team USA. So, I think it was different in that area. So, just teaching them how we do it the USA way was easy, and they caught on throughout the tournament.

 

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