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USA National Team Practice Quotes (9/18/19)

  • Date:
    Sep 18, 2019

Dawn Staley (South Carolina), USA head coach
What did you see different today – any improvement from yesterday?
What I saw us improving on and am encouraged by is our effort on the defensive side of the basketball. We did a great job. I thought Dan (Hughes) did a great job implementing some great concepts that he uses with the Seattle Storm, and I thought our players bought into it. I think it’s going to be great, because Dan gets a chance to expand on that when we’re together in Puerto Rico, as well as in the college tour. I’m especially looking forward to getting better in that area.

You had four more athletes arrive and added into today’s practice, how much did they change the dynamic on the floor?
To have the four players on the floor, Jordin Canada, Napheesa Collier, Katie Lou Samuelson and Ruthy Hebard, who all brought some talent, some ability on both sides of the basketball and some energy. When you can up the energy and the skillset that was in the building yesterday, we’re moving in the right direction. So, I think we are in a great place in our preparations for what we’ll face in the next week and a half.

Kaila Charles (University of Maryland)
What are you learning in this camp?
Just the overall IQ of the game. The vets are really helping me understand spacing, when to attack and slow down and knowing how to read the whole floor. I’m glad that I was able to come out, have this opportunity to learn more. I’m ready to utilize it for my season coming up.

What was your reaction when you received the invitation to camp?
I was so excited. I got invited to a couple USA Basketball events earlier, but I didn’t get to go, because I was injured. So, to come out and have this opportunity with all these great players that I’ve grown up watching and idolizing, it was a blessing. I was so excited to come out here, and I’m glad that I was able to.

Was there anyone you were looking forward to playing with this week?
Everybody. You have the greatest players ever to play. You’ve got Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Arike (Ogunbowle), Skylar Diggins, all these people I’ve grown up watching and seeing on the college level, professional level. So, I was just excited to learn and play against everybody.

Tina Charles (New York Liberty)
How has this camp been for you so far?
It’s always great for me to be a part of USA Basketball. I don’t take it lightly. I don’t take anything for granted being here. I’m very happy to be one of a select few to be representing USA Basketball. So, just to be turning the hands of time and to now be one of the vets as part of USA Basketball, to be able to lend some advice to the younger ones coming up through USA Basketball is very special as well.

There were players from a local middle school team here today who were all very excited to watch the team’s practice and interact afterwards. They all want to be where you are now. Did you ever experience something like that when you were their age?
Yeah. For me, the New York Liberty was always huge to me. That’s the first time I saw women that looked like me, that I could identify with, seeing an African American woman playing at the highest level. For me, I would just play in different parks. So, in ’97 when the WNBA started and being able to witness the New York Liberty, that’s when the dream started for me. To be a part of the ball ceremony, when they give you the ball, to watching them putting up shots in preparation to play in their game, I did all of that. So, it’s definitely similar to the experience they’re having. So, I know how special and unique it is for them.

Ruthy Hebard (University of Oregon)
How is it being back out with the USA National Team a year later?
It was fun. I was less nervous this time, as compared to last year. It was just fun to play, get to meet more great players. So, it was fun.

What do you remember from the 2018 USA National Team camp in South Carolina that helped you step onto the court again with the USA National Team again today?
I just remembered that I can be more confident this year. I kind of told myself that I belonged here with them, just go out, have fun and learn from all the great players that are here.

Was there anyone you were looking forward to playing with this week?
I got to see Tina Charles last year. That’s always great, because I love watching her play. But, Sylvia Fowles is also someone I’ve watched a lot. I was on her team today. She is a great player, so I am just happy to be able to learn from her and play next to her.

Christyn Williams (University of Connecticut)
What has it been like for you the past two days to be on the court with so many legends of the game?
It’s been great. I’m taking advantage of the opportunity. These are players I’ve looked up to when I was younger. So, for me to actually be playing with them, that’s unbelievable. It’s been great. I’ve learned a lot so far.

It looked like you were picking Sue Bird’s brain after practice today. What were you asking her?
Defensive-wise, in college they don’t really play certain stuff like they did today. So I was just trying to get some pointers on how to work through that, and she helped me.

What will you take away from this experience?
Learning as much as I can, just soaking up all the knowledge. I mean, we have legends on the floor right now. So, I’m just trying to learn as much as possible in these three days.

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