2012 USA Women’s Basketball team at practice. Bender Arena, American University in Washington, DC. July 15, 2012. (Photo by Mark W. Sutton)
- Photo gallery: USA Basketball Practice, Sunday, July 15, 2012 at American University
- Video: Diana Taurasi on USA Basketball facing challenges from other teams
- Video: Candace Parker dunking during USA Basketball practice, July 14, 2012
The USA faces Brazil in an exhibition game today at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. EDT.
Quotes from members of the 2012 USA Basketball Women’s National Team on facing Brazil and the upcoming Olympics
Geno Auriemma (USA and University of Connecticut head coach)
On the team’s game against Brazil tomorrow:
Are we ready? I don’t think it matters whether we are or we are not. We are going to play, and I don’t know how we are going to look, but at the same time it is what it is. We’ve got a great oppourtunity to play tomorrow against a really good team, and it will give us an opportunity to see where we are. I kind of look at it like the China game in Seattle, where we only had one or two practices, but we are just going to give ourselves an idea of where we are and where we can go with this. I’m not going to put a lot of stock in if we beat Brazil tomorrow that we are going to win the gold medal, or if we don’t play well we are going to lose the gold medal. I think tomorrow is just an opportunity to play our very first game as the U.S. Olympic Team, and it’s the starting point. We will go from there.
Is Asjha Jones going to play tomorrow?
Yeah. She practiced a little bit today. Ed (Ryan) told me that if she felt good, he was going to let her keep going. She went through the majority of practice, so unless something happens tonight, where she doesn’t feel good tomorrow when she wakes up, I would say she’s going to play.
On U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s game:
We gave him a little bit of a hard time. He’s in the government service now, so he did the same thing on the court: he just passed the ball to guys. But I’ve always been a big fan of his and he knows how to play. He’s tricky, boy, he threw a couple of behind the back passes, the sly politition that he is.
How did this come together?
One, he’s a huge basketball fan. Two, Doug Bruno is from Chicago and knows Arne. Arne’s sister went to Doug’s camp every year, so there’s a little bit of a connection between those two guys. Plus, it’s like we’ve got the Chicago mafia here, you know? Not even counting President Obama. We’ve got Jerry Colangelo, Mike Krzyzewski, Doug Bruno, all these Chicago people, Tamika Catchings, Candace Parker, we’ve just got a lot of Chicago stuff going on here. I guess it was only natural that he wanted to show up, get a little bit of a run in with our guys. It was great to see him, it really was.
Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun)
Are you looking forward to playing Brazil tomorrow?
Yeah, for sure! We get to find out stuff about ourselves and find out about Brazil. Everything we put in fro the past 48 hours, will definitely help us and hopefully we can execute on the court.
How are you able to pick right up after coming back from your WNBA teams?
That just comes with maturity, being pros and having great leaders, especially with Tamika (Catchings) Dee (Taurasi) and Sue (Bird). Seeing the way they approach the game, they just get us revved up for everything.
Brazil has been training for a couple months and you have had two days.
I don’t think it really matters. I think that during these past three months, playing in the WNBA, individuals get better and the team gets better. It’s easier to pick up on things. It’s easy to feed off of other people and their energy. I think we’ll be fine.
Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky)
Practice went well today — intense as always. Coach is expecting a lot out of all of us, which is a good thing because he sees our potential. I’m just happy to be a part of the team again.
On playing a game after two practices together:
I don’t think it’s tough to come in and turn around so quick. Our practice guys have been great for us. They have been banging us up a little bit, but they also have been giving us good looks and good opportunites that we can utilize to see where we are at. Hopefully we can put it all together for forty minutes and come out tomorrow with a win.
Can you talk about have 10 players from the 2010 World Championship and the team’s weekend of training this past May in Seattle:
Yesterday was refreshing. A lot of the stuff I do remember, and you can tell that was true for the other girls as well. The good thing about Geno’s plays, well I should say Geno’s sets, is that you are moving constantly, so you can’t get lost.
Are you excited for the game tomorrow?
I’m very, very excited. Knowing me, I can’t get too hyper, so I have to maintain my compusure. But I’m so happy to get out there with my teammates and just try to contribute as much as possible.
Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream)
On going up against Brazil tomorrow:
I love Erika (Souza) and I love Izi (Iziane Castro Marques). I’m looking forward to playing them tomorrow. They’re a good team. We’ll get to see where we’re at tomorrow. I’m excited to play against them.
You’ve only had two practices. How do you think you’ll mesh?
Oh, we’ll be fine. We might make a couple mistakes because we’re new to playing with each other, but we’ll be fine.
Is it starting to hit you that you’re an Olympian?
For me, personally, it hasn’t hit me yet. I think it’ll hit me at Opening Ceremonies.
Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks)
On playing Brazil tomorrow:
I think it’ll be a good test for us. Obviously Brazil has historically been in the top five teams in the world. It’s going to be a good match, a good test for us in our first game before we head over to London.
How was it getting back out here?
It’s definitely tough being out here, especially after playing half of the WNBA season. I think we all have some bumps and bruises, but we’re excited to represent our country and play together. I think we have good chemistry already.
With the limited training time, that chemistry will have to carry you a long way:
I think our chemistry also helps us from playing outside of here. Because, we realize when we’re playing outside of this team, we have to do a lot more. So, when we come here, we’re able to play extremely hard for short sports and then come out and know that we’re never going to get tired and there won’t be a let down. Our subs will come in and we’re going to get better. We’re going to come in waves. In a way it makes our games better. It allows us to do more things and be capable of doing more things.
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
On playing Brazil tomorrow:
Brazil, they’re one of the top teams in the world. With Izi (Iziane Castro Marques) and (Erika) Souza, they have been playing international ball for I don’t know how long now. They’re a team that’s been together for a long time. They’re always one of the top teams in the world.
On the USA team picking up where it left off in May:
Every time we step on the court, we have to use it as a learning tool. Those three days in Seattle really helped us. Then we got here and we kind of just kept going from there.
Do you think the veterans from 2004 would be proud of you, the way you’ve taken the torch for this team?
Yeah, I think they would be proud of us. We learned a lot from them. They were mainstays on this team for a long, long time, Lisa (Leslie) and Tina (Thompson), Sheryl (Swoopes), Dawn (Staley), Katie Smith, DeLisha (Milton-Jones). So, every time you put on this jersey, you’re kind of representing all the people who played USA Basketball. There’s a great responsibility.
How close are you to the men’s side?
This is Sue (Bird), (Tamika) Catchings and my third Olympics. It’s what, Melo’s third, LeBron’s third. It would have been Dwyane’s third. We were there when those guys were struggling. Now, to see them come full circle and be where they’re supposed to be, we’re really happy for them.
Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx)
On playing a game after two practices together:
I feel really good after today. Yesterday was a later practice and people had just gotten in, so I felt like today was a really good practice, and tomorrow will be fun. We have shoot-around and then game day, so it will be a good challenge for us.