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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Brazil's Luis Cicchetto: U.S. "team that is going to win it all."

Former WNBA sharpshooter Iziane Castro Marques not only led Brazil with 21 points in Monday's loss to the United States but she also served as the translator for Brazil head coach Luis Cicchetto who apologized to the media in Washington, D.C. that his English wasn't very good.

The best part of Brazil's portion of Meet the Press was when Cicchetto (through Castro Marques) stated the  obvious.

"We know that USA is the best team."

Then Castro Marques and/or Cicchetto went a step further.

"They are the team that is going to win it all."

With Sue Bird back with her family following the death of her stepdad, Lindsay Whalen not only got the start against Brazil but may have been the best player on the court.

Whalen scored 16 points (on just nine shots) and had five rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes.

"I wanted to make sure we came out and got some good looks, move the ball, share the ball and be aggressive when the time presented itself," Whalen said. "I think it was a good start for us. We got up, pressured the ball and make things happen."

Diana Taurasi, who shared team scoring honors with Whalen said, "when you play with somebody like Lindsay it makes the game pretty easy, just run and she will find you open."

U.S. coach Geno Auriemma compared Whalen to a fullback who moves the chains with gritty between the tackle runs on the gridiron.

"I don't think early on in Lindsay's career she probably got enough respect or enough exposure to let people know how good she really is," Auriemma said. "When she is on the world championship team, you might think some people were somewhat surprised but she just grows on you the more you are around her. She played great at the World Championships, came back and won a WNBA championship. She had gotten better and better and better every single year. The fact that she is able to play that role, come off the bench and do whatever you ask her to do run the offense, score points, play pressure defense, she is just a special kid to be around. She is in phenomenal shape. I would think over the next month she is going to have a real big impact on our team."

The press conference was coming to a close and as he tends to do Auriemma ended with a flourish.

He was asked about Angel McCoughtry's failed dunk attempt and the answer was a case of Auriemma playing the room to utter perfection.

"Angel's knee is fine, her hands are fine, her ankles are good, her arms and shoulder are good," Auriemma said. "As you move up that ladder things don't become so good. That was the lamest attempt at a dunk I have ever seen in my life. I can honestly say that. I embellish things a little bit but I am not embellishing it. What Sylvia (Fowles) did was honorable. I have seen guys miss dunks and Sylvia, she has been dunking her brains out in practice. What Sylvia did was an honorable attempt to kind of wake up the crowd. what Angel did was bring comic relief to the crowd so I guess they both had their place in the game."

This pretty much wraps up my coverage from the U.S. training camp. I feel pretty fortunate that my bosses decided to send me not only to Orlando to cover the U-17 and U-18 training camps but also down to D.C. for the Olympic camp. I was able to catch up with former and future Huskies, wrote 8-10 stories, 35 blog entries and probably as many if not more videos during my two trips. Hopefully you enjoyed the coverage I know it was a lot of fun and rewarding to provide a look at these players.

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