Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, July 30, 2012

U.S. rolls past Angola

Candace Parker had 14 points and 121 rebounds, Seimone Augustus had 13 points while former UConn star Maya Moore added 11 points, was 5 for 6 from inside the 3-point line to go with five rebounds and four assists to lift the four-time defending U.S. squad to a 90-38 win over Angola in the second of five pool-play games.

Angel McCoughtry added 10 points , Lindsay Whalen had nine points and four assists while former Huskies Swin Cash (eight points), Diana Taurasi (six points and four assists) and Tina Charles (6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks) also had solid games.

Sylvia Fowles did not play as she rested a tender foot but the other 11 U.S. players scored including Asjha Jones, who had two points in her Olympic debut after being held out of the opener.

Here are some quotes courtesy to the people at USA Basketball

Geno Auriemma (head coach, USA and University of Connecticut) Thoughts on the game:I agree with what our opponents have said because it’s obvious that there is a level of talent that’s … the gap is really, really wide. And it’s important that in a game where you know that there is that disparity that you just do the things you need to do to be a better team; to work hard; to make sure we get the kind of ball movement we want; make sure we get the shots we want. The fact that we had 25 assists on 36 baskets, that’s an incredible number. I think that’s the kind of team we have. I wanted us to get better from Saturday’s game, and I thought we did.
On Candace Parker’s performance:
I thought it was a tremendous performance by Candace. We saw a little bit of everything that she’s capable of doing. There are things that Candace can do that no other player can do. Tonight was a perfect example of that. And it started right from the beginning of the game.
The one thing that we’ve been really, really, really harping on Candace is to really sprint the floor and get herself in situations to score before the defense gets set, and to be a factor in every possession and I thought tonight she was . 
On whether the team is gelling:
Yeah. It’s been a little bit challenging. We played one game and one scrimmage in Seattle, and then we played one game in Washington D.C.; we played one in Manchester and we played two in Istanbul. And that’s the extent of this team’s preparation. You watch China play, and see how well they are playing. They played 30 games before they even finished these games. We would love to have had that preparation but it just doesn’t allow for it.  So, every practice the day before a game, every shoot around the day of the game, every game, we have to use it as another training session to get better and better. Where other countries have been able to do it other ways we have to be able to do it while we are here. Fortunately, we’ve got the kind of players who are able to adapt and adjust very very quickly. But it’s not going to look pretty all the time. Sometimes it’s going to look great and sometimes not so great. Today, there were stretches where we looked really really good.  
On subbing for the starting five in the first quarter … was there something you were upset about?
No, no. I had planned on doing that. We did it in the first game, in the second half. I like that second group as a unit. They change the tempo of the game. When they come in it’s a lot different. There were things that were frustrating but that wasn’t the cause of the substitutions; that was planned.
On whether late start times allow morning shoot around to function as a practice:
This morning we did. This morning we had a workout for about an hour, so that helps. Tomorrow we’ll have practice. We’re staying … it’s a 45-50 minute ride to where we are staying in the city, so it’s not easy to get here and back on game days, but the players want to get together. Again, it’s an opportunity for us to get better. No matter how much they know each other from playing against each other and playing together, just putting players together doesn’t make a good team. We’ll work out tomorrow morning, I think like 11:30 or so, and we’ll get better; we’ll improve on what we did today and hopefully that will be evident against Turkey. Because we’ve got a really, really tough game coming up. They are a very, very good team. As a matter of fact, the next three games are going to be very difficult.
On whether he saw Turkey play earlier in the day, and areas that still need improvement:
France is one of the best teams in the world, so whenever you’re playing one of the best teams in the world, I don’t know that … I guess it was a mild upset, but you can understand teams winning here at the Olympics. Everyone thought the China win over the Czech Republic was an upset. Then you see China play again and realize, maybe it wasn’t such an upset. They are really good. Turkey is very good and they proved it at the European Championships. I saw them play a lot. And then when we went down there to play … yeah, they cause a lot of problems for you. They are big and they are smart and physical. They are really, really well coached. And for us, every game is a practice for us. So it may take us 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes … I don’t know how long for us to figure out what we are trying to do. We played Croatia in Istanbul and beat them by 50 and it was a great game when we played them here, so I’m sure that the same team we played in Istanbul when we played Turkey probably won’t be the same team we play on Wednesday. But they are not going to be playing against the same team either, so it all evens out.  

Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)How much did Coach Auriemma get on all of you after the Croatia game?
He’s actually been, in terms of getting on us, very laid back. I think it’s because he knows that we know what we need to do. Right now we’re just feeling each other out, getting comfortable. In that Croatia game there was a moment in the first and second quarter where we probably could have put them away. Because we didn’t, we gave them life. And it became a little bit of a problem for the rest of the game. But, we know that we have to kind of play within ourselves. We’re so talented that we don’t have to make spectacular plays or crazy plays or try to go for the touchdown play every time. If we just play within ourselves, we’ll be fine. And that’s what he’s been telling us.
Tonight you’re up by a lot and yet you’re still pressing and double-teaming. What kind of message are you sending out?
If somebody got a message, great. For us, it’s really about how we play. We’re not really worried about the competition. Obviously we talk about them and prepare, but it’s more about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, no matter what the score is. We can really use games like this to get to know each other better and to learn because the training time has been limited. So, whether it’s practice or a game, we still have to work on things.
On the play of Candace Parker:
Early in the Croatia game she missed a couple easy ones that she normally makes and I think she kind of had that in the back of her head and she really wanted to come and was focused. Coach Auriemmma told her in the beginning of the game anytime we get a rebound on the defensive end she should just get out and sprint, and she did that. She was able to score easy, we were able to get her looks and she obviously did the rest from there.
Are you where you want to be?
No. I think we can get a lot better, I really, really do. It’s good to have a test early against Croatia, maybe a game like this and now we’re going to have another test with Turkey. That’s all going to help prepare us for hopefully what will end up being the gold medal game.

Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
Turkey’s a good team.  They’ve played together for a long time.  They’re well-coached.  They’ve had a great tournament so far and we just hope we play really well.
On the game tonight?
We played well.  We did some good things.  We improved from the Croatia game so I thought it was overall a good 40 minutes for us.
Thoughts on Angola:
They’re African champions.  We have a lot of respect for them.  They went out there and played hard no matter what the score was.   That was good for them.
What was the difference in the game tonight?
Sometimes there is a fine line … I mean we held that team to zero points in the first eight minutes.   Offense part of it, it always take a little bit of time.  I think today we found a little bit better organization within ourselves and you can tell on the court.
On the improved play of protecting the ball in the second half:
We probably turned the ball over a little bit too much in the first half.  In the second half, we only had three so I think that was good for us to know against better teams you can’t give away possessions so that was really good for us.

Speaking of the Olympics, here is a link to a nice story on how UConn and U.S. coach Geno Auriemma invited former UConn men's coach Dee Rowe, who was an assistant coach on the 1980 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team which did not get to compete because of a boycott ordered by President Jimmy Carter, to take in the Olympics first hand.

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