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U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM MEDIA SUMMIT: Quotes from Women's Basketball Press Conference Tuesday, April 15

April 15, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
Press Conference Quotes Tuesday, April 15 4:50 - 5:50 pm Women's Basketball Participants: Coach Anne Donovan (AD) Lisa Leslie (LL) Katie Smith (KS) Sylvia Fowles (SF) Introduction: The 2007-2008 Women's National Basketball Team is 21-0, including winning gold at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship in Valdivia, Chile, earning their automatic bid to the Olympic Games. The final team will have 12 members. Opening Statements: AD: We're really happy to be here and be a part of an incredible process for our women's team. We've been working hard to approach Beijing in August with the goal of winning the gold medal. Come see us. You won't regret coming to see us. We're going to be a very competitive, hungry team with a great combination of veteran players and young talent. We've had tremendous competition with Russia, Australia, Cuba, so we know we're headed into a challenging situation and looking forward to coming away with the gold. LL: The journey is always very challenging and obviously now after having a baby it's even more challenging. I'm looking forward to it. It's an honor to be able to play for my country_ When I put on the red, white and blue it's about representing our country_ We're going back to defend our gold. I'm excited to be among all the players, the young and the veterans_ I'm looking forward to us going back to defend ourselves and our country. It's going to be challenging-the competition is not backing down. KS: It just seemed like yesterday that we (Lisa Leslie and I) were the babies and learning from Teresa Edwards and Katrina McClain. Now, (we're) called to duty and you set the tempo of the practices and games and leading them (teammates) on the floor and understanding what USA Basketball represents and taking pride in it_ It's the journey, the sacrifices, the long fights, the bad food. It brings us closer and we're out there to win the gold medal. SF: I'm happy to be here and to have these girls on my team. The talent is (great) and the coaches have done a great job to prepare us for overseas. I'm just trying to learn as much has possible from these women. Quotes: Q: Anne, can you speak about Russia and Australia and what you need to win' AD: Our biggest challenge is how quick we can come together. We get together July 28 and our first competition is August 9. Being able to put all the pieces together in a short time, getting our chemistry set, and on defense, getting our trust there. We've had a lot of training over the last couple of years, but how quick we come together will be incredibly important. Both Australia and Russia have changed the style of their game to set pace with us and our style_ We, with the best players, are the best in the world at that style. Q: Lisa, playing with Candace Parker now on the LA Sparks, how will that help Team USA' LL: I think it's going to be really great for Candace and I to play together side-by-side on the Sparks team and as Olympic teammates, working together as posts_ We're going to have our own chemistry built by the time we get to the USA Team and I think that's a great advantage for us_ It's going to be an advantage. I'm definitely looking forward to playing with Candace. She's a phenomenal player already and I look forward to giving her as much knowledge as I have about the game as well as learning from what she has. AD: Candace has stepped in in a big role the last couple of years for our USA Team in Lisa's absence. Candace got thrown into a pretty big role for us two years ago and has done a pretty good job_ All rookies have a difficult time coming into the WNBA: the stress of college-with Candace making it to the National Championship game-to the draft, to training herself, to the Olympics, she's going to need the advice on how to be prime for the Olympics. Q: How is Tamika Catchings doing' AD: She is not practicing with us. She's still in her rehabbing stage. She's on track and on target_ She'll go through her WNBA season with Indiana as well as she can. We hope to have her with us in Beijing. It would be a terrible loss to us not have Tamika and we'd surely miss her. Q: What is the biggest adjustment you've had to make to international-style basketball and where will you fit in on the team' SF: This is my first time playing with Lisa. It has been a thrill these last couple of days in practice. I've been playing with Katie for the last couple of years. My biggest transition is mentally and knowing who I'm guarding at each time.
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