Q&A: Team USA’s Tina Thompson
Houston's Tina Thompson is an Olympic Gold medalist, a four-time WNBA champion, a seven-time WNBA All-Star and was the MVP in the 2000 All-Star game. Her accomplishments in women's basketball are remarkable, and she earned a spot on the inaugural WNBA All-Decade Team. Currently training and playing with the U.S. National Team in preparation for the FIBA Americas tournament in Chile from Sept. 26-30, Thompson shares her thoughts on her teammates and her reactions to the exhibition game on Sunday against Australia.
Q. How does it feel to be back?
A. "It is great. I have been here for about two days now and when you step into this environment it just flows. You are playing with players at such a high level and everyone falls into place."
Q. How do you feel about the team's intensity?
A. "For whatever reason, it is a different mindset when you are coming into this situation. You have to be ready at all times. Our roles are a lot different here. A lot of us on our individual WNBA teams start the game. When you are on the bench, you have to watch the tempo of the game and see how things are going so when you are called in you can step in and make it happen."
Q. Although you won the game Sunday, do the five turnovers stick in the back of your mind?
A. "No matter how many points you are up or you win by, we want to be almost perfect if that is possible. So yes, when you have turnovers like that, it bothers you a lot."
Q. What will you do to work through the mistakes you made on Sunday?
A. "I haven't played in almost a month now. Working out is not the same as being out there. It is one of those things that happens and you go on to the next game with the same focus and try not to make those mistakes."
Q. What advice have you offered the younger players?
A. "The most solid advice I give is not taking moments off. Every loose ball, every hustle play, those have to be our plays. That is also what our coaching staff preaches. So I am just a reminder."
Q. How is your shoulder?
A. "It is doing pretty good, a little sore. My knee is bothering me. It is the old age."
Q. Where do you think the team's strengths lie?
A. "Definitely in our inside game, Courtney Paris, Rebekkah Brunson, Jessica Davenport and Candace Parker, they got in and they made it happen. They are really young in this situation but they have a lot of experience and I think it showed. We are a little bigger and our posts are very agile and versatile. Hopefully we will take advantage of it."
Q. How did the other college players contribute against Australia?
A. "They particularly contributed in our inside game. Then Candice Wiggins came and hit some big shots. I guess Australia thought because they were a little unfamiliar with her they could back off of her. Being able to step into the situation and make it happen immediately is great."
For more on Team USA and the upcoming FIBA Americas, check out USABasketball.com.