Press Conference: Augustus, Moore & Whalen Address The Media
Seimone Augustus' Opening Statement:
Thank you thank you. Thanks to everyone for being here today and showing their support throughout the Olympics. It was great to be there with my teammates and to be a part of something as special as USA basketball. It was even more fun to get updates from coach about what was going on back here… to see the girls on Instragram paddle boarding, having fun without us. We're looking forward to a fun second half of the season.
Lindsay Whalen's Opening Statement:
Great crowd today. Like Seimone said, it was a great month, lots of hard work. A lot of hours in the gym went into that for everyone. We had a lot of fun, we tried to enjoy every moment, tried to put everything into the games. We all got to do it together, and I feel like we brought a lot to the team. We brought our strengths and what we were good at. We won the gold medal and now we're thrilled to be back and to get things going with the WNBA season here.
Maya Moore's Opening Statement:
For me it was a thrill, being the youngest member on the team. I tried to do a lot of watching, observing. I'd stop and think about how blessed I was to be on this team. To stop and look at the roster 1 through 12, it's pretty ridiculous the talent on this team. The veterans and captains that we had (Diana, Tamika, Sue) it was fun to play with them, knowing it would probably be my last time to play with them. It was truly an honor to be a part of this team. So fun. Good quality people, no one cared who got the credit. We were out there trying to be the best team possible, I think you guys could see that. Hopefully you guys could be a part of it, too.
Lindsay: Yeah, we tried to do our thing. Play hard together, we came in those first few games and we were a part of the second group. We wanted to make energy offensively and defensively and just make plays. You could see our connection out there from playing together for a couple years, and I think it really helped us.
On making transition to WNBA:
Maya: It's a little bit of an adjustment. Getting into the rhythm of our offense, different little concepts we do. I don't know from the outside if you're really aware of all the little details in what we do, but it's just a matter of remember. Like how we front the post, or how to cut or set up the timing of a certain play. Some of those things, we'll have to work out the kinks as a team. Once the whistle blows, it's time to play. It's just basketball. There shouldn't be that much of a transition.
On receiving medal:
Maya: Part of the reason it felt so good was how we played. For the longest I've had really great coaches who emphasized how you play, not the scoreboard. First you want to get the win, but to get it the best way possible is always the goal. We played well together, we overcame challenges in that semifinal game, then we went on to play France and we played phenomenally. so when I was standing up there, I felt really proud of the way we played and the group I was able to do it with. I was proud to be a part of that.
Lindsay: I agree. I couldn't believe how actually heavy the medal was, in terms of the actual medal… how heavy it was. I was a little off because they were announcing our names, I tried to bend over really quick, I didn't want to be the one to mess it up. Bend over too much, and I'd fall over. I didn't want to be the one to mess it up. Like I said, it's very heavy.
On being with teammates:
Seimone: It was great. We got a lot of time together. With the Lynx, we kind of go to work and then leave. This experience gave us a lot of time together, it was more like a college setting. I got to hear Maya's iPod drums to and from practice on the bus. (laugh) It was a great time, but more importantly we showed the world what we are capable of as #LosLynx worldwide. We got a lot of opportunities to play together. I think people understood that we are one of the best teams in the league.
On returning to practice:
Seimone: We felt the gap (laugh) we had to get back into town and we said "can we go back over this?" Trying to transition back. We got a warm welcoming from the coaches and everyone. It was refreshing to get back here and look forward to everything we have going on in this second half of the season.
Any fear that the rest of the season is anti-climactic?
Maya: Mm-mm (no) (laugh) You can't compare anything to the Olympics because it's a once-in-a-lifetime. You're playing with the best in the league. As far as a league goes, this is the most competitive league in the world. As a professional league, there's nothing more satisfying than a WNBA championship. To win game-by-game and go through this as a team, it's very satisfying. We look forward to every game and every practice together. It's a quick turnaround, and we do have to stay mentally, emotionally and physically ready, but we realize what we have. The coaching staff does a great job of making sure we have fun. We enjoy every day. There won't be a problem of not getting excited. We're going to be excited. The fans are excited. (claps)
Longest break from basketball:
Seimone: Two days? (laugh) We had two days off before we got there. Before that, it was the ACL injury. You have to force yourself to take time off, because between the WNBA season and European season, everything is so compact. This is the life of a women's basketball player… we take it by the horns and push forward.
On 11 month season:
Seimone: They don't realize it. We talked about it at the Olympics, we had a camera crew following our journey. We mainly talked about going from one season to the next, adding in an Olympic season and there's even more pressure on our bodies. People are becoming more aware of how long this season actually goes on.
On getting more attention on Lynx ball:
Maya: It's going to help. The more people see us, the more they will fall in love with us. It's rewarding to hear someone say 'I never watched basketball or women's basketball, but when I saw you guys, I was hooked' it makes us feel so good. They go and tell people and bring their family. The cool thing about WNBA is that it's here in the US, and our family and friends can come see us play. Having that exposure is huge. We really do have a special group, and the WNBA as a whole is on a whole 'nother level. The world can see the awesome things happening in Minneapolis.
Off the court:
Lindsay: Getting to be around the whole team and getting to know somebody that you played against for years, but now you're teammates. Getting to know different people. You might not have had a chance before, but we had a lot of time on the bus. It was usually an hour each way, wherever we went. Like Seimone said, it was really like a college atmosphere. You got close with everybody. It was cool to see the team form together as the time went on.
On Geno Auriemma:
Maya: I don't know how he sleeps at night without yelling at me (laugh) something's missing. He's great. Everyone here deep down likes it when he yells. He didn't yell at Lindsay… you got preferential treatment (laugh) you're just that good. He brought the same energy, passion and expectations for us, and I know everybody here believed in him and what he wanted. We trusted in what he was trying to do. He communicated very well his expectations… he's one of those coaches who gives you guidelines, but then he tells you to go play. You figure it out, make it happen. It frees us up to use our creativity and skills to be spontaneous. Seimone can create her shots, and Lindsay and I got out in transition a couple times. It was good to know he believed in us. If you're strong at something, he wanted us to do it all day until someone stopped us.
Physically getting back into WNBA:
Lindsay: Where we're at in our seasons and careers, you have to take care of your body. Eating right, getting rest, treatment, stretching, all those things come into play during this time. We've all done it for a lot of years now, so it's something we understand that we need to do to play at a high level.
On the gold medal:
Seimone: When I came through customs, the guy said "you can come over to my line" I said ok. It got me through the line quicker (laugh) everywhere I go, people ask me if I have my medal. Everyone's so enthusiastic. The ones that do get a chance to see it, it's mind-boggling to get to see it.
On now playing against Olympic teammates:
Seimone: There's no connection, they're cut off (laugh) Game faces back on. We're back to competition. When I see you on Friday or Saturday or whenever it may be, we're back to doing our job.
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