Audio: Paris Wraps Up USA Camp

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
APRIL 20, 2007

NORMAN, Okla. -- Keep up with Oklahoma sophomore Courtney Paris, who is in Italy training with the USA Senior National Basketball Team from April 7-19.

Through the joint efforts of USA Basketball and, OU fans can follow the overseas activities through daily updates and images from the Eternal City and around Europe.

Thursday, April 19 | Courtesy USA Basketball
USA posed two questions to the remaining members of the USA Senior National Team and coaching staff on their final day in Rome: What did you get out of this trip on the court and what did you learn or enjoy most off the court?

 Click here to listen to Courtney Paris and her teammates...
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Tuesday, April 17 | Courtesy USA Basketball
The 2007-08 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team (4-0) easily dispatched the Pomezia Regional All-Stars 81-41 in its final 2007 Tour of Italy Contest on Tuesday evening at the Palavinium in Pomezia, Italy. Pacing the high-octane offensive attack were Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Jessica Davenport (New York Liberty) with 13 points apiece, while Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Connecticut Sun) and Courtney Paris (University of Oklahoma) also scored in double digits with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The U.S. squad will spend the next two days in Rome working on various strategies before reconvening in early Sept. following the WNBA season.

"We didn't quite achieve our goals tonight," said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan. "We wanted to get under 15 turnovers and obviously we didn't take care of that. Then defensively our goal was to hold them to 40 points and we missed that one by one point. But I thought that overall we had pretty good focus against this team.

"It was really good to see the focus from all of our veterans and it carried down to the younger players. Courtney did a great job off the bench tonight. But (the younger players) don't have those kinds of performances if Taj and Katie and Catchings aren't taking care of business."

Paris' 10 points were a personal high during the tour.  She also grabbed a high seven rebound while playing 15 minutes.

The Pomezia All-Stars struck first with a bucket at 9:28, but their lead vanished as quick as it came. Catchings, who opened the USA's scoring with a three, nailed her second bucket at 7:41 to give the USA a lead it would never relinquish, 5-4. With the USA ahead 13-9 McWilliams-Franklin sparked a USA 10-0 run that opened up the game 23-9 and by the end of the first quarter the USA was up 23-15.

Click here for the complete story, box score and quotes...

Courtney Paris Q&A
On tonight's game:
I felt good tonight. I think I got a lot better while I was here and it just showed with how I progressed during the little time that I was here.

How important was this training camp for you as a group?
Even though I know everyone's not here, but for me and Lindsey (Harding), it's our first time being with the senior team. I'm here to get that experience so next time we'll have something. We're going to be better and because we're better we can challenge other people that come and everybody gets better. That's what USA Basketball is about - challenging each other and then taking your best group to try and win a gold medal.

Your age group has the U21 World Championship this summer. You've played the last three years on the U18, U19 and U20 USA National Teams, do you want to come back for more?
Oh yeah, anytime USA Basketball invites me I'm there.

How much will this experience help you and the USA U21 National Team (provided of course you make the team)?
I feel like that as you get older the competition gets better and you can tell from year to year as we play. This is going to do a lot for me and I think it's going to be a big advantage for me to play some of the best players from other countries as opposed to the younger guys. So I feel that I'm going to have a big advantage and I'll be able to help my teammates more because of what I've learned here.

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Monday, April 16 | Courtesy USA

Utilizing a balanced scoring attack and receiving a pair of double-doubles from Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Los Angeles Sparks), the 2007-08 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team (3-0) dominated professional club team Virtus Viterbo 82-42 at the Pala Male in Viterbo, Italy, on Monday night. Catchings paced all scorers and rebounders with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while McWilliams-Franklin contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds. With one game remaining against a Pomezia Regional All-Star Team tomorrow night (11:00 a.m. EDT), the USA's record on its 2007 Tour of Italy is a perfect 3-0.

Courtney Paris contributed six points, her highest total of the tour, on 3-5 shooting in eight minutes of action.  She also tallied three rebounds and one assist.

Click here for the complete game story, stats & quotes...

Postgame Quotes From Paris
On making the most of her minutes:
"Coach and everyone always says that when you go in there, be ready to go. We had a bunch of team goals and I wasn't about to let me not getting in until the fourth quarter make me a liability or slack off. We still had to do what we came out to do so I just wanted to be ready and go out there and play hard."

On whether or not she has become more comfortable:
"Oh yeah. After the first few days of learning all new stuff, playing against these guys who I use to watch when I was younger, adjusting to the level of players we have, all the talent out here, how fast everything goes and learning all the plays. Now I know all the plays, I'm use to these guys and I feel that I'm going to be a lot better when I get back to college because of it."

Paris (pictured below) and the US Team were given a driver's view of a brand new Ferrari on Sunday.

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Saturday, April 14 | Courtesy USA
The 2007-08 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team training got underway a week ago with a great mix of veterans and newbies. Through the week the USA has beaten the Italian National Team 77-47 in Rome before traveling to Napels for victory No. 2 -- 72-49 versus Phard Napoli. The team is currently in Pomezia, a town 20 kilometers outside of Rome, for a few days. A scrimmage with a local guys team, a trip to the outlet mall, a post-practice weight room workout and some McDonald's are all on the schedule. And then, beacause that's where the road leads, the team will return to Rome.

Below is a short Q&A with Sooner Courtney Paris, plus a quote from head coach Anne Donovan on the improvement of the Paris and other youngsters.

You've had a week out here and I know at first you were feeling a little overwhelmed, but you're looking a little more comfortable now.
Oh yeah, definitely. The coolest thing about being here, what I didn't even really realize, I mean I knew it, is that you're learning and playing against the greatest players. Everyday, even with little plays or drills we do, is a whole new experience. That's going to prepare me for the future so it's pretty exciting. And yeah, I have been geeing more comfortable with everything.

And you're rooming with Tamika Catchings, what's she like?
Yes, I've been rooming with Catchings and that's been great. She's been awesome. She'll write all the plays out for me and tells me what's going to happen. She'll talk about the WNBA and all this kind of stuff, so it's been really cool.

Watching Jessica Davenport and Sylvia Fowles last year with the USA Senior National Team in Australia and where they are today, they're much more confident with the team, and have improved greatly since last spring. Have you thought about how much this is going to help you next time you come to camp?
Oh definitely! I think it's so cool. For me, I'm taking it as a young guy, coming in, learn the system, experience the stuff, have fun and keep my mind open all the time and look to get better. It'll make me go back to my school and get better so that when I come back for another training camp I'll be a little better. So it's definitely the beginning for me. I'm not too worried about everything, I'm just trying to learn as much as I can.

I know you're here for basketball and you have school work to do, but have you had a chance to do anything fun yet?
Well I'm definitely doing my school work. We haven't done much yet. We're going shopping today, we're going to try and find McDonald's, that's what everybody's been doing. We've been having a good time hanging out, watching movies hanging out in our rooms with our roommates and stuff. It's been fun.
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Have you seen some improvement in some of the younger players?
It is really evident and clear, when you look at Courtney who was shell-shocked when she came in. That was Jessica and Sylvia a year ago. But they came back knowing expectations, knowing the people around them, knowing what they had to do to fit in and help. Courtney went through that in the first week. But I thought today in the scrimmage that all of them looked experienced. They're not veteran players yet, but they've all gotten enough experience internationally that you're starting to see big improvements.

Click here to read more from Team USA...

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Thursday, April 12 | Courtesty USA
Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) posted a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the 2007-08 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team (2-0) to a 72-49 victory against professional club team Phard Napoli at the Pala Barbuto in Napels on Thursday night. Much like its first game against the Italian National Team last night, the USA squad spent the first half in a tough battle but dominated in the second half for the win and is a perfect 2-0 at the midway point of its 2007 Tour of Italy.

Courtney Paris played three minutes off the bench and collected two points, two rebounds, one assists and one block.  She was 2-2 at the charity stripe.

Click here to read more about the exhibition win...
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Wednesday, April 11 | Courtesy
The USA Senior National Team opened its four-game exhibition schedule with a 77-47 win over the Italian National Team. 

OU center Courtney Paris played nine minutes off the bench and failed to score.  Paris pulled down two rebounds and blocked a shot for the Red, White and Blue.

Utilizing a 14-0 run to open the second half, USA (1-0) ran away from the Italian National Team on Wednesday evening at the Pallazetto dello Sport in front of a packed house and an Italian nationally televised audience. Leading the charge for the U.S. were Sylvia Fowles (Louisiana State University) and Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Los Angeles Sparks), who notched 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Complete Game StoryBox Score | Quotes

Below is  a picture of (from left to right) DeLisha Milton-Jones, Paris, Sylvia Fowles, Lindsey Harding and Jessica Davenport.  Click here for additional pictures...


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Monday, April 9 | Courtesy
The 2007-08 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team training got underway on Sunday morning with a great mix of veterans and newbies. But, as has been the case over the years, the vets are taking the younger players under their wings and the newcomers are soaking up the knowledge. With 12 players at practice on Sunday and the addition of Olympic gold medalists Swin Cash and Katie Smith on Monday morning, the squad was able to scrimmage that night. So after three sessions under their belts, USA thought it was time to find out what it's been like out on the court in Rome.

Courtney Paris Q&A

What's it been like over the past few days being out here on the court with the USA Senior National Team?

It's been really hard. I think it's cool because I think that I've just gotten adjusted to college. These last two years have been great and now it's time to adjust to a level beyond college and get ready for my future so this is a perfect opportunity for me, going into my junior year to experience all of this, learn stuff on the fly, it's a lot faster but I'm glad to be here.

What was it like stepping on the court for the first time with the likes of Tina Thompson, Katie Smith, Diana Taurasi?
You're definitely nervous. When I was younger I watched all these people play so it's a big deal, it's tough and it's very competitive. But just having this opportunity is going to make me a better player going back to my college team

Paris vs. Jessica Davenport
and in the future when I play professionally and, if I get the chance, to play in the Olympics. So I really thing this is a great opportunity for me and it's only going to make me better.

Have any of the players been giving you pointers?
Definitely. All the time, every one of them. they're always teaching me something or going over the plays. Tamika today went over all the plays with me. She knew my position and she's a guard, so that's pretty cool. Everyone's supportive and they want you to do well so it's a good thing to be a part of.

On Easter Sunday you went to Mass at St. Peter's and saw the Pope. Can you describe what that was like?
It was different. But I thought it was really cool. It was a really spiritual event. I was really lucky to be there on Easter. I didn't even think I'd have the opportunity to go to that on Easter so I'm really lucky as far as how everything turned out.
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Indiana Fever foward Tamika Catchings on Paris

Courtney Paris said you've been really helpful to her and she was surprise because you knew all the plays at her position. Have you been taking her under your wing a little bit?

That's one of the things that all the veteran players are here for - to help some of the younger players who aren't yet on the same page as us. I knew Courtney coming in was a little bit like putting her hands against her forehead. I was like, Courtney! What's wrong?' And she's like, I'm trying to write these plays down, I just don't get it.'

For me, having to always play more than just one position, it's natural for me to kind of pick and choose and know everybody else's position because I've played the one, two, three, four and the five in Indiana so it's something that over time you just have to learn.
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Sunday, April 8 | Courtesy
The coaching staff and several members of the USA team, including Tamika Catchings, Sylvia Fowles, Lindsey Harding and Courtney Paris, spent the morning in St. Peter's for the Pope's Easter Sunday service.
Click here to view the photo gallery...



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