Averaging 82.9 points per game for the tournament and defeating teams by an average margin of 37.0 points per game, the USA Basketball Women’s U17 squad took down Spain, the only other remaining undefeated team, on Sunday night to capture the gold medal at the FIBA World Championship in Czech Republic. More from our friends at USA Basketball:
In a fight-to-the-finish between undefeated teams, the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team (7-0) came out victorious with a 77-75 win over Spain (6-1) in the gold medal game of the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship on Sunday night at City Arena in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
This is the third gold medal for the USA in as many championships since the inaugural event in 2010, and the USA now boasts of a 23-0 overall U17 record.
“It’s one of those games where as a coach you’re really happy to win, but you feel for the other team because ultimately that game could have gone either way, and I really want to credit Spain for a fabulous game,” said USA head coach Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose Cagers AAU, Calif.). “I feel very blessed that we’re on the winning side of things and so proud of the coaching staff and the players. It was just a great victory.”
Three players in double-figure scoring helped the USA overcome a 40-point performance from Spain’s Angela Salvadores, who was named tournament MVP. Joining her on the five-member all-tournament team were the USA’s Joyner Holmes (Cedar Hill H.S./Cedar Hill, Texas) and Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./ Huntington Beach, Calif.), as well as Hungary’s Debora Dubei and Virag Kiss.
Earlier today Hungary (6-1) fought off host Czech Republic (4-3) 67-61 to earn the bronze medal.
“It’s amazing,” Samuelson said. “I’m just in shock that it all happened that way. I thought I played solid, but I didn’t expect anything like that. I wasn’t trying to go for anything like that, but it’s amazing just to be able to get that and to win the gold medal. It’s amazing.”
“It’s an honor to make the all-tournament team,” said Holmes. “I think everybody played hard and we all played together, so I just feel it’s an honor for me to make the team.”
Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas) led the USA past Spain with 20 points, including 4-of-4 from the free-throw line, 12 rebounds and a USA Women’s U17 single-game record eight blocked shots; Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.) scored 17 points to go with four assists; and Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S./ Milwaukee, Wis.) added 15 points and eight rebounds.
“I just came into the game wanting to work hard and play hard inside,” Cox said. “I knew it was going to be tough. They have big girls inside, so I just had to work hard.”
With the game tied at 71-all and 1:36 remaining in the fourth quarter, Cox scored at 1:28 and then blocked Spain’s next shot attempt and recovered the rebound, and then Durr pulled up in the key to score from the field to make it 75-71. Spain made a 3-point attempt that was whistled off because of an offensive foul, and the USA got the ball back, but missed its next shot attempt.
Salvadores scored a driving layup at 10.8, but as Spain was forced to foul, Durr hit two free throws, and the USA led 77-73 with 7.1 seconds. The game reached its 77-75 final when
Salvadores scored her final two points at the buzzer.
“It wasn’t doubt,” Durr said of the game. “It was pressure, of course, because they were making every single shot. So, there was definitely pressure.”