2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11
2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11

USA U17 Women Will Face Spain In FIBA U17 World Championship Quarterfinals

Untitled Document

July 22, 2010 • Toulouse, France

After rolling undefeated through preliminary round play in inaugural 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship in Rodez, France, the 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team (5-0) traveled two-and-a-half hours by train to Toulouse, where it will begin play in the medal-round quarterfinals against the fourth-place finisher from Group B, Spain (2-3), at 3:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m. EDT) on July 23.

The two teams meet back on July 11 in an exhibition game in Alagon, Spain, with the USA recording a 61-50 victory. Friday's game promises to be a much different contest, however, as both teams have evolved and improved in their five preliminary round games.

Before the team hits the court tomorrow, hear from USA and Wingate University head coach Barbara Nelson as well as Morgan Tuck and Ariel Massengale, who also happen to be teammates at Bolingbrook High School in Bolingbrook, Ill, about their travel day, their preparation and what they need to do in order to advance to the semifinals on July 24.

Barbara Nelson
(USA and Wingate University head coach)

On the USA's travel day from Rodez to Toulouse, France:
I thought it was a pretty easy day. We were able to sleep on a normal schedule; we weren't getting up early. The train ride was nice, and the girls played cards and had a good time and enjoyed their time together. It was an easy trip. We had plenty of time to get into the hotel, have a nice meal, and most of them took naps before practice. So, I felt like it was a much easier travel day then when we came from Spain. I think it showed in practice. They were pretty intense, they were focused and they were ready. I think we will be ready to go tomorrow?

All games of the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship are available online at FIBATV.com for a $10 subscription fee.

What was your reaction when you heard the USA will be playing Spain?
Mixed emotions. We did play them, and we had some success against them, so we would like for our girls not to go back to that and think just because you have beaten them once, you can beat them again. We are going to have to play hard, and we are going to have to be focused. They are leading the tournament in 3-point field-goal percentage, which means we've got to get out. They average almost 10 threes a game, so we are going to have to play very good defense and close out hard on them. But I think we are focused and ready. The last couple of games, we have played 3-point shooting teams, I believe we gave up 10 to Japan, so we have been playing against that style. Hopefully, that helped prepare us for Spain tomorrow.

Do you expect a different game than when you met two weeks ago?
Absolutely. We are a different team. We've come together. We play harder. We are more efficient. We are using our advantages at a higher rate instead of just throwing up shots. And I'm sure Spain has done the same thing.

What do you think is the most critical thing for this USA team moving forward?
I think we have to continue to use our size advantage against other teams. We will have a size advantage against Spain, and we need to continue to use that. We need to shoot well, and we need to not allow other teams to have big runs.

Ariel Massengale
(Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, IL)

On practice:

I think our focus was that we did well in pool play, but that's over now. Now we are in a three-day tournament to win the gold medal, which has been our goal since day one.

Is there pressure now that a loss eliminates the USA from gold-medal contention?
Yes, there is always pressure, but I think there is pressure in every game we play. Every time we step on the court, we play to win.

Are you ready for game-day tomorrow?
Yes, we are. I think our work ethic, our dedication and our want and will are all there. We don't want to be that team that plays for USA Basketball and doesn't win the gold medal.

Is the team tired after five games in six days?
Our legs are a little bit tired, but at this point things like that don't matter. We just have to stay focused, and if we push each other we will be OK.

What do you think is most important for the USA against Spain tomorrow?
I think just playing hard for 40 minutes. If we play hard and play USA basketball for 40 minutes, then we should have no problem taking care of business.

Do you expect a different game than when you met two weeks ago?
I do. I think both teams have gotten better since then, but I still think overall we are the better team.

Morgan Tuck
(Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, IL)

On the USA's travel day from Rodez to Toulouse, France:
I think our travel day was good. It was shorter than when we traveled from Spain, so I don't think we are as tired. We were ready to practice.

Are you ready for game-day tomorrow?
We are very ready, and we are very excited. This is what we came here for, and we are closer to the gold medal.

On practice:
Part of practice was getting ready for Spain, but I think it was also about working on our execution and making sure that we are ready to play tomorrow.

What do you think is most important for the USA against Spain tomorrow?
I think that we need to come out and play hard at the start. I don't think we need to do something specific, but I think we need to just come and play how we've been playing. If we do that, I think we should be fine.

Is there pressure now that a loss eliminates the USA from gold-medal contention?
You know, it makes you a little nervous, but it's not the bad nervous. It's that kind of excited nervous. So, I think it's a good thing, so that you are on edge and you are ready to play.