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Additional Quotes: USA Women's World University Team 82, Canada 63

  • Date:
    Jul 13, 2015

USA head coach Joe McKeown (Northwestern)

Thoughts on winning the gold medal:

It’s a great honor. It’s a great honor to represent the USA and to be able to coach this group. To see them gel together in a short period of time and play as well as they did together over here was really fortunate for all of us.

On the experience with USA Basketball:

It’s been a long journey starting with the trials and then training camp. Being able to do what we did, travel here, go to Seoul and the military base. To see how they represent the United States every day was awesome. The people of South Korea and the people of Gwangju have been incredible. You couldn’t ask for a better setting. For our players to be able to experience this, for most of them, this is probably a once in a lifetime thing. It’s been an incredible experience

On the win against Canada:

I felt like we opened it up a little bit, and then they came right back. Then I thought our zone really, really got us going. It gave us a chance to control them a little better than we had been doing. They had been running their offense really well, but we were able to rebound and score in transition. In the fourth quarter, we just played great defense.

On the fourth-quarter surge:

We said just keep grinding defensively, and things will open up in transition. That’s really what happened. We started making shots, moving inside-out and doing all the things we talked about at shootaround today. It was a great feeling. My coaching staff was all on the same page. It was really great the way we clicked.

Mercedes Russell (Tennessee/Springfield, Ore.)

How is this experience different than your other times with USA Basketball?

It’s been different. For the first two, when I was on U16 and U17 teams, it was a different event, just basketball. The World University Games is special because it has every sport with thousands of athletes from every country, basically.

On the fourth-quarter surge:

We started playing really good defensively. We were getting stops, and on the offensive end were executing well, attacking the rim and getting good looks. That’s what helped us get that lead and put it away in the fourth quarter.

On being a member of the World University Games Team:

We’re 12 individuals who have come together for a couple of weeks to accomplish something so special. We got to know each other really well, made great connections and came out with a gold medal.

Erica McCall (Stanford/Bakersfield, Calif.)

On winning the gold medal:

It’s an amazing feeling. By far, this is probably my favorite gold medal. Our team worked hard. The game against Japan [semifinals] showed us how hard we had been working, and we’re all so happy to accomplish our goals.

On being part of the World University Games Team:

It’s been an amazing experience. These girls just became my sisters in a small amount of time. Coming here, bonding, playing cards together, it’s been amazing. I’m so glad that we got to go through it together. Who better to get a medal with than these girls?

On the fourth-quarter surge:

We really increased the pressure defensively. That allowed us to feel confident about our shots. Once one shot was knocked down, it seemed like everything was going down. That defense is what really helped get us going.

Courtney Williams (South Florida/Folkston, Ga.)

On winning a gold medal:

It’s amazing. I’ve never been a part of anything like this. It was a great experience with amazing teammates and amazing coaches. I’m still pretty hyped up about it.

On the journey to the World University Games:

It’s been a long time coming. I’ve honestly enjoyed every minute of it. Being around these amazing people and making bonds has made the experience incredible.

On her second-half performance:

I think I needed to calm down and relax. It was just about looking for shots. In the first half I was pressing, so I had to settle down to get going.

On what got the team going:

Aerial Powers brought great energy. It was contagious. She gave all of us so much energy, and we had no choice but to feed off of that. That’s what helped us get over that hump.

Aerial Powers (Michigan State/Detroit, Mich.)

On winning a gold medal:

It feels great, and I’m so excited. I’m on cloud nine. I can’t stop smiling ear-to-ear. I look at this thing and see all the hard work we put into it. All the basketball through the years. I started playing as a little girl with my Dad taking me to the court, my mom taking me to the basketball games, my brother helping me out. All of that hard work has paid off. I did it with a group of girls who also have been working hard. Many don’t get the chance to say they played for the USA, and many don’t get to say they won a gold medal.

On the World University Games Team:

Honestly, this group of girls is great. All of us get along like sisters. That week in Colorado Springs, we got closer and closer. We’ve traveled, learned that everyone has a great personality. We all lift each other up. There are no Debbie Downers on this team, and we’re all about winning. We all help each other. I’m happy I got to be on this team.

On the message before the fourth quarter:

Diamond [DeShields] talked to us. When a player says something, you really listen. It wasn’t just coaches trying to lift us up. She was saying that we were being selfish. We weren’t working the ball around enough. We said that this quarter, we’re going to do that. We’re going to work the ball around and be unselfish. That’s what we know we are. To be able to win, everybody has to do well. We did that in the fourth quarter. In the first five minutes, we really cracked it open.

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