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Val Higgins

Additional Quotes: USA U18 Women vs. Venezuela

  • Date:
    Jul 15, 2016

USA Head Coach Suzie McConnell-Serio (Pittsburgh)
On the game:
Coming off of a great win last night against Brazil, you worry about a little bit of a let-down, but I really felt we came out ready to play right from the beginning.

When you play games, it’s all about matchups, and with Venezuela being in the zone, Amber Ramirez really got us off to a great start. She shot the ball well from 3 and was able to stretch the defense. We got great contributions off of the bench. I thought Jeannie Boehm was tremendous. She ran the floor hard. She cleaned up around the basket and really made things happen. Lauren Cox, it was great to have her back for her second game. Early on, she ran the floor hard and we were able to establish her inside. Our posts did a great deal of our scoring with the size advantage that we had. 

When you have five players in double-figures, it’s a great day, and it’s not even all our starters. We got great contributions from starters and players off of the bench.

One thing I truly appreciate is how we have come together as a team. You see these players are genuinely happy for each other, cheering for each other and playing with a lot of energy on both ends of the floor, 

So, we are very excited that we were able to come away winning our pool and advancing to the semifinals.

Is this team ready for the semifinals?
We only have two games left. You really hope that you are clicking on all cylinders. The one thing we love to have is a balanced inside-outside scoring attack, and we are seeing that. Our post players are scoring in multiple ways, with some versatility around the basket. Sidney Cooks is hitting shots from the perimeter for us as a versatile forward. And then we have great guard play right now. Dana Evans was great off the bench, so we have that tandem of her and Ty Harris at the point guard running the team. When you have balanced scoring, it makes you more dangerous to defend, and it creates mismatches. They can’t key one player, and it opens things up for everyone else. This team has played unselfishly and really has played together. 

Jeannie Boehm (New Trier H.S./Winnetka, Ill.)
On the game:

I thought we played awesome. We did a better job of coming out with energy and got a great win. 

On her play today:
I’ve never played with teammates that passed the ball so well. My teammates do such a good job of getting me the ball inside and getting the ball to the runners in transition, so that was a big part of it.

Are you ready for the semifinals?
We are in great shape, but there are definitely a few things that we can still work on going into the semifinals. We all have the same goal, but there definitely are some things to work on. 

Valerie Higgins (Chaminade College Prep/Granada Hills, Calif.)
On the game:

I think we played really good. We started off strong, and we finished strong. Beating any team by that margin, just goes to show how well we play together and how well we finish. 

What were some of the keys to the game?
We handled their pressure. They were really aggressive, but we didn’t let it phase us. We played how we have always been playing and just kept pushing throughout the whole game.

How do you feel heading into the semifinals?
I feel really confident in this team. We’ve been together for two or three weeks now, and being able to really build our chemistry is really going to help us out. 

Megan Walker (Monacan H.S./Chesterfield, Va.)
On the game:

It was a good game for us. We faced a lot of mismatches, and we came out with a win. 

Did the team have any trouble staying focused?
We stayed focused. We knew we had the game, but we were trying to work on stuff.

How do you feel headed into the semifinals?
We are ready to go. We had a tough game against Brazil, and we scrimmaged Canada, so we feel like we know what to expect from the other pool. 

Evina Westbrook (South Salem H.S./Salem, Ore.)
On the game:

We came out with intensity, and we played well. As a team, we have so much talent that any combination the coaches put in, we work hard every time. We played great team basketball today. 

What were some of the things the team was focused on?
We knew they were a very aggressive team, very passionate. One of our goals was to limit our turnovers, and to come out and play hard. Coming out of halftime, we had a habit of coming out slow without that much energy. So we had to come out with a lot of energy, especially in the second half, and just really take it to them and not let up.

How do you feel headed into the semifinals?
It feels great, especially with the group of people that are on my team. I think we can get it done, but anything can happen.

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