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Huddle

Additional Quotes: Russia 86, USA 82 (gold medal game)

  • Date:
    Jul 30, 2017

Suzie McConnell-Serio (USA and University of Pittsburgh head coach)
What are your thoughts on tonight’s game versus Russia?
It was just a great game. Russia is really good. They are very talented. They have two great players that made play after play. We tried a number of different things. We played hard. I give our players credit – they played their hearts out. I’m proud of their effort. They never quit. 

I thought, in the first half, we were hitting our shots, we were executing and scoring and defending. Then, we got in some foul trouble with Ruthy (Hebard), and I think that hurt us, because she has been so solid at both ends of the floor for us throughout this tournament.

It was a game of runs. Russia made a run, and we seemed to answer. We gave ourselves a chance down the stretch, and we just couldn’t convert. It’s disappointing. We came here to win the gold. We just missed some layups and free throws that could have been the difference in the game. I’m just proud of the way our players continued to fight the entire game.

Chennedy Carter and Tyasha Harris made the All-Star Five team. What did you think of their play throughout this tournament?
Chennedy has been a spark off the bench. She’s definitely a scorer, and when we needed a basket, that’s who we were going to, putting the ball in her hands and letting her make things happen. Tyasha had been solid. Hindsight is always 20/20. When you have a player like her and you put her on the bench – she got a bit tired and we took her out to rest her and didn’t put her back in. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20. She should have probably been on the floor late in the game. That’s something that I’ll second-guess doing.

How much did you see this team grow throughout this tournament and last few weeks?
The growth has been huge over the course of this journey. Coming together in Colorado Springs back on July 7 to where they are now, they have become a real team. They have been fun to coach. They worked hard. They did what we asked them to do on the court. They bought in to what we were doing offensively and defensively. I’m proud of the opportunity I had to coach them.

Chennedy Carter (Timberview H.S./Mansfield, Texas)
What does it mean to you to set a new USA U19 single-game scoring record with 31 points?
It really doesn’t mean anything to me. Thirty-one points and a loss is really not important to me. I’m glad, and that’s a big deal, but I’d rather have 31 and that gold medal around my neck.

How tough was playing Russia and their tandem of bigs tonight?
It was very tough when you’re a smaller sized guard playing against girls that are 6-foot-4, so it is a tough matchup. But, I gave it my all and we all fought hard. We just have to get them next time.

What did your fight down the stretch say about this team?
We all have heart, and everybody plays a big role with this team. We came far, and we could not have done this without each other. I’m super happy we got this far. It’s been an amazing blessing to play with USA Basketball.

Did it seem like Russia was out for revenge from their 2015 defeat in the final?
Yeah, I feel like they were, just a little bit. We kept a focus. All the calls weren’t going our way, and we couldn’t really finish at the rim, so most of this is on us. We can take this loss and get better from it.

Crystal Dangerfield (Connecticut/Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Just how tough was it playing against Russia tonight?
Every time we would get a lead, they would find a way to answer it and go on a run of their own. They played until the last buzzer went off. It was kind of like 2015, just going back and forth, but it was just a different outcome.

Did it seem like Russia was out for revenge from their 2015 defeat in the final?
Yeah, definitely. I could definitely feel it after, especially in their celebration, just knowing that was fresh on their minds, and they wanted to be on the other side at the end of this game.

What are your thoughts on Chennedy Carter’s record-setting scoring performance tonight?
It was special, especially with her coming off the bench. We need that. She gave us every little bit that we needed, but we just came up short. But, she was special tonight.

Tyasha Harris (South Carolina/Noblesville, Ind.)
Why was Russia so effective out there tonight?
They are very well oiled. They are very disciplined. They’ve played together for a while, so they know each other’s tendencies. They did well giving it to their post players, and then they carried the way.

Was it easy to notice that Raisa Musina and Maria Vadeeva are experienced professional players?
Yes, they are great players. They took advantage of how we played. They took it to us. We tried to stop them, but they are at a different level being pros than us collegians. We just tried our best with them.

What can you say about the way your team never stopped fighting and gave energy throughout the  game tonight?
We are a very close team. We just kept giving confidence to one another and instilling it in one another throughout the game. We tried to stay up for each other even when we were down and in those last few seconds. The ball just didn’t bounce in our way. There’s nothing we can do about that, but we take it to heart that we played as hard as we could.

What does it mean to you to be selected to the All-Star Five?
It’s an amazing accomplishment. My team, they helped me with them. Like I said, this was a team effort, not an individual one. I’m proud to represent the USA.

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