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Additional Quotes: USA 92, Mali 39

  • Date:
    Jul 22, 2018

Game Recao
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USA U17 head coach Carla Berube (Tufts University)
On today’s game:
We shared the ball really, really well. The ratio of field goals made to assists was really high. I loved seeing that. We did well defensively in the first half. We really got out there and created some turnovers or shot-clock violations, some contested shots. So, I was pleased with that. But, we came out of the locker room a little sluggish in the third quarter, but that second group came in and really brought the energy.

It was good to see Sam get some buckets out there and make some plays. It was great seeing that. And, Celeste is always giving the effort defensively. She creates a lot of turnovers for the other team, and then she does some really good things offensively as well. Azzi’s been shooting the ball really well. It’s awesome to see that. She struggled a little bit when we were in the United States, but once we got overseas she’s been knocking them down. So, it’s fun to see players step up their games in this tournament.

Are you still working on different line-ups?
Roles are ever changing based on what you can accomplish in games and in practices. We’re looking at different combinations. There are some players who are really good when we see a zone. Some players are better when we see player-to-player defense. So, it’ll just depend on what the defense is doing, who’s going to be out there and who is playing well.

Fran Belibi (Regis Jesuit H.S./Centennial, Colo.)
On the USA’s play in the third quarter:
Honestly, we lost a little focus at the start of the second half. We came in feeling really good about ourselves at halftime, and then we came out and we didn’t really keep the same intensity we had at the beginning. Our focus just wasn’t there. We had a different mindset. But, we came in and we had a little time out, a little substitution, and we got back on track.

What were you focused on once the game was in hand?
Coach told us to come in with the mentality that we were playing in the gold medal game, and we definitely did that in the first half. The second half obviously wasn’t as good. We kind of take it and use it as a chance to work on our plays. You have to take every game one step at a time, and every game you have to play it like it is, keep playing and trying to improve every day.

On China:
They have some very good players. We just have to keep up our defensive mentality and keep playing the way USA Basketball plays, with the same intensity. We already know them and we have a little bit of confidence coming in, knowing we’ve already beaten them. But, we have to make sure that we remember that any team can come out on any day and beat anyone. We have to come out with the same focused mentality that we always come out with.

Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe H.S./Ruckersville, Va.)
What did the team do well and what can be improved upon?
We shared the ball tremendously tonight. Throughout the whole bench, no matter who was in there were so many passes. The ball was worked around and we got great shots. I think we can still work on our turnovers situation. We met our goal tonight, but we can still do better than 12.

On Azzi Fudd’s performance:
I’m never surprised. Azzi can go off any time she wants to. She’s a special type of player. For her to be so young, to be able to accomplish all the things she’s doing, playing so well, it’s just great for her.

On her performance:
The first game I didn’t shot. I couldn’t hit the right side of a barn. And then coming in today, getting that first put-back gave me a boost of confidence. I think that’s really what I needed, a little bit of confidence to carry myself. And then I hit a couple shots after that. I was really feeling comfortable.

Azzi Fudd (St. John’s College H.S., D.C./Arlington, Va.)
On today’s game:
It was a lot of fun today. We moved the ball really well as a team. We play really well together as a team. There’s no one person that feels like they have to do all of it. We all have confidence in each other. We all know that if we pass and make the next pass, they’ll do the same for us.

On her performance:
The past few days I haven’t been too confident in my shot. I wasn’t making very many. Then Paige, Jordan, Zia, they all kept telling me to keep shooting, that I’m going to make the next one. And, it worked. They gave me great passes and I made my shots.

Celeste Taylor (Long Island Lutheran H.S./Valley Stream, N.Y.)
On today’s game:
My teammates put a lot of energy out today, especially on the bench. You heard a lot of them out there. So, that definitely motivated a lot of us out there on the court.

What were you focused on once the game was in hand?
We were just trying to play our game, moving the ball, getting a lot of ball movement to find the open shooter. We just made a lot of extra passes for our teammates.

On the play of her teammates:
I thought Charisma and Azzi did really well. Azzi shot the ball really well and found her rhythm.

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