Additional Quotes: USA 107, China 50
USA U17 head coach Carla Berube (Tufts University)
On today’s game:
I was really pleased with the way we played tonight. I loved how we started the game, how we came out after halftime as well. We’re really doing a great job on the defensive end, and then getting out and making plays on the break. It’s fun watching them making plays for each other. When we needed to execute, we did a good job with that. We really crashed the boards hard. We had 30 offensive rebounds. Getting those second-chance opportunities are really big. When you’re not shooting the ball really well, those second-chance opportunities are always better shots underneath.
On the USA’s assists, especially Jordan Horston’s eight:
Jordan’s such a great passer. But, I think we all share the ball really well. Sometimes they make easy plays harder than they need to, but it shows how much they care about making the next play for their teammates. It’s really unselfish and fun basketball. We did a good job of limiting turnovers, which plagued us a lot in recent games. So, that was great as well.
You’re into the knockout round now, is there anything you want to work on?
We can keep working on our execution. We can keep working on talking on the defensive end, getting defensive boards. And then we’ll get prepared for each team that we’re going to see.
Cameron Brink (Southridge H.S./Beaverton, Ore.)
Do you feel good about where your team is right now?
Yeah, I feel like we work really well together. We have good chemistry, and we all really like each other. So, obstacles that come our way, we can overcome those pretty easily.
Do you feel that the team plays better when it shares the ball more?
Yes. Our guards set our posts and our posts kick the ball out when we’re doubled. So, I feel like we’re always looking for each other to help us do our best.
Does it take pressure off people knowing that there are so many different options on the team?
Yeah. Everyone with their hometown teams is like ‘the player.’ They need to take charge of games, but no one has to put the team on their back here. We can all rely on each other. It’s a really reassuring environment to play in.
Jordan Horston (Columbus Africentric Early College/Columbus, Ohio)
On today’s game:
We came out there ready to play. Coach told us it was a really big for us. We finished first in our pool. We are happy. We knew that we needed to win our pool to be in a better position moving forward. So, I’m just happy we got the win.
What’s going to lead this team through the medal round, what is the main strength of this team?
We all trust each other. We have a really great bond off the court and on the court. Everybody is unselfish. Everybody wants everyone to do well. Everybody rebounds, we hustle for each other. It’s an unselfish team. So, it makes things a lot more fun.
Does it help you to go all out, especially defensively, knowing there’s another strong group coming off the bench?
This team is so deep. The bench is, all 12 of us, everybody’s in. Everybody’s on the same page, and it’s just a great team. We all are committed to get the stop. Coach has told us that that is what is going to help us win the gold, if we play hard on defense. So, that’s what we’ve been really focusing on.
Haley Jones (Archbishop Mitty H.S./Santa Cruz, Calif.)
On tonight’s game:
It was really fun. We started off the game with great energy and it carried through the game. There wasn’t a drop when we started subbing. Everybody just kept it up. We were sharing ball really well, which is always fun. And we made a lot of defensive deflections and steals, which always keeps the energy up.
Was it hard to go out and play a team you had played only a week before?
Not at all. We know that every game means a lot for the future, because we’re going for gold. We’re not looking over anybody at all. Everybody’s very talented here, so we’re going at every team the same.
What do you think about this team’s overall defense?
With every game we’re becoming better defenders, talking to one another and getting to know each other better, when they’re going to go in the passing lane or when we’re shifting the help. So, every game it just gets better and the energy picks up, which is great.
Celeste Taylor (Long Island Lutheran H.S./Valley Stream, N.Y.)
On today’s game:
It was really fun for all of us, especially because we knew that this was the game that would help us win our pool. So, we were all so excited and super-focused. We just wanted to get past this game.
Did you see the same looks against China that you did when you played in Latvia last week?
Yeah, it was pretty much the same. We focused more on their sets and what they ran, and just tried to work and listen during shoot around to make sure that we execute everything that we were told.
What do you need to do as a team moving forward?
Definitely stay focused and definitely pay attention to the scouting reports in the shoot-arounds. We need to make sure that we listen and we learn a whole bunch about everything we need to know to make sure we beat these teams. We need to work hard as a team and work together.