Additional Quotes: USA 66, Spain 31
USA U17 head coach Carla Berube (Tufts University)
On today’s game:
We came out at halftime really poised defensively, knowing the scout, knowing who we needed to guard on the perimeter. We had some great help defense, good post defense. We did a better job on the boards, not allowing them to get easy, second-chance shots. So, I’m really pleased with their defensive effort.
On the depth of the USA team:
That’s the nice thing about us, anybody can step up and be a scoring option. So, it’s a nice benefit to have 12 great players on your team. We’re looking forward to our opponent tomorrow. We’re happy with the win tonight, and now it’s time to look toward the semifinals.
Hungary is a little bit more like a traditional team with some nice post play. They have some really strong guards. We watched the Hungary-Spain game, so we know them a little bit. They shoot the ball well from the outside, and they have some good inside presence as well. It will be a challenge, for sure.
Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./St. Louis Park, Minn.)
On the USA’s defensive effort:
We held them to 31 points, and that’s one of the lowest totals they’ve ever had at this tournament. In the third and fourth quarters, we held them to 13 points. So, our defense was the key.
Have you played on a team that was so strong defensively before?
Probably not. And, knowing that there are 11 other girls who can play lock-down defense just as well as you can, and there are some really good defensive people on this team. That’s what coach pushes, a defensive mind-set.
How has the team improved over the past three weeks?
Our chemistry is way tighter now. We’ve come together, and we’ve tightened up our teamwork on the offensive and defensive ends. We’re really unselfish, and we look to make the winning plays, not necessarily the selfish plays.
Zia Cooke (Rogers H.S./Toledo, Ohio)
On providing a spark off the bench:
It’s amazing. It’s definitely something that’s new for me, but whatever I have to do to help my team win, I’m going to make sure I do it.
How great is it to be on a team with so many different options?
This is something that I have never experienced. We have an amazing team. Everybody can score. Everybody plays defense, and we’re like a family. So, it’s good to be able to play with them.
How were you able to shut down Spain tonight?
They were very good opponents, but we did everything we needed to do from the scouting report. That’s how we got it done.
How have you grown as a team?
We’ve grown a lot since the first day of trials, since the first day we all came together in training camp. Our chemistry has gotten all the way there. There are two more games left, and hopefully we’ll be where we need to be.
Jordan Horston (Columbus Africentric Early College/Columbus, Ohio)
On tonight’s game:
Our coaches did a great job of scouting them. We all came into film today ready and locked in. And, at shoot-around we really locked in on their plays, and everybody was really focused and transformed that onto the court. It was pretty good.
What were some of your goals tonight?
Stop No. 10 (Helena Pueyo Melchor), because she was their main scorer. Fran and Aliyah did a great job of boxing out No. 12 (Nerea Nermosa Monreal), because she was dominating on the offensive rebounds, and she only got two offensive rebounds. It was the lowest for her. I am really proud of them, they were really focused.
What do you still need to work on as a team?We always have to get better at something. I feel like our communication can be better, on the bench and off the bench, and knowing where we’re supposed to be all the time. Just the little things, the small things, we can get better at.