Additional Quotes: USA 84, Hungary 39
USA U17 head coach Carla Berube (Tufts University)
On today’s game and advancing to the gold medal game:
I’m just really, really excited to be in the championship game. This was our goal all along, from when we started with trials in May. I’m really excited for the team to be playing on this stage, and to have had a game like we did in the semifinals against a very tough Hungary team. We’ll get them prepared for a really talented, tough French team that, when it looked like the chips were down in their game, really fought back. We’re excited to be playing a really talented team like that.
On the USA’s defensive effort:
They’re doing a good job of communicating with each other. They’re helping each other out getting really good ball pressure. We really don’t want our opponents to be getting the shots they want or setting up what they want to do. So, I think our team has done a really good job of creating some havoc out there, and also controlling the defensive boards. That’s been key. Not only limiting their second-chance opportunities, but us getting out in the break and being able to make some plays.
Is there anything you still want to work on a little bit before tomorrow’s game?
We can always do a better job of communicating with each other. There were a couple lapses in transition defense, and then execution. Taking good shots, making the right cuts, the right reads. So, we’ll watch our game, we’ll watch the France-Australia semifinal and hopefully we can put together a really good 40 minutes tomorrow night.
On playing France:
They’re a really talented team, very well coached. They’ve got a lot of great pieces, great outside shooting with great inside play. They defend well, too. They did a really good job of shutting down a strong, offensive Australian team. It’ll be a great match-up. We’ll be focused and ready to go tomorrow night.
Fran Belibi (Regis Jesuit H.S./Centennial, Colo.)
On playing for gold:
We came in here to win a gold medal, so this is the game we came in here to play. And now we’re here. We’re all really excited about it.
On the USA’s defensive effort throughout the tournament:
We all really pride ourselves on our defense. We’re a very defensive-minded team. A lot of our offense comes from how well we play defense. We’re going to continue that into the gold medal game and hopefully that gets us through.
How important is it that you share the ball so well?
We’re a very selfless team. We love playing for each other, and seeing each other do a great job. So, that really helps us. You can see that. We really like to make the extra pass and make sure that the shot we’re taking is the best possible shot.
Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe H.S./Ruckersville, Va.)
You were on the USA U17 team two years ago that lost in the semifinal. Did that weigh on your mind tonight?
Honestly, I was trying not to think about that at all. You should leave the past in the past. This is a new team, a new season and we’re happy that we got this win.
Jordan Horston (Columbus Africentric Early College/Columbus, Ohio)
You held two very good teams to under 40 points in the last two games. What makes your defense so good?
Just knowing that everybody has each other’s back. The chemistry with these girls over the past month has gotten so great. Our defense, we just trust each other. It’s good knowing that if I’m going to slide over and help, then somebody is going to help with my player.
They’re a great team. We’re going to focus in. Film is going to be really important. We have to wire it down and box out.
What would it mean for you to be world champions tomorrow?
Oh my gosh! Nothing’s better than that. It would be a dream come true.
You came out strong in the second half and quickly put the game away. Were you thinking at all about how France erased Australia’s 15-point halftime lead?
Yes. Our coach actually came into the locker room and made that known to us, that Australia had a big lead, they were winning and then lost the lead. We didn’t want to do that. So, we were just wired in, focused in on one play at a time.
Haley Jones (Archbishop Mitty H.S./Santa Cruz, Calif.)
You came out strong in the second half and quickly put the game away. Was that something you discussed in the locker room?
Yeah, it was on the back of our minds, because we know the third quarter is always really important. It’s always a big quarter to clinch the lead and kill the hopes of the other team, to make sure they are not going to make a run. We want to set a tone to start the second half.
What kind of team is France?
France is a really solid, versatile team. They have a lot of different weapons that they can use. They go pretty deep. So, they’re kind of similar to us in a lot of ways. It’ll be a tight game tomorrow, but hopefully we’ll come out on top.