Additional Quotes >> USA 69, Spain 46
July 31, 2011 ē Puerto Montt, Chile
Jennifer Rizzotti (University of Hartford), USA head coach
Iím very excited to be standing up here as the gold medal winner. I donít think I realized it until I arrived here and saw our competition, how difficult this tournament would be to win. Our play early in the tournament was inconsistent and we had to rely so much on individual talent. We didnít play as a team. But, Iím very happy to see that after these three weeks, our team was able to come together and play its best basketball in the final two games. I feel like we learned a lot from all of the teams here, especially a team like Spain, who out of everybody here plays the best team basketball at both ends of the court. We learned a lot from Brazil, who plays with more passion than any other team here. We just need to put all of that together, the team basketball that Spain plays and the passion like Brazil plays and I thought that our team was able to do that tonight. Thatís why we won the gold medal.
On the teamís improvement from Orlando through today:
I feel like the players, even the team we started the tournament with and the team we finished with today is so different. They really learned to play together and play unselfishly, gel on defense and they became very coachable. I feel very fortunate to have a chance to work with these girls because they overcame the thought that they could win as individuals and found a way to win as a team.
Sue Semrau (Florida State University),
USA assistant coach
Joi Williams (University of Central Florida),
USA assistant coach
(Mater Dei High School/Irvine, Calif.)
Youíre now a two-time world champion, does it get old winning gold medals?
Never. Never can it get old. Itís just as exciting as the first time, that feeling of winning gold, with everyone screaming for you, youíre holding your teammates hand and wearing that heavy medal around your neck, thereís nothing like it. You canít buy this feeling.
How much has your game grown over the past few weeks?
USA Basketball teaches you that youíre not the star. It teaches you to humble yourself, definitely. You find different aspects of your game besides scoring that you didnít think that you had.
How much did it help having seven of you back from the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship?
It helps a lot. We didnít have to start over with the team chemistry. We had the returning players from the 18s, which is nice. We spent so much time together last year during training camp, we already meshed, so we won that battle.
(Butler High School/Matthews, N.C.)
(Norcross High School/Norcross, Ga.)
(University of Connecticut/Slate Hill, N.Y.)
How does it feel to win a U19 World Championship gold medal?
It feels amazing. Last year was an experience of a lifetime because that was qualifying for here. Then winning the world championship gold medal is so surreal. Getting up there, getting the gold around your neck, itís a moment youíll never forget. It feels great.
Looking back at the loss to Canada, how much did that help you refocus for the medal round?
It helped immensely. It helped us regain our focus. It made us realize that if you donít go out there and play your best game, we could very easily lose and that every team is going to play their best against us. So, losing lit a fire under our butt and made us feel like thatís what it feels like to lose. You donít ever want to feel that again, so it helped us a lot.
How much did you grow as a player and how much will it help you next season at Connecticut?
I think Iíve grown a lot. I had a rough couple of games, not finishing around the rim and stuff. It helped me focus on my individual skills and playing with the team, too. Being able to play with Kaleena (Mosqueda-Lewis), whoís coming in this year and Bria (Hartley), it helped me, personally and definitely will help the three of us for next year.
(University of Connecticut/North Babylon, N.Y.)
†(Twinsburg H.S. / Twinsburg, Ohio)
(MacArthur High School/Irving, Texas)
(Bolingbrook High School/Bolingbrook, Ill.)
I want to give credit to Spain. They played a great game tonight. Iím just grateful of how my teammates came out to play. We were really focused tonight. Weíve been on this journey for three weeks and all of it paid off tonight in the gold medal game. We had a great coaching staff to top it all off.Ē
How does it feel to have this gold medal?
It feels amazing! Just looking back from where we started at, to see where we came from, itís just a great team.
On breaking the assist record:
That was my role on the team, to push the tempo. Coach said that every time I got in the lane it made a lot of things easier for my teammates. I was just glad they were there catching and finishing.
How did it feel when you heard you were on the all-tournament team?
It felt great, because I really wasnít expecting it. Itís really not about all the scoring or blocked shots or whatnot, itís just about playing your role, playing hard and giving all youíve got every time you step on the court.
How much will this help you next season?
Itís going to help me a lot. Just building my confidence and knowing where we stand against the rest of the world in competition. Getting back home, Iím always wanting to get better and improve on my game.
Kaleena Mosqueda- Lewis
(Mater Dei H.S. / Anaheim, Calif.)
(Cicero North Syracuse High School/North Syracuse, N.Y.)
What was it like to win your third gold medal in a row?
Itís a great feeling. Itís wonderful to play for your country like this and to win the gold medal is great.
Were you surprised to hear your name called to the All-U19 World Championship Team?
I was, actually. I didnít think I played that great in my last two games, but I thought I played pretty well in the rest of the tournament.
How has the team come together over the last month?
Weíve gotten a lot better on the court, off the court, and more comfortable with each other. We just created a lot of chemistry and you could see it tonight.
(Bolingbrook High School/Bolingbrook, Ill.)
How does it feel to win another gold medal?
It feels really great. Itís a feeling that you only get once or twice in a lifetime. Itís a great feeling.
How was the team able to come together and play like you did tonight?
Everybodyís on the same page. Everyoneís focused. Weíve been working for three weeks strong. Everybody just knew that this was our goal and we had to play great to get it.
How did you improve over the last couple of weeks?
I learned how to take a new role with a different team. Itís way different from high school where you might be the star player. Here, you have to take on a different role and I think thatís what Iíve learned the most.
(Princess Anne High School/Virginia Beach, Va.)