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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

U.S. wins 3x3 gold medal

UConn junior guard Bria Hartley and former UConn star Ann Strother were members of the United States team which eked out one-point wins over Australia in the semifinals and France in the championship game at the FIBA 3x3 World Championships.

Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame were the other team members for the U.S. team which finished undefeated in the tournament.

Hartley tied the gold-medal match with a two-point shot to tie the game at 13 and hit the next two baskets as well. Hartley assisted on a Ogwumike basket which ended up being the winning margin.

 Here are quotes from Hartley and Strother courtesy of USA Basketball.

You won a FIBA U19 World Championship and now a FIBA 3x3 World Championship. How does it feel to be a two-time world champion?
It feels good. The feeling doesn’t change. The 3x3 is new to me, and new to a lot of us, to come out here and win that, especially in that game, it was really close and a tough game coming back from down 7-2. I think it was all about pride. I remember being on the court and being like, ‘Guys, we’ve got to win this,’ and we turned it around.

Your team got down early, but you never gave up. What does that say about your team?
We’re players that are competitive. Skylar, I’ve been playing against her plenty of times, and Chiney, we’re just really competitive. This entire trip, there are only four of us. We all became really close being together all that time on the court. We were able to talk to each other and tell each other what we need to do. I think we knew we had to buckle down, and we looked each other in the eye and said, ‘Let’s go, let’s turn this around, let’s step up defensively.’ That’s what we did and we picked it up on offense as well.

What did you learn at the 3x3s that can help your game this year at Connecticut?
Definitely half-court stuff, getting to the basket. I think this game is a lot more physical because of how you have to finish around the rim. I think this will help when I go back to play at UConn.

What will you remember most about this experience?
I think that this is the first-ever 3x3 World Championship. To be the first-ever world champions, not only for the USA, but the first-ever for any country, I think says a lot and is something to remember as you get old.

You won a bronze medal at the 2001 FIBA U19 World Championship and a silver medal at the 2003 Pan American Games. Now you have a FIBA 3x3 World Championship gold medal. How did it feel to stand on top of the podium with the gold medal around your neck?
It feels great. It feels like it finally ended the way it was supposed to. It’s been great to be here and play with these guys and win a gold medal with USA Basketball.

You had to fight through both games today, does that make the gold medal sweeter?
Absolutely, I think when you’re in a situation where you really have to fight for it, it makes it even sweeter. I think it would have been a letdown had it been too easy. France was tough, Australia was tough, and really every team competed and played hard. It definitely made it sweeter.

Your team got down early today, but you never gave up. What does that say about your team?
They’re incredible competitors. I think at 7-2, in a game like this, you can come back as easily as hitting two (two-pointers).  You can’t ever get down, there’s not time to think about being down, or worry about the score. It was fast and fun and great.

What will you remember most about this experience?
All of it, really. The gold medal definitely stands out. For me, I feel like I haven’t been able to play at this level and with players that are this good for a while. It was so much fun to be playing at this level again. Maybe this is the last time I step on the court in this competitive atmosphere, and to end with a gold medal in the World Championship, I don’t think it gets much sweeter than that.

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