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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

UConn targets lead U.S. the U-16 title

UConn Class of 2015 recruiting targets Asia Durr and Katie Lou Samuelson certainly know how to deliver when championships are on the line.

As good as Durr and Samuelson were during the games leading up to Sunday's gold-medal game at the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship for Women, they were downright spectacular in the title game.

Durr, a 5-foot-11 guard from Douglasville, Ga., had 26 points, six rebounds, four assists and eight steals while Samuelson, a 6-foot-3 wing from Huntington Beach, Calif., finished with 24 points (going 8 of 8 from 3-point range), five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot as the United States defeated Canada 82-48 to finish a dominating run to the championship. Another impressive effort was turned in my Lauren Cox. Cox, a 6-foot-4 forward from Flower Mound, Tex., narrowly missed a triple-double as she finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocked shots.

Durr, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, and Samuelson finished as the top two scorers in the tournament as Durr averaged 18.4 points per game and Samuelson averaged 16 points per contest. Durr was tied for the team lead with 10 assists, led the team with 16 steals, led the team in free-throws made (19) and attempted (25) while her 11 3-pointers was second only to the 18 made by Samuelson. Samuelson was 18 of 34 from 3-point range during the five games and also averaged 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.

Durr had a personal 12-0 run with the U.S. leading by a point early in the second half and her teammates helped turn it into a 22-0 outburst.

The U.S. outscored its opponents 463-138 in the five games it played at the tournament.

Durr set U.S. single-game records for points, steals and field-goal attempts while Samuelson's 8 for 8 performance from 3-point range is also a record. Here's what they had to say courtesy of the folks from USA Basketball.

Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.)
On tonight's game:
We knew Canada was a great team, and coach told us it was going to be a fight.
On the USA's second half:Coach told us to create turnovers and focus on our defense, and that's what we did.
On winning tournament MVP:I was shocked. The whole team played great throughout this tournament, and for them to call my name, it means a lot.
How does it feel to win a gold medal?It means so much to me. This is a new thing for me, and it's been a great experience.
What will you take away from this experience?The bond we made, meeting the girls and the coaches and just getting to know them.

Has this experience helped you become a better basketball player?I think this experience made me a better basketball player. Different coaches and new teammates, it taught me a lot.

Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.)
On tonight's game:
Canada played awesome. They were there to win. We knew coming out of halftime that if we didn't step up, they were going to take it. We just had to pick up our defense.
On her USA U16 record 8-of-8 3-point shooting:I've been shooting since i was really little. That's probably my main focus, shooting over and over again. Making 8-of-8, it's really nice that it paid off, especially in such a big game. It's really just a great feeling.
How does it feel to win a gold medal?It's awesome. It's unbelievable, nothing you could ever compare to. Something you've always dreamed of, and then when you finally reach it, it's just awesome.
Has this experience helped you become a better basketball player?I think this experience really taught me how to become more of a team player and really get everyone excited and involved. I'm going to take things back from here and try to incorporate it into my high school team, like how positive everyone is and how everyone works so hard.

Also here is what U.S. head coach Sue Phillips had to say about the record-setting efforts of Durr and Samuelson.

"Asia was a catalyst for us, both handling the basketball and defensively, and then finishing. She really sparked us. She scored a run of double figures at one point by herself. Pretty amazing."

"We talked about it at halftime. We said, 'Katie Lou's got the hot hand, find her.' I thought the team did a great job looking for her and getting her the basketball. She's an unbelievable shooter."

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