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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hartley, Mosqueda-Lewis go for gold

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 12 points and
11 rebounds in semifinal win over Australia.
UConn's Bria Hartley had 14 points and five assists and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added 12 points and 11 rebounds as the United States held off Australia 79-78 to advance to the World University Games gold-medal game.

Australia rallied from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take the lead on a pair of Marianna Tolo free throws with 1:08 to play. Central Michigan's Crystal Bradford pulled the U.S. within a point when she made 1 of 2 from the free-throw line with 54 seconds left.

Bradford grabbed her own miss and scored with 14.4 seconds to play to put the U.S. up by a point after the U.S. forced a 24-second shot clock violation on the previous possession.

Australia had two chances to win the game but failed to convert. Tolo's shot in the lane was too strong and Odyssey Sims grabbed the rebound.

Sims, playing on her 21st birthday, had 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals as the U.S. advances to Monday's championship game to play Russia. The game will air live beginning at 1:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

Baylor's Odyssey Sims (left) had 20 points and Central Michigan's
Crystal Bradford scored game-winning basket against Australia.
Hartley had a key three-point play after Russia pulled within seven points but it only temporarily slowed the surging Aussies. Australia was 7 of 8 from the line in the final 4:10.

Hartley had a pair of three-point plays, including one which sent resulted in the fourth foul being called by Australia’s star center Tolo, and a pair of assists during an 11-2 third-quarter run which gave the U.S. an 11-point advantage.

Alice Kunek had 20 points and Tolo had 16 points despite being limited to 21 minutes due to foul trouble for Australia.

Here are quotes from Hartley following the thrilling win.

How was the team able to pull out a win?
"We're a little bit disappointed in ourselves, giving up a 16-point lead. Especially since we started so well in the second half, and we just kind of let them come back and make free throws. But credit to Australia, they played really well and they made the right plays. But in the end we made the right plays. We got the box out and got the rebound on that last shot. A lot of times you seal games like that. It's the second rebound that kills us, so we were able to finish tonight.

On the USA's dominate third quarter:
"Definitely after the first half, we thought we had to come together, everyone had to get a pace, and I think we did a better job of boxing out in that third quarter. We got rebounds and we were able to push in transition. I thought Odyssey did a great job of getting to the basket. That was part of our game plan. We knew they really couldn't keep us in front because we are more athletic than them, so Odyssey did a great job of breaking her man down off the dribble and finishing."

Also, UConn rising sophomore Breanna Stewart and Class of 2014 recruiting target A'ja Wilson had eight points each as the U.S. U-19 team defeated Spain 78-49 in its second game at the Lanzarote International Invitational. The U.S. wraps up tournament play tomorrow against Canada before heading to Lithuania for the U-19 World Championships. Canada is 1-1 in the tournament and its top scorer is Oregon State rising sophomore Jamie Weisner.

Moriah Jefferson had four points, three assists and two steals and Morgan Tuck added two points and three rebounds for the U.S.

Former UConn recruiting target Linnae Harper, an incoming freshman for Kentucky, led the U.S. with 15 points.

UConn rising sophomore Breanna Stewart (above) had eight points and two blocked shots and top Class of 2014 UConn recruiting target A'ja Wilson (left) also had eight points in the U.S. U-19 team's win over Spain.

Here are quotes from Jefferson courtesy of USA Basketball.

On the USA’s start:
We came out a lot more focused this game. We came in and got our defense going well and that’s when our offense came on.

Everyone contributed today, what are your thoughts on the overall play of the team?
Tonight was good for our chemistry, because everybody got confidence. We got everybody the ball. We were moving the ball a lot, which is good for our confidence.

Was it good to have a game like this to get you used to the way the international game is called?
Yes, definitely. Clearly we weren’t getting a lot of calls and there were a lot of travels called. So you have to learn to adjust, especially with the fouls because we had a lot by halftime.

Do you think the energy you bring to the court helps fuel your teammates?
I hope so. I just come out, try to be as loud as I can, get the defensive side going and I know the offense comes off of that.

What was the key to the way the team started the game tonight?
The way we played last night was not okay. We knew that we didn’t play defense well. We knew that we had to come out and start strong. We wanted to represent the USA a lot better than what we did last night.

On Canada, the USA’s next opponent:
From what I’ve seen that they really like to pound it in some and then kick it out, get a lot of open shots. They’re kind of like Spain, but I think they’re just a little more physical.

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