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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

UConn commits win gold at Youth Olympic Games

After waltzing their way through the field in the 3x3 competition at the Youth Olympic Game the United States squad faced a tough challenge in Tuesday's gold medal game.

Netherlands was tied with the U.S. 10-10 with 3 minutes remaining before the U.S. scored the final nine points to win the championship with a 19-10 victory.

UConn commits Katie Lou Samuelson and Napheesa Collier had eight and four points respectively. Former UConn recruiting target Arike Ogunbowale had seven points and De'Janae Boykin played her typical strong all-around game as the U.S. finished with tournament with a 13-0 record.

It was the second gold medal of the summer for all four players as Boykin, Samuelson and Ogunbowale were members of the U.S. team which won the FIBA U17 Wotld Championship while Collier was a star of the U.S. squad which captured the FIBA Americas U18 title.

Earlier in the day Collier, Ogunbowale and Samuelson had seven points each in a 21-12 semifinal win over Hungary. Colllier hit all four of her field-goal attempts including a 3-pointer (worth two points in the 3x3 scoring format) and both of her free throws while Samuelson hit three long-range shots.

Collier finished with a team-leading 113 points in the tournament and was the leading scorer in eight of the 13 games, Ogunbowale had 85 points, Samuelson had 41 points despite missing seven games with a sprained ankle and Boykin had 33 points.

Here are quotes from the four gold medalists courtesy of USA Basketball

De’Janae Boykin

On her thoughts of today’s games:
Today were very tough games. Both games were very physical. But we got together before each game and said that we had to play hard. Both games were very tough, but it feels good to come out with the game

On the 9-0 spark in the gold medal game that changed the energy of the contest:
We weren’t going to come here to lose. We wanted this; we wanted to win.

On winning her third gold medal playing for the USA and first Olympic gold medal:
It feels great. This is the Youth Olympic Games and it’s pretty big. We’re all excited and very happy.

Napheesa Collier

On winning her second gold medal playing for the USA in the month of August:
This feels so good, even a little better because it’s the Youth Olympics.

On today’s games:
I think that we focused on one game at the time.  Hungary was shorter so we could post them up, but the Netherlands was taller so we had to space up our game and change it up. Everything worked out.

On having the support from all other members of Team USA today:
It felt awesome to know the crowd was behind us, and that all of those players and fellow USA athletes came to support us.

Arike Ogunbowale
On her thoughts of today’s games:
It was crazy. We knew they were good teams because we had scrimmaged them when we first got to China, so we knew it was going to be hard, but we came out strong and knocked down our free throws, which was really crucial too.

On today’s game plan, especially since going 0-for-8 from beyond the arc:
Coach Dori pointed out to us that they (Netherlands) were in foul trouble, so we had to drive at them and we continued to do that, and we knocked down those shots late too; that really changed the game.

On winning her fourth gold medal playing for the USA:
It’s such a blessing. Each year I’m grateful to be a part of USA and USA Basketball, and winning the Youth Olympics- this is the highest honor you can get as an 18-and-under player. I feel blessed to have been chosen to do this stuff.

On this whole experience:
I expected it to be great but this has been amazing. The village and the venues are incredible. Nanjing really put a lot of time into this, and it has just been so great to get he opportunity to play here and be with all of these people.

On having a big cheering section today, including USA athletes from other sports:
It’s really cool. They’re from all over the states too, so it’s nice. We have met so many new people, and they came out to support us. We’re going to support them too; we’re going to go see boxing tomorrow. We’re one big family.

Katie Lou Samuelson
On their gold medal game:
It was such a physical game. Netherlands played so hard and so well, and we finally pulled out at the end, but it was such a good game.

On her performance today:
My shooting wasn’t on today so I knew that I had to get to the basket. At that point when I got the - and one, I think all of us were just like, ‘ok, this is enough. We need to take it away right now.’

On winning her fifth medal playing for the USA and winning her fourth gold:
It’s amazing. There’s nothing that compares to this and this is an Olympic medal.  It’s so cool to be able to be on this USA Youth Olympic Team.

On this whole experience:
It’s been incredible. I’ve met so many people from so many different sports that I never would have met without this opportunity.

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