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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

UConn's Collier with monster game in U19 semifinals

UConn incoming freshman Napheesa Collier has been a consistent producer for the U.S. team at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women but that was just a prelude to what she had in store for a very good Spain team in the semifinals.

Collier had 24 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot as the U.S. defeated Spain 80-65 to advance to Sunday's gold-medal game.

"Pheese is relentless," U.S. coach Dawn Staley said. "She is competitive. She doesn’t want to lose and she leaves it all out there every time she steps on the floor. Sometimes we have to think about how the tournament is set up (with seven games in nine days) and we didn’t want to play her too many minutes to give her a little bit of decompression for what we’ll face tomorrow. But, it’s hard to keep her off the floor because of what she brings to the table.

South Carolina's A'ja Wilson had 20 points and 16 rebounds while Duke's Azura Stevens finished with 11 points.

UConn commit Crystal Dangerfield added six points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal for the U.S. which will play Russia in the title game.

Here are quotes from Collier courtesy of USA Basketball.

It felt really good to come out like that. Hopefully we can do that tomorrow and that tonight was a little sneak peek of tomorrow.

On her play tonight:My teammates really helped get me open. I got the rebounds and stuff, but I couldn’t have done it without them.

On the play of Azurá Stevens and A’ja Wilson:They were big. They were so big. A’ja had 20 points, they were just both so awesome. They were playing off the boards and getting the put-backs.

What was your plan tonight?We had to be really focused, because playing a team three times in two weeks is really hard. But, we knew our scout really well, so we were just trying to execute it well. It helped us a little bit because we kind of knew what they were going to do.

On playing Russia for the gold medal:It’s going to be really tough, but I’m actually really excited for it. I can’t wait for tomorrow. To hopefully beat someone on their home court for a gold medal would be really exciting.

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