Links for tonight’s Gold Medal game against France (6:45 p.m.)
Live Video (fee)
I can't believe we have finally made it to today. We have been working and waiting so long for this opportunity and it's finally here. After a scare versus France in the quarterfinals, we played our best game of the tournament yesterday in the semifinals against Brazil. Bria (Hartley) and Steph (Dolson) both played like college kids and we had great contributions from our young guys. Breanna (Stewart) has put us on her back this week and not allowed us to lose. Kaleena (Mosqueda-Lewis) has found her rhythm and given us another outside scoring threat. But the MVP of the Brazil game in my mind was Ariel (Massengale) who finished with 10 points and nine assists. She completely controlled the tempo and valued the ball against a Brazil defense that was averaging 15 steals a game.
So today is it! We face a very tough team from Spain at 6:45 p.m. tonight. They are smart, savvy, and have an edge. They play very well together on both ends of the floor and find a way to stay in games and then make just enough big plays to win in the end. For us to win, we need to control the pace and play in the full court as much as possible. We need to dominate the boards like we did yesterday (57-33) and work to get the shots we want every possession.
It's really hard to describe how difficult this tournament has been unless you are here to witness the level of play. I'm taking a group made up primarily of high school players and competing against players that are already playing professionally in their own countries. The international style is so different from American basketball. I'm really proud of how these kids have responded to the challenge and put themselves in the position they are today.
Forty more minutes of team basketball and at 9:00 p.m. tonight I hope to be watching our players stand up on the gold medal podium and listen to the National Anthem with tears in my eyes. Go USA!
Make sure to follow us during and after the game on USAbasketball.com!