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WBB: Liston nabs gold medal with USA Basketball World University Games Team

Posted July 16, 2013

Behind an outstanding defensive performance, the 2013 USA Basketball Women's World University Games Team (6-0), which includes Duke senior Tricia Liston, never trailed and kept Russia (5-1) at a distance for most of the second half on its way to claiming the gold medal in the 2013 World University Games with a 90-71 victory on Monday night at Basket Hall in Kazan, Russia.

The USA now has won three-consecutive gold medals, and nine overall, at the World University Games.

A native of River Forest, Ill., Liston saw action in only six minutes, but scored two points and had three rebounds in limited action. The 6-1 guard finished the World University Games averaging 8.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists. She posted a tied for team-best nine three-pointers made and hit a team-high 42.9 percent from downtown. Liston’s nine three-pointers also ranked tied for fourth in the World University Games along with four other players.

“It is awesome,” commented Liston on winning the gold medal. “There are no words really to describe it, especially having my parents here with me. To meet all these girls, being able to put a team together so fast and do something so special and represent our country; it is an awesome feeling to have.”

Bria Hartley (University of Connecticut/North Babylon, N.Y.) led the charge for the USA, scoring a game-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Crystal Bradford (Central Michigan University/Detroit, Mich.) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut/Anaheim Hills, Calif.) added 16 and 15 points, respectively, while World University Games Co-MVP Odyssey Sims (Baylor University/Irving, Texas) contributed 10 points and three assists. Sims, who averaged 12.7 points per game and a competition-best5.3 assists per game, shared MVP honors with Russia's Tatiana Grigoryeva.

The USA limited Russia to just 41.6 percent shooting (27-65 FGs) and 31.4 percent in the first half (11-35 FGs), and forced 20 turnovers, which led to 27 U.S. points.

"We had a defensive game plan that our kids executed beautifully," said USA head coach Sherri Coale (University of Oklahoma). "They did a tremendous job defensively against a team that is very hard to guard."

"Coach Coale told us there were three things we were going to have to do defensively," detailed Mosqueda-Lewis on the USA's defensive game plan. "That was stay in a stance, close out and rebound, and I think we did those three things pretty well throughout the whole game. We made sure that we always had the upper hand on Russia."

Getting off to a quick start, the USA built a 13-3 lead with just under four minutes left in the first quarter after a Jordan Hooper (University of Nebraska/Alliance, Neb.) jump shot. Making her first start of the competition, Hooper played a critical role in the USA building an early lead as she scored seven points and reeled in four rebounds in the opening quarter. Russia tightened the score to 19-13 before Mosqueda-Lewis hit a 3-pointer to end the scoring in the first period with the USA ahead 22-13.

Russia started the second quarter strongly, going on an 8-3 run to open the frame, including six-straight points that prompted Coale to call a timeout with 7:46 remaining and the USA lead cut to 25-21. Mosqueda-Lewis would nail another 3-pointer to stop the run, and the USA outscored Russia 16-6 over the remainder of the half, including eight points and two 3-pointers from Bradford.

"I'm coming off the bench to bring a spark and intensity into the game, and that's what I knew I had to do," said Bradford on her contributions to the USA's 41-27 halftime lead. "I'm just happy that I could do that for my team."

Despite falling behind by as many as 15 points early after halftime, midway through the third quarter, Russia began to build some momentum and scored four-straight points to cut the U.S. lead to 50-42 with 5:14 to play in the period. Hartley immediately answered, however, hitting a 3-pointer assisted by Ariel Massengale (University of Tennessee/ Bolingbrook, Ill.) ten seconds later to put the USA back up 11 points. Russia would not bring its deficit to single digits again.

Following a steal by Cassie Harberts (University of Southern California/San Clemente, Calif.), Hartley scored on a fast-break layup. Next, Massengale made a driving lay-in on the right side, which preceded another Hartley 3-pointer assisted by Massengale. With 3:17 to play in the third quarter, Hartley and Massengale, who finished with a game-high five assists, had pushed the U.S. lead to 60-44 - at that point the USA's largest lead of the night.

"Ariel did a good job of pushing the ball, and she was able to find me on those two threes," said Hartley on the game-changing sequence. "A lot of the stuff we did sparked off our defense. We were able to get some stops and get some rebounds and push it."

The USA's lead would balloon to 68-47 heading into the fourth quarter. Two free throws by Sims gave the USA its largest advantage of the game at 73-49 with 9:26 to play, and Russia was kept at bay, never closing the margin any closer than 15 points in the final period.

After letting a 17-point fourth-quarter lead slip away in the semifinals against Australia before coming back to win, the USA never let its foot off the gas.

"With two minutes left," said Coale when asked at what point she felt comfortable with the lead. "I just didn't feel like anything was safe and tried to focus on every possession. But with about two minutes left, it felt pretty good."

Sims scored the final bucket for the USA with 44 seconds remaining before Russia's Nadezhda Grishaeva scored to bring the score to the final tally of 90-71. As the co-MVP Sims dribbled out the clock, the USA began celebrating.

"It's an unexplainable feeling," said Bradford on how she felt when the final horn sounded. "I wouldn't want to have it with anyone but these 11 girls. I think everybody on this team deserved it. We all worked hard. The best feeling is it wasn't given to us. We worked for it, so to say we deserved it is huge."

"I think our success speaks to the selflessness of these guys on this team who were willing to play roles, whatever those roles might be, different roles on different nights," said Coale on what made it so special to win with this collection of players. "Guys who were willing to buy in and be respectful of our coaching staff and try to do it the way that we asked. You couldn't do that without them being mature enough to do that, and they did in a great way."

For the game, the USA shot 52.2 percent from the field (35-67 FGs), 45.0 percent from 3-point territory (9-20 3pt FGs) and 73.3 percent from the line (11-15 FTs). For the competition, the USA shot .802 from the stripe (93-116 FTs) which bested the previous USA World University Game competition-best of .750 free-throw shooting set by the 1995 squad. Also, with 32 assists for the competition, Sims broke the previous mark for most assists by a U.S. player at the World University Games of 30 assists held by both Kamie Ethridge (1985) and Suzie McConnell (1987).

By winning her second gold medal at the World University Games after helping the USA earn the top placing in 2011 as well, Sims becomes the first women's basketball two-time gold medalist for the USA at the World University Games. Also adding to their golden collection are now four-time USA Basketball gold medalists Hartley, Massengale and Mosqueda-Lewis; as well as two-time gold medalists Reshanda Gray (University of California/Los Angeles, Calif.), Harberts and Theresa Plaisance (Louisiana State University/New Orleans, La.).

In the bronze medal game earlier today, Australia (5-1) defeated Taiwan (4-2) 99-58 to claim a spot at the medal ceremony.

Organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and held every other year, the World University Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24 (born Jan. 1, 1989 through Dec. 31, 1995). The USA women's team is comprised of U.S. citizens who are currently enrolled in college and have remaining eligibility.

Since 1973, the first year the USA women competed in the WUGs, the United States has compiled a 101-15 record.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
1st
NCSU 3
BSU 5
 
1st
PIT 0
CAR 0
 
1st
CHA 4
GSW 5
 
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
1st
CHA 4
GSW 5
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
DAL
7:30pm Tonight
DET
MIL
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
NOP
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
LAC
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
NYK
8:00pm Tonight
IND
ORL
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
PHO
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
Final
KSU 27
AKR 24
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
Final
MIZZ 21
ARK 14
Final
SALABAMA 40
NAVY 42
 
Final
ARZ 42
ARST 35
 
Final
AFA 27
COLST 24
 
Final
UCLA 10
STAN 31
8:00pm Tonight
VT
UVA
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
Final
BRO 81
PVU 71
Final
RIU 66
SCU 44
Final
NARZ 70
SOUTH 63
Final
DART 68
MAST 67
Final
WRST 59
FIU 61
Final
XAV 73
UTEP 77
Final
OSU 73
JMU 56
Final
TXSOU 71
LAM 56
 
Final
TAMCC 75
MVSU 66
 
Final
AKAN 51
MIZST 55
Final
BUCK 80
PSU 88
 
Final
PROV 72
YALE 66
Final
UGA 62
MINN 66
 
Final
WISC 69
OKLA 56
 
1st OT
Terriers 70
NORST 72
 
Final
PEAY 62
STEPH 83
 
2nd
FSU 29
CSOU 17
 
2nd
VALPO 41
DRAK 26
 
2nd
CIN 47
MTST 22
 
2nd
SDU 48
PRIN 36
 
Half
WASU 39
RICE 33
 
Half
CSFU 36
USCU 33
 
1st
GT 25
RIDE 21
 
1st
TXPA 17
ALAST 19
 
1st
NCSU 3
BSU 5
 
1st
TCU 0
BRAD 2
 
1st
WAKE 7
DELST 10
 
1st
HART 8
EMERSON 0
 
1st
STJ 2
GONZ 2
 
1st
CLEM 2
HIGH 0
 
1st
SYR 4
HC 2
 
1st
MD 11
MON 5
 
1st
JVST 10
SAV 8
 
1st
MIAMI 4
SALA 0
 
1st
RUTG 8
VANDY 8
 
7:30pm Tonight
PETE
TENST
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
CLST
8:00pm Tonight
JST
HOF
 
8:00pm Tonight
INDST
MEM
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SAMF
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
TENNM
8:30pm Tonight
MISS
CREI
8:30pm Tonight
PORT
MURST
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
MSU
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UNT
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
STET
 
9:00pm Tonight
IND
UNCG
9:00pm Tonight
SJST
WMICH
9:05pm Tonight
MNTST
TXARL
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
LAS
9:30pm Tonight
STLU
MSST
9:30pm Tonight
COLST
PAC
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
NDAK
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
Final
ANA 1
CHI 4
3rd
WAS 4
NYI 2
 
1st
PIT 0
CAR 0
 
1st
NJD 0
DET 0
 
1st
BUF 0
MON 0
 
1st
CLB 0
VAN 0
 
1st
BOS 0
WIN 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
OTT
8:00pm Tonight
STL
EDM
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MIN