UConn All-Americans Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Bria Hartley combined for 26 points to help lead the U.S. to a 79-78 victory over Australia today in the semifinals of the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
Hartley finished with 14 points, five assists and one steal in 35 minutes. Mosqueda-Lewis added 12 points, 11 rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes.
Central Michigan rising junior Crystal Bradford recorded the game-winning basket on a putback with 14 seconds left to lift the U.S., who led 71-54 with seven minutes left in the game.
The U.S. (5-0) will be looking to earn its third straight gold medal (ninth overall) when it meets Russia (5-0) in the final Monday at 1:30 p.m. (ESPNU).
Here are some postgame comments from Hartley (courtesy of USA Basketball) …
Q: How was the team able to pull out a win?
A: “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.’’
Q: On the USA’s dominate third quarter (a 30-16 advantage) …
A: “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.’’