UConn All-American Bria Hartley scored 11 of her game-high 17 points in the third quarter and added two steals in 21 minutes to lead the U.S. to a 90-71 victory over Russia today in the gold medal game of the World University Games in Kazan, Russia. The U.S. (6-0) earned its third straight gold medal – ninth overall – and is a combined 101-15 in the event all-time.
Fellow UConn All-American Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis finished with 15 points, four rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes. Baylor All-American Odyssey Sims (10 points, three assists) was named the tournament Co-MVP.
Hartley averaged a team-high 13.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 23.8 minutes in the tournament. Mosqueda-Lewis was second on the team in scoring (13.0) and first in rebounding (6.8) in 25.0 minutes. Both players started all six games.
Here are postgame comments from Hartley and Mosqueda-Lewis (courtesy of USA Basketball) …
On the third-quarter run where you hit two 3-pointers and had a lay-up …
A: “I think Ariel (Massengale) did a good job of pushing the ball and she was able to find me on those two 3s. And I think just kind of able to get a steal and then get out in transition and get a layup. I just thought my teammates … 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.’’
Q: What was the difference tonight? You were able to beat this pretty solid team by 19.
A: “I think definitely we were able to kind of box out a little bit. They were a really big Russian team. They were able to get some rebounds, but we really had to focus on rebounding and I thought our defense … We really bought into the concept of kind of just everyone sinking into the paint and forcing them to take outside shots.’’
Q: You have four gold medals now. How does this one feel?
A: “It feels just as good as the first. Everyone coming together for these three weeks. Girls that I never really get a chance to play with, always against. So it’s kind of cool to share that bond that we all had these last three weeks.’’
Q: What are going to do with the gold medal?
A: “I’m probably going to take it home. My dad usually gets them framed. So I’ll have him do that.’’
Q: What do you take away from this experience?
A: “I just think a lot of it is just everyone coming together. Everyone’s different. Everyone comes from their different schools and everyone had to put kind of their egos aside and realize that we’re playing for something greater. We’re playing for the United States of America and we’re playing to represent our country in the right way.’’
On tonight’s game …
A: “Coach (Sherri) Coale told us there were three things we were going to have to do defensively, and 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.’’
On winning a gold medal …
A: “I can’t really describe the feeling. Being able to win with this group of girls, and to come together so quickly and play as well as we did, it’s pretty awesome for us.
Q: What will you do with your fourth gold medal?
A: “I’m going to give it to my dad and have him mount it up on the wall for memories, next to the other three.’’
Q: Do you think this experience helped you get better as a player?
A: “I definitely think I’ve been able to grow this summer. I had to play the four, be in there with the big guys, and it definitely got me to widen my game. I was able to go inside-out. That definitely helped a lot.’’