USA U19 Women's Basketball and UT's Erika Arriaran capture gold at World Championships
TUNIS, Tunisia -- On a night when USA posts Erlana Larkins (North Carolina)and Crystal Langhorne (Maryland). combined to score 34 points on perfect 16-of-16 shooting from the floor, the USA left no doubt who was the best team at the 2005 FIBA Women's U19 World Championship after stopping Serbia & Montenegro (4-4) 97-76 in the gold medal contest Sunday night in Tunis.
The USA squad, with University of Texas incoming freshman guard Erika Arriaran on the roster averaging nearly 17 minutes per contest, went a perfect 8-0 en route to the World Championship gold medal.
"This feels great," remarked U.S. head coach Gail Goestenkors. "I'm so proud of the kids. They worked so hard and put it all together. We played great team basketball again. Our depth was factor, it has been all tournament long. Our rebounding was another factor, we were relentless on the boards."
The USA was led in the win by Larkins, who finished with 20 points on perfect 9-for-9 shooting, while Langhorne tossed in 14 points on 7-for-7 shooting.
Langhorne, who averaged a USA best 16.8 points a game and 6.4 rebounds a game, while shooting a gaudy 77.5 percent from the floor, was named MVP of the 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Larkins shot 9-of-9 from the field and 2-of-2 from the foul line,and finished with a team high 20 points.
Arriaran scored five points off the bench in 16 minutes, also collecting one assist and one block. For the eight-game tourney, Arriaran averaged 4.6 points and 16.5 minutes per game with 21 assists, five steals and just seven turnovers.
Formerly known as the FIBA Women's Junior World Championship and held every four years since 1985, the USA's capturing of gold in 2005 marks just the second time the American women have claimed gold in the six U19 World Championships. The U.S. now boasts of a 32-10 overall record and has captured two gold (2005, 1997) and one bronze medal (2001).
Whatever suspense the gold medal game was suppose to have, it was quickly removed as the USA broke away early and never looked back.
Leading 12-8 with half of the opening quarter over, the U.S. outscored Serbia & Montenegro 12-4 over the last five minutes to take a 24-12 lead after one quarter of play. The balanced USA play was underscored by the fact that the U.S. got points from eight different players in just the first quarter.
The U.S. outscored Serbia & Montenegro 13-6 in the second quarter's first 3:15 to up the USA's advantage to 37-18. The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter and the U.S. led comfortably 56-34 at halftime.
Over the course of the first two quarters the U.S. shot 65.7 percent, making 23-of-35 shot attempts. And when the U.S. did miss, more times then not it got the offensive rebound. The U.S. outrebounded Serbia 25-8 over the first 20 minutes, and the Americans grabbed eight offensive boards.
The Americans kept the pressure on Serbia & Montenegro in the third quarter and outscored them 29-13 to push the lead to 85-47. From there the Americans sailed home, claiming the gold in the process.
How dominating was the `05 team's performance at the U19 World Championship?
Statistically, the USA averaged 105.9 points a game, and won its eight games by a whopping average margin of victory of 46.3 points a game.
By winning all eight of its games, the U.S. became just the third team to emerge from the U19 World Championship undefeated and the first team to go 8-0. Of the 16 USA team records for the event, the 2005 squad shattered 10 of the previous marks, including most points (842); highest scoring average; most field goals made (340) and attempted (567); highest field goal percentage (.600); most free throws made (118) and attempted (183); most rebounds (355); and most assists (183).
Of 14 USA single game marks, 11 were rewritten and two others tied. In the 2005 U19 World Championship overall statistics, the USA as a team finished ranked tops in 11 categories.
In Sunday's other finals action, China (6-2) rebounded from yesterday's los to the U.S. to roll to a 78-61 win over Russia (5-3); Spain (5-3) finished on a high note and claimed fifth place after posting a 75-71 victory over South Korea (4-4); Australia (5-3) bounced back after dropping two straight to defeat Hungary (3-5) 68-62 and earn seventh place.