Wiggins Helps USA U21 Team Claim World Championships Gold
July 9, 2007
STANFORD, Calif.- Junior guard Candice Wiggins (San Diego, Calif.) was one of five U.S. players in double-figures, pouring in 14 points to help lead the 2007 USA Basketball U21 World Championship Team to a 96-73 gold medal victory at the FIBA U21 World Championship in Moscow.
'It was a great game for our team defensively and rebounding-wise,' said USA U21 National Team and Duke University (N.C.) head coach Joanne P. McCallie. 'I really felt that we wanted to play Australia again. We didn't feel great about our first game against them. This time I felt we pressured the ball much more so and disrupted them much more and took advantage of opportunities. It really was a total team effort.'
'We just kept our composure, we went inside, things that got us the lead in the first place. We remained calm and just played,' said Wiggins, who helped push back Australia's late surge.
Crystal Langhorne notched a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds, connecting on 10-16 tries from the field. Jolene Anderson and DeWanna Bonner each added 14 points while Essence Carson chipped in with 12.
This age group (players born on or after Jan. 1, 1986) closes out its FIBA age-based competition with four gold medals and an undefeated mark of 26-0 in official FIBA and FIBA Americas tournaments after capturing the 2004 FIBA Americas U18 Championship (5-0), 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship (8-0) and 2006 FIBA Americas U20 Championship (5-0). Additionally, they won gold at the 2005 International Sports Invitational (4-0), earned a 3-0 slate in exhibition play against France this year and split a pair of games against Hungary prior to the '05 U19 Worlds.
The U.S. jetted out on a 15-3 opening run and by the first quarter break the squad, which never trailed in the game, was up 32-21. The United States pounded away inside in the first half, but when Australia's posts collapsed on the USA's bread and butter, they kicked it outside. That fueled the USA's perimeter game, which produced eight 3-pointers in the first half (8-18 3pt FGs) as the U.S. took a 15-point, 55-40 lead into the locker room.
The third quarter saw the Americans pull further away and with 10 minutes to play the lead stood at 75-56 and it seemed the game was in the bag.
However, Australia gave it one final try. As the Americans lagged on defense Australia reeled off 11 points in a little over three minutes to close to within eight points at 6:51.
McCallie called a time out to regroup and remind her squad what they had come for. It worked as Abby Waner got a steal that led to a Carson basket at 6:06, sparking a 10-0 run that included steals from Anderson and Langhorne and the U.S. was back in command 85-67. Australia never again had a chance as the Americans closed the game strong for the gold medal victory.