Posted by: John Moss, Tulsa's Channel 8 Sports - email
Sherri Coale and Aaryn Ellenberg will play for gold medals after the United States escaped Australia 79-78 in the World University Games semifinals Saturday.
The University of Oklahoma head coach is the head coach of Team USA for the athletics competition held in Kazan, Russia.The USA will play host nation Russia, 69-51 winners over Chinese Taipei, Monday, July 15, at 12:30 p.m. Central, 9:30 p.m. local. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.
Team USA is looking for its third straight and ninth overall gold medal at the World University Games women's basketball competition. Australia led through halftime, holding a 33-32 advantage at the break, until being outscored by 14 points in the third quarter. With center Marianna Tolo, who recorded her fourth foul shortly after halftime, back on the court, the Aussies rallied late.
"We had a 16-point lead and kept fouling and giving them three-point plays," Coale said, "sent them to the free throw line, and we were giving up second shots -- all those things that lead to a comeback -- when all you have to do is keep them in front and make them take contested jump shots. "And then on the offensive end, I thought we panicked a little bit when we couldn't figure out a way to stop them. We got away from what had been working for us and panicked a little bit. The lack of time that we've been on the floor together sort of showed there at the end. We weren't really sure of each other."
Australia's Alice Kunek scored the last of her game-high 20 points to tie the score 76-76 with 1:57 remaining and Tolo added two free throws at 1:08 to regain the lead.
Central Michigan's Crystal Bradford added a free throw in the United States' next possession and then made a game-winning layup on a second-chance shot with 14.8 seconds to play.
Oklahoma's Ellenberg scored seven points and was one of three on 3-pointers on a tough shooting day for the Americans. Team USA made was held to a tournament low 38 percent shooting, including just four of 19 attempts from beyond the arc.
The World University Games are held biannually and are organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The World University Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24 (born between January 1, 1989 and December 31, 1995), and are or have been within the past year, a student at a college or university.
USA Basketball women's teams have participated in 16 prior World University Games and collected a record eight golds, six silvers and one bronze medal. Further, since 1973, the first year the USA women competed in the WUGs, the United States has compiled a 100-15 record.
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