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11 July 2019 | in Basketball

USA take gold in men's basketball final

NAPOLI, 11 July - In a packed PalaDelMauro, it was USA who made up for missing out on gold in men’s basketball at Taipei 2017, by defeating Ukraine 85-63 in the title game at Napoli 2019.

Ukraine were out for revenge having lost to the Americans 58-57 in their intense group encounter earlier in the competition, but it wasn’t meant to be as they fell just short in a thrilling end-to-end final.


FISU spoke to gold medal winner Nicolas Honor (right), who scored eight points in tonight’s victory.


“It feels great, all the hard work paid off,” said Honor. “It’s been a long week for sure.


“We had to get adjusted to the time difference for the first few days.We knew what we wanted to accomplish before we came here, and we did that, so we were super confident.


“It was definitely difficult because we had to maintain that same pace throughout the game,” added the 19-year-old.


“The highlight was definitely standing up on that podium with the gold medal.”


Ukraine took an early lead thanks to a blistering start, but USA soon made the game their own, and ended the first quarter 28-15 up. They continued that form into the second quarter and held a 48-23 lead at the halfway stage.


The third quarter was much of the same, with USA dominating and finishing with a 64-41 advantage. With the lead heading into the fourth quarter, they stormed home to victory with a fantastic fourth quarter display.


The champions, however, almost didn’t make it this far, having just edged past Israel 75-73 in their semifinal on Tuesday, after also squeezing through their quarterfinal match against Germany 76-74. And while tonight was undoubtedly USA’s night, both sides deserve huge credit for their attacking and entertaining approach to the game.

Head Coach Brad Brownell also shared his thoughts after the gold medal performance.


“It feels fantastic,” said Brownell. “We’re incredibly proud of our players.


“It’s a very young team that came together in the last month, and this is something we worked really hard for,” he added. “I’m really proud of how they have competed all week.


“It’s been really difficult. We were fortunate, we won a lot of close games, and it felt like there were several teams who could have been in our position,” he continued.


“But we made a lot of good plays at the end of games and our defence was very good throughout the tournament, and that obviously really helped us tonight.


“We’ve got smiles on plenty of faces right now, and this is a memory we’ll have for a very long time.”


PalaDelMauro also played host to the men’s bronze final earlier in the evening, and it was Australia who clinched third place as they beat Israel 86-69.


One of the earliest sports to begin at Napoli 2019, the basketball has now officially come to a close, with Australia having successfully defended their women’s title by beating USA 80-72 at PalaBarbuto last night.


Results: Men’s Basketball

Gold: USA

Silver: Ukraine

Bronze: Australia


10 July

NAPOLI, Italy - With hundreds of passionate spectators packing the stands of the PalaBarbuto hall in Napoli, Australia won the women’s basketball gold for a second time, successfully defending their title from Taipei 2017. The UniRoos, as they are called, beat USA 80-72 in a great final, Portugal defeated Japan 76-59 to claim bronze.

Despite the close score line, Australia had the lead almost through the entire game, thanks to outstanding individual performances from the likes of Lauren Scherf and Abigail Wehrung. USA attempted to overturn the game twice, but was unable to keep up the momentum. The Aussie team came together as a unit and played the match in great spirit.


“I am super proud, super proud of the girls, of the whole team,” said Australian captain Abigail Wehrung. “It is really exciting. We knew the game was going to be tough, but we were super fired up and determined. We executed the game plan, and are happy to have the win.”


Wehrung is one of the returning athletes for Autralia, from the victorious squad of 2017. Speaking of the difference in team composition two years apart, Wehrung said, “Only four of us attended the last Universiade. We have seven new members, but everyone gets along very well and it is really enjoyable and a great team to be a part of.”


The bronze medal match played betwee Japan and Portugal was a closer one. I the last minute of the fourth quarter, Portugal fought to bring the score to a level 58-58. The game then went into overtime.


After that though, luck didn’t seem to favour Team Japan, silver medallists two years ago in Taipei. They did have several chances to shoot, but missed them and ended up scoring only one more point. Portugal on the other hand, made the most of the opportunity and took control of the situation, eventually winning 76-59.


Results - Women’s basketball

Gold: Australia

Silver: USA

Bronze: Portugal


Final Preview

NAPOLI, 9 July — Defending Summer Universiade Women’s Basketball champions Australia and perennial sports powerhouse United States are through to the gold medal match. 


In the semifinals against Portugal, Australia was slow low out of the blocks with some early turnovers and inconsistent play as they trailed 29-25 at halftime.


Undefeated so far through the tournament, the Emerging Opals turned it on in the second half to win the semifinal 56-49.

Going into the match undefeated, Australia was slow out of the blocks with some early mistakes giving Portugal the halftime lead 29-25. Things remained the same in the third quarter with the four-point deficit still intact. However, coach Shannon Seebohm said the team’s confidence never wavered.
“We were always confident. We knew that we had it in ourselves to make a comeback and win the game,” Emerging Opals cach Shannon Seebohm told UniRoos Media following the game. “I think for us it was just about settling into the game. We were speeding it up too much.”

Making a Universiade Women's Basketball final takes #team. Can Australia come back up on top here in Napoli as they did two years ago in Taipei? Or is the USA team ready to take the title, as they did in Gwangju 2015?

The team from USA showed steely resolve late in their game against Japan in the other side of the tournament bracket. Facing a double-digit deficit late into the third quarter, the USA team comprised of the Mississippi State University collegiate team rallied to a 89-84 victory and a match-up against Australia for Summer Universiade gold. 


After taking home the Summer Universiade women’s basketball title in 2015, the USA team missed out on the medals two years later in Taipei. 


"There are people in this profession and players who play their whole career that don't get this kind of opportunity,” head coach Vic Schaefer said to WTVA television after the game. "I'm really happy for our players. I don't know that I have ever seen a more resilient team that can bow their next and show the toughness that they have shown. On top of that, they continue to do it in the hardest quarter, which is the fourth quarter."


Australia and USA square off in the finals on Wednesday at 20:00 CET in the Palabarbuto Stadium. Watch it live on FISU.tv