Women’s U19 basketball team seeking seventh gold medal in FIBA play

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The USA’s Women’s U19 basketball team is preparing to defend its FIBA World Cup title and as one rookie and veteran explain, all sights are set on gold.

“It is kind of a little weird being the youngest but I’m used to it now,” said Christyn Williams.

At just 17-years-old, Williams is the youngest player on the team and the only one without collegiate basketball experience. It’s a difference she says really isn’t that big of a deal.

“I kind of hold my own so they think of me as their age so I mean I kind of just pick up things here and there from them and the coaches,” said Williams.

On the other hand, there’s two-time gold medalist Crystal Dangerfield, who the team is looking at to be their leader.

“I don’t feel any added pressure but I do feel like it’s a bit harder because we’re all the same age,” said Dangerfield. “But as far as standing out there on the court, it’s not that way because I’ve already done it. It’s coming back and trying to let them follow in my footsteps.”

“I love playing with her,” said Williams. “She can really see the floor, she passes the ball like no other and I’m a two and she’s a one so that connection is very good.”

At stake is a seventh consecutive gold medal for the team. Dangerfield says this year’s squad feels younger and that experience is easily the biggest difference compared to year’s past.

“It may catch up to us, it may not, but I think we’ll be able to gel really quickly and run on some teams, that’s my hope,” said Dangerfield.

“I mean we all know the USA has a history of successful wins so I think we can do it, we can definitely do it,” added Williams.

As far as the future goes, both Williams and Dangerfield agree that playing professional basketball is the ultimate dream.

“Be able to just have these coaches use me to my potential, build these friendships, build the relationships and see where it goes from there,” said Dangerfield.

“Being an Olympian and winning a gold on there and being the number one draft pick in my class,” said Williams. “Just living my dream out of the WNBA.”

If you’d like to catch the team in action, the ladies train twice a day starting at 10 a.m. and then again at 5:30 p.m. and all evening practices are open to the public.

The team will participate in a three game invitational against Italy, Latvia and Spain before they open World Cup play on July 22 against Mali.

 

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