Aug. 1, 2009
DEKALB, Ill.-Northern Illinois University head women's basketball coach Carol Owens, the head coach of USA Basketball's U19 National Team, will lead Team USA against Spain in the gold medal game of the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Bangkok, Thailand Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 a.m. CDT.
"It feels very good," Owens said of Team USA's chance to play for the gold medal. "I told the team we've got one more game. They're excited and have to be looking forward to this opportunity."
Sunday's gold-medal game will be Owens' fourth straight on the bench for the Red, White and Blue. She led Team USA to gold at the 2008 FIBA Americas Championship for Women as head coach of USA Basketball's U18 National Team and was an assistant on the gold-medal winning teams at the 2007 U19 World Championship for Women and at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
The Americans defeated Canada, 82-51, in medal semifinal play Saturday to advance to the finals for the fourth time in five Championships. Team USA (7-1) took home the gold in 1997, 2005 and 2007, while capturing the bronze in 2001. Spain (8-0), the only undefeated team left in the tournament, beat Argentina, 67-49, to earn its first trip to the gold medal game. Sunday's game is a rematch of the opening round game in which Spain defeated Team USA, 90-86.
"We've come full circle," she said. "We have an opportunity to play Spain again and our young ladies are looking forward to it."
For more on Owens' trip to Thailand check out her blog at www.niuhuskies.com.