Carol Owens and Team USA Claim the Gold

GO HUSKIES Carol Owens begins her third season with NIU in 2007-08.
Carol Owens begins her third season with NIU in 2007-08.

Aug. 5, 2007

BRATISLAVA - Northern Illinois head women's basketball coach Carol Owens and Team USA claimed a second successive gold in the FIBA U19 World Championships for Women with a 99-57 win over Sweden in Sunday's final. This is the second-straight year that Owens has served as an assistant coach for Team USA under head coach Doug Bruno. Bruno, who is the head women's basketball coach at DePaul, was also the head coach of the U18 Team. Last season, Owens helped lead the 2006 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team to a perfect 4-0 record and the gold medal at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Maya Moore was the star of the show for Team USA with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while team-mate Jantel Lavender also got a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Although Sweden impressed with their throws from the charity stripe, with 13 of 15 (86.6%) compared to USA's 11 of 18 (61.1%), the victors' accuracy from both sides of the arc proved decisive.

The USA signalled their intent early and were 16 points ahead inside the opening five minutes at 21-5.

Swedish twins Frida and Elin Eldebrink, who have driven the Scandinavians to success in this tournament, helped keep their side within sight but failed to narrow the gap.

In the second quarter the USA continued to score for fun, with Moore and Monica Wright hitting double figures before the halfway point, at which stage the score was 55-22 to the Americans.

Sweden came from behind to beat 2005 silver medalists Serbia in the semi-final, and an 8-0 scoring burst in the third quarter ignited hopes of another comeback.

But USA was having none of it.

Moore and Wright continued to dominate the scoring and fired their side into a 22-point advantage at 72-50 going into the final period.

Despite having an unassailable lead, the US didn't take their foot off the gas, and six points from Jasmine Thomas without reply put them a full 40 points ahead at 97-57.

Amy Jaeschke sank a lay-up to make it 99 with 30 seconds left, and although they failed to break the 100-point mark, the US will be more than happy with the manner of their victory.

After two seasons at the helm of the Northern Illinois University women's basketball program, Owens has put together a 31-29 overall record. In 2006-07, Owens led the Huskies to their most wins, 19, since the 2001-02 season. The Huskies won seven of their first 10 games in 2006-07 and took home the championship of the Mildred and Roger L. White Tournament, defeating Cincinnati and host Northwestern.

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