Central Arkansas Christian’s Christyn Williams won a silver medal in international competition Sunday when Team USA’s U19 team fell to Russian in the gold medal game of the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Udine, Italy, 86-82.
After the 6-1 run through the tournament, Team USA is 79-13 all-time in 11 U19 World Cups with seven gold medals, one silver and one bronze. The Americans had won six consecutive golds.
Williams earned bronze last summer with Team USA’s U17 World Cup team in Zaragoza, Spain, and a gold earlier this summer in the Women’s 3x3 U18 World Cup Team in Chengdu, China.
“I’ve played a lot of basketball this summer and I’m a little exhausted both mentally and physically,” Williams wrote in a blog for USA Today High School Sports. “School starts Aug. 9, but I’m planning to take some time off when I get home before I start training again for the high school season.”
In the rematch of the 2015 gold medal game, Team USA hit just two of seven field goals in the final minutes. Russia out-rebounded the Americans, 48-37, and outshot them, 52.4 percent to 40.2. There were 24 lead changes, with the Americans’ biggest advantage eight points and Russia’s six.
“Russia is really good,” Suzie McConnell-Serio, USA and University of Pittsburgh head coach, told USA Basketball. “They are very talented. They have two great players that made play after play. We tried a number of different things. We played hard. I give our players credit – they played their hearts out. I’m proud of their effort. They never quit.
“We gave ourselves a chance down the stretch, and we just couldn’t convert. It’s disappointing. We came here to win the gold.”
In Group A play, Team USA beat Mali, 95-58; China, 91-51; and Italy, 66-49. Against Mali, Williams scored three points in 10 minutes; against China, she had three points, three rebounds, two assists and one turnover in 15 minutes. Against Italy, Williams had two points and one rebound in three minutes of play.
In medal play, the Americans beat Puerto Rico, 104-46; France in the quarterfinals, 78-51; and Japan in the semifinals, 73-66.
Williams, the youngest player on USA’s U19 squad, had her best game of the tournament against Puerto Rico with 11 points, five rebounds, two steals and one block in 15 minutes.
“It was fun,” she told USA Basketball. “It was definitely a confidence-booster for us going into the quarterfinals, so that was really good for us.”
On her blog for USA Today, she wrote: “I thought I’ve played well the times I’m in the game. I’m sort of still trying to learn my role. I’ve been being a good teammate and contributing in different ways, but it’s definitely an adjustment from what I’m used to. I’m starting to get used to it, but it’s been difficult.”
Against France, she was scoreless with one rebound in four minutes of play. She did not play against Japan.
Against Russia, Williams played three minutes.
“It means a lot that my parents made the trip from Arkansas,” she wrote on her blog. “My parents are my biggest supporters. For them to be here makes me feel good. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity or their parents and family to be here and watch them win a gold medal.”