28 June, 2014
06 July
Bridget  CARLETON (Canada)
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CAN - Carleton lapping up first global experience with Canada

KLATOVY/PILSEN (FIBA U17 World Championship for Women) - If Canada are to match the brilliant bronze medal at the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women they won in the Netherlands two years ago, they must shoot down tournament favourites USA and that is likely to require yet another super effort from Bridget Carleton.

The guard is rightly winning rave reviews for her performances and on-floor leadership so far and whatever happens in Pilsen in Friday's Quarter-Final match-up against the two-time defending champions, she is simply thrilled to have debuted on the global stage.

"It has been an incredible experience so far to play with the best players in Canada against some of the best players in the world," stated Carleton.

"The game against the Czech Republic was particularly amazing even though we lost, because I have never played in that kind of atmosphere before.

"The noise the fans made was kind of crazy - you could barely communicate with your team-mates on the floor, but it was a whole lot of fun.

"I think that we have been involved in some great games and we learned a lot from the two overtime ones we were involved in."

The prospect of facing the USA is far from a daunting one for Carleton, with the players having met last year in the Final of the FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women.

"We're excited about playing them and we will definitely have some fun and battle hard to try and achieve our goal of a podium finish," she added.

Meanwhile, head coach Carly Clarke endorsed the outlook of her star player, also emphasising the team's positive experiences on Czech soil and embracing an opportunity to upset the USA in the Quarter-Finals, having beaten another Americas rival Brazil in their previous game.

"We are on track right now," said the play-caller.

"I am excited to get to the Quarter-Finals and we have already proved we can play well and we can win.

"It's definitely exciting to be in the top eight and we're just going to go from here and see what happens.

"Playing in the USA can be daunting as they don't lose much, but to get onto that podium you have to beat the very best and so we had might as well see them now.

"We are obviously very familiar with their style and personnel and I know my own players are never anything other than excited at the prospect of playing them.

"There will also be another large following back home who will all be getting up in the morning to watch our games online.

"There have been lots of family, friends and fans all following us through the tournament and also giving us great support on twitter."

Clarke also identified the match-up against the hosts in Klatovy as being a unique experience for her girls and one that they aren't likely to forget.

"Our game against Czech Republic was an incredible one due to the energy and noise in the building which you just can't replicate anywhere else," she said.

"It added to what was already an exciting group with tons of great basketball.

"We have also been welcomed very warmly by the people so far and I think it has been a great experience for everyone."

For Clarke to mastermind a surprise, it won't only be Carleton who will need to perform to a high-level and indeed Canada have much more to offer than their marquee player.

Lauren Yearwood has done some great work on the boards and although Kendra Van Leeuwen has blown hot and cold, she can be devastating if she finds her rhythm - as evidenced by her 20-point on seven of nine shooting display against the Czechs.