28 June, 2014
06 July
Laia RAVENTOS (Spain)
to read

FIBA U17W - Spanish guard gunning for gold in Final with USA

PILSEN/KLATOVY (FIBA U17 World Championship for Women) - Spain guard Laia Raventos has claimed her team are ready to finish top of the pile at the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women and have what it takes to prevent USA from holding onto their title when both nations meet in the Final of the competition.

A re-run of the showpiece game in the Netherlands during 2012 at the second edition of the tournament, Raventos is gunning for gold and eager for her side to come out victorious when the last two unbeaten teams engage in battle.

"We have the enthusiasm and ambition to achieve the challenge of being crowned world champions," declared Raventos, who excelled in the crushing semi-final victory against Czech Republic.

"We are now at the stage of the party which we had dreamed of," she insisted.

Spain coach Victor Lapena is also looking forward to trying to finish top of the podium, having taken his team to the Final in his very first tournament at the global level.

He is particularly delighted with the way that his team breezed past Czech Republic in the Semi-Finals and on that basis, believes they can finish the competition strongly.

"With games like that (against the Czech Republic) we realise the level at which Spanish basketball is playing," said Lapena.

"I would like to congratulate our players for their efforts throughout the tournament as reaching a final was the dream when we first met to start preparing.

"Their work, dedication and sacrifice has led them to believe in their potential and this is the main secret to getting here.

"We managed to overcome the difficult challenge posed in defeating the Czech Republic on their own court.

"Now everyone from the coaching staff to the players will be giving their best to try and finish the championship with the gold medal."

Meanwhile Lapena's counterpart, Sue Phillips is expecting the USA to face a stiff test when they meet Spain.

She warned, "They are an amazing team. We are going to need to bring our A-game and play a complete forty minutes.

"They are a phenomenal team that plays really well together. They share the basketball.

"They don't get a lot of credit for their defence, because of how fun they are to watch play offensively, but they are a very solid defensive team and well-coached.

"So, we certainly have our work cut out," added the play-caller.

In the Third-Place game, Czech Republic and Hungary will both try to wrap up highly impressive tournament debuts by clinching the bronze medal.

Both suffered heavy losses in the Semi-Finals, but Czech forward Lucie Hoskova claimed her team can bounce back.

"We're a little disappointed, but we believe that we can succeed in achieving third place," stated Hoskova.

Hungary are seeking revenge for losing 57-49 to Czech Republic at the U16 European Championship Women last year with both line-ups almost identical to that game.