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Anderson wins third straight gold medal with USA basketball team

MOSCOW, RUSSIA -- Port Wing native Jolene Anderson earned her third-straight gold medal with USA basketball in a 96-73 win over Australia in the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship Basketball Tournament in Moscow, Russia.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA -- Port Wing native Jolene Anderson earned her third-straight gold medal with USA basketball in a 96-73 win over Australia in the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship Basketball Tournament in Moscow, Russia.

Crystal Langhorne had a double-double of 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead five U.S. players in double digit scoring as the team moved to 8-0. USA held off a late Australia (6-2) attack for the gold medal victory. France (7-1) nearly squandered a 22-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but held off a late Russian (5-3) comeback attempt for a 67-61 victory and the bronze medal.

"It was a great game for our team defensively and rebounding-wise," said USA U21 National Team and Duke University (N.C.) coach Joanne P. McCallie. "I really felt that we wanted to play Australia again. We didn't feel great about our first game against them. This time I felt we pressured the ball much more so and disrupted them much more and took advantage of opportunities. It really was a total team effort."

"You never get tired of winning," said Langhorne. "Two years ago we won also (the 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship) and it's exciting. It brings a great feeling for us to represent our country and win another gold medal."

This age group (players born on or after Jan. 1, 1986) closes out its FIBA age-based competition with four gold medals and an undefeated mark of 26-0 in official FIBA and FIBA Americas tournaments after capturing the 2004 FIBA Americas U18 Championship (5-0), 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship (8-0) and 2006 FIBA Americas U20 Championship (5-0).

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Additionally, they won gold at the 2005 International Sports Invitational (4-0), earned a 3-0 slate in exhibition play against France this year and split a pair of games against Hungary prior to the 2005 U19 Worlds.

The U.S. jetted out on a 15-3 opening run, and by the first quarter break, the squad was up 32-21. The United States pounded away inside in the first half, but when Australia's posts collapsed on the USA's bread and butter, they kicked it outside. That fueled the USA's perimeter game, which produced eight 3-pointers in the first half (8-for-18) as the U.S. took a 15-point, 55-40 lead into the locker room.

The third quarter saw the Americans pull further away. With 10 minutes to play the lead stood at 75-56, and it seemed the game was in the bag.

However, Australia gave it one final try. As the Americans lagged on defense Australia reeled off 11 points in a little over three minutes to close to within eight points at 6:51.

McCallie called a time out to regroup and remind her squad what they had come for. It worked as Abby Waner got a steal that led to an Essence Carson basket at 6:06, sparking a 10-0 run that included steals from Anderson and Langhorne to put the U.S. back in command, 85-67. Australia never again had a chance, as the Americans closed the game strong for the gold medal victory.

"We just kept our composure, we went inside, things that got us the lead in the first place. We remained calm and just played," said Candice Wiggins, who scored 14 points in the win.

In addition to Langhorne's 23 points and 14 rebounds, Anderson, DeWanna Bonner and Wiggins had 14 each and Carson chipped in 12 points.

For the eighth time in as many days, the United States ruled the boards with a 52-31 rebounding advantage.

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Jenna O'Hea led Australia with 23 points.

France's Sandrine Gruda, who was 1-of-8 in the bronze medal game against Russia, earned the tournament's MVP trophy.

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton injured her left knee in the USA's semifinal game against Russia and did not play in the gold medal game.

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