The gold medal is the USA’s (7-0) third straight in the event, which began in 2010. The red, white and blue are 23-0 all-time in the U17 competition.
However, Spain’s Angela Salvadores did not make a gold medal game easy for Team USA. The tournament’s MVP poured in 40 points to keep the Spaniards (6-1) close.
“It’s one of those games where as a coach you’re really happy to win, but you feel for the other team because ultimately that game could have gone either way, and I really want to credit Spain for a fabulous game,” said USA head coach sSue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose, Calif.). “I feel very blessed that we’re on the winning side of things and so proud of the coaching staff and the players. It was just a great victory.”
2016 prospect Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas) led three USA players in double figures, falling just two blocked shots short of a triple-double. She finished with 20 points, 12 caroms and a U.S. U17 single-game record eight swats . 2015 prospect Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.) added 17 points and 2015 propect Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S./ Milwaukee, Wis.) contributed 15 points and eight rebounds for the winners.
Maite Cazorla contributed 14 points for Spain on 5-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-9 from three-point land.She added five rebounds and three assists.
With the score knotted at 71-71 with 1:36 remaining, Cox and Durr went to work. Cox scored inside to put the USA in front at the 1:28 mark and then came up with a big blocked shot on the other end. Durr then hit a pull-up jumper to put the U.S. up 75-71.
After Durr’s bucket, Spain had a three-pointer wiped out due to an offensive foul.
Trailing 75-71, Salvadores scored on a driving lay-up to bring Spain within two with 10.1 seconds remaining. But Spain had to foul and Durr knocked down both of her free throws. Salvadore capped off her wonderful performance with a bucket at the buzzer.
Earlier on Sunday, Hungary (6-1) fought off the Czech Republic (4-3) 67-61 to win the bronze medal. Australia (6-1) defeated Canada (3-4) 69-39 to finish 5th and 6th, and Japan (4-3) edged France (3-4) 65-60 for 7th and 8th place, respectively.