CORAL GABLES, Fla. – University of Miami head women’s basketball coach Katie Meier is leading the 2013 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team in the FIBA World Championship. Team USA has advanced to the finals tomorrow against France after beating Australia on July 27. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3 at 1:15 p.m. EDT.
Periodically throughout the tour Coach Meier will be sharing her thoughts and experiences from the FIBA World Championship.
July 27, 2013
Woohoo! Great semifinal game against Australia. We went on a 21-0 run in the second quarter which really separated us. It was an absolutely amazing run fueled by Linnae Harper and Moriah Jefferson's pressure defense, Nia Coffey's steals, and Breanna Stewart's 14 points. Wow—I’m exhausted just re-living that. What a thrilling moment in this journey.
Tomorrow we play a VERY tough France team who gave us fits three days ago. They absolutely have our attention and I got a long night ahead of me with the staff as we prepare.
40 minutes. Four quarters. One possession at a time. Let’s get this.
July 21, 2013
Our first day off in Lithuania. What to do?
Well, after breakfast we opened a hair salon in my room. Coach Nikki and Morgan Tuck did the honors of dying my hair "Icy brown". Several of the girls on the team witnessed the moment and during the process we decided to make up some "minute to win it" type relays.
We split into three groups: Rookies, veterans and staff. The competition was fierce—and hilarious. Butt darts was perhaps the funniest, with other events being: Walking with three skittles balancing on a Popsicle stick, bouncing balls into mini trash cans, passing a ball between neck and shoulders without using your hands. The veterans won and I fear we will be hearing about it for some time.
We move into the city center tonight as we are switching hotels. The second round starts tomorrow and we play the Netherlands. Three more games in Panevezys and then we head to Klaipeda for the medal rounds.
Loving this team and staff.
July 20, 2013
The team put on another show last night against China. I am so impressed with the unselfish play! China is a very good team and they presented some interesting defensive match ups for us. It was time for our TEAM DEFENSE to take over. We swarmed the ball, had tons of tips and deflections, and supported our teammate's pressure. Our commitment to each other on the defensive end then became contagious on the offensive end where we shared the ball and had some beautiful assists. When this team gets in the open court, they are amazing to watch.
Tonight we have Mali and they have struggled so far in the tournament. The first day they arrived JUST before tipoff (had some visa delays) and yet they played hard every second of the game. We will work some new sets tonight and try to clean up our offense.
The major dilemma of the day is ...what to do with my hair. I have been gone since July 1 and my hair grows like a weed. That was fine when I was younger, but as I age, hair growth equals grey roots. We are in a rather remote hotel so one of our players’ (Kelsey Plum) mother has been kind enough to find some hair color for me. Keep your fingers crossed.
Off to get a workout in with Coach Nikki and Caroline Williams (our amazing media coordinator). We have had to improvise with some body circuits and an egg timer. We've kick boxed, held planks, done chair triceps dips, and jogged along the side of a highway as semi-trucks whooshed by. I'm curious to see what Caroline has in store for us today.
Thanks for all the good luck wishes. Talk later.
July 19, 2013
First I want to give a huge SHOUT OUT to my staff, players and UFamily for creating that awesome "good luck" video. If you haven't seen it yet, you can watch it here. It is so sweet, funny and goofy and just... authentic. I laughed, cried and mainly I just felt so much love and pride. Loved all the "cameos". Only at the U!
Finally, the tournament began! And boy did we get off to a great start. Our first five minutes of basketball were terrific. Breanna Stewart showed why she is considered one of the best in the world as she had 19 ... in the FIRST QUARTER! And she didn't even play the entire quarter, y'all.
At halftime we had to "reset" our defensive mentality as we were NOT tough enough at the rim and Lithuania had 31 points. We challenged our squad to hold Lithuania to 50 total for the game and our response to that challenge was to only give up 16 total second half points.
This team is very bright and they are eager for adjustments and new wrinkles which can give us an advantage. Tonight we have a HUGE test against China. They have a great point guard and some great posts, which make them very hard to guard. We will need all of our energy tonight.
Looking forward to the challenges which lie ahead.
July 17, 2013
Well I told the team that tonight is Christmas Eve. Lots of excitement, anticipation, and reflection on whether or not you've been a good girl (practiced hard, ate well, studied film) or a bad girl (stayed up all night on Twitter, drank Coke instead of water, faked effort in practice).
Santa knows all, and on the eve of the World Championships, YOU BETTER HAVE A CLEAR CONSCIENCE.
We also reflected on Christmas morning—how excited you are, and how when you are young, you automatically rush to the biggest present you see and tear it open like a mad woman. As you age, you realize the best presents (the engagement ring, the key to a new Mercedes, the diamond earrings) come in the smallest packages.
So I reminded them that we CANNOT and WILL NOT win the world championship tomorrow, BUT we can make that first step by VALUING the little things. By showing enough discipline to NOT tear open the big present first. We can wait for our brothers and sisters to open theirs as we understand that OUR TIME WILL COME AND OUR PATIENCE WILL BE REWARDED.
Lithuania is terrific and they are ready to host a great event.
These have been fun times. Lots of teaching and learning. Great synergy between players and staff. Feeling confident and blessed... follow us.
Going to switch the lights out now and dream of GOLD!
July 15, 2013
Greetings from Madrid Airport Part 2.
What a whirlwind! We went undefeated in the Canary Islands—including the final victory against Canada. They were well-coached and extremely fundamental on the defensive side of the ball, so it was a real test for some of our younger players. Being "scouted" can really throw you off your game, but the staff did a great job of talking them through their scouts and making adjustments.
We are traveling again on our way to Lithuania. I cannot wait to finally get there and experience the entire atmosphere of a World Championship. I have been asking questions to our veterans almost every day. “What's it like to win the gold?” “How do you manage minutes played?” “Which teams are most physical?” I feel like I have so many great resources traveling with me ... What an advantage!
Currently we are waiting for our last six members of the travel party to get seats on this Madrid to Frankfurt flight. I must say Carol Callan of USA Basketball has the patience of Job. I am sitting here watching her handle some "airline mistakes" and somehow she smiles her way through it. I will remember her attitude on my next delay at MIA!
The word of the day is: "LUGGAGE". It's amazing how much luggage it takes for a team of 12 and staff to travel. It's also amazing how "excessive" it appears to all other European travelers. We have 39 bags for 20 people, which is reasonable considering we left July 10 and return July 29th. We also have a trainer and a team doctor who have to check their supplies. I actually “consolidated” after training camp and shipped a large bag home from Colorado Springs!
Maybe tomorrow's word will be “LAUNDRY”.
Trophy presentation. "We are the champions" playing over loud speakers. Fun tournament. Gr8 host Lanzarote pic.twitter.com/qXVtz4bNxB— Miami Women's Hoops (@MiamiWBB) July 14, 2013
July 13, 2013
A good win equals a GOOD morning!
Australia gave us a huge test last night. They were focused and inspired and obviously the more "in sync" team. This was our very first game as a team and I know we will grow as we play more games together
The best news is that our grit and competitiveness came through at the end and with some pressure defense we pulled away.
Tonight we have a very difficult matchup with the "host" team, Spain. Spain has done a wonderful job on all levels (men and women) in FIBA competition of late. Basketball is certainly a passion in Spain and we will need to play very well.
These international tournaments really test your ability to adjust—both on and off the court. All four teams here are extremely competitive but also extremely accommodating. Can you imagine an opponent allowing you and your staff to ride back home on their bus just so you can scout THEIR game? Or can you imagine Miami and FSU teams and staffs sharing the same bus immediately after playing each other? That's a regular occurrence in FIBA tournaments, and it allows the game to reach across borders and enhances the overall experience.
Going to watch film with the team and then rest up. We play tonight at 8:00 p.m. and it will be available for LIVE online viewing, here.
We have a very quick turnaround tonight after Spain as we play Canada the next morning at 11:00 am, so I probably will be cutting film and scouting instead of blogging. Will catch up with y'all after this tournament concludes. Thanks for reading!
Ok. It's 2:06 am. Just finished breakin down our game. Ridiculous potential. But tons of talented team wanting to beat us. #TOUGHNESS.— Miami Women's Hoops (@MiamiWBB) July 13, 2013
July 12, 2013
Woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go. Had to take a quick peek at the ocean before breakfast. What a gorgeous setting! This Lanzarote Sands Beach Resort is beautiful and the volcanic backdrop is very unique.
Frankly, I was worried about the players’ energy after 32+ hours of door to door travel, but after a meal and shoot around, the bus ride was full of "So You Think You Can Sing” wannabes. I believe we need a few more rehearsals.
Upon return to the resort, I optimistically went for a jog and was feeling pretty cocky on the way out. Apparently I was running downwind, and the phrase “slow as erosion" described my return leg.
Still cannot believe this amazing opportunity. I also feel very fortunate to have great veteran leadership—especially Morgan Tuck and Breanna Stewart. They are humble (they are the first to help with luggage) and confident, but most importantly, they are APPRECIATIVE. They always say "thank you" and offer to pose for a photo with anyone who asks. They understand that true leadership begins with service to others.
Off to Pre-game meal. Chat more later.
July 11, 2013
Greetings from Lanzarote, Canary Islands!
The day started with an 8:30 a.m. MST departure from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. We drove to Denver, flew to Newark, flew to Madrid, camped out in that airport for seven hours and then flew to Lanzarote. It is now 11:59 p.m. Lanzarote time. I would calculate the hours for you, but I'm a positive thinker and don't want to have ANY excuses!
My first impressions are all about the people. The staff of USA Basketball is so amazing. They are patient, kind, hilarious and FLEXIBLE. Therefore it becomes a NO DIVA zone everywhere we go. As impressive as our players' resumes are (19 gold medals and three national championships), they have all been “raised right". It's very fun to receive compliments from fellow travelers about how personable and accommodating our players are.
Reminiscent of our Miami WNIT trek to Berkeley, Calif., (when we shared a plane with our championship opponent, Cal,) we shared our last leg with the Canadians. They are very nice and VERY huge. I thought we would be the biggest team in the tourney, but let's just say no one on that plane could put their carry-on luggage underneath the seat in front of them!
Need to get some shut eye. Will dream about World Championships!
Home stretch...will board in less than an hour on flt Madrid to Lanzarote. Long day of flying but great group of people! #USABASKETBALL— Miami Women's Hoops (@MiamiWBB) July 11, 2013