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27/07/2013
A'Ja Wilson (USA) - FIBA U19 World Championship for Women

KLAIPEDA (FIBA U19 World Championship for Women) - If her performances leading up to the Semi-Finals of the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women are anything to go by, it's no wonder there is a scramble underway by the top NCAA colleges to secure the services of USA forward A'Ja Wilson.

The 16-year-old has been outstanding to date, almost averaging a tournament double-double, with her efficient 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Quarter-Final win over Japan, so typical of her contributions since landing in Lithuania.

With a Semi-Final against Australia to now relish and the possibility of a medal growing stronger, it's unsurprising that her father, Roscoe Wilson, who played professionally for a decade in Europe, is bursting with fatherly pride.

"It's been amazing to watch my daughter represent USA at the age of 16 years old like this and it's special to see her play so well in Europe, where I played for so long.

"I am really happy for her to have this type of new experience and maybe one day she will head back to Europe as a pro player, as well as playing in the States.

"I always push her hard as a parent and as a former player to get the best out of her, but nobody will ever push a player like A'Ja harder than her actual coaches do.

"Things are going well for her but it will be tough for A'Ja and the team against Australia who are strong, quick and can shoot."

As for the player herself, Wilson is simply delighted with how things have panned out and she could barely have dreamed of a better debut with the national team.

Fittingly, she also echoed the sentiments of her father in assessing the qualities of Australia, who she played against prior to the tournament tipping off.

"Firstly, I am just really happy to be here and to play a role on this team," said Wilson.

"I'm just looking to get rebounds and focusing hard on cleaning up.

"I love the experience and can't do anything else than keep helping my team-mates out.

"I know we have got better since preparation when we played them, but I guess they have too," she added.

"Our level is only going one way right now and that's up, so I'm confident it's going to be a really great game."

The Gems, meanwhile, will be looking for Stephanie Talbot to find the same exceptional level of performance which illuminated the Quarter-Final win against China, with the phlegmatic swingman unfazed by the prospect of facing the tournament favourites.

"Well, if we want to win a gold medal then we have to play the USA some time, so now is as good a time as any and there's nothing stopping us," said Talbot who was also quick to deflect away praise of her own performances onto the team.

"I'm feeling good with the way I'm playing, but it's the team that will win the game, not me."

Whatever happens in the Semi-Final, Talbot has one long-term ambition and that is to follow in the sizeable footsteps of Opals legend Lauren Jackson.

"Playing in the Olympics is my ultimate goal," smiled Talbot.

And, you certainly wouldn't back against her realising that dream one day, but first she has the task of trying to get Australia onto the podium for the first time since 1997.

FIBA

  
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2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women Global Partners and Marketing Partners

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