BANGKOK (FIBA U19 World Championship for Women) - American offensive panache took over the Sunday's final day proceedings as twice defending champions retained the gold medal they had won at the last two FIBA U19 World Championship for Women, with customary elan.
For US coach Carol Owens Sunday's gold medal triumph after her girls beat Spain 87-71 in the final here, it was the second in a row - having trained even the 2007 team at Bratislava.
"It's a great honour to win the gold for a great basketball country like the USA," Owens beamed.
The only defeat the Americans had suffered in three Championships was at the hands of Spain on the opening day here. But any hopes Spain might have cherished of repeating that rare feat was quashed early in Sunday's game.
"I think this team is a lot better today than they were that day," said Owens.
As has been their wont in the play-off rounds, the US effected one major scoring spree and rallied around that to eke what looked a lop-sided win.
"There certainly were moments when we played our best basketball," said Owens.
"Our focus and attention was always there where it had to be. We knew they (Spain) would fight back. I think we did well to hold our composure together," she added.
Guards Samantha Prahalis and Skylar Diggins - the latter celebrating her 18th birthday -- led the American charge yet again, in the first quarter. Prahalis reeled in 11 of her 21 points for the game and Diggins scored six of her 10.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Kelsey Bone took charge thereafter the former going on to return an impressive double-double.
Ogwumike scored 22 points and collected 20 of her team's 46 rebounds. The US outboarded Spain 46-33.
Bone had 18 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Spain, who were on a 8-0 winning spree before this game, including that 90-86 win over the Americans on the opening day, fought back rather gallantly to match their rivals in scoring.
The reigning European U18 Champions even outshot the US in some phases as the game progressed.
But that early deficit proved too wide to bridge.
Marta Xargay Casademont, voted the MVP of the Championship by the electoral college of the coaches of the 16 teams, scored 12 points, but nine of them in the second half.
Vega Gimeno also scored 12, but all of them in the second half.
Only Leonor Rodriguez had an all-round scoring show with 21 points.
"Well. I guess we lost to a better team," said Spain's assistant coach Esther Herrero.
"They came out hard at us early. We could nothing much after that," she said.
"I'm glad the girls fought hard to keep themselves in the game without getting blown away. That way we are very happy," she said.
Argentina bag maiden medal
Argentina fought off a late surge to beat Canada 58-51 in the bronze medal play off to bag their maiden medal in the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.
Argentina built their dominance gradually to take a decisive 45-32 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Canada fought back well to level the scores at 47, but fumbled in the closing moments.
Debora Gonzalez led the scoring for Argentina with 14 points and Ornella Santana had 10.
Kayla Alexander's game-high double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds went in vain.
"It's an incredible result. We were looking forward to it. But it will take a long time to sink in," Pinto said.
"I think more than the way we played what carried us through in the end was the fire in each of our belly," said Gonzalez.
"You can't win a medal game with such poor shooting," Chambers said.
"We're still going home with our best finish," he added.
Australia retain fifth spot
Australia scored the first seven points of the game and consolidated it further to beat Russia 78-38and retain their fifth place
Rachel Jarry led game in scoring, with 19 points, and in rebounds, with nine collections.
Tess Magden contributed 13 and Elizabeth Cambage 12.
No Russian player managed a double-figure score, with Tarasova's nine points being the highest.
France take seventh place
France defeated Lithuania 65-56 in the opening game of the day, to take the seventh place.
France took their time to settle down, but once they did - towards the end of the first half - there was no stopping them.
Laurie Datchy and Allison Vernerey led the French in scoring and rebounds respectively.
Datchy had 13 points, one rebound and two assists. Vernerey collected a game-high 15 rebounds to go with her nine points.
Lithuania's Marina Solopova led the scoring for the game with 21 points.
10. Czech Republic