BANGKOK (FIBA U19 World Championship for Women) - Australia’s U19 Gems fell well short of their medal ambitions in the Championship, but coach Dean Kinsman was already looking at the term long-term benefits of the loss against Canada.
In this interview to S Mageshwaran of FIBA.com, Kinsman spoke about how important it was to take gains out of even a morale-shattering loss.
What do you think went wrong against Canada?
For starters, I think Canada played great.
They played great defence, and took away a lot of our driving lanes. And we certainly helped their cause by not shooting the ball well at all.
Our shooting percentage was very poor. And we couldn’t get any continuous scoreboard pressure.
And at the end of the day, they were always going to slow down the game and they did a great job of doing that. And we didn’t get into any rhythm at all.
Would you say you played your worst game at the wrong moment?
If we win tomorrow we’re going to go 8-1 (win-loss) and have lost one game by one point and finished fifth. So clearly, the game we’ve lost has really hurt us and taken away the things that we have been working for the medals.
Do you think the law of averages caught up with you?
Possibly. But I think at this level you should be in control of your own destiny a fair bit more.
Look, we certainly didn’t play our game style yesterday. Defensively, we were OK, we held them to 50. But offensively, we didn’t convert a lot of easy shots.
What does this loss mean in terms of long-term character building of these girls?
We talked about this last night. Probably they have learnt a lot more from that loss than they have at any other time.
From a personal point of view, you have to respond positively to the loss and build your character.
You have build yourself for every contest and we’ll see the results coming down the track.
Especially, when they move to the higher levels… to play for the Opals, they would have experienced what it is to play in Championships and how things can get away from you.
But for now, this is something we have to carry with us and it’s going to hurt us forever.
How well do you think your girls played here, looking beyond merely from a win-loss perspective?
Well, I always expected Lizzy (Cambage) to be a dominant presence on the floor. Physically and skillwise she has got good talent.
Otherwise we’ve been pretty even.
To be honest with you, there are two-three girls who didn’t reach their potential within their group. They have definitely had better tours earlier than they had here. We’re slightly disappointed with some of that.
But having said that, the team has found a fair bit of character.
We always fight together and we defend well.
I guess from that point of view, nobody has really exceeded the expectations. As a group we’ve been getting those wins, but we are probably looking for more.
I think the Championship, especially the loss has probably put a lot older heads on young shoulders.
Life’s all about experiences. And the one we have had here is something that they have a choice to really make something out of. And I think they will.
They have really got it from yesterday and we are going to get some good people out of it. That’s the main thing.
They represent their country very well. We’re proud of them.
The Aussies don’t take defeat easily. What’s your answer to the fans back home?
Oh, there’s always high expectations.
Look, we are a small country in numbers, but our status in basketball especially on the women’s side is significantly high. So it does have an effect, because we are proud of what we do achieve.
Our goal here was to play in a medal game and we’ve fallen short of that.
But we believe there are two or three more girls who’ll transition from here – you know Lizzy Cambage is already a part of the Senior team – to the Opals.
We’ve got a real young team here. Four of these girls here are eligible for 2011 U19 level. So we think we are going to get some real quality players in the future.