NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- One of the first great films for the legendary actor Clint Eastwood was the mid-1960s spaghetti Western called "A Fistful of Dollars." After Sunday, one might expect Notre Dame freshman forward Brianna Turner (Pearland, Texas/Manvel) to throw on a ten-gallon hat when she returns to campus for the film's remake -- "A Fistful of Gold".
Turner piled up 12 points, four rebounds and two blocks as the USA Basketball Under-18 National Team completed a dominating five-game run through the FIBA Americas U18 Championship with a 104-74 win over Canada in the gold medal game on Sunday night at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
It's the fifth USA Basketball gold medal in three years for Turner, who previously helped her country to titles at the 2012 and 2013 FIBA U18 3x3 Championships, as well as the 2012 FIBA U17 Championship and the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, with the USA going a combined 37-2 in those five competitions with Turner in the lineup (22-0 in the three age-group, non-3x3 tournaments).
"It means a lot," Turner said. "This is my fifth gold medal, but the feeling never gets old. This is really exciting.
"We just had to run our sets," she added. "They (Canada) are a physical team so we had to be physical, too, and just jump from the start and not let them jump back."
"We are incredibly proud of Brianna for winning another gold medal with USA Basketball," Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. "She played well and showed great leadership and poise throughout the tournament. Brianna has gained a tremendous amount of experience representing her country during the last three years and we look forward to having her bring those skills and knowledge back here to Notre Dame as she begins her college career this fall."
Turner is the second Notre Dame player to earn a USA gold medal this summer -- junior All-America Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) led the USA to the FIBA 3x3 World Championship title back in June in Moscow, Russia -- and Turner is the 11th Fighting Irish player (incoming freshman, current student-athlete or alum) to strike gold with USA Basketball in the past six years.
Turner, who also served as the USA Basketball U18 team captain, started all five games for the Americans, averaged 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds with a .600 field goal percentage (27-of-45) during the tournament. Her best outing came in the final game of group play against Canada, when she scored 21 points (sinking a USA Basketball U18 record 9-of-11 free throws) and grabbed eight rebounds in a 107-76 win.
Turner is one of three freshmen on the 2014-15 Notre Dame women's basketball roster, with the Fighting Irish also welcoming back 10 monogram recipients, including two starters, from last year's squad that went 37-1 and advanced to the NCAA Women's Final Four for the fourth consecutive season, as well as the NCAA national championship game for the third time in four years. Turner also will be one of five players on this season's Fighting Irish roster who has earned a gold medal with USA Basketball, including three who have collected multiple golds (Loyd and sophomore forward Taya Reimer (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) both have two).
For more information on the Notre Dame women's basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women's basketball Twitter pages (@NDsidMasters or @ndwbb), like the program on Facebook (facebook.com/ndwbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director