We're getting closer to our goal

Courtesy USA Basketball

Team USA finished 4-0 in pool play at the World University Games and now has its eyes on the top prize.

KAZAN, Russia -- After four games of pool play, we are standing strong with a record of 4-0. By dominating our pool, we put ourselves in a position to compete for a gold medal. Next up is the semifinals, and I am so eager and excited to get started.

We have to take it game by game, win and earn another chance to get closer to the end game. It is an awesome opportunity to know that a gold medal is within reach. Each player on this team is determined and has the same goal and expectation: a gold medal. This is what we have trained and worked for our entire lives.

Our team has been together just under three weeks, and I already have built relationships with so many people that I never imagined. We have grown together on the court and developed true team chemistry. Off the court, we mesh, joke around and have a lot of fun. I know we will stay in touch further down the line.

The village is hard to describe because it is so unbelievable. It is somewhat comparable to a college campus but full of every country and sport there is, from rugby to swimming to field hockey. There are golf carts that transport you around campus, a huge cafeteria and a garden area where every country’s flag is represented.

I am so blessed and lucky that my parents were able to make the trip and experience this with me. There are no better people I would want to share this with.

We plan to make the most of the experience here in Russia while playing with intensity and pride to represent our country. Starting with medal rounds, the stakes are higher and the pressure increases. I believe with this team, we will rise to the occasion and have fun doing it.

Words hardly describe the opportunity I have been given with Team USA, and I feel fortunate to be a part of something so great. But there is plenty of work that still has to be done here before I can return to my teammates at Duke.

One of the most difficult things about being here has been missing my teammates from home. I had to make a major adjustment to playing with different players and knowing their tendencies and playing for a new coach. I know my teammates and coaches at home are supporting me from the states, and it means more than anything knowing they are following me. They are hard at work in North Carolina, and I cannot wait to be reunited and get to back to that Duke grind with my team!

Duke senior Tricia Liston is playing for the USA Basketball World University Games team in Kazan, Russia, July 8-15. It is Liston’s first experience playing for a USA Basketball team, following a standout junior year in which she made a school-record 80 three-pointers and ranked third nationally in three-point field goal percentage [46.5 percent].