We managed to catch the ever-smiling Julcsi Boros on Monday by phone who was smiling even more than usual. She was in Budapest where she arrived the day before from the U19 world championship from Debrecen. The joy is understandable because exceeding all expectations, the team grabbed the third place. Moreover, Julcsi made the all-star team of the tournament. We recalled the events of the long but very successful week with her
You arrived back home to Budapest on Monday morning. Did you have a long Sunday night?
Little bit, yes. 😊 We celebrated the world championship bronze medal with the team, and I feel we had a lot to celebrate. It was a great accomplishment which is still hard to believe, and I feel I am not alone with this feeling.
Let’s go back in time a bit. What expectations did you go into the world championship with?
I think no one was expecting this result. I thought that being in the final eight would have been a nice result because we were not a team that played together a lot in the past. Three years ago, in the European championships was the last time that this team played together. The coaching staff was new too, we have never worked with them before but by the end of the 5-week preparatory period, I feel that we became a unit and the work we put into it was well worth it.
You played at home. Was this a burden or an easement?
I would have liked to travel with the team to a different continent, but it is also a fact that having a home court advantage in a world championship is something that does not happen often for an athlete. We were being well taken care of at home; getting all the support we needed with family and friends being there, with amazing fans in the stands which gave us tremendous energy. We were proud to be on TV showing every game of ours thus reaching fans who did not really follow women’s basketball before.
During the preliminaries, there were two easy wins, but you lost to the Russian team. What happened in that game?
The Russian team was strong with skilled players and early in the tournament we were no match for them. We got tired by the end of third quarter which was coupled with a poor shooting form. Fortunately, this happened during the preliminaries so the only consequence of this was that we did not win the group rounds. This loss just made us more determined and united.
It was a tough load with 7 games in 9 days. How can you prepare against your opponent, is it even possible? How can you regenerate?
We only had two rest days during the whole world championship. The organization was extremely professional, and a great management team was working around us. Everything was available to us to get rest in a short time and regenerate and the coaches did an incredible job to prepare us for the games. Before each game, we had a video analysis session, we received the opposing plays on paper, and they prepared us about individual players. They put a lot of time and energy into our success.
After the group rounds, our first opponent was Italy then the Czech Republic.
We had a little extra emotional support against Italy because we beat them twice before the world championship during our preparations. This was not a guarantee of course, but I felt that we had more confidence. Against the Czech team, we did not have time to think, we just forged ahead and tried to do our best. I have to say that we had an awesome team unity within the national team on and off the court. Everyone was helping everyone on the floor, and we felt the energy coming from the bench. It was an incredible experience.
Seemed like the Coach, László Cziczás, had a lot of trust in you and gave you important tasks.
I felt his trust during the world championship. I had a lot of space and opportunity which I tried to use the best I could. I felt that my teammates and the coaches trusted my decisions and they let me know that it is all right if I make a mistake or miss a shot, I just needed to continue working and the next opportunity will come. I could not have been so successful without them.
For the finals, you faced the United States. Based on the word championship, it was almost sure that they would win it all. What did you think about before the game?
We also knew that they would probably win the tournament, but we did not go in with our hands up. With this, I felt a little intimidation among us even though we started the game well. All in all, I think we did everything we could, but it was not enough. Even though the result doesn’t look too good, except for the finals, we received the least points from the Americans and the difference was the smallest against us. This is something we can build on.
In the final four, Australia and Mali next to the Americans and you. Were you surprised that you were the only European team at the end?
I was very surprised. It was hard to seize the teams up beforehand but the fact that neither France nor Italy made the final four was surprising.
Before the Australia-Mali semifinal, many of us were hoping to meet Mali in the finals thinking that we could do better against Australia in the bronze game. Did you have such ‘wishes’?
We were watching the second semifinal game and we felt the same. Mail was a very physical team so maybe the playing style of the Australians was closer to ours. At the end, Australia made the finals and we ended up playing Mali for the bronze.
As you said, they were more physical. What was our strategy against them?
The basic strategy was given; they were strong inside and jumped high. Our goal was to help out underneath the basket on defense and offer them the outside shots. On the other side, it was expected that they will play defense on the inside giving us more space to shoot from outside – this was the case and we tried to use this.
In this age category, Hungary has never won a medal before in a world championship. You, however, also have two silver medals from European Championships. Where does this medal stand compared to the others?
In the first spot for now! This was a wonderful and somewhat unexpected result, so it is very dear to my heart. Also, because it was a great team effort which made it all the shinier.
You also made the All-Star team. Were you expecting this?
During the games, I was concentrating on giving my most to the team. The fact that this was enough for the All-Star team at the end, was a great honor and source of happiness.
You have had a long and tough summer. Will you rest now?
A little bit, yes. I am spending this week with my family and friends and I will not pick up a ball for a day or two. Next week, I will join the tam practices. It was a tough summer, but the world championship bronze medal shows that it was worth every minute of hard work.