USA U17 Women Overpower Italy For 83-43 Win
- Rebecca Greenwell Leads Five U.S. Players In Double Figures With 16 Points -
Amsterdam, the Netherlands • Aug. 18, 2012
Improving its lead in each of the four quarters, the USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team (3-0) compiled a convincing 83-43 win over Italy (2-1) to remain undefeated in the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship on Sunday evening at Sporthallen Zuid in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
“I felt like this was our best overall four quarters of just real steady, solid basketball that we've played since we've gotten together,” said USA head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas). “From the very beginning of the game we just did all of the little things that we've talked about getting done to win games. We just slowly, gradually built a 40-point lead. It was nothing flashy, just really good team basketball.”
The balanced U.S. attack featured five players in double figures, including 16 points and nine rebounds from Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic H.S./Owensboro, Ky.), who shot 4-of-10 from 3-point to establish a USA U17 record for 3-point attempts.
Additionally, the USA established a team high for free throw percentage at 80.0 percent (21-26 FTs), after having averaged a dismal 59.0 percent (36-61 FTs) in its first two games. Linnae Harper (Whitney Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.), who finished with 11 points, was 7-of-7 from the line to tie the record for free throw percentage. All of the previous marks were set in the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship in 2010.
Taya Reimer (Hamilton Southeastern H.S./Fishers, Ind.) added 12 points, Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.) scored 11 and dished out seven assists, Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S./Pearland, Texas) contributed 10 points and Mercedes Russell (Springfield H.S./Springfield, Ore.) grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to go with her eight points.
“I think this is a really unselfish team,” Greenwell said. “Nobody really cares about how many points they score or anything. We all just get it to the open man, and that's what I really like about this team.”
Italy put the first four points on the board, but the USA quickly erased the deficit with 10 unanswered points to lead 10-4 at 6:39. Italy scored out of its ensuing timeout and fought back to within two points, 15-13, with a 3-pointer at 2:37. The comeback was short-lived, however, as a free throw from Kaela Davis (Buford H.S./Suwanee, Ga.) was the start of another 10-0 U.S. run to close the period with a 25-13 margin.
“We definitely played really well,” Reimer said. “It was just a really good game in general. Sometimes we start bad or we will end slow, but it was just four quarters of really good basketball.”
The scoring streak reached 16 points as it stretched into the second period, and a score from Erica McCall (Ridgeview H.S./Bakersfield, Calif.) put the USA up 31-13 at 6:55. Italy ended its drought with two free throws, but managed only six points overall in the stanza, and the USA led 43-19 at the midway point.
All four of Greenwell’s 3-pointers were scored in the second half, including three in the third quarter to help the USA compile 24 points. The U.S. defense, which held Italy to just 16.5 percent for the game (13-79 FGs), did not let up and allowed only nine more points to widen the gap to 67-28 headed into the final stanza.
“I feel like we had a great intensity and played up-tempo the whole time,” Russell said. “I think we put a full game together tonight. When we play with energy and we are knocking down shots, the game comes easily to us.”
With the win secured, the USA outscored Italy 16-15 in the final stanza for the 83-43 win.
“This wasn't the best we can play, but it was a great game for us,” said Kai James (William T. Dwyer H.S./West Palm Beach, Fla.). “We are very talented, and we are just steadily building to our potential.”
Jessica Washington (Jenks H.S./Tulsa, Okla.) did not play due to a strained right groin. She is listed as day-to-day.
Sofia Marangoni was Italy’s high scorer with eight points.
Also today in Group A, South Korea (1-2) beat Mali (0-3) 76-61, and Belgium (2-0) will meet Canada (0-2) in tonight’s 9:15 p.m. game (3:15 pm. EDT).
In Group B, Spain (3-0) downed Brazil (0-3) 79-42, Japan (3-0) won against Turkey (0-3) 83-75 and the Netherlands (2-1) fought off Australia (1-2) for a 70-62 win.
After a rest day for all teams on Aug. 20, the USA will take on Belgium at 2:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 21 and wrap up its preliminary round action against Mali at 10 a.m. (4 a.m.) on Aug. 22.
The top four finishing teams from each preliminary round group advance to the medal quarterfinals on Aug. 24. Winners of the quarterfinals compete in the semifinals on Aug. 25, and the gold medal game will be played on Aug. 26.
Schneider is assisted on the U.S. sideline by Gail Hook (Monarch H.S., Colo.) and Letitia Hughley (Mott C.C., Mich.). The trio helped qualify the USA for the U17 Worlds by virtue of their gold-medal finish at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.