USA U17 Women Run Away With 70-45 Win Over France
July 16, 2010 • Rodez, France
The 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team (1-0) opened preliminary round play in the inagurual FIBA U17 World Championship with a 70-45 win over host France (0-1) in front of a raucous, sold-out crowd or more than 2,000 people on July 16 in Rodez, France.
Leading by 31-28 at halftime, the USA outscored France 25-8 in the third quarter to secure a big lead and the game's outcome.
"It was a very exciting game for us," said Barbara Nelson, USA U17 and Wingate University head coach. "We have never played, or I have never coached a game with this many people cheering, and into the game and caring about the outcome of the game. It was very exciting to be a part of that, and I'm just pleased that we were able to come out victorious.
"I believe on the defensive end, we really committed 12 people," Nelson said about tonight's win. "Twelve people played great team defense, and that was definitely the difference in the game. On the offensive side of the ball, we did not turn it over as many times as we had been doing, so our execution was there and our focus was there. We were willing to make easy passes in order to make the next pass that would lead to a basket, and that is great team basketball."
Five players scored in double figures for the USA, led by 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks from Breanna Stewart (Cicero North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y.). Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne H.S./Virginia Beach, Va.) recorded a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double, while Betnijah Laney (Smyrna H.S./Clayton, Del.), Kaleena Lewis (Mater Dei H.S./Anaheim, Calif) and Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.) each scored 10 points.
France put the first points on the board, and it was a back-and-forth affair until two free throws from Williams ignited a 10-2 U.S. run to close the first quarter up 22-12.
France responded out of the break and put together a 7-0 spurt to pull back within three points, 22-19 at 8:12. From there the USA compiled a 6-0 run, followed by a 6-0 run from France, and the score stood in the USA's favor 28-25 when the red, white and blue called a time out at 1:46. Both teams scored before the halftime buzzer sounded, and the USA led 31-28 at the midway point.
The third quarter was all about the U.S. defense, which held France to just eight points in the period while seven U.S. scorers helped the USA tally 25 points. The USA, which finished with an impressive 47-26 advantage on the boards, outrebounded France 11-4 in the third period and forced six turnovers.
"I think we shot pretty well and finished through all the bumping and pushing from France, and we played good defense," Laney said. "We slowed them down so they couldn't get as many shots up and couldn't penetrate as much."
The USA led 56-36 headed into the final stanza and never let up. The lead reached its widest margin at the 4:04 mark when Williams sank a bucket to bring the score to 70-43. France sank one more bucket to bring the game to its final of 70-45.
Margaux Galliou led her team with nine points, and no French player cracked double digits in any category.
In today's other Group A action, Russia (1-0) topped Japan (0-1) 93-68, and Canada (1-0) beat Turkey (0-1) 82-73. In Group B, China (1-0) handled Argentina (0-1) 72-54, Belgium (1-0) crushed Mali (0-1) 80-27 and Australia (1-0) narrowly beat Spain (0-1) 58-57.
The USA will continue preliminary round play against Russia at 5:30 p.m. on July 17 (all times CEST, which is +6 hours from EDT) and Canada at 3:00 p.m. on July 18. Following a day off on July 19, the USA will wrap up preliminary round play against Turkey at 5:30 p.m. on July 20 and Japan at 5:30 p.m. on July 21.
The top four finishing teams from each preliminary round group advance to the medal quarterfinals, scheduled for July 23, the semifinals are slated for July 24 and the gold and bronze medal games will be contested July 25.
"I think we made a good statement letting everybody know that we are coming ready to play every game, and we are going for this gold medal," Massengale said.
Nelson is assisted by Mike
Armstrong of Perry Meridian High School (Ind.) and Dorena Bingham
of Team Alaska AAU.