USA U17 Women Crush Russia 82-38
July 17, 2010 • Rodez, France
Led by a monster 20-point, 14-rebound performance from Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne H.S./Virginia Beach, Va.) in just 19 minutes played, the 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team (2-0) crushed Russia (1-1) 82-34 in preliminary round play in the FIBA U17 World Championship on July 17 in Rodez, France.
Thanks in part to 4-of-22 shooting from the field (18.2 percent) by the USA in the first quarter, Russia was able to keep pace with the Americans for the first 10 minutes, and the U.S. advantage was just three points, 15-12, at the first break. The next three periods, however, were all USA as the red, white and blue outscored Russia 26-14 in the second, 25-7 in the third and 16-5 in the fourth to easily secure a big win.
"Today I felt like the first half, they really controlled the tempo," said Barbara Nelson, USA U17 and Wingate University head coach. "Russia did a great job of controlling the game and controlling the tempo and forcing us to play how they wanted to play. In the second half we tried to work really hard at playing our style, and we had some success a little bit early in the third quarter, which kind of fed our confidence a little bit."
Cierra Burdick (Butler H.S./Matthews, N.C.) opened the second period with an old-fashioned three-point play, but the second period belonged to Williams, who tallied 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in the stanza, and with help from six U.S. scorers, the American lead had stretched to 15 points, 41-26 at halftime. Both teams struggled to shoot but capitalized on free-throw opportunities, with Russia and the USA each sinking 9-of-12 from the charity stripe in the second period.
"I think in the first half we missed a lot of easy shots, especially when in the beginning," Williams said. "We didn't come out with the same aggressiveness as our past game, but definitely after halftime in the third quarter, we just picked everything up defensively and offensively."
Out of the halftime break,
Russia matched the USA's first five points with four of their own, and the score
was 46-30 at 8:24. From there the U.S. defense buckled down while its offense
heated up, and the USA closed the third quarter on a 20-3 run that all but secured
"We have a good bench, and so we can afford for players to get a rest, so that they can come in," Nelson said. "It just seems that we have a different player come in everyday and make big runs for us. Today it was several different ladies. We had Elizabeth, (who) obliviously played very well, we had Morgan Tuck play very well and we had Ariel Massengale play really well offensively in getting us together and getting up and down the court. When we run we are certainly at our best. When we defend well, we are certainly at our best. When we don't defend well, it affects our offense. When we play great defense, it fuels our offense. And so I think the third quarter, we played really hard on defense and played really well on defense, and it turned it into offense."
The fourth quarter was no different than the third as the USA held Russia to five points and scored 16 to bring the game to its 82-38 final and the U.S. lead to its widest margin of the night.
"Americans like to compete, and that's what this team does," said Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill.), who added five points, four rebounds and two assists. "And when everyone is on the same page it just gets everyone going, and we get rolling and we become deadly."
Breanna Stewart (Cicero North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y.) teamed up with Williams inside to record 12 points and grab nine rebounds in just 13 minutes played, followed by nine points from Burdick and nine rebounds from Bashaara Graves (Clarksville H.S./Clarksville, Tenn.).
The USA's size and strength was apparent in its 74-37 rebounding advantage over Russia and its 54 points in the paint to Russia's six.
Russia was led by nine points from Ekaterina Posylkina and nine rebounds from Mariya Davydova.
"We could have performed better," Imani Stafford (Winward H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.) said. "We came out unprepared, not focused, and that is something that is going to catch up to us when we play a better team. That's something we need to work on. But we have heart so we fought back, and we made sure it was our game and we won with authority."
In today's other Group A action, Japan (1-1) edged Canada (1-1) 87-80, while France (0-1) plays Turkey (0-1) later this evening. In Group B, Argentina (1-1) hung on against Belgium (1-1) 55-53, China (2-0) downed Australia (1-1) 92-75 and Mali (0-1) will play Spain (1-0) at 8:30 p.m.
The USA will continue preliminary round play against Canada at 3:00 p.m. on July 18 (all times CEST, which is +6 hours from EDT). 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.
Nelson is assisted by Mike
Armstrong of Perry Meridian High School (Ind.) and Dorena Bingham of
Team Alaska AAU.