USA U17 Women Cruise Past Canada 114-57
July 18, 2010 • Rodez, France
The 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team (3-0) wasted no time jumping on Canada (1-2) and never let up, cruising to a 114-57 win that featured points from all 12 U.S. players in preliminary round play of the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship on July 18 in Rodez, France.
The USA's eight-point, first-quarter lead stretched to 15 points at halftime and kept on climbing throughout, reaching its widest margin of 57 points at the game's end.
"Since we've come back together, I think (today) is the first time we have played really hard for 40 minutes and haven't had a lot of lapses, so I'm pleased with the effort for 40 minutes, pleased with the focus," said Barbara Nelson, USA U17 and Wingate University head coach. "A couple of girls who have been struggling with their shooting found their shot today, which was very important for us. So, we're pretty pleased about that, that we were able to spread the scoring around a little more."
Led by 21 points, including 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point, and four steals from Kaleena Lewis (Mater Dei H.S./Anaheim, Calif), the USA also received 19 points and five rebounds from Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill.), 13 points and three assists from Bria Smith (Christ the King H.S./Massapequa, N.Y.), 12 points and seven rebounds from Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.), 12 points from Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne H.S./Virginia Beach, Va.), 12 rebounds from Imani Stafford (Winward H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.) and six assists from Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.).
All 12 U.S. players played between 13 and 21 minutes.
"The past couple of games haven't been that great for me, but coach was just telling me that I have to find my rhythm on defense and maybe start in a little closer, so I tried to do that today and it seemed to work," Lewis said. "Our whole team scored a lot today. The posts were playing great. They were getting out and running, and Jewell Loyd also had a great shot today."
Lewis hit her first 3-pointer at the 7:59 mark of the game in the midst of an 8-0 U.S. run to open the game, which ended with a Canadian bucket at 7:24. The U.S. lead stretched to 11 points with a long-ball from Massengale at 6:42, but Canada cut it to eight points with a bucket at the 2:53 mark to bring the score to 22-14. Canada's Nirra Fields closed the period with consecutive 3-pointers to end the first quarter with the USA leading 28-20.
Fields, who entered the game averaging a tournament-high 30.5 ppg., was held to a team-high 17 points today.
"We really tried to focus on defense ... We made a little change in the lineup, went a little longer," Nelson said. "Fields has been scoring points in truckloads. I mean she has just been pouring it on, and we wanted to slow her up today. She opened up with two threes that surprised us, and we had to come out a little more, which then makes her even more deadly off the dribble."
After a back-and-forth first two minutes of the second period, the U.S. machine was in full motion and compiled an 11-0 run that gave the Americans a 42-23 advantage on a bucket underneath from Bashaara Graves (Clarksville H.S./Clarksville, Tenn.) at 5:54. Canada responded and matched the USA's next 11 points with 12 of their own, but it wasn't enough to narrow the U.S. lead any closer than 18 points, 53-35, at halftime.
"I think we played like a team," Graves said. "We always played like a team, but we played more like a team today than we ever have."
The third quarter was more of the same as the U.S. defense held Canada to just 14 points. Lewis added 10 points and two 3-pointers in the third quarter, while Williams contributed eight points to help widen the gap to 78-49 headed into the final stanza.
In the fourth quarter, the USA dominated with a 36-8 scoring advantage, and the lead ballooned to the game's final of 114-57.
"I feel like this is the start of how we are going to continue to play every game," Smith said. "We are going to keep on bringing our defense; we are going to keep on playing hard. The last time we beat Canada was in exhibition and we lost to Australia the game after, so I think we understand that we have to keep on pushing and keep on improving."
In today's other Group A action, Russia (1-1) will play France (0-2), and Japan (1-1) will face Turkey (1-1) later this evening. In Group B, Australia (2-1) handled Argentina (1-2) 77-57, while Spain (1-1) will play Belgium (1-1) and China (2-0) will play Mali (0-2).
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 (all times CEST, which is +6 hours from EDT).
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.