USA Women's U19 World Championship Team Overpowers South Korea 113-69
Boasting of eight players in double-figure scoring, the 2007 USA Women's U19 World Championship Team jumped to a 20-point first quarter lead over South Korea and never looked back, cruising to a 113-69 win Monday night in the second round of the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship For Women in Bratislava, Slovakia.
'This team has been very effective about coming out ready to play, there's no question about that,' said USA U19 and DePaul University (Ill.) head coach Doug Bruno. 'I thought we were sharing the ball pretty well tonight. We are a very talented and deep basketball team, so it doesn't surprise me that we have eight people in double figures. And I bet you there are a couple players that missed easy buckets, and we could have had 10 players in double figures. When you have so many weapons and the players share the ball, that's what makes this a beautiful game to watch.'
The USA blew open the game just five minutes into the first period when, with the score at 11-7, a Vicki Baugh (Sacramento H.S. / Sacramento, Calif.) block on the defensive end was converted into an easy two points for Maya Moore (Collins Hill H.S. / Lawrenceville, Ga.) on a fast-break bucket. On the next possession, Moore then dished the ball to Jantel Lavender (Cleveland Central Catholic H.S. / Cleveland, Ohio) for two of her 16 points, and the red, white and blue embarked on a 22-6 run to close the quarter. The score was 33-13 headed into the second period, with eight U.S. players already on the board.
'I think we came out with good intensity,' Monica Wright (Virginia / Woodbridge, Va.) said. 'South Korea did exactly what we expected, so we had to concentrate on our game and execute the scouting report. Maintaining our lead throughout four quarters was a tougher challenge the securing the early lead.'
Despite a continual fight and nine 3-pointers from South Korea, the U.S. lead continued to stretch with each quarter, 27 points at halftime, 32 points after three and 34 points with the 113-69 final, and South Korea never threatened a comeback.
'We had the chance to break some full-court pressure tonight,' Moore said. 'They pressed us, and not many teams have done that. It was a confidence builder to handle a different style of game than we have been playing.'
The USA dished 18 assists, including six from Italee Lucas (Centennial H.S. / Las Vegas, Nev.), while outrebounding its opponent 67-25 and shooting 56.6 percent from the field.
'We trust our teammates, and when everyone knocks shots down, it makes that trust even stronger,' said Jasmine Thomas (Oakton H.S. / Fairfax, Va.). 'You know you can give it to anybody and they are going to make a good decision with the ball.'
Melissa Lechlitner (Notre Dame / Mishawaka, Ind.) sank 10-0f-10 free throws to finish with 14 points; Krystal Thomas (The First Academy / Orlando, Fla.) recorded her third double-double in four games with 13 points and 13 rebounds; Moore added 12 points and seven rebounds; Wright scored 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting; and Jasmine Thomas, Angie Bjorklund (University H.S. / Spokane, Wash.) and Baugh contributed 10 points. Lavender also added nine rebounds.
Continuing second-round action, the USA is set to play Spain (3-1), which finished second in Group A, at 8:15 p.m. on July 31, and the first place squad from Group A, Slovakia (4-0), at 6:00 p.m. on Aug. 1. All times listed are local, Central European Time, which is +6 hours from Eastern Daylight Time.
The USA previously beat Spain 79-70 earlier this month in an pre-World Championship exhibition tournament in Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands. Spain was, however, without three of their current players.
'We know Spain is going to come out ready to play,' Moore said. 'I think they think they should have beaten us the first time we played in exhibition, and now they've picked up a couple more players and have one of their starters back. They're going to screen a lot and push the ball. It's going to be one of the toughest games yet for us.'
The 2007 U19 World Championship quarterfinals are slated for Aug. 3, semifinals will be held Aug. 4 and the gold medal will be contested July 5.
Bruno is assisted on the sidelines by Cynthia Cooper-Dyke of Prairie View A&M University (Texas) and Carol Owens of Northern Illinois University.
2007 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women
The USA qualified for the 2007 U19 World Championship after Bruno, as the USAï¿½s head coach, led the U18 squad to a 4-0 slate and gold medal at the zone qualifier, the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women. The event was hosted by USA Basketball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the tournament is held every four years and was first held in 1985. USA women's teams are 32-10 in the U19/Junior World Championships, capturing gold with an 8-0 record most recently in 2005.