USA U19 World Championship Women Collect 85-63 Opening Victory Over Japan
July 21, 2011 • Puerto Montt, Chile
Four players scored in double digits to lead the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team (1-0) past a smaller Japan (0-1) squad 85-63 to open 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship play on Thursday night in Puerto Montt, Chile.
Bria Hartley (Connecticut / North Babylon, N.Y.) was 3-of-4 from 3-point land to pace the U.S. with 18 points, Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse H.S. / North Syracuse, N.Y.) posted a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds, Stefanie Dolson (Connecticut / Port Jervis, N.Y.) scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, while Malina Howard (Twinsburg H.S. / Twinsburg, Ohio) rounded out the USA’s double-digit scoring with 12 points. Additionally, Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook H.S. / Bolingbrook, Ill.) dished out five assists and Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S. / Norcross, Ga.) and Hartley had four apiece.
In the second Group B game, Russia (1-0) downed Argentina (0-1) 70-51.
The three-time defending U19 World Championship gold medalist United States continues preliminary round play against Russia on July 22 at 1:30 p.m. (all times local, EDT) and close the first round against Argentina on July 23 at 4:30 p.m. The second round will be played July 25-27, quarterfinals are slated for July 29, semifinals will be held on July 30 and the finals are scheduled for July 31. FIBATV.com will stream live online the medal semifinals and medal finals.
“(Japan was) excellent. They started the game with a lot of intensity,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, USA U19 World Championship Team and University of Hartford head coach. “They’re a hard match-up for us. We do have the size, but some of our big guys weren’t able to match up with their quickness on the perimeter. So, we had to find that balance between wanting to score inside, but also wanting to not give up points. When they’re scoring three for our every two, it doesn’t really add up. So we decided to go with the smaller lineup for awhile and try to really focus on our defense. When we came back with our bigger players, they were pretty worn down.”
Trailing 5-2 early on, Hartley drove to the basket and followed that up with a traditional 3-point play to put the USA on top for good, 7-5, at 8:42 in the first quarter. That was the start of an eventual 20-2 run that ended with a DeShields bucket at 2:48 and the game seemingly well in hand, 22-7. However, Japan, which went 9-of-17 from 3-point in the game, knocked down a pair of threes in the first quarter’s waning minutes and at the buzzer the USA’s lead was down to 25-17.
Japan cut it even closer, 27-22, at the beginning of the second quarter, but behind the scoring of five different players, the American women reeled off 13 unanswered points. Following another Japanese three, Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne H.S. / Virginia Beach, Va.) scored four of her seven points in a 5-0 run and with 2:03 to play before halftime, the USA was out in front by 20, 45-25. Japan managed to cut the gap a little in the last two minutes and the teams headed into the locker rooms with the U.S. on top 48-31.
Taking advantage of a defensive lapse, Japan, trailing by 20 points, 57-37, put up nine straight points during a 14-2 run that cut the lead to single digits, 59-51 at 1:26.
Following a U.S. turnover Rizzotti called a time out, regrouped her team and the red, white and blue capped the third quarter with a layup from Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S. / Bolingbrook, Ill.) and a three from Hartley, icing any Japanese comeback hopes.
“Our team has tremendous depth,” said Hartley. “Everyone can come in and contribute a tremendous amount throughout the entire game. As long as we come together and keep working together, we should all be fine.”
With the score still close, 68-57, with 6:57 to play in the fourth, the U.S. clamped down on defense as its offense went to work. That resulted in a 10-3 run that knocked the wind out of Japan’s sails and gave the USA some breathing room, 79-60, as it cruised in for the victory.
Japan’s swarming, quick defense forced 21 U.S. turnovers, whereas Japan coughed the ball up just 13 times. The taller U.S. squad – the USA’s average height is 6’1” and Japan’s is just 5’8” – won the battle on the glass, 58-36, and shot a red-hot 53.7 percent from the field (36-67 FGs), while limiting Japan to just 28.4 percent (23-81 FGs) from the field. Japan was able to keep the game close thanks to its long-range shooting as the Asian squad hit 10-of-27 from afar.
“I know I’ve never seen a team like that, where they’re all about 5’7” or shorter,” said the 6’5” Dolson. “It was extremely difficult for me, personally, and I know for a few of the girls to deal with their quickness and how fast they move the ball on offense. They would just pass it, pass it, pass it, kick it out, it’s really hard to keep up with it. I think we did a fairly good job in the second half of learning from our mistakes in the first half and improving on them.”
Sanae Motomkawa, who was 4-of-5 from 3-point, scored a game-best 20 points.
“When we scrimmaged them, their players liked to attack and they could shoot,” Howard said regarding the USA’s next opponent, Russia. “They set a lot of picks. We just have to be ready to talk and communicate with each other.”
In other games today, Canada (1-0) downed China (1-0) 76-49, while Italy and Egypt will face off at 8:15 p.m. in Group A play; Group C saw Australia (1-0) claim a win by forfeit after Nigeria wasn’t able to make it to Chile and host Chile takes on France at 6:45 p.m.; in Group D Slovenia and Taiwan play at 6:00 p.m. and Brazil will meet Spain at
Only U.S. citizens who are 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1992) are eligible for this team.