USA Women's World University Games Team Downs Great Britain 93-59
July 2, 2009 - Belgrade, Serbia
For a second consecutive game, the 2009 USA Women's World University Games Team (2-0) needed just 10 minutes to build a comfortable lead before it ran away with a 93-59 victory over Great Britain (1-1) on Thursday afternoon in Belgrade, Serbia.
'I was pleased. I thought we really set the tone with our defense,' said USA and Arizona State University head coach Charli Turner Thorne. 'We knew they could shoot it well and they were going to try to pull our posts out, spread us out. I think we handled it well and created a lot of offense off of our defense. We had some lulls. It's always hard when you go up that big to stay focused. All in all, it was a great team effort.'
Jantel Lavender (Ohio State / Cleveland, Ohio) led the red, white and blue with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Danielle McCray (Kansas / Olathe, Kan.) tallied 15 points four board and four steals. Ta'Shia Phillips (Xavier / Indianapolis, Ind.) rounded out the USA's double-digit scorers with 11 points and eight rebounds.
The USA's size advantage on the interior was apparent from the start, and the USA finished with a 55-30 advantage on the boards and 48 points in point.
'Just from watching them yesterday, I knew that we might have an advantage because they have one big post player, and we have five completely different looks that we can throw at that post player,' Lavender said. 'So we knew that we could wear them down a little bit.'
Tina Charles (Connecticut / Jamaica, N.Y.) put the first points on the board 45 seconds into the game, followed by two free throws from Jeanette Pohlen (Stanford / Brea, Calif.), and the score was 4-3 when Great Britain sank its first field goal at 8:26.
A 3-pointer from Ashley Houts (Georgia / Trenton, Ga.) ignited a 17-0 U.S. run that stretched to the 2:24 mark and included 13 points in the paint from four U.S. post players. The first quarter buzzer sounded with the USA up 27-7, and the game's outcome never again was in question.
Phillips tallied six of her 11 points in the second period to help the USA outscore Britain 22-15 in the quarter and head to the halftime locker room with a 49-22 lead.
'You have to focus on what our goal is,' Phillips said. 'Our goal is the gold. That's what we're working towards. Each game our focus is to be the best defensive team here and do what we know how to do, keep working on help side. We know we can score so defense is our best offense at this point.'
Great Britain never quit fighting, however, and opened the second half with a 7-0 run that brought the score to 49-29 and prompted a USA timeout at 8:34. The USA responded with a 26-13 spurt that included 11 points from McCray, and headed into the game's final 10 minutes, the U.S. lead had ballooned to 75-42.
Tiffany Hayes (Connecticut / Lakeland, Fla.), who also grabbed five rebounds, tallied six of her nine points the final stanza to help the USA outscore Great Britain 18-17 and bring the final score to 93-59.
The USA forced 28 turnovers while committing 19 of its own and recorded 21 points off turnovers, compared to Great Britain's two points off turnovers.
Once again, all 11 U.S. players scored. Topping the list are Houts, who added nine points and four assists to the U.S. effort, and Alexis Gray-Lawson (California / Oakland, Calif.), who recorded six points and seven rebounds, including five on the offensive glass.
Maya Moore (Connecticut / Lawrenceville, Ga.) did not play due to a sore right knee and is listed as day-to-day.
Turner Thorne is assisted on the USA sideline by Suzy Merchant of Michigan State University and Julie Rousseau of Pepperdine University.
The U.S. squad wraps up preliminary play against host Serbia on July 3 at 5:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. EDT). Second round action takes place July 5-7, the medal semifinal round will be played on July 9 and the medal finals will be played on July 11.
In today's other games, Japan (1-1) topped Canada (1-1) 90-78 and Slovakia (1-0) will meet Australia (1-0) at 3 p.m. in Pool B play; Pool C will see Mozambique (0-1) against Taiwan (1-0) at 5:30 p.m. and Hungary (0-1) versus Russia (1-0) at 8:00 p.m.; and Pool D action includes China (0-1) versus Czech Republic (1-0) at 5:30 p.m. and Turkey (0-1) against Poland (1-0)at 8:00 p.m. Also at 8:00 p.m., France (0-1) will see Serbia (0-1) in Pool A action.