USA U18 Women Open FIBA Americas Championship With 112-49 Blowout Of Venezuela
July 23, 2008
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -
Courtesy of USA Basketball
The 2008 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team (1-0) simply overpowered Venezuela (0-1) Wednesday in its first game of the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women, scoring an astounding 78 points in the paint on the way to a 112-48 blowout in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Led by 13 points apiece from post players Kelsey Bone (Dulles H.S. / Stafford, Texas) and Lynetta Kizer (Potomac H.S. / Woodbridge, Va.), every U.S. team member scored and six players finished in double figures. The well-balanced attack included 62 points of the bench, and 26 points off of Venezuela's 38 turnovers.
In the day's second game, Canada (1-0) topped Brazil (0-1) 67-47; while Argentina meets Puerto Rico at 7:15 p.m. local time (6:15 EDT).
"A win is always good, and I thought we made an improvement from the first to the second half," said USA and University of Northern Illinois head coach Carol Owens. "We obviously had the height advantage, and if we don't take advantage of that, shame on us.
"We made some improvements in terms of transition defense and knowing how to execute with the ball in transition in the second half. So, we're really pleased with the win, but not satisfied of course. We still have a ways to go, and we need to continue to work on our defense and our rebounding, which are things that need to continue to define this team."
Skylar Diggins (Washington H.S. / South Bend, Ind.) connected with Bone for the game's first assist and two points at the 9:32 mark, and the play was a sign of things to come as the Americans went on to record seven assists on nine made baskets in the first 10 minutes. Bone collected seven of her 13 points in the period as the USA outscored Venezuela 25-10.
Venezuela produced its best segment in the second quarter, capping a 16-point period with a bucket at the buzzer from the game's high scorer, Roselis Silva Serrano, who finished with 20 points. The effort was in vain, however, as the USA added 25 points to the board to bring the score to 50-26 at halftime. Bone reached her game total of 13 points in the second stanza with six more points before the half, and she was joined by Alyssia Brewer (Sapulpa H.S. / Sapulpa, Okla.), who also tallied six points in the period.
"Once we got the ball down low, we just seemed to dominate," said Brewer. "They couldn't compete with us physically, and we took advantage of that."
The USA emerged from the locker room firing, and the score was 59-26 when Venezuela tried to cool a 9-0 run with a time out at the 8:02 mark. Ten points was all Venezuela could manage, however, as the USA, behind eight points from Nneka Ogwumike (Cy-Fair H.S. / Cypress, Texas), finished the period with a 45-point lead, and the score was 81-36 headed into the fourth period.
The score ballooned to its 112-49 final with 31 more points from the USA in the fourth quarter and just 13 points from Venezuela.
"I've never seen the scoreboard go past 100 in a game before, so I was pretty excited," Ogwumike said. "Nothing is guaranteed. That last game doesn't matter anymore, and we are focusing on what's next. Right now, we are just going to take it one game at a time and try to win the gold medal.
Brewer and Ogwumike finished with 12 points each, as well as nine and five rebounds, respectively. Diggins added 11 points and six assists, and Nikki Speed (Marlborough H.S. / Pasadena, Calif.), who dished out five assists, rounded out the double-figure scoring with 10 points.
Samantha Prahalis (Commack H.S. / Dix Hills, N.Y.) recorded game-highs of seven assists and six steals to go with nine points; Kelly Faris (Heritage Christian / Plainfield, Ind.) added six assists; while Bone, Sarah Boothe (Warren Township H.S. / Gurnee, Ill.) and Shekinna Stricklen (Morrilton H.S. / Morrilton, Ark.) collected six rebounds each.
The 2008 zone qualifier is being played in a round robin format, with the top four finishing teams earning a berth into the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship. The USA next plays Canada on July 24 at 3 p.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT); followed by Puerto Rico at 5 p.m. on July 25; Brazil at 3 p.m. on July 26; and Argentina at 7 p.m. on July 27.
"We can feed off this win, but we have to remember that there are much tougher teams out there," said Kizer. "It feels good to win big, but we have to keep working if we want to win the gold medal. We worked really hard to get here, and we can't afford to lose focus.
Assisting Owens on the USA sidelines is Bill Fennelly of Iowa State University and Terri Mitchell of Marquette University.