USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team Pulls Away From Australia For 103-58 Victory
- DeShields Scores 27 Points To Lead U.S. To Exhibition Win -
Caorle, Italy. • Aug. 11, 2012
The 2012 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team (3-0) trailed Australia in the second quarter, but behind 27 points from Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.) pulled away for a 103-58 win over Australia in an exhibition game on Saturday in Caorle, Italy.
DeShields finished 12-of-15 shooting from the field, while also adding five steals, three assists and two blocked shots for the game.
“We had bodies in that were willing to sacrifice what it took to win, and went deep down our bench,” said DeShields. “Everyone played a different role, whether it was getting points, rebounds, steals, everyone did something different throughout the game. We hit the boards well and were really pushing the tempo, and they couldn’t keep up.”
The U.S. led 16-11 after the first quarter, but Australia battled back to take a three-point lead midway through the second quarter. DeShields then provided the spark that allowed the U.S. to take control of the game and build a 41-29 halftime lead.
“Early it was kind of a struggle; in fact they got ahead of us by three early in the second quarter,” said USA head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas). “I feel Diamond really took over on both ends of the floor at the end of the first half. On one sequence, she scored on the offensive end then went down and blocked a shot on the other end. She was absolutely dominant in the last three or four minutes of the first half and that was the game. We were able to extend to a 12-point lead and didn’t look back.”
The USA outscored Australia 32-14 in the third quarter, and 30-15 in the final period to arrive at the final score of 103-58. As a team the U.S. shot 58.7 percent (44-75 FGs) for the game, while holding Australia to just 35.1 percent (20-57 FGs) from the field.
In addition to DeShields, Mercedes Russell (Springfield H.S./Springfield, Ore.) and Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic H.S./Owesnboro, Ky.) each scored 15 points, while Oderah Chidom (Bishop O’Dowd H.S./Oakland, Calif.) added 12 to round out the Americans’ double-digit scorers. Russell also led the team with six rebounds. Linnae Harper (Whitney Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.) dished out a game-high six assists, while Lindsay Allen (St. John’s College H.S., D.C./Bowie, Md.) recorded five assists.
Vanessa Panousis and Alicia Froling scored 13 points apiece to tie for the Australia team lead.
As was the case in Friday’s 80-34 exhibition win over Brazil, the USA’s depth proved to be too much for the opposition to handle as 11 of 12 U.S. players scored in the contest.
“I feel really good about our depth. We’re getting really good minutes from all our players,” said Schneider. “Kai James, Oderah Chidom, Brianna Turner, Erica McCall, Kaela Davis all came in and gave us very good minutes. Our guards, Linnae and Lindsay, played really well. I could name every single one of them and think of points in the game when t12hey made plays to help us sustain our momentum. I’m getting better, too, at our sub rotation and knowing when to go with who and getting fresh bodies in the game. I’m pleased with how we are coming along; I wasn’t expecting at all to beat Australia by this score.”
The team will play one more exhibition game in Caorle, facing Italy at 8:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 12, before arriving in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for the 2012 Worlds, which will take place Aug. 17-26.
“We’re seeing improvement in team chemistry and bonding with one another, and even coaching,” DeShields said of the strides the team is making. “The coaches are running great personnel. We’re all learning each other better and better, and coming together so I feel really positive about where we are going into the World Championship.”
The USA has been placed in preliminary round Group A for the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship and will open against South Korea at 9:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 17, followed by Canada at 9:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 18 and Italy at 4:45 p.m. (10:55 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 19. After a rest day for all teams on Aug. 20, the USA will take on Belgium at 2:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 21 and wrap up preliminary round play against Mali at 10 a.m. (4 a.m.) on Aug. 22.
The top four finishing teams from each preliminary round group will advance to the medal quarterfinals on Aug. 24. Winners of the quarterfinals will compete in the medal semifinals on Aug. 25, and the gold medal game will be played on Aug. 26.
Schneider is assisted by Gail Hook (Monarch H.S., Colo.) and Letitia Hughley (Mott C.C., Mich.). The trio helped qualify the USA for the U17 Worlds by virtue of their gold-medal finish at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
The USA is the reigning U17 champion for men and women after both teams wrapped up 8-0 records and gold medals at the inaugural events in 2010.