USA U17 Women Sprint To 131-89 Win Over South Korea To Open Play In 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship
- Twenty-three Points From Rebecca Greenwell Leads Seven U.S. Players In Double Figures -
Amsterdam, the Netherlands • Aug. 17, 2012
The USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team (1-0) proved too fast for South Korea (0-1), busting their full-court pressure for 72 points in the paint and 40 off of the fast break on its way to a 131-89 win in its first game of the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship on Friday night at Sportshallen Zuid in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic H.S./Owesnboro, Ky.) led the USA with 23 points to go with seven rebounds and seven assists; and two players recorded double-doubles – Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S./Pearland, Texas) with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Taya Reimer (Hamilton Southeastern H.S./Fishers, Ind.) with 15 points and 10 board.
“I remember thinking at halftime it was so unusual to have 70 points and only be up by 20,” said USA head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas). “I thought Korea really shot the ball well, especially early. They cooled off a little bit in the second half, and I thought our team did a really good job of adjusting after halftime, getting over screens and getting a hand up. It was an unselfishly played game on our part, and everybody was looking for each other. I think their full-court press hurt Korea, but they stayed with it pretty much the entire game, and we were just getting layups on the back end of it. Diamond DeShields, Linnae Harper and Lindsay Allen, they all did such a great job of seeing down the floor and finding their teammates behind the press. It was a nice way to open the tournament for us.”
While the USA missed the points record by just three, four USA U17 Women’s individual highs were recorded along with the a team-record 65.1 percent (54-83 FGs) from the field. Mercedes Russell (Springfield H.S./Springfield, Ore.) was a perfect 8-of-8 from the field to finish with 17 points and set a record for field goal percentage; Kaela Davis (Buford H.S./Suwanee, Ga.) shot 8-of-10 from the free throw line to establish highs for free throws made and attempted on her way to 12 points; and Linnae Harper (Whitney Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.) grabbed a USA U17 record five steals. All of the previous highs were recorded in the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship in 2010.
“When ever you start off a game like that, I think scoring will come easy,” Russell said. “We got off to a great start.”
Two other players reached double digits, including Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.) with 12 points and six assists and Oderah Chidom (Bishop O’Dowd H.S./Oakland, Calif.) with 11 points. Helped by seven more assists from Lindsay Allen (St. John’s College H.S., D.C./Bowie, Md.), the USA dished out 31 assists on its 54 scores.
“I think the style of play was something we adjusted to pretty early,” DeShields said. “We knew they were going to play fast, but not that fast. Overall, I'm proud of the team as far as pushing the ball up the floor and passing to beat their press instead of trying to dribble through it.”
From the start both teams used full-court pressure on defense, but it was the USA that handled the pressure by racing away for transition scores. While South Korea sank its first 3-pointer at 9:13, the inside duo of Russell and Reimer put the first nine points on the board for the USA, and the score was 9-3 at 8:18. While the USA continued to beat its opponent down the court on offense, South Korea sank six 3-pointers in the period to stay close, trailing by seven, 37-30, at the first break.
South Korea cooled off to make just two threes in the second period, but the USA did not slow down. Seven U.S. scorers helped the Americans compile an impressive 33 points in the period to take a 70-49 halftime time.
The pattern remained the same despite the halftime break – with the USA pushing the ball out in transition for layups, while South Korea shot from the outside. South Korea again made just two more 3-pointers in the third quarter to help compile 18 points, while the USA strung together 27 points in the stanza to head into the final 10 minutes with a 97-67 advantage.
South Korea certainly didn’t struggle to score, finishing with 14 made 3-pointers, but it could not slow down the red, white and blue, which used its depth and athleticism to put up 34 points in the fourth for the lopsided win.
“I think we could have done a better job defensively, but they were just knocking down shots, and we were contesting,” Allen said. “They are a great shooting team, and they made a lot of shots tonight. In the second half we tightened up and did a better job. We wanted to keep them under 80 points, but that didn't happen. We did get better though.”
The USA also used its size advantage to tally a 64-25 margin on the boards.
Eleven players scored for the USA, with the exception being Jessica Washington (Jenks H.S./Tulsa, Okla.), who went to the bench in the first period with a strained right groin. She is listed as day-to-day.
South Korea was led by 18 points from Heejin Kim, who was 6-of-11 from 3-point.
Also today in Group A, Belgium (1-0) beat Mali (0-1) 81-45, and Italy (1-0) topped Canada (0-1) 68-55.
In Group B, Japan (1-0) down Brazil (0-1) 92-17, Spain (1-0) won against Australia (0-1) 65-49 and host Netherlands (1-0) finished off Turkey (0-1) 67-60.
The USA will continue its preliminary round play against Canada at 9:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 18 and then 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 its preliminary round action against Mali at 10 a.m. (4 a.m.) on Aug. 22.
The top four finishing teams from each preliminary round group advance to the medal quarterfinals on Aug. 24. Winners of the quarterfinals compete in the semifinals on Aug. 25, and the gold medal game will be played on Aug. 26.Schneider is assisted on the U.S. sideline 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.