Diamond DeShields, Defense Lead USA U17 Women Past Canada 86-47
- With 20 First-Half Points, DeShields Sets USA U17 Record For Field Goals Attempted -
Amsterdam, the Netherlands • Aug. 18, 2012
Behind 29 points from Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.) and a defensive effort that limited Canada (0-2) to an icy 20.8 percent from the field (15-72 FGs), the USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team (2-0) earned an 86-47 win in the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship on Saturday night at Sporthallen Zuid in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Leading by just six points at the end of the first quarter, 18-12, the USA got 11 of DeShields’ 20 first-half points in the second period to help outscore Canada 23-12 and take control of the game.
DeShields finished the game with a USA U17 record 21 field goal attempts, bettering the previous mark that was set in the inaugural event in 2010, and with five steals, she tied the record set by Linnae Harper (Whitney Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.) in yesterday’s win over South Korea.
“I thought we started out pretty sluggish, and we didn't bring a lot of intensity defensively or on the boards at all,” said USA head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas). “Canada has really good size, and we knew that was going to be a challenge for us on the boards. In the early stages of the game, we responded poorly to that. Certainly in the second quarter we started doing a better job. We had a group that came in -- I thought Erica McCall came in with a whole lot of energy and was part of the group that really got us going. I thought Diamond DeShields had an amazing first half, and thank goodness because we were struggling to score early. We got things going in the second half.”
Kaela Davis (Buford H.S./Suwanee, Ga.) added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Taya Reimer (Hamilton Southeastern H.S./Fishers, Ind.) contributed 10 points.
While Canada shot a dismal 17.1 percent (6-35 FGs) in the first half, the USA gave up 11 offensive boards in the first 20 minutes and 21 overall. By the game’s end, the USA edged Canada in personal rebounds, 47-40, but when you factor in team rebounds actually trailed 52-51.
“I think we did a good job on defense, DeShields said. “We knew they had one player especially who is a pretty good shooter, and I thought we did a good job containing her. But on the defensive boards, on the other hand, we didn't do so great. I never felt like we made the adjustment we needed to on the boards. We were all surprised when coach told us in the locker room that we had outrebounded them.”
The USA trailed 6-4 to start the game before a 3-pointer and a score from DeShields was followed by a score from Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S./Pearland, Texas) that put the USA ahead 11-6 at 5:13. Canada fought back to within one point, 11-10, but Reimer converted a three-point play and DeShields scored an offensive rebound to widen the gap to 16-10 at 1:22. After two free throws from Canada, Lindsay Allen (St. John’s College H.S., D.C./Bowie, Md.) scored with just seconds remaining, and the USA headed into the first break leading 18-12.
“We talked through it,” Reimer said of the USA’s slow start. “We didn't warm up very well, so coach kind of got us back into it, and Diamond was a spark. Obviously, she did so well, and we all just kind of fed off of that.”
As the USA forced nine turnovers in the second period, Canada made just three field goals in the entire quarter. Meanwhile, six U.S. scorers combined for 23 points, including the USA’s largest run of the game. The 12-0 spurt began with a score from DeShields at 7:51 and stretched through to another steal and fast break from DeShields at 2:54 that put the USA up 36-17. Canada made four free throws in the last 3:10, while DeShields sank a 3-pointer and Erica McCall (Ridgeview H.S./Bakersfield, Calif.) scored an offensive rebound to help give the USA a 41-24 margin at the midway point.
“For me, I think it started with taking good shots, and when they started falling, I just kept shooting, DeShields said. “And my team had enough confidence to keep feeding me the ball.”
Canada managed to slow the USA down in the third quarter, but could not cut the deficit. The USA outscored Canada 17-14 in the period to take a 58-38 lead.
With the outcome already decided, the USA took it’s largest lead of the game, 39 points, at the final buzzer, outscoring its opponent 28-9 in the final stanza for the 86-47 win.
“Our defense is a big part of our game,” Davis said. “In the first quarter we struggled, and as coach said, we played defense for 23 seconds and then let it go in the last second. That was one thing we buckled down on, and I think that was a part of why Canada wasn't making shots. I think if we keep focused on defense and start strong, then hopefully we can continue to win games.”
Canada was led by eight points from Kia Nurse.
Jessica Washington (Jenks H.S./Tulsa, Okla.) did not play due to a strained right groin. She is listed as day-to-day.
Also today in Group A, Belgium (2-0) beat South Korea (0-2) 84-53 and Italy (2-0) cruised past Mali (0-2) 71-31.
In Group B, Australia (1-1) got its first win against winless Brazil (0-2), Spain (2-0) topped Turkey (0-2) 77-49 and Japan (2-0) won against host Netherlands (1-1) 73-53.
The USA will continue its preliminary round play against 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.