USA U17 Women Power Past Turkey 84-55, Clinch Group A’s No. 1 Seed
July 20, 2010 • Rodez, France
The 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team (4-0) captured its fourth straight win in the inaugural 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship by powering past Turkey (1-3) 84-55 on July 20 in Rodez, France.
The victory secured the USA Group A's No. 1 seed into the medal round quarterfinals, which begin on July 23, but following the win, USA head coach Barbara Nelson (Wingate University), was most concerned with the her team's defense and focus.
"I think probably for all teams you've got some fatigue that's settling in that not only costs you physically, but costs you mentally," Nelson said. "I don't think it showed up as much physically for us today as it showed up mentally. We played where we just forgot assignments, forgot match-ups, who were the shooters, things that we've been able to really key on. It was almost like we tried to play on autopilot instead of playing with our head, too. And we were fortunate that physicality worked for us, and we were able to score enough points to win, but it's certainly not the mental lapses we want to continue to have."
Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill.) and Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.) led the USA with 11 points apiece as all 12 American players scored for a second consecutive game.
The U.S. defense suffocated Turkey in the first quarter, holding its opponent to just four points and 1-of-17 shooting from the field. Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, the USA benefitted from six scorers and five points apiece from Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.) and Breanna Stewart (Cicero North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y.) to take a 21-4 lead after the first period.
"We started off very good," Tuck said. "The defensive intensity was up, so the offense was better. I think as the game went on we kind of weren't as focused, and I guess we weren't taking it as serious as we should have. Then I think we had spurts where we played hard, but we were giving up a lot of threes and just not communicating."
Turkey shot better in the second quarter (7-of-17 from the field), but the USA continued to stretch its lead, this time with seven players adding points, including five from Betnijah Laney (Smyrna H.S./Clayton, Del.), and by halftime, the USA held a 43-21 advantage.
In the third period, however, the USA was outscored by Turkey, 18-15, thanks in part to four 3-pointers and five U.S turnovers. Although Turkey fought back, it could not come any closer than 19 points in the second half, and the U.S. lead never was in danger.
The red, white and blue responded in the final stanza to outscore Turkey 26-16 to easily secure its 84-55 win.
"I felt we could have done better stopping the penetration and on our closeouts to stop the 3-point shot, which was a big part of them coming back," said Laney, who finished with nine points. "If we would have done that defensively, we would have won by a lot more. In the long run, this could help us because now that we see what we lack on defense, we can work on that in practice to help us be prepared for other teams that have the same style."
Stewart added 10 points for the USA, and Kaleena Lewis (Mater Dei H.S./Anaheim, Calif) grabbed a game-high six rebounds.
The USA was plagued by 22 turnovers, but outrebounded Turkey 48-33, scored 40 points in the paint compared to Turkey's 18 and received 44 points off the bench.
"Our size is nice because we can have any post rotate in, and it will be the same high-low relationship," Stewart said. "Besides that, we are just having fun off the court also."
In today's other Group A action, Russia (2-2) beat Canada (1-3) 76-61, while France (1-2) will play Japan (2-1) later this evening. In Group B, Belgium (3-1) topped China (3-1) 90-80, Australia (3-1) crushed Mali (0-4) 88-39 and Argentina (1-2) will play Spain (1-2) in the late game.
The USA will wrap up preliminary round play against Japan at 5:30 p.m. on July 21 (all times CEST, which is +6 hours from EDT).
The top four finishing teams from each preliminary round group advance to the medal quarterfinals, scheduled for July 23, the semifinals are slated for July 24 and the gold and bronze medal games will be contested July 25. The order of games will be determined by FIBA following the conclusion of preliminary round play on July 21.
Nelson is assisted by Mike
Armstrong of Perry Meridian High School (Ind.) and Dorena Bingham
of Team Alaska AAU.