Mali No Match For 2009 USA Women's U19 National Team As U.S. Hits Century Mark in 100-38 Victory
July 25, 2009 - Bangkok, Thailand
|Kelly Faris, who is headed to the University of Connecticut in the fall, scored a team-high 13 points against Mali.|
In a game in which every available player scored, including five who hit for double digits, the 2009 USA U19 World Championship Team (2-1) bounced Mali (0-3) 100-38 to close FIBA U19 World Championship preliminary round play on Saturday night in Bangkok, Thailand. With the win, the U.S. advances to second round play as the No. 2 seed out of Group D and will face Canada (2-1), the second-ranked team from Group C, on July 27 (4:15 a.m. EDT).
University of Connecticut-bound Kelly Faris (Heritage Christian H.S. / Plainfield, Ind.) came off the bench to lead the balanced effort with 13 points to go with six boards; while Shenise Johnson (Miami, Fla. / Henrietta, N.Y.) scored 12 points; and University of South Carolina freshman-to-be Kelsey Bone (Dulles H.S. /Stafford, Texas), University of Tennessee signee Taber Spani (Metro Academy / Lee's Summit, Mo.) and University of Illinois-bound Destiny Williams (Benton Harbor H.S. / Benton Harbor, Mich.) each added 11 points apiece.
-You have to respect Mali," said Carol Owens, USA and Northern Illinois University head coach. -You have to respect the team and how they worked. They're very athletic, they rebound the ball extremely well and we knew that coming in. We wanted to limit them to one shot and I thought we did a better job of that in the second half.
-We wanted to work on various defenses that we could possibly use against some other teams. We thought this was an opportunity to do that. Also, we wanted to work on a couple of our offenses. We knew Mali was going to play us zone the majority of the game, so we wanted to work on our zone offense and work on our execution. I thought that was important, but we still have a lot of growing and maturing to do."
The red, white and blue never trailed, but Mali matched the USA's first two baskets and knotted the game 4-4 at the 7:18 mark in the opening stanza. However, it didn't take long for the United States to take control. A Skylar Diggins (Washington H.S. / South Bend, Ind.) 3-pointer at 6:10 kicked-off a 25-2 scoring spree that extended into the first minute of the second period.
By the time the first quarter buzzer sounded, the USA was up 25-6, Mali had six turnovers and hit just 2-of-15 attempts from the field. At the end of the run, which was capped by four points from LaSondra Barrett (Louisiana State / Jackson, Miss.), the USA was in complete control, 29-6, with 9:00 still to play before halftime.
Following a Mali bucket at 8:16, the U.S. reeled off nine straight points and left no doubt as to who would eventually take the victory. By halftime the American women owned a 55-19 lead and had 10 players already in the scoring column.
-I think we've gotten a lot better since the beginning," said Faris. -(The loss to Spain) was a wake-up call for us. Everybody's starting to gel and play a lot better together. We're playing more team ball. It's getting to be more fun. We're all having a good time and making the most of it."
Outscoring Mali 22-13 in the third period and 23-6 in the fourth, during which time the U.S. strung together its biggest run with 16 unanswered points, the Americans sailed in for the win.
In addition to the five players who scored in double digits, Diggins and Samantha Prahalis (Ohio State / Dix Hills, N.Y.) added nine points apiece and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Stanford / Cypress, Texas) scored eight. Williams finished as the USA's top rebounder with eight boards.
-We've been working on our zone and man and mixing it up," Spani said when asked what the USA was trying to work on during the game. -We used it against China yesterday and it was really effective. So we were trying to just fine tune stuff, work on little stuff, tweak some things. I think it was a game where we could work on things while we had the score in hand, but also it was another preparation game."
Layshia Clarendon (Cajon H.S. / San Bernadino, Calif.) was sick and did not play.
Mali's Aissata Djibo scored a game-high 18 points for her side.
The dominating victory saw the U.S. outrebound Mali 54-27, allowing Mali just seven offensive boards. The United States' defense stifled its opponent into shooting an icy 21.4 percent (15-70 FGs) from the field and a mere 9.7 percent (3-31 3pt FGs) from beyond the arc. In contrast, the USA hit 43.4 percent (36-83 FGs) of its shots from the field and a sizzling 47.4 percent (9-19 3pt FGs) from 3-point.
The top three finishing teams in each preliminary round group advance to the July 27-29 second round. The quarterfinals will be played on July 31, semifinal action is scheduled for Aug. 1 and the gold medal will be contested on Aug. 2.
The other Group D game featured Spain (3-0) remaining undefeated with a 77-75 overtime win over China (1-2). In Group A, Australia (3-0) capped preliminary play at the top of its pool with a 99-41 victory over South Korea (0-3) and Argentina (2-1) finished second after edging France (1-2) 60-58; Group B games saw Lithuania (2-1) collect a 59-55 victory over Brazil (2-1) and the Czech Republic (2-1) defeat host Thailand (0-3) 97-46; while in Group C, Russia (3-0) remained perfect with a 93-41 win over Tunisia (0-3) and Canada (2-1) took the No. 2 spot in the pool with a 73-51 win against Japan (1-2).
Owens is being assisted by collegiate head coaches Amanda Butler of the University of Florida and Bill Fennelly of Iowa State University.
The 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship features 16 national teams comprised of athletes 19-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1990) that qualified through their FIBA zone tournaments.