Fourth-Quarter Surge Propels U17 Women To Exhibition Win Over Canada
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The U.S. defense, which limited Canada to just 26.6 percent shooting from the field (17-64 FGs) and forced 22 Canadian turnovers, allowed only nine points in the third quarter and six points in the final 10 minutes.
The first half, however, ended with the USA leading by just three points, 33-30.
“Some of our success in the second half had to do with execution, but if you aren't intense, you are not going to be able to execute because the focus isn't there,” said USA head coach Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose Cagers AAU, Calif.). “So, we brought up our intensity and our focus, which tightened things up defensively, and that truly was the difference in the game.”
Joyner Holmes (Cedar Hill H.S./Cedar Hill, Texas) was the high scorer and leading rebounder with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and she drew six fouls that resulted in her shooting 8-of-12 from the free throw line.
“Playing aggressive is how you get easy points by just rebounding, and it sent me to the free throw line a lot,” Holmes said.
Kristine Anigwe (Desert Vista H.S./Phoenix, Ariz.) finished with 11 points and six rebounds; and Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.) and Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.) each added 10 points and four boards.
“In the second half, we really raised our energy level,” Anigwe said. “We had different groups playing together, so we had a lot of fresh legs in the game. I just think we did our part the second half, which we should have done in the first half. We were all on the same page after we had a talk in the locker room.”
Additionally, Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas) grabbed 10 rebounds to go with her eight points; De’Janae Boykin (Charles H. Flowers H.S./Springdale, Md.) collected eight boards to go with seven points; and Kennedy Burke (Sierra Canyon School/Northridge, Calif.) had four steals and nine points.
After Boykin scored the game’s first points, Canada nearly kept pace with the USA and the score was 14-11 at 4:43. Durr scored from the field to kick off a 9-0 run that put the USA ahead 23-11 before Canada sank three free throws to end the quarter with the USA leading 23-14.
Canada opened the second period with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to one point, 23-22 at 7:09. That was the first of three times that Canada would come within one point in the stanza as the teams battled back and forth. Cox scored an offensive rebound with just 15.8 seconds remaining in the half to put the USA up 33-30 and the midway point.
In the third quarter, Canada continued to respond to almost all of the USA’s scores, and the scoreboard read 43-39 at 3:42. Anigwe’s two made free throws at 2:27 launched another U.S. run, this time a 6-0 spurt that gave the USA a 49-39 advantage headed into the final 10 minutes.
That run reached at total of 19 unanswered points as the USA raced to 13 straight points to start the fourth quarter, including four fast-break points and four points off of offensive rebounds. By the time Anna Wilson(Collegiate School/Richmond, Va.) found Anigwe inside for a score at 6:23, the USA was up 62-39. Canada ended the streak with 3-pointers at 6:10 and 5:24, but those were the only six points Canada scored in the period as the USA put up its highest-scoring stanza thus far with 31 points from 10 different U.S. scorers.
“I think our defense really helped us,” Cox said. “We started getting up into them, and we pressed them a little bit and we got a bunch of steals and transition scores.”
Overall, the USA outscored Canada in the paint 40-20, 19-9 in fast break points and 19-5 on second chance points.
Canada’s Julia Chandler led her side with 10 points.
Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.) did not play due to illness. She will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Mary Coyle Klinger (Rutgers Preparatory School, N.J.) and Brian Robinson(Bishop McGuinness H.S./Stealers AAU, N.C.).
The 2014 USA U17 World Championship Team will play one more exhibition game, against host France at 5:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. EDT) on June 22, before traveling to the Czech Republic for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship that will be played June 28-July 6.
Looking to capture its third-straight FIBA U17 World Championship gold medal, the USA was placed into Group D, where it will face China on June 28, France on June 29 and Mali on July 1.
Following the preliminary round, all teams will be seeded within their groups and will advance to the Round of 16, which will be played on July 2. Winners of the Round of 16 will advance to the July 4 quarterfinals. The semifinals will be played on July 5, and the gold medal game is set for July 6.