USA Women’s World University Games Team Surges Past Canada
Neither team got off to a particularly fast start in the final tune-up before the World University Games begin, but the USA was able to outscore Canada 48-33 in the second half to cruise to a 68-51 scrimmage victory.
“Being able to scrimmage against these teams that are in the tournament gives us an idea of the different styles of play, and it gives us a chance to adjust a little bit,” said USA and Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown. “I think we’ve all done a really good job of that. The players are starting to communicate really well.”
The iron was unkind to both squads in the opening period as the two teams combined to net only 12 points. Jordan Canada (UCLA/Los Angeles, Calif.) and Erica McCall (Stanford/Bakersfield, Calif.) were among the few who found some early success in the first quarter.
During the second period, USA was able to take advantage of six Canadian turnovers as it built a slim two-point lead at the break, 20-18.
The USA came out firing in the third quarter. The five on the floor – Mercedes Russell (Tennessee/Springfield, Ore.), Aerial Powers (Michigan State/Detroit, Mich.), Courtney Williams (South Florida/Folkston, Ga.), McCall and Canada – used a 12-3 run over the first 3:37 to open up the first double-digit lead of the scrimmage.
The USA World University Games Team continued to apply strong defensive pressure, while cracking the swarming Canadian defense to take a 46-35 lead into the final frame. The USA used another quick six-point burst to open the final stanza as the U.S. outscored Canada by seven in the final period to secure the 68-51 triumph.
Sydney Wiese (Oregon State/Phoenix, Ariz.) had the hot hand for the USA as she scored a team-high 10 points off the bench on 4-of-8 shooting from the field. Four other players netted at least eight points apiece in the victory, including Powers.
“It was a great competition,” said Powers after the session. “These scrimmages can show us what we’re good at, but they also show us what we need to work on. They showed a press, and we didn’t handle it as well as we could have, but we were able to figure it out.”
Attention now turns to the Opening Ceremony, which will be held later this evening (July 3).
“I’m so excited for tonight,” said Powers. “It’s been so fun to be able to meet athletes from different countries and other places. They said that there are going to be a lot of fans, so we’re looking forward to seeing the support for the World University Games.”
“It’s been incredible so far,” said McKeown about the team’s time in Gwangju. “To be in the village with all of these great athletes from all over the world is so eye-opening. Everyone is here to participate in the World University Games, but also to learn more about each other.”
The World University Games women’s basketball competition will be held July 5-13 and the USA opens Group C play against Italy on July 5, before playing China on July 6 and Czech Republic on July 7.
Playing in Group A will be Canada, Hungary, Mozambique and South Korea; Group B includes Japan, Mexico, Russia and Sweden; and Group D features Australia, Brazil, Taiwan and Uganda.
The quarterfinals will be played on July 9, the semifinals are on July 11, the bronze medal game is on July 12 and the gold medal game is set for July 13.
McKeown is being assisted by collegiate head coaches Holly Warlick from the University of Tennessee and Tanya Warren from the University of Northern Iowa.
USA vs. Italy • July 5 (live on ESPNU on July 4 @ 9 p.m. EDT)
USA vs. China • July 6 (live on ESPNU: July 6 @ 4:30 am EDT)
USA vs. China • July 7 (July 6 @ 11 a.m. EDT)
Quarterfinals • July 9 (TBD)
Semifinals • July 10 (TBD)
Finals • July 12 & 13 (TBD)