U.S. Pan American Women Cruise Past Dominican Republic 94-55
The depth of the 2015 U.S. Pan American Women’s Basketball Team (2-0) was on full display during its lopsided 94-55 win over Dominican Republic (0-2) in the 2015 Pan American Games on July 17 at Ryerson Athletic Center in Toronto, Canada.
Ten of the USA’s 11 available players recorded at least 12 minutes and scored in the game, five scored in double digits and the USA had 27 assists on 37 made field goals.
“I thought we played very well, especially right out of the gate,” said USA head coach Lisa Bluder (Iowa). “Sometimes you get a big lead like that, and I think it is hard to keep your focus. You saw that with a few too many turnovers on our side. We just had more skill tonight. We had more height, we had more physical play, and I think it obviously showed.”
Breanna Stewart (Connecticut/North Syracuse, N.Y.) led the USA with 16 points; Alaina Coates (South Carolina/Irmo, S.C.) was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field on her way to 14 points; Stephanie Mavunga (North Carolina/Brownsburg, Ind.) contributed 13 points; and Caroline Coyer (Villanova/Oak Hill, Va.) and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (Maryland/Aliquippa, Pa.) added 11 points apiece.
Taya Reimer (Notre Dame/Fishers, Ind.) and Sophie Brunner (Arizona State/Freeport, Ill.) each grabbed six rebounds, while Kelsey Plum (Washington/Poway, Calif.) dished out a game-high five assists.
The blemishes on the USA’s impressive outing were its 22 turnovers and 59.1 percent shooting from the free throw line (13-22 FTs).
“I think overall as a team we played really great,” Coyer said. “It got a little sloppy there for a bit, but that’s to be expected. I think going forward we have to tighten up those sloppy patches, and we’ll be good.”
Reimer and Stewart combined to score the USA’s first 15 points as the red, white and blue capitalized on its size advantage early in the game, as well as throughout the contest. Overall, the USA outrebounded Dominican Republic 51-29 and scored 50 of its points in the paint, including 16 points from offensive rebounds.
After the USA jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game, Dominican Republic scored at 8:02 and 7:34, but then not again until 4:10, while the USA put up 12 points to lead 20-6. As the USA held its opponent scoreless for the remainder of the period, five U.S. scorers combined for 12 more points, and the USA led 32-6 at the first break.
“We were working on a lot of high-low passing this morning, so I think that really clicked in during the game,” Mavunga said. “You could really see it during spurts, and we were really getting excited about that on the bench.”
After scoring first in the second quarter, Dominican nearly kept pace with the USA in the period, adding 15 points while the USA compiled 16, however, the USA lead remained well intact and was 48-21 at the midway point.
As the USA worked on its full-court press and zone defense, the North Americans outscored Dominican Republic 27-16 in the third quarter and 19-18 in the fourth period to bring the game to its 94-55 final tally.
The USA shot an impressive 55.2 percent from the field (37-67 FGs) and held Dominican Republic to 34.4 percent (22-64 FGs).
“The bench came in, and they gave us a lot of energy,” said Courtney Williams (Texas A&M/Houston, Texas). “The starting five didn’t really play at the end of the game because we were trying to get everybody playing time. The bench came in, and they did their job and they picked up where we left off.”
U.S. guard Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina/Charlotte, N.C.) did not play due to a sprained left ankle that occurred during a scrimmage against Canada on July 14.
Also today, in the USA’s preliminary round Group A, Brazil (1-1) won against Puerto Rico (1-1) 62-57; while in Group B, Cuba (2-0) topped Venezuela (0-2) 73-62, and host Canada (2-0) downed Argentina (0-2) 73-58.
The USA will wrap up preliminary round play against Puerto Rico at 9 p.m. EDT on July 18 (ESPN3).
The top two finishing teams from each preliminary-round group will advance to the medal-round semifinals on July 19, while the third and fourth-placed teams will play for fifth-eighth places. The semifinal winners will compete for the gold medal on July 20, and the semifinal losers will play for bronze.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Michelle Clark-Heard of Western Kentucky University and Scott Rueck of Oregon State University.
Since the first Pan American Games for women in 1955, the USA now has compiled an overall record of 76-14 and has won seven gold medals, four silver medals and two bronze medals.