USA U23 Women Red Hot In 107-61 Rout Over Canada
Forcing 35 Canadian turnovers while shooting 60.0 percent from the field (42-70 FGs), the 2017 USA Women’s U23 National Team (2-0) earned an impressive 107-61 win over Canada (0-2) in its second game on of the inaugural U24 Four Nations Tournament on Sunday evening at Katayanagi Arena in Tokyo.
All 12 U.S. players scored, including 17 points and four steals from Arike Ogunbowale (Notre Dame/Milwaukee, Wis.), 15 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field from Brittany McPhee (Stanford/Normandy Park, Wash.) and 10 points, three assists and three steals from Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon/Walnut Creek, Calif.).
The USA’s high-powered offense saw it record 21 assists on 42 made baskets, led for a second-straight game by Jordin Canada (UCLA/Los Angeles, Calif.) with five.
“We tried to look to get the ball out in transition, but at the same time, tried to execute in the half court,” said Jeff Walz, USA U23 and University of Louisville head coach. “When we didn’t score in transition, we really did a nice job making the extra pass, making them defend us and then, we just shared the ball so well.”
The U.S. defense forced Canada into 10 turnovers in the first quarter alone, while its offense started the game shooting a red-hot 68.8 percent from the field. Ogunbowale scored nine of her points in the opening period to help the USA secure a 28-13 lead at the first break.
“In the last game, we took too many dribbles,” Ogunbowale said. “Coach said we needed to get it out of our hands, so we tried to push it this game.
“We all came in the game with a purpose, and we kept attacking.”
Eight points from McPhee led the U.S. charge in the second quarter, which saw the USA increase its advantage by three points to lead 47-29 at halftime.
In the third quarter, it was Linnae Harper’s (Ohio State/Chicago, Ill.) turn to ignite the USA offense, and she contributed seven of the USA’s 25 points, while Canada's team scored just 17. All of the U.S. players had points on the board after the first three quarters, and the USA took a 72-46 advantage into the fourth period.
The USA did not let up in the fourth quarter, scoring 35 points and holding Canada to just 15 to earn a 107-61 win. Kalani Brown (Baylor/Slidell, La.) scored the USA’s 100th point when she made a free throw to complete a three-point play to bring the score to 100-58 with 1:58 remaining in the game.
“At halftime, coach Walz told us not to worry about the scoreboard and to just worry about getting better, and I think we did that very well – not playing nonchalant,” said Brown, who finished with six points and five rebounds. “We executed and did what we needed to do and got better at the things we needed to work on.”
The USA will wrap up its competition and look to earn the U24 Four Nations Tournament title against host Japan (1-1) at 5:30 a.m. EDT on Aug. 15.
Also today, Australia (1-1) beat Japan 84-75.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Courtney Banghart of Princeton University and Michelle Clark-Heard of Western Kentucky University.
The 2017 U24 Four Nations Tournament is a round-robin tournament featuring USA, Australia, Canada and host Japan that is being played Aug. 12-15.
The 2017 U24 Four Nations Tournament provides meaningful competition and development opportunities. The USA’s participation in the tournament is intended to help further develop the USA Basketball athlete pipeline and to help prepare athletes for possible future participation in the USA Basketball Women’s National Team pool.