Friday, September 28, 2007

U.S. Sweeps Into Medal Round

It was all about defense for the U.S. Women's Senior National Team Friday. The U.S. held Canada to 23.8% shooting and just 24 points over the final three quarters of an 85-37 win in the final game of group play.

Again, a lopsided victory afforded Storm and U.S. Head Coach Anne Donovan the opportunity to empty her bench. All 12 players played at least 10 minutes, none more than 22. Balanced scoring saw six players score at least eight points, led by Tina Thompson's 14.

This game, however, was more about the other end of the floor. No Canadian player scored more than seven points and only one (Sheila Townsend, who was 1-for-1) shot 50% from the field or better.

"Our defense got better as we went," said Donovan. "We gave up a total of 18 points in the second half and I thought did some really good things offensively."
Sue Bird had four points, six rebounds and two assists in 16 minutes of turnover-free basketball.

"Like coach said, tonight was a very good game," added Bird. "We knew Canada was going to be a tough team for us, a team that would never give up and we played very well and stayed with it for 40 minutes. I'm really proud with what everyone did and hopefully we can continue this into the next round."

The next round is the semifinals, where the U.S. will face either Chile or Argentina tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. Argentina at 1:30 p.m. on NBA TV. For more coverage, remember to keep checking and Adam Hirshfield's blog.

Elsewhere, Brazil joined the U.S. in sweeping through group play with a lopsided 119-44 win over Mexico. Iziane Castro Marques, the tournament's leading scorer so far, had 20 points for the victors. Jamaica fought hard but dropped to 0-3 with a 76-64 loss to Cuba despite 18 points and eight rebounds from Simone Edwards, who missed her first three-pointer in four attempts thus far.

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