USA U17 Women Defeat Canada 86-45, Reach FIBA U17 World Championship Semifinals

- Joyner Holmes Scores 24 Points Off U.S. Bench -

July 4, 2014 • Pilsen, Czech Republic

The 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team (5-0) celebrated its Fourth of July holiday with an 86-45 defeat of Canada (2-3) on Friday afternoon at City Arena in Pilsen, Czech Republic, that propelled the USA into the semifinals of the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship.

The USA will take on Hungary (5-0), which earlier today topped Japan (3-2) 61-51, on Saturday, July 5 at 8:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m.) in a game that is available online at livebasketball.tv.

Joyner Holmes (Cedar Hill H.S./Cedar Hill, Texas) led the USA with 24 points in 17 minutes to go along with five rebounds, and she was 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.) added 16 points, eight rebounds and four steals; and Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.) contributed 10 points and five rebounds.

“I think the score was not indicative of how tough the game started,” said USA head coach Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose Cagers AAU, Calif.). “ I really thought that we stifled each other on the offensive side of the ball, and both teams struggled to score. That was familiarity, and that was well coached-basketball. Both teams were familiar with the scouting report. I think our depth and energy and intensity on the defensive side of the ball really helped spark us to create a lead.”

The USA, which previously had beaten Canada 80-45 on June 21 in an exhibition tournament in Nogent Sur Seine, France, held its opponent to 27.9 percent shooting (17-61 FGs) and forced 21 Canadian turnovers, while it shot 44.4 percent (32-72 FGs) from the field, 81.8 percent from the free throw line (18-22 FTs) and committed only 12 turnovers.

“I think we had great chemistry today, and we played very well,” Holmes said. “We got defensive boards, offensive boards and transition points, so I think we played well. A lot of our points come from our defense, because we get a lot of transition points.”

Canada managed to keep pace with the USA in the first five minutes, and led 5-3 at 4:53 in the first period. Seven straight points from Ogunbowale, however, launched a 13-0 U.S. run that saw the U.S. squad end the quarter with a 16-5 advantage and the game’s momentum. The USA’s lead never again was threatened.

“I thought we played really well as a team,” Ogunbowale said. “We kept our intensity up and played pretty good defense.”

The second period saw another U.S. run, this team a 12-0 spurt that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Samuelson to bring the score to 30-9 at 4:29. While Canada managed just five more points, the USA put up 11 points to lead 41-14 at halftime.

The USA actually held Canada scoreless for the first 4:51 of the second half as four U.S. players added 10 points to make it 51-16 when Canada scored from the field at 5:09. The interruption did not slow the U.S. offense, which went on to put up 17 points to Canada’s 10, and the game entered the final 10 minutes with the USA leading 68-26.

Canada managed to outscore the USA 19-18 in the fourth quarter, but the game’s outcome already had long been decided, and the USA finished with an 86-45 win that saw 11 U.S. players contribute points.

Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.) dished out four assists to go with her nine points and four rebounds; De’Janae Boykin (Charles H. Flowers H.S./Springdale, Md.) grabbed seven rebounds; and
Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas) blocked three shots, scored six points and tallied six rebounds.

Mikaela Brewer and Mael Giles led Canada with nine points apiece.

While the USA will take on Hungary, the second semifinal will be between the winners of tonight’s final games in Pilsen that feature Czech Republic (3-1) versus Australia (4-0) and Spain (4-0) against France (3-1).

The semifinal winners will play in the gold-medal game at 8:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. EDT) on July 6, while the losers will compete for bronze at 6 p.m. (12 p.m. EDT).

“It is going to be a tough game,” Cox said of taking on Hungary. “It will be a challenge. We are going to work hard in practice tomorrow and watch film.”

In the 9-16th playoffs in Klatovy, Czech Republic, China (2-3) beat Egypt (0-5) 68-51; Brazil (3-2) topped Mexico (0-5) 60-44; Mali (1-4) defeated Italy (1-4) 46-44; and South Korea (0-4) vs. Slovakia (1-3).

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.).
           
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