USA U17 Women Run Away With 91-63 Semifinal Win Over Hungary

- Katie Lou Samuelson Hits Six 3-Pointers To Set USA Women’s U17 Record -

July 5, 2014 • Pilsen, Czech Republic

Leading by just seven points at halftime, the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team (6-0) played its way into the gold-medal game of the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship with a hard-fought 91-63 win over Hungary (5-1) on Saturday night at City Arena in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.) made six 3-pointers in the first quarter alone and finished the game 6-of-11 from beyond the arc to set USA Women’s U17 records for 3-pointers made and attempted on her way to 25 points and four steals. Additionally, Kristine Anigwe (Desert Vista H.S./ Phoenix, Ariz.) tied the U.S. Women’s U17 record for rebounds with 14 boards and 14 points, including 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.

The USA will face also-unbeaten Spain (6-0), which defeated Czech Republic (4-2) 73-41, in the gold-medal game at 8:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. EDT) on ESPNU and online at www.livebasketball.tv on July 6. Czech Republic and Hungary will compete for a bronze medal at 6 p.m. (12 p.m. EDT).

“I thought we struggled at times, and credit Hungary for really pushing the tempo offensively,” said USA head coach Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose Cagers AAU, Calif.). “They really had us back on our heels. I was not very happy with our defensive effort in the first half. We held them to 24 points in the second half, which is more what we are accustomed to.

“When we started to get cold from the perimeter a little bit, we pounded the ball inside,” Phillips added. “We had 50 points in the paint, which is a great number for us. They mixed up man and zone defense, and I think we showed great balance in our ability to score from the free-throw line, the paint, beyond the arc and in transition.”

The USA buckled down on defense in the second half and limited Hungary to 27.8 percent shooting (10-36 FGs), while it heated up to 52.9 percent from the field (18-34 FGs) and scored 36 of its 45 second-half points in the paint.

Also reaching double-digit scoring were Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.) with 17 points and six assists; and Joyner Holmes (Cedar Hill H.S./Cedar Hill, Texas) with 11 points and six rebounds.

“In the first half, we didn't play as well on defense,” Durr said. “In the second half, we came out with some fire and played well as a team, got some stops and scored a whole bunch of points.”

Twice Hungary led in the game’s first few minutes, before a 9-0 run that began with Samuelson’s second three at 7:30 put the USA ahead 14-7 at 6:03. As Samuelson went on to sink four more 3-pointers, Hungary managed to nearly keep pace with the USA, and compiled a 6-0 run of its own to bring the score to 27-22 with a free throw at 1:16. Nancy Mulkey (Cypress Woods H.S./Cypress, Texas) scored off of an offensive rebound and Anigwe converted an old-fashioned three-point play as Hungary also scored twice more in the stanza to trail
32-26 at the first break.

“I think I shot pretty well in warm ups, and then my teammates did a great job of finding me,” Samuelson said of her first-quarter performance. “They knew I was hitting, and they got me open looks. It was a great team effort, and I have to give the credit to my teammates getting me the ball.”

Neither team found much breathing room in the second quarter, and when the USA put together five straight points to lead 44-31 at 3:16, Hungary answered right back by closing the first half with an 8-2 run, including six made free throws in the final 1:11, and the teams headed to the locker room with the USA up by seven points, 46-39.

“In the first half, it was a little rough,” Anigwe said. “They kept catching up. Anytime we got a lead, they would catch up and we were never building the lead we wanted to build. But in the second half, we got into the flow and started to play our game.”

Hungary opened the second half with a 3-pointer to make it 46-42, but that was as close as they would get to the USA. After a score from Samuelson and a free throw from Hungary, Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.) with a steal and fast-break bucket sparked a 10-0 U.S. spurt that included six points from Durr, and the USA led 58-43 at 4:01 when Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas) made two free throws. From there, Hungary managed eight points to the USA’s 11, and the score was 69-51 headed into the final 10 minutes.

Anigwe scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter, and six U.S. scorers overall helped the USA put up 22 points while limiting Hungary to just 12 to bring the game to it’s 91-63 final.

Debora Dubei led Hungary with 16 points.

In the 5th-8th playoffs, Canada (3-3) edged past Japan (3-3) 46-45, and Australia (5-1) beat France (3-3) 65-48. On July 6, Canada and Australia will meet in the 5th-6th-place game, and Japan and France will play for 7th and 8th place.

In the 9-16th playoffs in Klatovy, Czech Republic, Mexico (1-5) beat Egypt (0-6) in overtime 76-70; Italy (2-4) downed Slovakia (1-5) 57-38; Brazil (4-2) defeated China (2-4) 48-44; and South Korea (2-4) topped Mali (1-5) 76-67. Those results mean the July 6 lineup in Klatovy will see a 15th-16th place game between Egypt and Slovakia; a 13th-14th place game that features Mexico against Italy; an 11th-12th contest between China and Mali; and a 9th-10th place game that includes Brazil and South Korea.

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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