KAZAN, Russia – The 2013 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team (2-0) jumped ahead 8-0 in the first 80 seconds of the contest and the quick lead would never be threatened in a 101-61 win over Czech Republic (1-1) on Tuesday night at Miras Sports Complex in Kazan, Russia.
Duke University standout Tricia Liston, who is from River Forest, Ill., registered 14 points, six rebounds, two steals and one assist in 22 minutes of action. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut/Anaheim Hills, Calif.) scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, and Aaryn Ellenberg (University of Oklahoma/Las Vegas, Nev.) scored 10 of her 12 points in the first quarter to set the tone for the USA.
“I thought our defensive intensity, really set the tone for the game,” said USA head coach Sherri Coale (University of Oklahoma). “We came out strong out of the gates in both the first and second half, but I thought it was our defensive intensity that set the stage. Czech Republic can really shoot that ball. They have a lot of players who can score in a lot of different ways, but we sped them up. They got some looks, but they were rushed, everything was rushed, and we made them play a little faster than they were comfortable with playing.”
Crystal Bradford (Central Michigan University/Detroit, Mich.) scored 11 points, while Odyssey Sims (Baylor University/Irving, Texas) added 13 points and a game-high six assists as the USA shot 50.0 percent from the field (39-78 FGs). Bradford and Jordan Hooper (University of Nebraska/Alliance, Neb.) tied for the team lead with seven rebounds each. Liston, who is a rising senior for the Blue Devils, hit two three-pointers and drained 5-of-10 field goals for the contest.
The USA forced 22 turnovers and limited Czech Republic to just 38.7 percent shooting from the field (24-62 FGs). Czech Republic’s 22 giveaways led to 21 points for the USA, while 13 U.S. turnovers led to just four points for Czech Republic. The USA notched 13 steals for the game with four players, Ellenberg, Liston, Ariel Massengale (University of Tennessee/ Bolingbrook, Ill.) and Theresa Plaisance (Louisiana State University/New Orleans, La.), each recording two steals apiece.
Plaisance opened the scoring with a layup assisted by Sims with 9:23 left in the opening quarter before Ellenberg and Mosqueda-Lewis each hit quick 3-pointers to build an instant 8-0 lead. Ellenberg would score seven additional points in the period to lead the USA to a 21-11 lead after the first frame.
Czech Republic trailed by 13 points late in the second quarter when Mosqueda-Lewis took control of the final minute of the first half. Capitalized by a driving layup made while drawing a foul at the halftime buzzer, Mosqueda-Lewis scored eight points in the final 37 seconds before the break to push the U.S. lead to more than 20 points for the first time at 48-27 at halftime. Mosqueda-Lewis also would score the first basket of the third quarter to register a 10-0 run on her own.
“Coach Coale wanted us to get more pressure on the ball and more pressure in general on defense against Czech Republic, so I was trying to be intense out there and it ended up working out, getting a lot of steals and crashing the offensive and defensive boards a lot,” said Mosqueda-Lewis on how she was able to get the looks she did in her scoring spurt.
Czech Republic would never get closer than 21 points after the halftime intermission as the U.S. lead continued to expand to as many as 42 points at 101-59 after Massengale hit a 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining in the contest.
Next up for the USA is a Group B meeting with Brazil (1-1), who defeated Mali (0-2) 78-51 today, on July 10 at 12:30 p.m. (times listed are local; Kazan, Russia is +8 hours from EDT). The earlier start time means a quick turnaround for the USA as its game against Czech Republic ended after 10:00 p.m. local time.
“Fortunately we were able to play a lot of people, especially late in the game,” said Coale on how she will manage the short break. “I think again, having that depth tomorrow will help as we can play a lot of people again. There is not a big drop off from one through 12, so being able to keep them fresh I think is good. It will be a challenge, there is no doubt. These guys are wound up, and they have to go back, shower and it gets to be pretty late. A day off follows, and so they can tough it out.”
The USA will conclude preliminary round play against Brazil, before teams are seeded for the medal quarterfinals on July 12 to compete for first through eighth places. The remaining teams will play out for ninth to 16th places. The semifinals will be played on July 13, and the finals will be contested on July 15.
A victory over Brazil would give the USA the top seed out of Group B and set up a meeting in the quarterfinals with the two-seed out of Group A, which will be the loser of Wednesday’s matchup between Russia and Sweden.
In other action today, Russia (2-0) beat Poland (0-2) 74-37 and Sweden (2-0) beat Mongolia (0-2) 95-21 in Group A. In Group C, Taiwan (2-0) defeated Japan (0-2) 69-64 while Ukraine (1-1) beat Canada (1-1) 59-57. In Group D, Hungary (1-1) topped Finland (1-1) 64-59 and Australia (2-0) outscored China (0-2) 94-45.
The USA is looking for its third straight gold medal at the World University Games women’s basketball competition, and ninth overall.