The final night of the first city of the China tour for the Americans was a tightly contested defensive battle resulting in a 61-48 loss to Team Canada.
The positives the USA will take with them to the second city of the tour from the Canada game include identifying a team defensive identity & the ability to produce excellent scoring opportunities on offense. Making these opportunities count by finishing better around the basket will be the key as the Americans prepare for the final three games.
Cooling down a high scoring Canadian team & holding them to just 61 pints after scoring 94 points in the previous game was the highlight of the night. For the second straight game Cierra Warren (San Diego State) scored in double figures netting 10 points & grabbing 8 rebounds. Haiden Palmer (Gonzaga) made it 3 for 3 in the first city going for double figures each night by scoring 14 points & stuffing the stat sheet with 5 rebounds 4 steals & 3 assists. Emily Burns (Nevada) strong defensive background & versatility helped anchor the USA’s strongest defensive performance thus far.
Former Nebraska Cornhusker Tear’A Laudermills’ smothering perimeter defense helped shut down Canada’s 3 point shooters holding them to 20% from the 3 point line. She also scored 7 points, dished out 2 assists & snagged 2 steals in a solid all around performance. Michigan PG Shannon Smith contributed 3 steals to the disruptive defensive effort & had 2 points. Kendall Kenyon (Pacific) had another solid rebounding effort with 6 boards to go along with her 6 points while post-mate Jenn Reese (Colorado) also produced on the glass with 6 rebounds in a game that was controlled on the boards by the USA front court, winning the rebound margin by 4. Reese also chipped in 4 points and a steal.
D’Shara Strange (UNC) capped a solid performance in the first stop of the tour as she piled up 10 rebounds from the small forward position to compliment her 4 points 4 steals & 1 assist. Angela Rodriguez (UWM) matched her 2 assist night from the night before & helped keep Canada’s high scoring backcourt at bay.
Nikki Green nearly missed having back to back double digit rebounding performances dominating the glass with 9 rebounds and preventing Canada from getting the ball inside with 3 steals & capping off her strong defensive night with 2 blocked shots.
The USA will look to build on their identity of strong team defense & match that success on the other end of the floor by capitalizing on high percentage looks that simply did not fall versus Canada. The Americans will have the next day off for travel & rest & then will get back into action for the final three games of the tour once again playing Czech Republic, Canada and the host team, China.
Perhaps the biggest victory of the night came after the game when USA interpretor and host, “Mandy,” arrived with Angela Rodriguez’s suitcase. A-Rod had survived 5 days in a foreign country without her clothes and personal items…now that she has her stuff, watch out!
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