Mercedes Russell scored 18 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to help lead the USA to a 89-68 win over Australia in the quarterfinals of the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship for Women in Amsterdam. Diamond DeShields (19 points) and Linnae Harper (13 points, 11 rebounds and 8 steals) were the other Americans in double-figures.
This was the most competitive game for the USA. Australia led 24-19 after the first quarter and trailed by only 41-37 at halftime before the USA pulled away in the second half. Russell, the 6’5 center, shot 7-of-8 in the game, raising her field goal percentage at the event to 74.3.
Aussie point guard Tania Mangakahia had her best game scoring 21 points. She was helped by Abigal Wehrung’s 19 points. Neither team shot well. The USA shot only 33% and Australia only 27%.
Spain went on a 25-4 run in the late third and early fourth quarter to trounce Italy 67-39. 6’1 Laura Quevedo led Spain with 19 points and 9 rebounds while Marina Lizarazu added 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Spain came back after losing their last two games against Japan and the Netherlands. They will face Japan in the semifinals.
Italy will move into the 5th-8th place classification games along with the other losing teams today. The Italians were hurt after star Elisa Penna picked up her third personal foul in the first quarter. Penna led Italy with 8 points.
Canada eliminated the host Netherlands from the medal chase with a 56-55 thrilling win. Kia Nurse led the winners with 18 points, 4 steals and 2 rebounds.
The game was tight throughout with the Netherlands erasing an early Canada lead to take a 26-22 halftime lead. They continued to lead 39-36 after three quarters and enjoyed a 48-44 lead before the Canadians scored eight straight points for a 52-48 advantage. Nurse hit 2-of-4 free throws to give Canada a 56-53 lead. Then Laura Cornelius hit a driving layup to make the score 56-55. With 9.8 seconds left Khaleann Caron-Goudreau missed two free throws for Canada giving the Dutch a chance to win. However, Cornelius was short on a jumper in the lane at the buzzer.
Canada will play the USA in the semifinals.
Japan topped Belgium 70-64 as Ai Yamada, Evelyn Mawuli and Yunika Nakamura combined for 54 points.
Japan led by 21 points late in the first half but watched Belgium fight back to get within four points and could have made it a two-point game on a lay-up. But the Europeans missed the attempt and Yamada nailed two free-throws at the other end to ice the game.
Belgium, will take on Italy in a 5th-8th place classification game, was paced by 19 points from Hind Ben Abdelkader, who made 8 of 20 shots from the field.
In the 9th-12th place classification games, Mali won their first FIBA Championship game ever, topping Brazil 58-51. They will face South Korea for 9th place. The Koreans upset Turkey 82-79.
Thanks to FIBA for the photos!