Jiahe, China – The NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars started the game strong and dug their heels in deep in opening up a 34-25 halftime lead over the host Chinese. But it was all for naught, as in the end, China escaped with a 78-76 overtime win in front of a packed house of nearly 4,000 standing room only spectators in the final action at the Atlas Four Nations Tournament.
Feeling good coming out of the locker room at halftime, the prospects looked good for the Americans to open up a wider margin. However, the USA All Stars went Ice Cold from point blank range as they struggled to finish shots and China emerged with a one point lead at the close of the third quarter. In the end the USA finished just 38 percent from 2, missing a number of shots at the rim. That was unfortunate as it provided the Chinese with an extra spark offensively. As the game closed, and as it always is in China, if the score is close, the officials will not let the host team lose.
The Americans found this out, as every single time the Chinese drove the lane, the Americans were whistled for a foul. To top it off, with time running low in both regulation and overtime, plays that occurred on the sideline opposite the benches, saw China be the recipient of home friendly calls. Both the Australia team and Lithuanian team were sitting on the far sideline right next to the action, and protested the calls as adamantly as USA Coach Johnson. A clear tip out of bounds and a phantom travel call both gave China extra possessions. Regardless of any of the calls, the Americans had their share of opportunities to win the game, but still could not get enough physically contested shots to fall to come out the victors.
One thing about playing in China that people must understand is a teams must play well enough to be ahead by 10 to win by 2. You must be ahead by 20 to win by 6-8 points. On a final stat note, USA had 80 shot attempts to China’s 63, and the USA out rebounded the Chinese 51-27 and made two more FT’s despite shooting eight less FT’s. All stats point to what should have been a USA win!! The major issue for the Americans on this trip was a surprisingly poor shooting performance. With quite a few +40 percent collegiate three-point shooters on the roster, the USA All-Stars managed to shoot only 15-of-79 (19 percent) from long distance. Tonight’s numbers were 1-of-10. A few made three’s would be made the difference in the Americans two losses.
Leading the way for the USA All-Stars with her best game of the tour was Stephanie Lee who dropped 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, 4-of-4 FT’s and seven rebounds, while Talia Walton, Kaylon Williams and Shelby Cheslek finished with 13, 11 and 10 points respectively. Williams (12 rebounds) and Cheslek (11 rebounds) both finished with double-double’s on the evening.
For China, Tang Yu was a terror against he Americans and scored 26 points on 12-of-18 shooting, while Jia Saiqi added 14 points, hitting 3-of-5 from downtown. Song Kexin and Zhang Tianyu added 12 points each.
The victory gave China (5-1) the tournament title. The USA All-Stars (4-2) finished second.
Australia (3-3) denied Lithuania (0-6) their first win of the event, winning the early game by one point. In the end this was a very competitive Four Nations tournament.
NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars
Marquelle Dent (Wyoming) 4 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound, 2 steals
Danielle Rodriguez (Utah) 4 points, 2 assists, 4 rebounds
Lexi Petersen (Oregon) 0 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists
Brittany Crain (UC Riverside) 8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block
Jaime Patrick (Colorado State) 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal
Jazmine Perkins (Washington State/Finland) 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Stephanie Lee (Northern Colorado/Germany) 20 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist
Talia Walton (Washington) 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Kaylon Williams (Oklahoma) 11 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Shelby Cheslek (Gonzaga) 10 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block
Thanks to Ryan Johnson and David Huss for their reports from China.
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