It was only a matter of time before the USA would hit all cylinders. A deep & talented roster put on a show for the new crowd in the first game of the second city of the 2015 China Tour by beating the Czech Republic 82-55. A complete game on offense & defense allowed the USA to get ahead 41-26 at halftime & come out & extend the lead from 15 to the final margin of 27.
The game plan of establishing the interior game first & allowing the perimeter game to open up worked well for the USA as all four interior players scored at least 8 points. Establishing the inside early freed up the high scoring guard Haiden Palmer (Gonzaga) to hit double figures once again netting 16 points going 5 for 12 from the field & going a perfect 1/1 from the 3 point line. She also had 3 assists & 3 steals.
Cierra Warren (San Diego St.) paced the interior game with her 3rd straight game in double figures making 12 points & earning a double double by pulling down 13 rebounds. She also rejected two shots setting the tone for the Americans protecting the paint on defense. Meanwhile, Northern Colorado product D’Shara Strange was the third American in double figures with a 13 point 4 rebound & 3 steal performance.
Nikki Green (Penn St.) hit the double figure rebound mark with 11 boards to go along with 8 points & 2 blocks and fellow post player Jenn Reese (Colorado) used nice finishes on the bock as well as a mid-range touch on two nice jumpers to net 8 points and she was once again active on the other end of the floor with 3 steals to compliment her 6 rebounds.
Scoring 8 points with 6 rebounds, 3 offensive, was Pacific’s Kendall Kenyon who also had steal & an assist. Shannon Smith (Michigan) also scored 8 points going 1 for 2 from three point range & dished out 3 assists. She had a high flying and one, hoop & harm in the first half that really sparked the USA attack, perhaps her best night of the tour so far.
A-Rod, aka. Angela Rodriguez (UW Milwaukee), with her newly arrived clean socks & trademark arm sleeve, hit a 3 pointer & had 5 points while slicing up the defense with 4 assists. Defensive terror Tear’A Laudermill (Nebraska) kept up the defensive ball pressure swiping 2 steals from Czech guards & scoring 2 points while
handing out 2 assists.
Emily Burns (Nevada) played another all-around game for the USA pulling down 6 rebounds scoring 2 points coming up with 2 steals & making the extra pass to tally an assist. Burns, Strange, and Kenyon have provide solid defense, rebounding, and energy for the Americans throughout the tour so far.
The USA will look to continue the hot offense & stingy defense against the still undefeated Team Canada in their second meeting on Saturday.
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