For the fans the opening game of the 2015 China tour was thrilling contest with many lead changes. Neither team pulled ahead by more than 5 for the entire game. While fun for the fans, it was frustrating
for the USA team who couldn’t hold onto to momentum for long enough to pull away due to some untimely turnovers & foul trouble.
There were many positives to take away in a gutsy performance by a team with only two
practices going into the game as a unit. Haiden Palmer from Gonzaga exploded onto the scene offensively pouring on 24 points going 8 for 18 from the field making 4 of her 8 3-point attempts & finishing 4 of 7 from the line.
Nikki Greene (Penn State/WNBA LA) was very effective in the post & stepped out to hit a 3 pointer, her offensive production was key & limited only by foul trouble. Shannon Smith (Michigan) finished with 7 points punctuated by a big time and one finish to tie the game near the end, capping a great run by the USA.
The game featured 13 lead changes and neither team led by more than 6 throughout the game but the home team utilized their familiarity and momentum from the home crowd to take the lead late and hold on for the win.
Running the floor & hitting the offensive boards was Kendall Kenyon (Pacific) who tallied 6 points & 6 rebounds. Jenn Reese (Colorado) played a solid game on both ends of the floor in a very physical matchup and finished with 6 points. Tear’A Laudermill (Nebraska) put pressure on the China defense with her driving ability & scored 5 points, drawing fouls and making 3 of 4 free throws, all while piling up 4 steals on the other end of the floor.
6’5 post Cierra Warren (San Diego State) was a factor with her length defensively & on the boards, but was hampered by the foul trouble that plagued the USA front line. D’Shara Strange (Northern Colorado) was active defensively aiding in turning over the Chinese 19 times with her intense pressure, she also hit a key bucket on a USA run to finish with 2 points.
Emily Burns (Nevada) was counted on to defend both perimeter & interior players due to matchup problems caused by foul trouble & her versatility contributed to never allowing the Chinese to build a significant lead throughout the game. Angela Rodriguez (UW Milwaukee) handled the China pressure and distributed the ball, totaling 2 assists for the Americans.
The USA will regroup & take on the team from Czech Republic at 7:00 PM on Tuesday while the host Chinese team plays a good Canadian squad to complete the double header.
Cheer on your favorite American players by commenting below and feel free to share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.