A rolling team USA knocked Team Canada out of the ranks of the unbeaten on Saturday. A hot start by Cierra Warren (San Diego St.) helped the USA get out to an early lead & hold on for a
63-48 victory. Warren was key in the game plan to pull Canada’s 6’6 center away from the basket by utilizing the pick pop game. The guards found Warren on the pop & she hit her first four straight
jumpers to get the USA out to an early lead. Cierra finished with 16 points & 7 rebounds.
Pulling Canada’s posts away from the basket also opened up the paint for the driving guards & slashers to get by the perimeter defenders & finish layups without rim protecting defenders inside. Haiden Palmer (Gonzaga) got to the basket & hit pull up jumpers in route to a dominating 19 point game with 3 rebounds 1 assist & 2 steals. D’Shara Strange (Northern Colorado) drove & slashed her way
to double figures scoring 14 points grabbing 5 rebounds & 2 steals.
Holding Canada to below 50 points was due in large part to Nikki Green’s interior defense, negating Canada’s height advantage by blocking & changing Canada’s shots at the rim. Green finished with 6 points 8 rebounds & 4 blocks. Jenn Reese’s versatility on offense allowed the USA to play a big lineup defensively, bumping Jenn out to the 3 position on offense. This combined with another strong 7 rebound night from Reese (Colorado) helped the American’s maintain their lead & prevent Canada’s offensive rebounds from turning into easy buckets which hurt the USA in the first game.
Shannon Smith (Michigan) helped ignite the pick pop game with some nice passes setting up her teammates to the tune of 3 assists & she scored 3 points with 1 steal. UOP Star, Kendall Kenyon used her length on defense lead to 2 steals in the passing lanes & 5 rebounds to go with her 2 points. A-Rod (UW Milwaukee) cashed in a 3 ball after nice ball movement on a pivotal USA run in the second quarter & her court vision lead to 3 assists.
Late in the game Canada called a timeout to make a push for one more run at the USA lead, the USA
countered with a defensive lineup anchored on the perimeter by Tear’A Laudermill (Nebraska). T locked down on defense & finished with 3 steals & 2 assists. Emily Burns (Nevada) ability to guard inside & outside players along with being a key contributor on the glass with 5 rebounds prevented Canada from chipping away at the USA lead as she was key in closing out the game defensively. Burns also finished with 1 assist & 1 steal.
The USA will look to sweep the second city of the tour & make it three straight wins as they have a matchup with team China to close out the tour on Sunday.
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