The NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars remained undefeated in China as they grinded out a 82-72 win over an improving Australian Rising Opals squad before a crowd of 3,000 in Chengdu. The USA improved to 5-0 on the tour while Australia dropped to 1-4.
Aulani Sinclair hit four three-pointers on the way to a game high 16 points. Alexis Gray-Lawson and Talia Caldwell both chipped in 11 points for the Americans. Australia was led by 15 points from Kate Gaze. Gaze shot 6-of-7 for the game and hit all three of her shots from long distance. Katie Ebzery helped Australia with 14 points while Olivia Thompson continued her solid play with 11 points.
The Rising Opals got off to a quick 8-3 led as the Americans started slowly once again. The USA took a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Then, helped by USA turnovers and good shooting, Australia raced out to a nine-point second quarter lead. The Americans then came back, helped by strong point guard play by Tayela Mayberry and improved inside play.
The USA exerted their dominance of the boards in the second quarter comeback and continued that edge the rest of the game. The Aussies started the game with a 13-4 rebounding advantage. After that point the American rebounding edge was 37-16 for a final 41-29 margin. Nikki Greene and Chelsea Poppens were especially effective rebounding in the second half and helping the USA pull out to a 15-point fourth quarter lead.
NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars Head Coach Chris Denker:
“We gritted out a win tonight while not playing our best ball. We only had seven assists and 20 turnovers. We won the game because we reasserted our dominance of the glass. It was a tough win, but we’ll need to play better on all levels tomorrow night to beat a strong China team”
Chelsea Hopkins, PG (San Diego State) 4 points, 1 assist, 1 steal
Alexis Gray-Lawson, G (California) 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Aishah Sutherland, F (Kansas) 9 points, 6 rebounds
Taleya Mayberry, PG (Tulsa) 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
China Crosby, PG (Virginia) 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Tahnee Robinson, G (Nevada) 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Aulani Sinclair, F (Indiana) 16 points (4-of-9 3’s), 5 rebounds, 1 steal
Nikki Greene, C (Penn State) 6 points, 6 rebounds
Sarah Eichler, F (Green Bay) 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Chelsea Poppens, F (Iowa State) 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals
Jessica Lawson, C (South Florida) 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal
Talia Caldwell, C (California) 11 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal
Earlier in the evening China played their best game of the tour in beating Hungary 97-75 while shooting over 55% from the field. This sets up a rematch between host China and the USA All-Stars for the title in Chengdu. The USA is now 5-0, followed by China (4-1), Australia (1-4) and Hungary (0-5).