Team USA, coached by NetScouts Basketball’s Chris Denker, used a balanced scoring attack and good team defense to beat Australia 77-47 in Fuling, China. It was the first game of the 3-game tournament in Fuling, the teams will then move on to another city within the Chongqing City Region.
The game was preceded by the Opening Ceremony attended by the city’s dignitaries and over 3,500 fans. After the teams were led out under banners and flags from their respective countries, there were speeches and opening remarks from the District Director of Sports. That was followed by performances by local dance teams including one children’s dance unit.
The US jumped out to a 20-11 first quarter lead and expanded it to 34-17 at half. Australia closed the gap after three but the American defense swarmed Australia forcing numerous turnovers that led to 30 points in the final period. The USA out-rebounded Australia by 38-28 as they grabbed 19 offensive rebounds. Team USA will look to improve their shooting as they only shot 39% from the floor and 32% from the 3-point line, making eight three’s in the process.
Talisa Rhea (Seattle U.) had 16 points, Rebekah Gardner (UCLA) had 13 points & 6 rebounds, and Katie Bussey had 11 points (three 3’s) for the Americans.
Comments from Coach Chris Denker:
I was really pleased with how well we played defensively, we made some early adjustments to what the Aussies were trying to do and made those adjustments work. We encouraged the squad to get stops and turn them into points and we did that tonight. We forced 28 Aussie turnovers and had an amazing 25 steals, Jasmin Holliday (Oregon) and ReZina TecleMariam (Portland) each had four.
I really thought all 10 players contributed in a positive way tonight but I’d point to Kali Bennett (6’5 C Arizona State) for her defense. Kali had seven rebounds, three steals, one block and too many deflections to count. She also hit two 3’s which was unexpected but great. Jalana Childs (6’2 F Kansas State) had six rebounds including five offensive which kept a lot of possessions alive that we later scored on. Talisa Rhea was solid all-around besides the fact that she led us in scoring, she made a couple of great defensive plays and through some nice passes, one that Andrew Luck wishes he could throw, a bullet pass to Bek for a layup.
Speaking of Bek, she played with great energy and Casey Garrison (Missouri State) had a nice floor game for us, she and Talisa are like having multiple point guards on the floor. Casey is amazing with her R/L hands, she hit a lefty hook in the lane that was nice. Z (ReZina TecleMariam) had a rather fancy behind the back pass tonight that brought the crowd to its feet. The beauty of it was that it was the only pass she had and it needed to be thrown, she made it happen.
Katie Bussey (5’8, Montana State) 11 points, 2 steals (three 3pt. FG’s)
ReZina TecleMariam (5’8, Portland) 5 points, 3 rebounds, 4 steals
Talisa Rhea (5’11, Oregon State/Seattle) 16 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
Casey Garrison (6’0, Missouri State) 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals
Rebekah Gardner (6’1, UCLA) 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals
Jasmin Holliday (6’0, Oregon) 3 points, 4 steals
Natalie Day (6’0, Portland) 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Jalana Childs (6’2, Kansas State) 9 points, 6 rebounds
Rachael Hackbarth (6’3, Drake) 4 points, 5 rebounds
Kali Bennett (6’5, Arizona State) 5 points, 7 rebounds
-Fuling is a city of nearly 1.1 Million people
-Fuling is a very hot & humid city that sits on one of the longest rivers in the world, the Yangtze River.
-China beat New Zealand in the second game
-Saturday’s match-ups are: China vs. Australia and USA vs. New Zealand