USA Drops U19 World Championship Opener to Spain 90-86
July 23, 2009
BANGKOK, Thailand - Despite coming back from a 17-point first-half deficit and having five players score in double digits, the 2009 USA U19 World Championship Team (0-1) suffered a narrow 90-86 defeat to Spain (1-0) to open FIBA U19 World Championship play on Thursday evening in Bangkok, Thailand.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike led the USA's scoring with 16 points to go with eight rebounds, Skylar Diggins and Chay Shegog scored 13 each, Shenise Johnson scored 11 and grabbed a game-best nine boards, while Samantha Prahalis chipped in 10 points and dished out a game-high four assists.
"Spain is a very good team," said Carol Owens, USA and Northern Illinois University head coach. "They are hard to guard, especially for our big players. They sent them out on the perimeter, they set a lot of screens. We got ourselves in foul trouble, we dug ourselves a hole. We fought back hard, but it's important for us to take this game and understand how a sense of urgency right from the beginning is so important against any team."
The U.S. continues preliminary round play against China on July 24 (8:45 a.m. EDT) and closes first round play against Mali on July 25 (8:45 a.m. EDT). The top three finishing teams in each preliminary round group will advance to the July 27-29 second round. The quarterfinals will be played on July 31, semifinal action is scheduled for Aug. 1 and the gold medal will be contested on Aug. 2.
The first quarter was close throughout the first eight minutes of play and with Spain up a point, 13-12, the USA was outscored 9-0 and Spain took a 22-12 lead at the quarter break.
The second quarter saw the Spaniards jump to a 17-point, 44-27, advantage with 2:40 to play in the half. Closing the first half on a mini 5-2 run, the United States headed into the locker room trailing 46-32.
Spain, which hit 11-of-13 of its attempts from the line in the first half and a sizzling 5-of-8 from 3-point land, forced the U.S. into 14 turnovers in the opening half. The U.S. held a slim 17-15 rebounding advantage heading into the locker room, but only made 3-of-8 from behind the arc and 5-of-10 from the charity stripe in the first half. Making matters worse, Diggins picked up two quick fouls and only saw five minutes of action, while Kelsey Bone (Dulles H.S. /Stafford, Texas) also saw limited minutes due to a pair of fouls, playing just six minutes in the first half.
The second half opened with a Spain bucket at 9:34, but the USA quickly turned the tide. By playing better defense and not fouling Spain, the U.S. was able to make some stops defensively and its offense started clicking. Behind the scoring of five different players, the American women mounted a 16-5 run and was back in the game, 53-48, with 4:47 to play in the third period.
With Spain holding a six-point, 58-52, lead, the United States went on another run to take its first lead since the opening period. Ogwumike got a put-back, followed by a perfect 4-of-4 from the line by Diggins to tie the game at 58-all with 1:23 left in the stanza. Ogwumike then hit the second of two tries from the line to give the U.S. a 59-58 edge with less than a minute showing on the clock. After a Spain free throw, Layshia Clarendon got a steal and C'eira Ricketts converted to end the third period with the USA on top 61-59.
Receiving seven points from Ogwumike, the United States went up 66-61 with 8:10 to play. However, during that stretch Diggins picked up her fourth foul and LaSondra Barrett, who finished with eight points and five boards, was whistled for her third.
Spain knotted the game at 66-66 at the 7:32 mark to kick-off a 21-1 run from which the U.S. would never fully recover. Spain got its next nine points from the charity stripe as Ogwumike was called for a pair of fouls, putting her in trouble with four, and Prahalis also picked up her fourth. By the time the run ended with just under five minutes to play, Spain was out in front 82-67.
Attempting one final comeback, the U.S. outscored Spain 12-2 over the next 3:22 to close within five points, 84-75, with 1:35 remaining. Coming within two points, 88-86, with seven seconds to go, the United States was forced to foul and Leonora Rodriguez, who finished as Spain's leading scorer with 23 points, nailed both attempts with 6.2 seconds to go to seal the victory.
The U.S., which won the battle of the boards by a 37-24 margin, dished out 12 assists but shot just 38.7 percent (29-75 FGs) from the field, 20.0 percent (3-15 3pt FGs) from afar and 69.4 percent (25-36 FTs) from the line. Spain fared slightly better, shooting 41.5 percent (27-65 FGs) from the field, 73.7 percent (28-38 FTs) from the charity stripe and a devastating 47.1 percent (8-17 3pt FGs) from 3-point.
Story from USA Basketball