Wiggins Pops For 30, Fuels 90-88 USA Comeback Win

June 29, 2007

STANFORD, Calif.- Candice Wiggins poured in a game-high 30 points on 10-15 shooting from the field to help fuel an impressive comeback by the USA Basketball Women's U21 World Championship Team, which edged Australis 90-88 at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship in Moscow, Russia.

Wiggins also knocked down four three-pointers and was 6-7 from the charity stripe as Team USA improved to 1-0. Also helping the cause was Crystal Langhorne's (Maryland / Willingboro, N.J.) double-double of 24 points and 16 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive end.

'It was coming from everybody, the bench, the coaches, the people on the court, everybody was always telling us we're going to get back,' said Wiggins. 'Everyone was believing in it, it was really genuine. In our hearts we knew we were going to come back. That says a lot about our team and I'm so excited. It was our first game, but it was a huge win for us.'

In other Group B action, Spain (1-0) needed double overtime to score a 90-86 victory over Brazil (0-1), while Hungary (1-0) defeated Japan (0-1) 77-58. In Group A, China opens against France, Russia will meet Canada and the day concludes with a match between Mali and Belgium.

The American women continue play on June 30 against Brazil at 8:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m. EDT) and face Hungary on July 1 at 3:45 p.m. (7:45 a.m. EDT). Following a day off, the USA resumes preliminary round play on July 3 against Spain at 1:30 p.m. (5:30 a.m. EDT) and on July 4 the squad will celebrate the country's birthday with an 11:15 a.m. (3:15 a.m. EDT) tip against Japan. Quarterfinals are slated for July 6, the semifinals will be held on July 7 and the finals are scheduled for July 8.

'There was a lack of readiness on our team's part,' said USA U21 National Team and Duke University (N.C.) head coachJoanne P. McCallie. 'You're excited to play, but being excited to play doesn't mean you're ready to play. We just weren't quite ready. Heck, Australia's anthem didn't even get played. They were upset to begin the game. Then they came out very strong, they hit some big shots and established momentum early. For us, we had to claw. That was a blue collar game.

'Looking at the fourth quarter, you have to give credit to our team, that's a 27-18 run, that was an extremely dominant fourth quarter and that was the difference in the game.'

The U.S., which took its first lead of the game with less than 2:00 remaining, lagged by 16 points (27-11) eight minutes into the contest. By halftime the USA had cut it to 44-35 and with 10 minutes to play it was a seven-point, 70-63, game.

By the 6:02 mark the gap had narrowed to 79-73 and the U.S. was gaining momentum.Jolene Anderson(Wisconsin / Port Wing, Wis.) scored on an offensive rebound, followed by another Langhorne put-back and with 4:28 remaining the USA trailed by just two points, 79-77. However, each time the USA attempted to pull ahead Australia countered and with the clock showing 2:51 the Sapphires had upped their lead to five, 85-80.

The USA refused to give up and as Wiggins scored five points in a 7-0 run, the USA's defense began to stifle Australia into turnovers and poor shots. With 1:26 to play Wiggins was fouled from the top of the key and converted the 3-point play to give the red, white and blue its first lead of the game, 87-85.

Australia's Renae Camino, who notched 18 points in the first half on 7-of-12 from the field in the first half, scored her lone points of the second with a 3-pointer at 1:07. It was Australia's final points, giving her squad a narrow 88-87 edge. With 48 seconds left Wiggins was well-screened, wide open, got a great feed fromCourtney Paris(Oklahoma / Piedmont, Calif.) and swished in a three to put the U.S. back on top, 90-88.

Anderson came up with a steal with about a half minute to go, but Australia's defenders wouldn't allow the Americans to cross the line and the refs whistled a back-court violation on the USA. Australia inbounded the ball wtih 14.6 ticks on the clock, worked the ball around looking for a shot, but the U.S. was switching on everything. After all the threes Australia had made, and how hard the U.S. fought to claw its way into the lead, there was no way the Americans were about to give it up easily.

With the pressure turned on, Australia's shot was off andAbby Waner(Duke / Highlands Ranch, Colo.) came up with the rebound. Australia tried to force the USA into another back court whistle, however, the Americans got it over the line in under eight seconds and finally the buzzer signaled the end of the USA's first test at the FIBA U21 World Championship.

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