Wiggins Paces USA Once Again In 93-70 Win Over Hungary
July 1, 2007
STANFORD, Calif.- For the second time in three games, Candice Wiggins (San Diego, Calif.) held game-high scoring honors with 21 points as the USA Basketball Women's U21 World Championship Team (3-0) prevailed over Hungary (1-2) with a 93-70 victory on Sunday afternoon at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship in Moscow, Russia.
Wiggins, who poured in a game-best 30 points during USA's 90-88 win over Australia in the opener, made 8-17 from the field and was 3-8 from beyond the arc in 26 minutes.
In addition to Wiggins, the USA's offensive effort was aided in the paint by 14 points from Courtney Paris (Oklahoma / Piedmont, Calif.), Crystal Langhorne (Maryland / Willingboro, N.J.) scored 13 and Kia Vaughn(Rutgers / Bronx, N.Y.) had 12.
In other Group B action, Brazil (1-2) got its first win against Japan (1-2), 85-72, and Australia (1-1) plays Spain (1-1) in the day's final contest. In Group A, Canada (2-1) polished off Mali (0-3) 71-47, France (3-0) remained undefeated with a 91-80 victory over Belgium (1-2) and Russia (3-0) took China (0-3) to task to a tune of 97-70.
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.
'I think in the second half we got more serious about our defensive rebounding.,' said USA U21 National Team and Duke University (N.C.) head coachJoanne P. McCallie. 'I think in the first half we weren't as serious about it as we should have been. We're learning how to put the quarters together and put the games together. This has been a string of three games and we've learned an awful lot from each game, which puts us in a much better position going into the next game. It's a process of growth and maturity of this team and everybody figuring out what they can and cannot do, and also understand that defense and rebounding trump everything else.'
The game was tough from the get-go with 10 lead changes and five knotted scores through the bulk of the first half. With 1:24 to play in the first half, however,Ashley Houts(Georgia / Trenton, Ga.) swished a three to give the U.S. a 38-36 lead, one it would never relinquish. Wiggins closed out the half with five more points and the whistle blew with the U.S. on top 43-36.
'Hungary is a great team. Two years ago our 19 and under team played them and they played us really close,' said Wiggins. 'I think they have a lot of confidence against the United States because they did beat us that summer. We had to come out strong, we had to throw the knock out punch and we weren't able to. We got a lead and let them come back and gain confidence through that. That was probably the biggest problem.'
Both teams battled to start the second half and with 13:53 to play, Hungary came within four points, 55-51. With Hungary playing zone defense,Jolene Anderson(Wisconsin / Port Wing, Wis.) helped break things open with a 3-pointer at 13:39 to start a 10-3 run. Wiggins followed that by going coast-to-coast for an uncontested layin and Anderson hit another three on the USA's next possession. With 47 seconds to play in the third quarter Vaughn capped the run with a layup, putting the USA a double-digit 65-54 lead.
Following a Hungarian basket, Wiggins made a pair of free throws to not only close the third quarter with the USA in the lead 67-56, but also start the Americans on a 13-2 run that ended with the USA in command 78-58 with 6:37 to play. Hungary was never able to counter the attack and the United States came away with its third win in as many days.
Langhorne and Paris' seven rebounds apiece led the USA's 52-20 rebounding advantage, while Vaughn andLindsay Wisdom-Hylton(Purdue / Naperville, Ill.) grabbed six each.