U.S. Runs Past Brazil At Pan American Games

Aug. 4, 2003

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Powered by a surge in defensive intensity and 20 points on record-setting 6-for-6 3-point accuracy from Jamie Carey (Texas/Thornton, Colo.), the USA Basketball Women's Pan American Team (2-1) gave its medal hopes a vital boost with a 77-64 upset over previous undefeated Brazil (2-1) Monday in the J.P. Duarte Center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The Americans shattered USA Pan American Games single-game records for 3-point goals made and attempted in a game, nailing 10-of-16 from beyond the arc to claim the victory and surpass the 7-of-14 performance recorded against Cuba in Havana in 1991.

'This was by far the best game since we've been together,' said head coach Debbie Ryan (University of Virginia). 'We played great team defense today. We did an excellent job guarding the post. We did a good job of staying together and not getting past the free throw line, and obviously we shot the ball well.

Appropriately, the USA took its first lead on a pair of 3-point goals in the third quarter, but they came from Laurie Koehn (Kansas State/Hesston, Kan.), who spelled Carey when she picked up three quick fouls in the third quarter.

Trailing 44-32 at halftime, the USA opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run sparked by Rebekkah Brunson (Georgetown/Oxon Hill, Md.). Sidelined by fouls less than two minutes into the game, Brunson inspired the USA with her strong play in the paint against the taller, more experienced Brazilian players in the second half. The Americans carried that energy to the defensive end, where they stymied Brazil's offense by challenging passes and aggressive board work.

Brunson reeled off eight straight points through the middle of the third quarter, then Loree Moore (Tennessee/ Harbor City, Calif.) drove the left baseline to close the U.S. to within two, 48-46, with 5:34 showing in the third. After Brazil sandwiched four free throws around a basket by Ann Strother (Connecticut/Castle Rock, Colo.), Koehn went to work, drilling two 3-pointers from the left side to put the USA in front 54-52 at 2:08 in the third. The USA did not trail the remainder of the game.

Nicole Powell (Stanford/Phoenix, Ariz.) made a key block with 38 seconds left in the period, stifling a Brazilian fast break that would have tied the score and giving the USA a fresh surge of momentum. After a steal, Koehn found Moore for a transition layup that gave the USA a 56-52 advantage at the end of the third quarter.

Brazil's Silvia Luz single-handedly put together a 6-2 run to open the fourth quarter and tie the game at 58 with 8:01 remaining. Benningfield then sparked a 16-0 USA run that featured a pair of Carey 3-pointers and two Brunson transition layups off steals by Moore and Powell. Benningfield's 3-pointer from left of the key pushed the USA's advantage to 74-58 with 3:40 to go. During the run, the USA's aggressive defense disrupted the Brazilians and kept them from finding a rhythm.

Brunson and Benningfield each tossed in 13 points to support Carey, while Benningfield and Powell led the Americans with four rebounds apiece. Powell played 26 minutes off the bench, and was 0-of-4 from the floor and 0-3 from 3-point range, while grabbing the four rebounds (all defensive). She also had an assist, two turnovers and a personal foul.

Brazil was led by Adriana Pinto with 16 points.

The USA will face Argentina (1-2) tomorrow at 1 p.m. (EDT) as preliminary play continues. In other action today, Cuba (3-0) stomped Argentina 83-57 and Canada (1-2) earned its first win after rocking the Dominican Republic (0-3) 81-51.

--- Story courtesy of USA Basketball

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