U.S. Clinches Medal Round Berth At Pan American Games
Aug. 6, 2003
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Balanced scoring, an effective inside-out game and free throw shooting helped the USA Basketball Women's Pan American Games team (3-1) to its third consecutive victory with a foul-filled 93-78 win over Argentina (1-3) at the J.P. Duarte Center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Tuesday afternoon.
Demonstrating balanced scoring, five Americans scored in double figures, led by Rebekkah Brunson (Georgetown / Oxon Hill, Md.) and Loree Moore (Tennessee / Harbor City, Calif.) with 12 each, followed by Jamie Carey (Texas / Thornton, Colo.), Roneeka Hodges (Florida State / New Orleans, La.) and Laurie Koehn (Kansas State / Hesston, Kan.), who scored 11 apiece.
Moore and Stanford senior-to-be Nicole Powell (Phoenix, Ariz.) led the USA with six rebounds each. Powell also had five points (1-of-5 field, 0-2 3-point field goals and 3-of-4 free throws) to go along with the six rebounds (three offensive). She played a total of 15 minutes in a starting role, and collected two assists, a steal, three personal fouls and a turnover.
The win assured the USA a berth in the medal round, which will be comprised of the four top teams in the standings after Wednesday's final games in round-robin play among the six participating countries. Semifinals will be played Friday, Aug. 8 at 5:00 p.m. (all times EDT) and 7:00 p.m. The medal games will be held Saturday, Aug. 9, with the bronze medal game scheduled for 3:00 p.m. and the gold medal game at 5:00 p.m.
'I thought we didn't handle the pressure well in the first half, the physical part of the game,' said USA and University of Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan. 'We put together a series of scores and stops and tightened it up in the second half. We are a lot more comfortable as a team now. Everyone seems more in rhythm. We've gotten better defensively each game.'
After a rebound basket by Janel McCarville (Minnesota / Stevens Point, Wis.) made the score 27-20 with 7:36 left in the half, Argentina fashioned a 13-2 run to go in front 33-29 on a Laura Nicolini shot from the right wing with 2:31 left. The USA regained the lead with free throws from Hodges and a 3-pointer from Koehn, but Argentina answered with baskets on either end of a Powell free throw to take a 39-37 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The USA took control of the game in the third quarter, opening with an 11-4 run to take a 48-43 lead on Carey's 3-pointer from the left side with 6:29 left in the period. The USA then used an effective inside-out game to reel off nine unanswered points, capped by a Carey 3-pointer from NBA range, to push its advantage to 57-43 with 2:36 showing.
Leading 67-52 after the third period, the North Americans never allowed the Argentines to get closer than 11 points the remainder of the game, which disintegrated into a parade of fouls and free throws in the fourth quarter. Thirty-one of the game's 55 personal fouls were called in the second half, with 18 of those in the fourth quarter alone, and a total of five players fouled out of the game. Argentina scored 16 of its 31 second half points from the free throw line, while the USA's last 10 points came from the stripe.
The USA will conclude round-robin play Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m. against the host Dominican Republic, which was winless in three games going into a contest against Brazil Tuesday afternoon. At 3-0 before Tuesday's games, Cuba also has locked up a spot in the medal round. The other three spots would be decided between Brazil, Canada and Argentina, with the latter two meeting Wednesday in a game that could decide which will be the fourth team into the medal round.