July 18, 2013
PANEVĖˇYS, Lithuania -- Tennessee's Bashaara Graves scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, helping the USA roll past host country Lithuania, 113-47, on Thursday in pool play at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women at Cido Arena.
Graves, who started at power forward for the Americans, sank five of seven shots from the field and three of four attempts from the free throw line in a team-high 21 minutes of duty. In addition to hitting double figures in scoring and tying for the team lead in rebounds, the 6-foot-2 Clarksville, Tenn., (Clarksville H.S.) native posted two assists, a steal and a blocked shot for the USA.
"It was great," Graves said of the atmosphere and her team's play. "It was good to be on the floor playing in front of that crowd, especially in front of the (Lithuanian) home crowd. We had a lot of energy and we played very well."
UConn's Breanna Stewart paced the USA scoring attack, firing in 26 points with eight-of-11 accuracy from the field and eight-for-eight prowess from the charity stripe. She also added five rebounds, three steals and two assists in 20 minutes on the court.
"Our starting lineup, our veterans showed their experience to start that game," said USA U19 and University of Miami head coach Katie Meier. "It was an awesome display. They really were sharp, shared the ball, talked through defensive assignments and schemes. So, I was very pleased."
In a contest in which all 12 players scored, the Americans put the game away early, bolting to a 38-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. It was ignited by a 6-0 start and 14-2 overall run to open the festivities.
"We just came out, we had really good defense, we got a lot of steals and we were sharing the ball well," Graves said. "We were just playing very well together and that's how everybody got to score."
By halftime, the lead had ballooned to 67-31. Things got even worse in the second half for the host country, as a stifling USA defense limited Lithuania to only 16 points in the second 20 minutes of action while Meier's club scored 46 of its own.
Graves contributed to a dominating performance by USA around the basket, as the Americans won the points in the paint battle (68-24) and the scrap for second-chance points (28-2), while out-rebounding the hosts, 53-19.
The Lady Vol's five-for-seven marksmanship from the floor contributed to the USA connecting on 44 of its 80 shots to the tune of 55 percent.
The aggressive and active Americans held a 21-1 advantage in steals, converting those thefts into 39 points, while committing 16 miscues and allowing only eight points off those errors.
Meier wasn't happy about the turnovers, with all but one coming without a steal credited to the opponent.
""We had 16 turnovers and they only had one steal, so we weren't getting live ball turnovers," stated Meier. "That's the big difference. It wasn't like we were throwing it to the other team. We were traveling or moving our pivot foot or getting an offensive foul.
"But, we're okay. It's expected. This is a big stage for some of these kids. This is the first time playing in something like this. I thought the second half was really good. I think when I look at the second half (again), I'll be really pleased."
The USA will be back in action on Friday, as the squad faces off vs. China at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time (8:15 p.m. (EET). Live stats will be available at www.fibalivestats.com