July 23, 2013
PANEVĖˇYS, Lithuania -- Bashaara Graves had 10 points, as the USA passed its hardest test yet with an 88-54 win over Canada on Tuesday in second round play at the 2013 FIBA World Championship for Women.
Already qualified for the quarterfinals, the USA's final second round game will determine whether it advances as the No. 1 or No. 2 seed from Group F, as the American women meet up against also-unbeaten France (5-0) on Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. Eastern time. Live stats will be available at www.fibalivestats.com
The top four finishing teams in each second round group will advance to the Quarterfinals, which will be played on Friday. The semifinals will be held on Saturday and the finals on Sunday, both of which will be streamed live online by ESPN3.
As was the case in Monday's rout of the Netherlands, Graves was one of five Americans scoring in double figures. This time around, the rising Lady Vol sophomore hit four of six shot attempts and added six rebounds, two steals, an assist and a blocked shot in 20 minutes of action to help the USA stave off a challenge from its neighbor to the north.
Graves continues to lead the USA in field goal percentage at 68 percent on 17 of 25 shooting for the tournament. She's also averaging 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds for her squad while starting all five contests.
USA, which had dominated its first four opponents by an average score of 105.3 to 42.8, managed only a 25-16 lead after the first quarter on Tuesday and went into the locker room with a 47-31 advantage after out-pointing Canada, 22-15, in the second stanza.
Words of encouragement and wisdom at halftime seemed to breathe new life into the Americans, as they blew the game open in the third frame with a 31-11 spree over 10 minutes of action. They were unable to close in strong fashion, though, as Canada outscored the USA five in the final quarter, 12-10, for the final 34-point margin.
"At the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, we played great," said USA U19 and University of Miami head coach Katie Meier. "It took us a little bit of time to establish ourselves and our tempo. It was a nine-point game there close to the end of the second quarter and we pushed it to 16 at halftime. Then, our starters were taking care of business at the start of the third quarter. A 31-point third quarter, when points were hard to come by tonight, I thought that was the difference in the game."
Graves said the previous meeting between the teams, in the Lanzarote International Invitational leading up to this tournament, gave the Canadians a better idea of how to attack and defend the Americans.
"They were very physical; you could tell they scouted us very well," said Graves. "It was kind of hard to go through our plays and made it hard for people who usually get their shots off, to get good shots. They were definitely ready to run with us.
"We didn't get as many transition points as we usually do. This was our lowest scoring game. They knew exactly how we played, especially since we played against them before (in the Canary Islands). It was kind of hard."
Holding a narrow 44-39 rebounding margin, the USA shot 44.9 percent from the field and was on fire from 3-point land, hitting 42.9 percent (6-14 3pt FGs) from beyond the arc, while holding Canada to 32.8 percent from the field. Further, the USA dished out 22 assists on 35 baskets, scored 25 points off of 28 Canada turnovers, while allowing Canada to score just seven from its 15 miscues. The USA outscored Canada 44-24 in the paint, 17-8 on second chances and 8-0 on the fast break.