July 20, 2013
BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY
PANEVĖˇYS, Lithuania - The 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team (3-0) did not waste much time in establishing control over Mali (0-3), sprinting to a 30-5 opening run before cruising in for a 103-26 victory at the FIBA U19 World Championship on Saturday in Panevezys, Lithuania.
All 11 available players put points on the board and six finished in double digits, including a game-high of 17 from UConn's Breanna Stewart. Tennessee's Bashaara Graves posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"To Mali's credit, they played really, really hard," said USA Head Coach Katie Meier. "They disrupted us a little bit and turned us over in the last five minutes of the game. The stats don't look as nice as we wanted them to. Overall if you were at the game I think you saw a team that was committed to each other, more than happy to share the basketball and really listening to the coaches. They are doing everything we need from them right now."
Mali held a brief 45-second lead early in the game, 3-2. But a pair of put-backs by Graves bookended two to edge the U.S. out in front 7-3 at 7:10. From there, the red, white and blue simply dominated.
Receiving points from eight different players in a 23-0 scoring burst, including five apiece from Stewart and her UConn teammate Morgan Tuck, who scored nine points on the night, the American women were suddenly up 30-5 with just over a minute left in the first quarter. By the end of the stanza the lead was 35-6.
In the first quarter alone, the USA shot 68.2 percent (15-22 FGs) from the field, dished out eight assists, had five steals, scored 18 points off of 10 Mali turnovers and outscored its opponent 24-0 in the paint.
Outscoring Mali 26-4 in the second quarter, the U.S. headed to the locker room with a commanding 61-10 advantage.
The second half was more of the same as the Americans outscored Mali 25-7 in the third quarter and 17-9 in the fourth.
"As the game went on they got more physical and more intense," said Plum. "That's just a huge respect level for your opponent. That says a lot about your character when you don't give up, even when you get stuffed. They kept playing harder and harder as the game went on. So, I have a lot of respect for them."
"It says a lot," said Graves. "They definitely wanted to play with us and they played with us. They kept playing through the whole game."
The USA finished the game shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point, while holding Mali to 21.2 percent overall and just 7.7 from beyond the arc. Further, the U.S. owned a 64-26 rebounding margin, scored 35 points off of 25 turnovers, outscored Mali 62-14 in the paint, 20-2 on second chances, 20-2 on the fast break and 45-10 off the bench.
The USA advances to the second round as the top seed in the group and will meet up with Netherlands (1-2) on July 22 (1:15 p.m. EDT), followed by Canada (2-1) on July 23 (1:15 p.m. EDT) and currently also unbeaten France (3-0) on July 24 (1:15 p.m. EDT). Upon the conclusion of the second round, the top four finishing teams in each group will advance to the Quarterfinals, which will be played on July 26. The semifinals will be held on July 27 and the finals on July 28.