TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- The U.S. women turned in another strong performance with an 81-60 win over New Zealand in tournament pool play at the 2007 Women’s William Jones Cup held Monday night at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium.
It marked the team’s third-straight victory after opening the tournament 0-2 versus the defending world champion Australian National Team and Chinese Taipei (B). Team USA is currently in third place and has put itself in position to medal behind Australia (5-0) and Chinese Taipei-B (4-1) in the overall team standings.
Oklahoma’s Leah Rush led the U.S. with a game-high 21 points and 15 rebounds, while George Washington’s Sarah-Jo Lawrence added 13 points and nine rebounds to the winning effort. Texas A&M’s La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas) shot 66 percent from the floor (4-of-6) to round out all players in double figures with 10. Micheaux, a Big 12 Conference All-Defensive Team selection this past season, also made one of the team’s five blocked shots for the game.
Team USA played well on defense and held New Zealand to just 29 percent (14-of-48) shooting from the floor and outrebounded their opponents by a margin of 45-28. The U.S. weathered first-half foul trouble by going to its bench for much-needed offense. Arizona State’s Briann January contributed 11 points, while Colorado’s Jackie McFarland and Iowa State’s Heather Ezell each had seven.
“We were able to really get out and run in transition against New Zealand,” Texas A&M associate head coach Vic Schaefer said. “We shared the basketball as well as any team I have coached in quite some time. It was fun to watch us make the extra pass on several occasions which led to easy layups in transition. Our perimeter defense is forcing people further and further out. Tonight, New Zealand was pushed out extremely far on the floor and had a hard time running their many sets.”
This is the first year for the U.S. Women’s Jones Cup Team to be sponsored by Athletes In Action which is an associate member of USA Basketball. The United States last fielded a Jones Cup team in 2000 and has brought home nine gold medals, four silver medals and four bronze medals since 1977. Schaefer is being assisted on the sidelines by Oklahoma City head coach Rob Edmisson and Texas A&M senior forward Katy Pounds (Shallowater, Texas).
“The confidence level of our entire team is extremely high right now,” Schaefer said. “We will play for a medal tomorrow and that is exciting. Give our kids all the credit in the world, because they have played their way into medal contention after starting off 0-2. They are incredible and God has really made an impact with the way these kids are playing. The light is bright in this team.”
The U.S. (3-2) will close out tournament play tomorrow against Chinese Taipei-A (2-3) at 5:30 p.m. local time. The Chinese Taipei (A) squad is coming off an 83-65 victory over the Chinese Taipei (B) squad on Monday. Other countries participating in the seven-team tournament include Korea (2-3), New Zealand (2-3) and Japan (0-6).
2007 WILLIAM JONES CUP
USA 81, NEW ZEALAND 60
July 16, 2007 – 5:30 p.m.
Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium
at Taipei, Taiwan
BOX SCORE – U.S. (3-2) LAWRENCE, Sarah-Jo 4-9 5-6 13; RUSH, Leah 7-13 4-6 21; EZELL, Heather 0-3 1-2 7; PLAYER, Jhasmin 2-8 0-0 4; MICHEAUX, La Toya 4-6 2-5 10; JANUARY, Briann 3-4 2-2 11; McFARLAND, Jackie 3-5 1-1 7; REED, Kendra 1-2 0-0 2; ALLISON, Rachel 0-2 4-4 4; NELP, Angie 0-0 0-0 0; TAYLOR-JAMES, Brittany 0-2 2-2 2; COLLINS, Kaite 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS 24-55 21-28 81.
USA……………………….. 38 43 – 81
New Zealand ............... 30 30 – 60
3-point goals – 4-14 (EZELL, Heather 2-8). Rebounds – 45 (RUSH, Leah 15). Assists – 10 (PLAYER, Jhasmin 3).