World Championship Day 1 roundup: USA’s second-half surge leads to rout of China, Turkey stuns France
Canada’s Opening Victory
Canada opened the 2014 FIBA World Championship with a victory over Mozambique, 69-54, in Ankara, Turkey.
During the first half, Mozambique stayed within striking distance but Canada led at the break 35-32. “We were tight in the first quarter and made adjustments to extend our lead in the second,” said Canada head coach Lisa Thomaidis. “Mozambique was a quality opponent. We have respect for them and they are here (at World’s) for a reason.”
In the third quarter Canada limited Mozambique to ten points to establish a 53-42 lead heading into the final period. Kim Gaucher, Tamara Tatham and Miah-Marie Langlois led the way for Canada, scoring 11 points each in the win.
Canada faces Turkey on Sunday while Mozambique takes on France in the first game of the day.
Thomaidis: “We’ll need to raise our leve?l of play for tomorrow where we’ll play a strong Turkish team on their home court.
Canada is No. 9 in the FIBA rankings while Mozambique is No. 38.
Australia Rolls Over Cuba
The Australian Opals earned a convincing 90-57 win over Cuba in their opening contest. Phoenix Mercury star and Opals captain Penny Taylor led her team with a game-high 20 points plus four rebounds and four assists.
Head coach Brendan Joyce complimented the defensive efforts of his squad.
“Cuba are better than that performance, but the reason they didn’t play that well was because of the commitment of our players on the defensive end,” said Joyce.
Australia faces South Korea on Sunday while Cuba plays Belarus.
Turkey’s Home Cooking
Turkey capitalized on their home court advantage in stunning 50-48 victory over France. Les Bleues entered the tournament ranked No. 4 in the world while Turkey sits at No. 13.
Isil Alben’s three-pointer late in the fourth quarter propelled her team over France in Ankara. Trailing by ten points at halftime, Turkey fought their way back in the third quarter and end the period with a slim 38-37 lead.
The contest remained close throughout the fourth quarter. The French team led 48-47 with 1:58 left in the contest but about a minute later Alben launched her three-point dagger to snatch the win for her team.
Turkey faces Canada on Sunday while France plays Mozambique.
USA’s Third Quarter Surge Leads to Rout
The top-ranked USA team started their championship campaign with a bang as 6-8 center Brittney Griner dunked just two minutes into an opening match against No. 9 China. The U.S. secured the first victory of the tournament with a 87-56 win.
However, even though the U.S. came out on a 7-0 run, China quickly fought back to tie the game 7-7. While they never managed to capture the lead, the Chinese national team nipped at the heels of the U.S. through the first half. The U.S. led 39-32 at the break.
The No. 1-ranked squad opened the second half with a 9-0 run and limited China to just eight points in the third quarter while scoring 21 to establish dominance for the rest of the contest.
“It’s the kind of game that you would hope to have as the first game of the tournament, where you have to play really well against China defensively because they do a lot of good stuff on the offensive end,” said USA head coach Geno Auriemma. “And we didn’t make any shots in the first half at all. I think in one possession we had six shots at the basket, and five of them were inside a foot-and-a-half, two feet. So, when we went in at halftime we talked about it, and then stuff started going in. So, it was good that we started the game in the first half under a little bit of duress and we finished the game on a high, so that’s great going into tomorrow against another really good team in Serbia.”
The USA plays against Serbia (1-0) Sunday (2:30 p.m. EDT live on NBA TV and ESPN3) wraps up its preliminary slate against Angola (0-1) on Sept. 30 (2:30 p.m. EDT live on NBA TV and ESPN3).
China plays Angola on Sunday.
Day 1 Statistical Leaders
Penny Taylor (Australia) 20
Tina Charles (USA) 15
Katerina Bartonová (Czech Republic) 8
Dajana Butulija (Serbia) 5
Brittney Griner (USA) 4
|2:00 p.m./7:00 a.m. ET||France – Mozambique||2:15 p.m./7:15 a.m. ET||Australia – South Korea|
|4:15 p.m./9:15 a.m. ET||Czech Republic – Japan||4:30 p.m./9:30 a.m. ET||Angola – China|
|7:00 p.m./12:00 p.m. ET||Canada – Turkey||7:15 p.m./12:15 p.m. ET||Belarus – Cuba|
|9:15 p.m./2:15 p.m. ET||Spain – Brazil||9:30 pm/2:30 p.m. ET||USA – Serbia|
5. Czech Republic
11. South Korea