Aug. 22, 2001
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – 1999 World University Games Team member Ayana Walker (Louisiana Tech / Houston, Texas) scored 27 points to lead the USA Women’s World University Games Team (1-0) in their 134-37 defeat over South Africa (0-2) as competition got underway on Wednesday afternoon in Beijing.
The Americans dominated the entire game and with 4:43 to play in the first quarter held a 26-4 lead over South Africa. Walker recorded 11 of her 27 points in the game’s first ten minutes, while Purdue’s Shereka Wright (Copperas Cove, Texas) scored eight of her eventual 21 points during that time. Struggling to keep up with the USA’s quickness, South African committed five fouls in the game’s first three minutes, sending the USA women to the line nine times. The USA outscored South Africa 40-10 and 36-9 in the game’s first two quarters respectively, while outrebounding South Africa 21-7 in the first half.
Chrissy Floyd was 4-6 from the field and had two rebounds. She also had three steals. She finished the game with nine points.
The USA started the second half on a 14-0 run, leading 90-19 at the 6:28 mark. The Americans continued to increase their lead and stood ahead by 80 points, 107-27, at the end of the third quarter and then sailed in for the 134-37 win.
“It feels great to actually start competition,” said Wright. “We’ve been hanging out and training in China for a quite a while, so everybody’s happy to begin competition and to go for the gold medal.”
Caton Hill (Oklahoma / Ada, Okla.) recorded 17 points, grabbed a team high eight rebounds and shot an impressive 9-10f rom the line. Rounding out the list of scorers were Oregon’s Shaquala Williams (Portland, Ore.) with 16 points, Standford’s Lindsey Yamasaki (Oregon City, Ore.) with 12 and Colorado’s Jenny Roulier (Englewood, Colo.) with 10.
South Africa could not stand up to the American defense as the USA forced 35 South African turnovers while only giving up four.
“I thought that our defense really fueled our offense,” said USA Basketball Women’s World University Games and University of Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan. “We started the game off by really pressuring South Africa, getting in the passing lane and pushing the ball, which helped us get to a really quick start. We scored 76 points in the first half which is a lot of points for one half. I was really pleased with the defensive effort though because that’s what really fueled us.
“It was great to get started today,” continued Ryan. “We played the warm-up tournament (Dong Du Cup) which was great, but then we had all of that time in between. Our players got a little bit antsy to play. Now we don’t have much time off between now and when we go home. I think it’s going to be a good tournament and this a very good start.”
Ryan is assisted by University of Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder and East Carolina University (N.C.) head coach Dee Stokes.
The USA returns to action tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. at the Tsinghua University Gymnasium as it faces Canada (1-0). The Americans defeated the Canadians 89-41 on Aug. 15 in the Dong Du Cup in Zhangjiagang, China.
“We played Canada once, but I think they’ve improved since then,” said Ryan. “They scored 88 points in a scrimmage yesterday against Taipei. I think we’re going to have to really buckle down and place good defense and control the boards like we did the first time. Making those easy shots for us is something that we’re going to have to focus on better.”
The USA Women conclude World University Games preliminary round play on Thursday, Aug. 16 against China at 7:00 p.m. (local).
The 2001 World University Games features 17 teams that have been divided into four preliminary round pools. The United States is in Pool B with Canada, Japan and South Africa. Tournament quarterfinals play gets underway Aug. 27, with semifinals being conducted Aug. 30 and the medal games being held Aug. 31. All times are local Beijing, China time which is 12 hours ahead of EDT.
The World University Games, held every two years and organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU), is a multi-sport competition open to men and women between the ages of 17 and 28 (born between Jan. 1, 1973 and Dec. 31, 1983) and who are, or have been within the past year, a student at a college or university. The USA Women have enjoyed outstanding success in the World University Games and have earned 11 medals in 12 appearances, including four golds, six silvers and one bronze medal, and have compiled an overall record of 68-14 (82.9 winning percentage) since beginning World University Games play in 1973. In the last competition, which was held in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, the U.S. finished with a 4-2 record and the silver medal. The USA Women last earned the World University Games gold in Sicily in 1997.
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