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WBB: Jones helps lead USA Basketball to victory over Lithuania

Posted July 19, 2013

Breanna Stewart (Connecticut / North Syracuse, N.Y.), who was a perfect 6-of-6 and scored 19 of her game-high 26 points in the first quarter, led the 2013 USA U19 Women’s U19 World Championship Team (1-0) to a 113-47 victory in its FIBA U19 World Championship opener over host Lithuania (0-1) on Thursday night in Panevezys, Lithuania.

Duke sophomore Alexis Jones started at guard and totaled six points, a game-high five steals, four rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes. Jones, who is out of Midland, Texas, hit 3-of-6 field goals during her time.

In other Group D action, China (1-0) downed Mali (0-1) 97-44. The U.S. continues preliminary round play with a July 19 contest (1:15 p.m. EDT) against China and closes out against Mali on July 20 (1:15 p.m. EDT).

In a game that saw all 12 players score, the USA had four players finish with double digits, including Morgan Tuck (Connecticut / Bolingbrook, Ill.), who scored 18 points, added five boards and dished out a game-high six assists. Bashaara Graves (Tennessee / Clarksville, Tenn.) scored 13 points and hauled in a team-high (tie) seven rebounds, while USA Basketball rookie Nia Coffey (Hopkins H.S. / Minneapolis, Minn.) scored 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line.

“Our starting lineup, our veterans showed their experience to start that game,” said USA U19 and University of Miami head coach Katie Meier. “It was an awesome display. They really were sharp, shared the ball, talked through defensive assignments and schemes. So, I was very pleased.

“The bright lights, she knows when it’s time to shine and she was just …,” added Meier, who trailed off when talking about Stewart’s performance. “Her efficiency, too. She only missed two shots in the first half. She missed one three and one jumper. Her stroke was perfect and what I love about this team is that they were saying, ‘we’ll get it to Stewie. We have to feed Stewie.’ When she’s hitting her jumper, she’s very hard to guard. She was stroking it tonight.”

Moriah Jefferson (Connecticut / Glenn Heights, Texas), who finished with eight points and three assists, put the U.S. on the board 29 seconds into the contest and the Americans never trailed. Stewart followed with a pair of buckets as the USA went up 6-0 to start in its 14-2 opening run.

By the time Lithuania scored again – getting three in a single trip to the line – the Americans had five steals and the tempo of the game was being fully dictated by the red, white and blue. By the 6:55 mark, all five starters had scored and when the second wave came in at 5:37, the game was well in hand, 22-7.

“Our group that started, we were really clicking on all cylinders,” said Tuck on the USA’s opening run. “Our defense was good. Our press was really aggressive and we were getting our hands on the ball. We were really just running the floor. When Moriah (Jefferson) or Lex (Jones) would get a steal, then me, Bre (Stewart) and Bashaara (Graves) were just running the floor and getting layups.”

At the end of the period the USA was up 38-15, already had six of its 21 steals, and scored 17 points off of eight Lithuanian turnovers.

“I think it was a mixture of both (being open and being hot). They weren’t playing that great of a defense. It seemed that after a cut, you’d be open. But at the same time, there were some of my shots that just went in,” said Stewart, who was three points shy of tying the USA’s U19 single-game record (29, Alana Beard in 2001).

“Oh, she was amazing,” said Bashaara Graves on Stewart’s performance. “She was hitting everything. We definitely wanted to get it to her, because she was hot. She stayed hot and they couldn’t guard her. She had an amazing first quarter, first half really.”

Never letting up, by halftime the USA’s lead was up to 67-31. The American women outscored Lithuania 31-9 in the third quarter and 15-7 in the fourth, going up by as many as 68 (110-42), to close the night with the lopsided victory.

In addition to the double-digit scorers, A’ja Wilson (Heathwood Hall H.S / Hopkins, S.C.) scored nine points, had seven boards and four blocked shots; while Linnae Harper (Whitney Young H.S. / Chicago, Ill.) and Kelsey Plum (La Jolla Country Day / Poway, Calif.) chipped in seven points apiece.

Stewart finished the night making 8-of-11 from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 from the line, while grabbing five boards, dishing out two assists and nabbing three steals in 20 minutes of play. Her shooting from the line ranks second (tie) among all-time USA leaders for perfect percentage from the charity stripe. Melissa Lechlitner in 2007 hit 10-of-10 and Skylar Diggins in 2009 went 8-of-8 from the line in a single game.

Dominating in every category, the USA outrebounded the Europeans 60-23, scored 39 points off of 28 turnovers, had a 68-24 advantage in the paint, 28-2 on second chances and 42-24 off the bench. Further, Lithuania managed just eight points off the USA’s 16 turnovers, while the USA had 28 steals and the hosts managed just one. Shooting a sizzling 55.0 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point, the Americans held Lithuania to 29.5 percent from the floor and 22.0 percent beyond the arc.

“We had 16 turnovers and they only had one steal, so we weren’t getting live ball turnovers,” stated Meier. “That’s the big difference. It wasn’t like we were throwing it to the other team. We were traveling or moving our pivot foot or getting an offensive foul. But, we’re okay. It’s expected. This is a big stage for some of these kids. This is the first time playing in something like this. I thought the second half was really good. I think when I look at the second half (again), I’ll be really pleased.”

Ieva Kazlauskaite was her team’s leading scorer with 14 points.

In other games, Brazil (1-0) nipped Russia (0-1) 66-63, Serbia (1-0) defeated South Korea (0-1) 88-79, Australia (1-0) picked off Argentina (0-1) 69-48, Spain (1-0) earned an 80-74 victory over Mali (0-1), and France (1-0) dispatched Netherlands (0-1) 81-58. Senegal (1-0) had travel difficulties and forfeited its first game, giving Canada the victory.

Assisting Meier and the U19 squad are collegiate head coaches Nikki Caldwell of Louisiana State University and Kelly Graves of Gonzaga University.

The 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, which features 16 teams with athletes 19-years-old or younger, is being hosted by Lithuania from July 18-28 in Klaipeda and Panevėžys.

The top three finishing teams from each first-round group will advance to the second round, held July 22-24. The 12 nations qualifying for the second round will be divided into Groups E and F. Each team will play the three new teams in its new group, with all results of games played in the preliminary round carrying over to determine the second-round standings.

Teams finishing in first through fourth places in the second round will qualify for the quarterfinals, with the opportunity to advance to the semifinals and finals. The medal round will be played in Klaipeda, with the quarterfinals held on July 26, semifinals slated for July 27 and the gold medal game on July 28.

Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the tournament was held every four years starting in 1985. FIBA changed its calendar in 2006 and now conducts the U19 World Championship every other year. USA women’s teams are now 58-12 in the U19/Junior World Championships, capturing a fourth-consecutive gold medal with an 8-1 record most recently in 2011.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
1st
MVSU 13
NCCU 26
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
POR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
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DEN
IND
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
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LALAF 16
NEV 3
3rd
UTEP 3
UTST 14
 
2nd
COLST 10
UTAH 21
 
5:45pm Tonight
AFA
WMICH
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
Final
WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
Final
CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
Final
FD 76
DEL 74
 
Final
PSU 73
DREX 68
 
Final
UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
Final
ILL 62
MIZZ 59
Final
CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
Final
LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
Final
HOU 63
SCST 71
 
Final
FSU 75
SFLA 62
 
Final
BING 51
BONA 69
 
Final
RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
Final
MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
Final
JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
Final
GT 65
VANDY 60
Final
INDST 56
EILL 60
 
Final
BUT 73
IND 82
 
2nd
STEPH 81
ARTCH 45
 
2nd
OREG 63
DELST 49
 
2nd
Terriers 48
FATL 42
 
2nd
TXARL 68
HPYN 41
 
2nd
KU 89
LAF 62
 
2nd
ARKST 55
MARS 46
 
2nd
MEM 54
ORU 44
 
2nd
KNST 51
UMBC 58
 
2nd
NW 50
WMICH 45
 
2nd
MIZST 49
EMICH 58
 
2nd
CHIST 43
STJOE 29
 
Half
KENT 41
UCLA 7
 
1st
COC 19
DAVID 36
 
1st
RIU 25
DET 27
 
1st
UCR 28
HOUB 20
 
1st
MURST 2
ILLST 4
 
1st
NWST 34
LALAF 33
 
1st
WAGN 18
MON 20
 
1st
MVSU 13
NCCU 26
 
1st
PITT 19
OU 24
 
1st
TENNM 25
PBY 17
 
1st
WYO 19
SOUTH 15
 
1st
AFA 19
UCD 19
 
1st
MSST 15
USCU 19
 
5:00pm Tonight
JMU
HIGH
 
5:00pm Tonight
TXST
HTILL
 
5:00pm Tonight
DRAK
ISU
5:00pm Tonight
SHU
UNH
 
5:00pm Tonight
SCU
NE
 
5:00pm Tonight
MSU
TXSOU
5:00pm Tonight
UF
WAKE
5:15pm Tonight
ND
PURD
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
PVU
 
6:00pm Tonight
AUB
XAV
7:00pm Tonight
AKR
BLUFFTON
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
IONA
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
LAS
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
MRGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
CCST
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
PEPP
RICH
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MAR
STJOE
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KYST
TEXAM
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MAST
VALPO
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
INCWORD
 
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IDST
CALST
 
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NIOWA
IOWA
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SIUE
UWMIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
LBSU
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TCU
TXSA
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ARK
SEMIZ
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NCOL
JVST
 
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ARST
LEH
 
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NMST
NMU
 
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WASH
OKLA
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GRCN
STED
 
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WEBER
WLVRN
 
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WVU
NCSU
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SDST
BST
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GONZ
CPSL
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PAC
FRES
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PORT
MNTST
 
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CSNO
TAMCC
 
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UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
1st
LOS 0
ARI 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
COL
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
FLA
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
7:00pm Tonight
MON
OTT
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TOR
PHI
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NYI
TAM
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NJD
WAS
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
1st
WAS 0
PHI 0
 
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC