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WBB: Jones leads all scorers with 17 points in win over Canada

Posted July 24, 2013

Alexis Jones (Duke / Irving, Texas) scored nine of her game-high 17 points in a 19-0 run that spanned the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third that helped the 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team (5-0) pull away from Canada (2-3) before it cruised in for an 88-54 victory in the FIBA U19 World Championship on Tuesday night in Panevezys, Lithuania.

Already qualified for the quarterfinals, the USA's final second round game will determine whether it advances as the No. 1 or No. 2 seed from Group F as the American women meet up against also-unbeaten France (5-0) on July 24 (1:15 p.m. EDT). The top four finishing teams in each second round 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, both of which will be streamed live online by ESPN3.

In addition to Jones, who also grabbed five boards and dished out a game-best (tie) seven assists, Breanna Stewart (Connecticut / North Syracuse, N.Y.) scored 14 points and had a pair of blocked shots, Morgan Tuck (Connecticut / Bolingbrook, Ill.) finished with 13 points and four steals, while Bashaara Graves (Tennessee / Clarksville, Tenn.) and Linnae Harper (Whitney Young H.S. / Chicago, Ill.) chipped in 10 points apiece.

"At the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, we played great," said USA U19 and University of Miami head coach Katie Meier. "It took us a little bit of time to establish ourselves and our tempo. It was a nine-point game there close to the end of the second quarter and we pushed it to 16 at halftime. Then, our starters were taking care of business at the start of the third quarter. A 31-point third quarter, when points were hard to come by tonight, I thought that was the difference in the game."

Canada got on the board first with a free throw at 9:20 and at 8:03, tied the score at 3-all. However, Tuck hit a pair of free throws to put the U.S. in front for good. That was followed by a 3-pointer and layup from Jones to bump the USA's lead to 10-3, but Canada would not back down. Closely matching the USA's energy and tenacity, Canada kept up the pace and the U.S. was able to extend its lead to just nine, 25-16, after Bashaara Graves got a buzzer-beating put-back.

"They were very physical; you could tell they scouted us very well," said Bashaara Graves. "It was kind of hard to go through our plays and made it hard for people who usually get their shots off, to get good shots. They were definitely ready to run with us. We didn't get as many transition points as we usually do. This was our lowest scoring game. They knew exactly how we played, especially since we played against them before (in the Canary Islands). It was kind of hard."

Following a Canada bucket to open the second quarter, the USA went on a 10-2 run to jump in front by 15 points, 35-20 at 7:25. But Canada began chipping away at the USA's advantage and with 4:09 to play before halftime managed to cut it to 39-31.

After Canada closed to 10 points, Meier called for a time out to regroup.

"We were getting out worked," said Meier on why she called for time. "I really thought all the 50-50 plays, all the hustle plays, were going in Canada's favor. It started on fake effort on their penetration. We were flying at the ball, but we weren't disciplined in our closeouts at all. They moved the ball very well. Canada was very strong with the ball and very deliberate, and we were overreacting. So, we had to kind of calm them down a little bit on the defensive end and talk about maturity rather than just effort. It had to be maturity with effort."

Canada got the next bucket, but the U.S. clamped down and turned on its impressive hallmark defense. Forcing Canada into five turnovers in the final 2:32 of the half, the USA got four points from Jones in an 8-0 run to close the midway point up 47-31.

The run extended into the third quarter as Stewart hit the first three buckets, followed by a 3-pointer and jumper from Jones and at 7:19 the USA had firm control of the contest, 58-31. In all, during the USA's 19-0 run that bridged the two halves, Jones nine points and Stewart notched six.

"Incredible," said Moriah Jefferson (Connecticut / Glenn Heights, Texas), who dished out seven assists and had three steals and five points, regarding the play of Jones. "She came out on fire, so I was like, 'well, wherever Lex is, that's where I'm going to try to get the ball to.' I think we all as a team recognized it and we just fed the beast."

By the end of the third quarter the USA was up 78-42 and cruised through the fourth for the eventual victory.

Holding a narrow 44-39 rebounding margin, the USA shot 44.9 percent from the field and was on fire from 3-point, hitting 42.9 percent (6-14 3pt FGs) from beyond the arc, while holding Canada to 32.8 percent from the field. Further, the USA dished out 22 assists on 35 baskets, scored 25 points off of 28 Canada turnovers, while allowing Canada to score just seven from its 15 miscues. The USA outscored Canada 44-24 in the paint, 17-8 on second chances and 8-0 on the fast break.

Oregon State University's Jamie Weisner finished as Canada's leading scorer with 14 points.

Looking ahead to tomorrow night's game against France, Stewart said "They're a very good and athletic team and I think that we really need to pick our stuff a little bit, pick it up defensively and be ready for them because they're going to come at us strong tomorrow."

In other second-round games Australia (4-1) beat Brazil (4-1) 69-51, France (5-0) remained perfect with a 62-43 defeat of China (3-2), Japan (2-3) raced past Serbia (1-4) 87-67, the Netherlands (2-3) edged host Lithuania (1-4) 72-65, while Spain (5-0) also kept its undefeated record with an 80-72 victory over Russia (2-3).

In classification games for 13th-16th places, South Korea (2-3) defeated Senegal (0-5) 97-64 and Argentina (1-4) picked up its first victory after defeating Mali (1-4) 70-51.

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

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 62-12 in the U19/Junior World Championships, capturing a fourth-consecutive gold medal with an 8-1 record most recently in 2011. The U.S. has captured five of the last six U19/Junior World Championship gold medals and boasts a 50-4 record over that span, to include the 5-0 slate at the 2013 U19 Worlds.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
 
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
 
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
 
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
 
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
 
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
 
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
 
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
 
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
 
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
 
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
 
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
 
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
 
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
 
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
 
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
 
3rd
UCF 27
TEMPL 14
 
2nd
WASU 13
ARZ 31
 
1st
CLEM 0
SYR 0
 
1st
LAMON 3
TXST 0
 
1st
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 14
 
1st
COLST 3
WYO 0
 
1st
LSU 0
MISS 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
1st
TOR 0
BOS 1
 
1st
NYI 1
DAL 1
 
1st
PHI 0
DET 0
 
1st
OTT 0
NJD 0
 
1st
MON 0
NYR 0
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14