Breanna Stewart of UConn scored a game-high 20 points Friday to lead the U.S. to its second straight preliminary-round victory, a 103-56 defeat of China, at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Panevezys, Lithuania.
In addition to Stewart, who also had a game-high four steals, UConn's Morgan Tuck contributed 18 points and eight rebounds, A'ja Wilson of Heathwood Hall High School in Hopkins, S.C., recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds and Brianna Turner of Manvel High in Pearland, Texas, had 16 points and seven rebounds.
The U.S. (2-0) concludes preliminary round play against Mali (0-2) today.
"Our effort and our focus on defense has just been incredible these first two games," said U.S. and University of Miami head coach Katie Meier. "It starts with our leadership. I feel like they communicate so well as a team. They cover for each other. So, I'm sure it's hard for the other teams to figure out what we're playing and what we're in because I'm letting them play to their instincts a lot and they're wonderfully instinctive players."
China closed the first quarter, which saw a pair of lead changes and three tie scores, with a 3-pointer to narrow the gap to 23-18. Hitting the basket of the second quarter, China closed to 23-18, but a 12-0 run gave the American women some breathing room, 35-20, with 4:15 remaining before halftime.
"I think it was our defense, it definitely contributed," said Stewart on the 12-0 run. "China is obviously a good team, so we knew that they were going to stick with us for a little bit. We knew that if we kept going after them and kept pressuring them on defense, then eventually things would start to crumble for them and open up for us."
- Day Staff Reports