USA U19 team improves to 2-0

Bratislava, Slovakia - Led by five players in double figures, the USA Women's U19 World Championship Team improved to 2-0 with a 101-60 blowout of China (1-1) Friday in its second contest of the 2007 U19 World Championship.

The USA (2-0) jumped out to a comfortable 46-21 lead at the half and cruised the rest of the way.

Incoming University of Tennessee basketball freshmen, Vicki Baugh of Sacramento, Calif., opened the first quarter of action grabbing seven rebounds in just 5:19 of playing time. The 6'4 post player finished the game with a team high-tying 11 (five offensive and six defensive) rebounds. On the afternoon, Baugh was perfect from the field, canning 4-4 field goals for eight points and added a steal and a block in 15 minutes of action.

Fellow Lady Vol rookie-to-be, 6'0 guard Angie Bjorklund of Spokane, Wash., also contributed to the victory. Bjorklund tallied four points, two rebounds and an assist while logging 19 minutes in the game.

After the contest, Baugh and Bjorklund once again checked in with Knoxville and talked about their decisive victory:

Baugh, along with the entire inside game, knew that rebounding would be a key with Wei Wei (reported to be almost 7-feet tall) roaming the post for China.

"This is another great team win," said Bjorklund. "We were excited to play China and face their big girl inside and some really quick guards.

"I've never had to prepare for a game like this. Our scouting report told us we had to compete against them from the very start – defense, transition, boards and lots of up tempo play. As soon as we got our running game going we were in good shape.

"We have so many great players on this team that we naturally become a role player during the course of a game. Today, I was more of a defensive presence and created for other people. When you play team ball, that's when things start to flow," said Bjorklund.

"I was totally pleased with our metal preparedness tonight," said USA U19 and DePaul head coach Doug Bruno. "We came ready to play against a tough opponent, and we had tremendous energy to start the game."

Incoming Duke freshman Krystal Thomas (The First Academy/Orlando, Fla.) recorded her second double-double in as many nights, tallying a game high 17 points and collecting 11 rebounds.

"Our success is just coming from hard work," Krystal Thomas said. "I'm still focusing on catching the ball with two hands and making good decisions, and all the rest comes from that.

"Tonight we brought the same intensity and focus, but we applied it to a much stronger opponent. So now we know that playing a great team or a lesser team, we can always play well and still win by big margins."

After a comparably modest 25-14 lead in the first period, the USA women allowed China just seven points during the second quarter, while seven Americans combined for 21 points during the 10-minute span, and the U.S. lead was 46-21 at halftime.

"There was a point in time when we held about a 12-point lead in the first half, and we could have let China continue to play with us," Bruno said. "But we really worked to keep them down, and we did a good job of understanding the concept of winning no matter your opponent. We really seized that opportunity, and that will really help us as we move forward to tougher and tougher competition."

China continued to fight, but its comeback hopes were in vain as the USA completely controlled the interior, outrebounding China 68-40, including 25 offensive rebounds. Allyssa DeHaan (Michigan State/Grandville, Mich.) contributed four of the USA's eight blocked shots, while adding six points and five rebounds.

"We have a lot of very, very talented, big players," Bruno said. "We have six post players who are all the complete package, and it's hard as a coach to get all of them the time they deserve. Finding a role for everyone is still a work in progress."

Maya Moore (Collins Hill H.S./Lawrenceville, Ga.) added 12 points and seven rebounds; Jantel Lavender (Cleveland Central Catholic H.S./ Cleveland, Ohio) contributed 11 points and seven rebounds; and Kayla Pedersen (Red Mountain H.S./ Fountain Hills, Ariz.) and Italee Lucas (Centennial H.S./Las Vegas) scored 10 points each.

Vicki Baugh (Sacramento H.S./Sacramento, Calif.) and Krystal Thomas each grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

"We knew coming into the game number 13 was their top rebounder, and we knew she had 16 rebounds yesterday," Baugh said. "I was prepared for her game, and I knew that I was going to have to be dominate on the glass. I think the glass was where we were strongest today, and we really need to keep it up."

The USA will conclude preliminary round play on July 28 against Lithuania. The second round will be contested July 30-Aug.1, the quarterfinals are slated for Aug. 3, semifinals will be held Aug. 4 and the gold medal will be contested July 5.

Bruno is assisted on the sidelines by Cynthia Cooper-Dyke of Prairie View A&M University (Texas) and Carol Owens of Northern Illinois University.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories