USA U19 team advances

Bratislava, Slovakia - The USA Women's U19 World Championship Team will advance to the second round of World Championship play on Monday with a perfect 3-0 record after topping Lithuania 90-50 on Saturday night in the final preliminary contest of the 2007 U19 World Championship for Women.

"We want to celebrate after every win, but it has to be short-lived," said USA U19 and DePaul head coach Doug Bruno. "We have some tough competition ahead in the second round, and we need to continue to get better."

Two incoming Tennessee Lady Vols are on the USA squad. Vicki Baugh had four points, a block and five steals. Angie Bjorklund had seven points, a steal and five rebounds.

Holding a comfortable 24-15 advantage after the first quarter, the U.S. lead ballooned to 41-15 with 6:39 on the clock in the second period thanks to a 17-0 U.S. run to start the period that including seven points from Maya Moore.

The 10-minute span was the highest-scoring period for the Americans thus far in the tournament, as they sank 13-of-20 field goal attempts and recorded 33 points to push the U.S. read to 57-27 at halftime. Forcing 27 turnovers and collecting 18 steals on the night, the Americans then cruised to an easy victory.

"I think we played our best game yesterday against China, but tonight we were able to finish it off and move forward to the next round in the best position possible," Moore said. "Every timeout and every huddle the coaches are telling us how we need to improve, and each game we have improved on something. The energy of this team is good, and I'm excited about where we are going."

Lithuania was the first opponent to out-rebound the USA, with a 48-42 advantage, but the effort was spoiled by ice-cold shooting – just 16-of-60 from the field for a chilly 26.7 percent. The USA team shot 45.5 percent from the field.

"Tonight we had some lapses after we took the 30-point halftime lead," Bruno said. "I think we just lost some of our focus. We also got killed on the boards, especially in the first half, and that's something that should not never happen with the personnel we have."

The red, white and blue was led by four players in double figures, including 16 points from Jantel Lavender, who also grabbed six rebounds; 16 points from Monica Wright; 14 points from Jasmine Thomas; and 13 from Moore.

"In our first three games, we set the tone for the entire tournament," Wright said. "Now we get a day of rest before we need to win another three games in order to get to the quarterfinals. The time off tomorrow will be good, but we are still going to hit the practice floor hard so we are ready on Monday."

Second-round action kicks off Monday, with the top three teams in each group advancing to the second round, which will be contested July 30-Aug. 1. The top three placed teams in Groups A and B advance to form Group E, and the top three in Groups C and D advance to form Group E.

Results from the preliminary round carry over and will be included in the second round standings. The fourth-placed team in each group will compete for 13th-16th place.

The USA will advance to Group E, along with Slovakia (3-0), China (2-1), Spain (2-1), Lithuania (1-2) and South Korea (1-2); and Group F will include Australia (3-0), Serbia (3-0), Czech Republic (2-1), Sweden (2-1), Brazil (1-2) and Canada (1-2).

Argentina, Ivory Coast, Japan and Mali all finished at the bottom of their respective groups at 0-3 and will play out for 13th-16th places.

FIBA is expected on Sunday to confirm game times for the second-round schedule, but the USA is set to play the third-place finisher from Group A, South Korea, on July 30; followed by Spain, which finished second in Group A, on July 31; and the first place squad from Group A, Slovakia, on Aug. 1.

The quarterfinals are slated for Aug. 3, semifinals will be held Aug. 4 and the gold medal will be contested July 5.


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