Crystal Bradford and Team USA Win Gold At World University Games

Updated 7/10/2013

 

Courtesy of USA Basketball
 
World University Games Champion USA Women Lock Down Russia To Capture Gold Medal With 90-71 Victory
KAZAN, Russia (July 15, 2013) - Behind an outstanding defensive performance, the 2013 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team (6-0) never trailed and kept Russia (5-1) at a distance for most of the second half on its way to claiming the gold medal in the 2013 World University Games with a 90-71 victory on Monday night at Basket Hall in Kazan, Russia.
 
The USA now has won three-consecutive gold medals, and nine overall, at the World University Games.
 
Bria Hartley (University of Connecticut/North Babylon, N.Y.) led the charge for the USA, scoring a game-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Crystal Bradford (Central Michigan University/Detroit, Mich.) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut/Anaheim Hills, Calif.) added 16 and 15 points, respectively, while World University Games Co-MVP Odyssey Sims (Baylor University/Irving, Texas) contributed 10 points and three assists. Sims, who averaged 12.7 points per game and a competition-best5.3 assists per game, shared MVP honors with Russia’s Tatiana Grigoryeva. 
 
The USA limited Russia to just 41.6 percent shooting (27-65 FGs) and 31.4 percent in the first half (11-35 FGs), and forced 20 turnovers, which led to 27 U.S. points. 
 
“We had a defensive game plan that our kids executed beautifully,” said USA head coach Sherri Coale (University of Oklahoma). “They did a tremendous job defensively against a team that is very hard to guard.”
 
“Coach Coale told us there were three things we were going to have to do defensively,” detailed Mosqueda-Lewis on the USA’s defensive game plan. “That was stay in a stance, close out and rebound, and I think we did those three things pretty well throughout the whole game. We made sure that we always had the upper hand on Russia.” 
 
Getting off to a quick start, the USA built a 13-3 lead with just under four minutes left in the first quarter after a Jordan Hooper (University of Nebraska/Alliance, Neb.) jump shot. Making her first start of the competition, Hooper played a critical role in the USA building an early lead as she scored seven points and reeled in four rebounds in the opening quarter. Russia tightened the score to 19-13 before Mosqueda-Lewis hit a 3-pointer to end the scoring in the first period with the USA ahead 22-13.
 
Russia started the second quarter strongly, going on an 8-3 run to open the frame, including six-straight points that prompted Coale to call a timeout with 7:46 remaining and the USA lead cut to 25-21. Mosqueda-Lewis would nail another 3-pointer to stop the run, and the USA outscored Russia 16-6 over the remainder of the half, including eight points and two 3-pointers from Bradford. 
 
“I'm coming off the bench to bring a spark and intensity into the game, and that's what I knew I had to do,” said Bradford on her contributions to the USA’s 41-27 halftime lead. “I'm just happy that I could do that for my team.”
 
Despite falling behind by as many as 15 points early after halftime, midway through the third quarter, Russia began to build some momentum and scored four-straight points to cut the U.S. lead to 50-42 with 5:14 to play in the period. Hartley immediately answered, however, hitting a 3-pointer assisted by Ariel Massengale (University of Tennessee/ Bolingbrook, Ill.) ten seconds later to put the USA back up 11 points. Russia would not bring its deficit to single digits again.
 
Following a steal by Cassie Harberts (University of Southern California/San Clemente, Calif.), Hartley scored on a fast-break layup. Next, Massengale made a driving lay-in on the right side, which preceded another Hartley 3-pointer assisted by Massengale. With 3:17 to play in the third quarter, Hartley and Massengale, who finished with a game-high five assists, had pushed the U.S. lead to 60-44 – at that point the USA’s largest lead of the night.
 
“Ariel did a good job of pushing the ball, and she was able to find me on those two threes,” said Hartley on the game-changing sequence. “A lot of the stuff we did sparked off our defense. We were able to get some stops and get some rebounds and push it.”
 
The USA’s lead would balloon to 68-47 heading into the fourth quarter. Two free throws by Sims gave the USA its largest advantage of the game at 73-49 with 9:26 to play, and Russia was kept at bay, never closing the margin any closer than 15 points in the final period.
 
After letting a 17-point fourth-quarter lead slip away in the semifinals against Australia before coming back to win, the USA never let its foot off the gas.
 
“With two minutes left,” said Coale when asked at what point she felt comfortable with the lead. “I just didn't feel like anything was safe and tried to focus on every possession. But with about two minutes left, it felt pretty good.”
 
Sims scored the final bucket for the USA with 44 seconds remaining before Russia’s Nadezhda Grishaeva scored to bring the score to the final tally of 90-71. As the co-MVP Sims dribbled out the clock, the USA began celebrating.
 
“It's an unexplainable feeling,” said Bradford on how she felt when the final horn sounded. “I wouldn't want to have it with anyone but these 11 girls. I think everybody on this team deserved it. We all worked hard. The best feeling is it wasn't given to us. We worked for it, so to say we deserved it is huge.”
 
“I think our success speaks to the selflessness of these guys on this team who were willing to play roles, whatever those roles might be, different roles on different nights,” said Coale on what made it so special to win with this collection of players. “Guys who were willing to buy in and be respectful of our coaching staff and try to do it the way that we asked. You couldn't do that without them being mature enough to do that, and they did in a great way.”
 
For the game, the USA shot 52.2 percent from the field (35-67 FGs), 45.0 percent from 3-point territory (9-20 3pt FGs) and 73.3 percent from the line (11-15 FTs). For the competition, the USA shot .802 from the stripe (93-116 FTs) which bested the previous USA World University Game competition-best of .750 free-throw shooting set by the 1995 squad. Also, with 32 assists for the competition, Sims broke the previous mark for most assists by a U.S. player at the World University Games of 30 assists held by both Kamie Ethridge (1985) and Suzie McConnell (1987).
 
By winning her second gold medal at the World University Games after helping the USA earn the top placing in 2011 as well, Sims becomes the first women’s basketball two-time gold medalist for the USA at the World University Games. Also adding to their golden collection are now four-time USA Basketball gold medalists Hartley, Massengale and Mosqueda-Lewis; as well as two-time gold medalists Reshanda Gray (University of California/Los Angeles, Calif.), Harberts and Theresa Plaisance (Louisiana State University/New Orleans, La.).
 
In the bronze medal game earlier today, Australia (5-1) defeated Taiwan (4-2) 99-58 to claim a spot at the medal ceremony.
 
Assisting Coale on the USA sideline were Brian Giorgis of Marist College and Coquese Washington of Penn State University. 
 
Organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and held every other year, the World University Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24 (born Jan. 1, 1989 through Dec. 31, 1995). The USA women’s team is comprised of U.S. citizens who are currently enrolled in college and have remaining eligibility.
 
Since 1973, the first year the USA women competed in the WUGs, the United States has compiled a 101-15 record.
 
Crystal Bradford (Central Michigan University/Detroit, Mich.)
On winning a gold medal:
"It's an unexplainable feeling. I wouldn't want to have it with anyone but these 11 girls. I think everybody on this team deserved it. We all worked hard. The best feeling is, it wasn't given to us. We worked for it. So, to say was deserve it is huge."
 
On her performance:
"What I did was I got out of myself, and I though to myself, 'what do I need to do to help my team?' I knew it was quick offense. I'm coming off the bench to bring a spark and intensity into the game, and that's what I knew I had to do. I'm just happy that I could do that for my team."
 
What will you take away from this experience?
"First of all, I learned that I can play with some of the best. To win a gold medal is crazy. What I took out of it was, in any situation, in any environment, you have to learn to adapt, period. Russia is completely different from America, so we had to adapt to it. I'm glad all of our team adapted. I'm glad everybody came out of this healthy, and it's just a blessing."
 
 
USA Women’s World University Games Team Survives Australian Comeback, Advances To Finals With Thrilling 79-78 Win
Kazan, Russia (July 13, 2013)-Despite leading by as many as 17 points during the fourth quarter, the 2013 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team (5-0) found themselves trailing Australia (4-1) by one point in the final seconds before Crystal Bradford (Central Michigan University/Detroit, Mich.) scored what would be the game-winning basket on a put-back with 14 seconds left to give the USA a 79-78 victory in the semifinal round on Saturday night at Basket Hall in Kazan, Russia.
 
The USA advances to the gold-medal match on Monday, July 15, at 9:30 p.m. (times listed are local; Kazan, Russia is +8 hours from EDT) where they will face host Russia (5-0), who reached the final by defeating Taiwan (4-1) by a score of 69-51 earlier today. The game will air live on ESPNU (1:30 p.m. EDT).
 
After letting a 71-54 lead with under seven minutes left in the game slip away, the USA trailed 78-77 when they forced a 24-second violation to regain possession with 29 seconds remaining. After a U.S. timeout, Bradford drove the lane and sidestepped a defender to free herself for a lay-up attempt. The first try rimmed out, but Bradford collected her own miss and finished the put-back to put the USA ahead 79-78 with 14 seconds left.
 
“We had an offense that we had already set up (with) a play, but we didn't execute it, so at this point we started cutting,” said Bradford on what led to her go-ahead score. “I saw that if I cut I would be open. When I got the ball, it was time to go. I sidestepped and saw that I was open. I thought the first one was going to go in, so I didn't expect to get the rebound, but it came off, and I grabbed the rebound. I knew I had to go up strong; I didn't even want to shoot free throws. And I went up, and I made it, and I was excited.”
 
Now, the USA needed one last stop to hold on for the victory—or as it turned out, two last stops. Australia’s Marianna Tolo attempted an eight-foot jump shot contested by Cassie Harberts (University of Southern California/San Clemente, Calif.) with :08 on the clock. The shot missed, and Odyssey Sims (Baylor University/Irving, Texas) initially grabbed the rebound, however, Tolo tied her up to force a jump ball with seven seconds left and the possession arrow in Australia’s favor. 
 
Given another chance, Australia called Tolo’s number once more. Again, Tolo’s jump shot missed, and, again, Sims secured the board, though this time she was uncontested as she dribbled out the clock to finish the heart-pounding victory for the USA. 
 
“I tell you what, that 14 seconds felt like forever,” said USA head coach Sherri Coale (University of Oklahoma). “And then we did everything right, and I thought came up with the rebound, and they called a jump ball and we had to defend them for seven more. We had not been really good in defending their inbound plays. For a split second there, I thought about changing the way we were guarding on the inbound, but I felt like the most important thing for our kids at that point was to be sure, and so we stuck with what we had been doing and got them to take a tough shot and came up with the rebound somehow. We've been given a gift.”
 
The USA found itself in that position following a furious comeback by Australia. After Australia had already chipped in to what was a 17-point lead, Sims made a lay-up with 3:51 to play to put the USA ahead 76-66. Australia then scored seven unanswered points before Alice Kunek hit a 3-pointer with 1:57 to play to tie the game. The streak would continue to a 12-0 run for Australia as they took a 78-76 lead on two free throws by Tolo with 1:08 to play. 
 
Bradford drew a foul with 54 seconds left and made one-of-two free throws to bring the U.S. deficit to 78-77. On Australia’s ensuing possession, the USA forced a shot clock violation to set the stage for Bradford’s heroics.
 
The USA built its cushion with an outstanding third quarter led by the play of Sims, who celebrated her 21st birthday by leading the USA in scoring with 20 points, including 12 in the third period. Trailing 33-32 coming out of halftime, the USA netted 12 fast-break points in the third quarter and outscored Australia 30-16 overall for the period to take a 62-49 lead into the final frame.
 
“Definitely after the first half, we thought we had to come together, everyone had to get a pace, and I think we did a better job of boxing out in that third quarter,” said Bria Hartley (University of Connecticut/ North Babylon, N.Y.) on how the USA built its lead. “We got rebounds and we were able to push in transition. I thought Odyssey did a great job of getting to the basket. That was part of our game plan. We knew they really couldn't keep us in front because we are more athletic than them, so Odyssey did a great job of breaking her man down off the dribble and finishing.”
 
The USA continued to stretch its advantage at the start of the fourth quarter, taking the largest lead of the game at 71-54 on a lay-up by Sims with 7:07 to play. 
 
In addition to scoring a team-high 20 points, Sims also recorded six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Hartley added 14 points and five assists, while Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut/Anaheim Hills, Calif.) posted a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Theresa Plaisance (Louisiana State University/New Orleans, La.) contributed 10 points, and Bradford finished with nine points. Kunek led Australia with both 20 points and nine rebounds.
 
The USA shot 38.9 percent from the field (28-72 FGs) and 79.2 percent from the line (19-24 FTs), while Australia posted a field goal percentage of 35.8 (24-67 FGs) and shot 87.1 from the line (27-31 FTs). 
 
Australia started fast out of the gates, taking an early lead of 17-6 before heading in to the first quarter break with a 20-13 advantage. Australia would lead for all but 19 seconds of the first half, and Mosqueda-Lewis finally gave the USA its first lead at 32-31 with 54 seconds to play in the second quarter. Australia scored with 35 seconds remaining, however, to take a lead of 33-32 into halftime.
 
In addition to the finals on Monday, July 15, classification matchups for all 16 places will be contested, including the bronze-medal match between Australia and Taiwan.
 
Assisting Coale on the USA sideline are Brian Giorgis of Marist College and Coquese Washington of Penn State University. 
 
The USA is looking for its third-straight gold medal at the World University Games women’s basketball competition, and ninth overall.
 
 
USA Women’s World University Games Team Clamps Down In Second Half, Pulls Away From Sweden For 103-72 Win
KAZAN, Russia (July 12, 2013) - The 2013 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team (4-0) was tested but went on a 17-2 run in the third quarter to gain separation on the way to a 103-72 victory over Sweden (2-2) in the quarterfinal round on Friday morning at Basket Hall in Kazan, Russia.
 
Next up for the USA will be a semifinal matchup at 9:00 p.m. (times listed are local; Kazan, Russia is +8 hours from EDT) on Saturday, July 13, where the team will face the winner of tonight’s quarterfinal between Australia (3-0) and Canada (1-2). 
 
Odyssey Sims (Baylor University/Irving, Texas) scored a game-high 20 points, shooting 9-of-9 from the free throw line to set a U.S. World University Games record for most free throw attempts in a game without a miss (previous best performance was 8-of-8 by Adrienne Goodson in 1993 against Russia). Bria Hartley (University of Connecticut/North Babylon, N.Y.) added 17 points, including 11 in the first quarter.
 
The USA took a 51-40 lead into halftime, which Sweden quickly cut into to bring the score to 53-49 with 6:38 left in the third quarter. The game remained tight, with Sweden trailing 58-52 at the five-minute mark, before the USA put the clamps on defensively and went on a 17-2 run punctuated by Crystal Bradford’s (Central Michigan University/Detroit, Mich.) 3-pointer with 28 seconds remaining in the period to put the USA ahead 75-54. 
 
“Our defense in the second half was much better than it was in the first,” said USA head coach Sherri Coale (University of Oklahoma). “We kept the ball in front and forced them into taking contested shots. We did a much better job on the defensive glass. They are a tremendous offensive rebounding team and go at it very hard. If you can block them out, then you have an advantage in transition on the other end. That was what we were able to do in the second half.” 
 
Sweden had 14 offensive rebounds in the first half, but finished the game with only 16 as the USA’s effort on the defensive boards enabled the second-half U.S. run. The USA continued to extend its lead in the fourth quarter, taking its largest advantage of the game and reaching the century mark on a layup by Ariel Massengale (University of Tennessee/ Bolingbrook, Ill.) to go ahead by 33 points, 100-67, with 2:18 left in the game. The final tally of 103-72 gave the USA its fourth-straight victory of at least 30 points, though Sweden represented the most competitive opponent to date.
 
The difference for the USA was its defensive efforts in the second half, particularly those of Massengale and Reshanda Gray (University of California/Los Angeles, Calif.) off the bench. 
 
“Reshanda Gray was tremendous tonight,” said Coale. “She came in and defended the post with great activity. She blocked out, she scored a couple of times at the block through a lot of physicality. I thought Ariel Massengale played just as tremendous at distributing the basketball and staying in front of a guy who is very, very hard to guard.”
 
Out of the gates, the USA went ahead 10-2 in the first three minutes of the game behind two quick 3-pointers by Hartley. Sweden responded with a 7-0 run of its own as the first half began to take on a back-and-forth pace. Sweden tied the game at 24 late in the opening period, and the USA led 26-24 at the first intermission. 
 
Sweden scored the first four points of the second period to take a 28-26 lead with 9:18 remaining before halftime; the deficit marked the first time the USA had trailed since the 7:20 mark in first quarter of the opening game against Mali, a span of more than 128 minutes. The lead would change hands three more times in the quarter before Sweden took what would be its largest lead of the game at 40-37 with 3:59 left in the period. The USA closed the half on a 14-0 run, including four points apiece from Bradford and Sims, to take a 51-40 advantage into the locker room.
 
Sweden began the second half on a 7-0 run and remained within two possessions until the USA went on its 17-2 spurt in the final five minutes of the third quarter.
 
“I think we just locked down on defense,” said Massengale on the difference for the USA during its game-changing run. “We knew they were a great team and that they would came out of the half very strong doing what they do best; I think, as a team, we just clicked and came together and got stops when we needed to, which allowed us to push in transition which is what we like to do best.”  
 
Bradford and Tricia Liston (Duke University/River Forest, Ill.) each finished with 11 points to give the USA four scorers in double figures. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut/Anaheim Hills, Calif.) had a team-high seven rebounds and Massengale led the squad with four assists.
 
The USA shot 53.5 percent from the field (38-71 FGs), including 41.7 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (10-24 3pt FGs), and 81.0 percent from the line (17-21 FTs). Sweden was held to just 36.1 percent shooting (26-72 FGs) and made only one of 19 3-point attempts (5.3 percent 3pt FGs). 
 
The remaining medal quarterfinal matches will be played later this evening; in addition to Australia – Canada at 6 p.m., Russia (3-0) – Czech Republic (2-1) will play at 6:30 p.m. and Taiwan (3-0) – Hungary (2-1) at 8:30 p.m. 
 
The semifinals will be played on July 13, and the finals will be contested on July 15.
 
Assisting Coale on the USA sideline are Brian Giorgis of Marist College and Coquese Washington of Penn State University. 
 
The USA is looking for its third straight gold medal at the World University Games women’s basketball competition, and ninth overall.
 
 
USA Women's World University Games Team Closes Preliminary Round Play Undefeated With 105-75 Win Against Brazil
KAZAN, Russia (July 10, 2013) - The 2013 USA Basketball Women's World University Games Team (3-0) completed preliminary round play with a perfect record and will advance to the quarterfinals as the top seed from Group B after dispatching Brazil (1-2) 105-75 on Wednesday afternoon at Miras Sports Complex in Kazan, Russia.
 
Next up for the USA will be a quarterfinal matchup at 10:30 a.m. (times listed are local; Kazan, Russia is +8 hours from EDT) on Friday, July 12, where the team will face the No. 2 from Group A, which will be the loser of tonight's meeting between Russia (2-0) and Sweden (2-0).
 
Aaryn Ellenberg (University of Oklahoma/Las Vegas, Nev.) shot 5-of-9 from 3-point range and scored all of her game-high 19 points in the first half, including 14 in the first quarter to lead the U.S. attack. Ellenberg's five 3-point makes tied Suzie McConnell (1991 versus Ireland) for the most 3-pointers made by a U.S. player at the World University Games. Also etching her name into the record book, Odyssey Sims (Baylor University/Irving, Texas) tied the USA World University Games individual game high with 10 assists, matching the mark previously recorded by Kamie Ethridge in 1985 against Canada.
 
"We had a great start and a big first quarter," said USA head coach Sherri Coale (University of Oklahoma). "Every time that we shared the ball, went inside-outside or changed sides of the floor, we got great shots and made most of them. I think the take-away for the team is to understand how shooting percentage is so positively affected by the number of passes you make in a possession."
 
The USA scored the first 10 points of the game against Brazil, much like they scored the first eight points against Czech Republic on Tuesday night, and the catalyst, once again, was Ellenberg, who scored 14 first-quarter points after scoring 10 in the opening period against Czech Republic. Ellenberg hit four 3-pointers before checking out for the remainder of the quarter with 3:53 left and the USA ahead 22-5. The U.S. advantage would build to 36-16 at the end of the first quarter.
 
"She is a volume scorer and when she gets hot, gets in rhythm, has that look in her eye, she can reel off a crazy amount of points in a crazy short amount of time," said Coale on the guard she also coaches for the Oklahoma Sooners. "That's the kind of thing she is capable of, and it was good to see her do that here, and I think it was good for her teammates to see her do that here."
 
The USA built its lead to 56-32 at the halftime break and continued to stretch the margin in the third period. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut/Anaheim Hills, Calif.)made a 3-pointer assisted by Sims with 4:22 left in the third quarter to put the USA ahead 75-39 and allow Sims to tie the U.S. World University Games single-game assist record. The USA led 82-51 entering the final quarter.
 
"I'm surrounded by great players," said Sims of her performance. "We have shooters all around, Kaleena, Aaryn, everybody can hit a shot, Tricia (Liston, Duke University/River Forest, Ill.). That's my job as the point guard. I really don't worry too much about scoring, as long as I can find the open teammate. Coach Coale, she stresses getting out in transition and finding the open shooters, so that's what I did. I was able to push it up, and they were able to finish."
 
A jump shot in the paint by Liston with 7:55 left in the fourth quarter gave the USA its largest lead of the game at 37 points (89-52), an amount the USA would reach three more times in the game before ultimately arriving at the final score of 105-75.
 
Crystal Bradford (Central Michigan University/Detroit, Mich.) scored 12 points, while Jordan Hooper (University of Nebraska/Alliance, Neb.) and Mosqueda-Lewis each added 11 points and ReShanda Gray (University of California/Los Angeles, Calif.) contributed 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting to give the USA five scorers in double-digits. Theresa Plaisance (Louisiana State University/New Orleans, La.) led the USA with seven rebounds.
 
The USA shot 48.8 percent from the field (41-84 FGs) with 24 of the field goals being assisted. Brazil shot 46.9 percent from the field (30-64 FGs), but turned the ball over 23 times which led to 36 U.S. points coming off turnovers. Mosqueda-Lewis and Sims each had three steals to lead the USA.
 
In other action today, Czech Republic (2-1) defeated Mali (0-3) 59-44 to finish No. 2 in Group B and also advance to the quarterfinals. Brazil and Mali finished third and fourth, respectively, in the group.
 
 The remaining quarterfinal teams will be decided following this evening's contests, including China (0-2) - Hungary (1-1) and Japan (0-2) - Ukraine (1-1) at 6 p.m.; and at 8:30 p.m. Poland (0-2) - Mongolia (0-2), Taiwan (2-0) - Canada (1-1) and Australia (2-0) - Finland (1-1). The semifinals will be played on July 13, and the finals will be contested on July 15.
 
"I expect to see a little bit more of an edge," said Coale on what she expects to be different in the quarterfinal round. "I sure hope our team has a little bit more of an edge, but I expect the opponents will. I expect there will be a few more people in the arena, and it will have a little bit more of a heartbeat to it than today's game did."
 
Assisting Coale on the USA sideline are Brian Giorgis of Marist College and Coquese Washington of Penn State University.
 
The USA is looking for its third straight gold medal at the World University Games women's basketball competition, and ninth overall.
 
 
USA Women's World University Games Team Starts Fast, Doesn't Look Back In 101-61 Win Over Czech Republic
KAZAN, Russia (July 9, 2013) - The 2013 USA Basketball Women's World University Games Team (2-0) jumped ahead 8-0 in the first 80 seconds of the contest and the quick lead would never be threatened in a 101-61 win over Czech Republic (1-1) on Tuesday night at Miras Sports Complex in Kazan, Russia.
 
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut/Anaheim Hills, Calif.) scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, and Aaryn Ellenberg (University of Oklahoma/Las Vegas, Nev.) scored 10 of her 12 points in the first quarter to set the tone for the USA.
 
"I thought our defensive intensity, really set the tone for the game," said USA head coach Sherri Coale  (University of Oklahoma). "We came out strong out of the gates in both the first and second half, but I thought it was our defensive intensity that set the stage. Czech Republic can really shoot that ball. They have a lot of players who can score in a lot of different ways, but we sped them up. They got some looks, but they were rushed, everything was rushed, and we made them play a little faster than they were comfortable with playing."
 
Tricia Liston (Duke University/River Forest, Ill.) had 14 points and Crystal Bradford (Central Michigan University/Detroit, Mich.) scored 11 points, while Odyssey Sims  (Baylor University/Irving, Texas) added 13 points and a game-high six assists as the USA shot 50.0 percent from the field (39-78 FGs). Bradford andJordan Hooper (University of Nebraska/Alliance, Neb.) tied for the team lead with seven rebounds each.
 
The USA forced 22 turnovers and limited Czech Republic to just 38.7 percent shooting from the field (24-62 FGs). Czech Republic's 22 giveaways led to 21 points for the USA, while 13 U.S. turnovers led to just four points for Czech Republic. The USA notched 13 steals for the game with four players, Ellenberg, Liston, Ariel Massengale  (University of Tennessee/ Bolingbrook, Ill.) and Theresa Plaisance (Louisiana State University/New Orleans, La.), each recording two steals apiece.
 
Plaisance opened the scoring with a layup assisted by Sims with 9:23 left in the opening quarter before Ellenberg and Mosqueda-Lewis each hit quick 3-pointers to build an instant 8-0 lead. Ellenberg would score seven additional points in the period to lead the USA to a 21-11 lead after the first frame.
 
Czech Republic trailed by 13 points late in the second quarter when Mosqueda-Lewis took control of the final minute of the first half. Capitalized by a driving layup made while drawing a foul at the halftime buzzer, Mosqueda-Lewis scored eight points in the final 37 seconds before the break to push the U.S. lead to more than 20 points for the first time at 48-27 at halftime. Mosqueda-Lewis also would score the first basket of the third quarter to register a 10-0 run on her own.
 
"Coach Coale wanted us to get more pressure on the ball and more pressure in general on defense against Czech Republic, so I was trying to be intense out there and it ended up working out, getting a lot of steals and crashing the offensive and defensive boards a lot," said Mosqueda-Lewis on how she was able to get the looks she did in her scoring spurt.
 
Czech Republic would never get closer than 21 points after the halftime intermission as the U.S. lead continued to expand to as many as 42 points at 101-59 after Massengale hit a 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining in the contest.
 
 
Selfless Offense Carries USA Women's World University Games Team To 120-32 Victory Over Mali
KAZAN, Russia (July 8, 2013) - The 2013 USA Basketball Women's World University Games Team (1-0) had 34 assists and shot 66.2 percent from the field to open preliminary round play with a 120-32 victory over Mali (0-1) on Monday night at Olymp Sport Hall in Kazan, Russia.
 
Bria Hartley (University of Connecticut/North Babylon, N.Y.) led six U.S. players who scored in double figures with 17 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting performance, including 3-of-3 from beyond the 3-point arc. Shoni Schimmel (University of Louisville/Mission, Ore.) added 13 points and a game-high nine assists to propel the team to 34 total assists, a USA World University Games record (the previous high was 27 done most recently versus Taiwan on Aug. 21, 2011).
 
"We got out in transition, ran really well, and Shoni Schimmel sort of opened the flood gates for us with her passing ability when we had advantages in transition offense," said USA head coach Sherri Coale (University of Oklahoma). "And just every day that we play together, we get a little bit more comfortable with one another. The chemistry was better, and we communicated better on defense. Every opportunity to log minutes on the floor together as a unit makes us better."
 
Cassie Harberts (University of Southern California/San Clemente, Calif.) added 14 points; Tricia Liston (Duke University/River Forest, Ill.) had 13 points; Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (University of Connecticut/Anaheim Hills, Calif.) scored 12 points; and Aaryn Ellenberg (University of Oklahoma/Las Vegas, Nev.) contributed 11 points to give the U.S. six players that scored in double figures. Theresa Plaisance (Louisiana State University/New Orleans, La.) led the USA with 11 rebounds.
 
The USA shot 66.2 percent from the field (47-71 FGs), 47.8 percent from three-point territory (11-23 3pt FGs) and 93.8 percent from the line (15-16 FTs) to turn in an outstanding all-around performance. Meanwhile, the USA held Mali to just 19.4 percent from the field (12-62 FGs) and forced them to turn the ball over 21 times.
 
Mali scored the game's first five points before the USA went on an 18-0 run, including eight straight points from Liston, to take an 18-5 lead with 4:56 remaining in the first period. Mali responded with a 7-0 run of their own to tighten the game to 18-12, but the USA would not let it get that close again as they closed the period on a 10-0 run to take a 28-12 lead after the first period.
 
Holding a 38-17 lead with under five minutes remaining in the first half, Schimmel took over for the USA, distributing six assists on seven U.S. field goals from 4:51 to 42 seconds in the second quarter as the USA lead ballooned to 57-20 heading into halftime.
 
"Hitting the open player, getting in position to find that open player, and having my guards and everybody run, it just helped a lot," said Schimmel on what allowed her to tally nine assists for the game. "It took getting used to playing with everybody, and it finally came together."
 
After closing the first half on an 8-0 run, the USA scored the first 17 points of the third quarter to total a game-high 25-0 run and push the lead to 74-20 with 5:56 left in the third period on a Hartley 3-pointer assisted by Odyssey Sims (Baylor University/Irving, Texas), who had six assists for the game. The USA outscored Mali 37-8 overall for the third period.
 
"I don't really know why I was so hot," said Hartley on her perfect outing from the field. "Warming up, I was thinking, 'I like this gym,' and I was hitting shots. My teammates were able to find me, Shoni and Odyssey, and I was just able to knock down shots."
 
The USA held Mali to just four points in the fourth quarter, while scoring 26 to end the game with its largest lead of 88 points.
 
Next up for the USA is a meeting with Monday's other Group B winner, Czech Republic (1-0), on July 9 at 8:30 p.m. (times listed are local; Kazan, Russia is +8 hours from EDT). Czech Republic defeated Brazil 86-63 prior to the USA's opener. The USA will conclude preliminary round play on July 10 at 12:30 p.m. against Brazil.
 
Also today, Russia beat Mongolia 123-23 and Sweden beat Poland 69-48 in Group A. In Group C, Canada defeated Japan 76-48 while Chinese Taipei beat Ukraine 84-68. In Group D, China topped Finland 74-62 and Australia outscored Hungary 79-53.
 
Following the preliminary round, the first and second-placed teams in each of the four pools advance to the medal quarterfinals on July 12 to compete for first through eighth places; while the remaining teams will play out for ninth to 16th places. The semifinals will be played on July 13, and the finals will be contested on July 15.
 
Assisting Coale on the USA sideline are Brian Giorgis of Marist College and Coquese Washington of Penn State University.
 
The USA is looking for its third straight gold medal at the World University Games women's basketball competition, and ninth overall.