PUERTO MONTT, Chile -- Turnovers and ice-cold shooting plagued the 2011 USA Basketball Women's U19 World Championship Team (5-1) from the start as Canada (6-0) jumped up by double digits early and handed the U.S. its first loss at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, 64-52, on Wednesday afternoon in Puerto Montt, Chile. Ariel Massengale was the only U.S. player to score in double digits and finished with 17 points, while Duke University freshman Elizabeth Williams added eight points.
Still in medal contention, the U.S. advances to the July 29 medal quarterfinals (time TBD) as the second seed out of Group F. Also advancing out of the USA's pool and into the medal round are No. 1 Canada, No. 3 Japan (3-3) and No. 4 Russia (2-4). Teams will cross over in the quarterfinals to play the top four teams out of Group F. Australia (5-0), Brazil (4-1) and France (5-1) have clinched a quarterfinals berth and the USA's next opponent will be the No. 3 seed out of that group, which will be determined by today's later games. The final team out of Group F will also be determined following today's games.
The semifinals will be held on July 30 and the finals are scheduled for July 31. FIBATV.com will stream live online the medal semifinals and medal finals.
"(The loss) obviously changes our path to get to a gold medal opportunity, but I hope it makes a difference in a positive way," said Jennifer Rizzotti, USA U19 World Championship Team head coach. "Hopefully it wakes the kids up a little bit and proves to them that this isn't the last two years where they've played against kids their age. We're talking about 19-year-old kids who play in college. We just didn't show the maturity today to be able to beat a team like Canada. They were great."
Canada, which forced the U.S. to play a slower tempo game, took advantage of the USA's shooting woes from the beginning and led from the get-go. As the U.S. opened by missing its first three shots and committing a pair of turnovers, Canada went up 6-0 in under two minutes. Williams, who finished with eight points, five rebounds, one blocked shot and one steal, scored back-to-back buckets, a put-back and a brilliant feed inside from Bria Hartley to close to 8-6 at 5:32. However, more miscues and a strong defensive effort by Canada kept the USA scoreless over the next 4:40, while popping off for 12 consecutive points. In the final minute of the first quarter, Massengale got a pair of steals, one of which she scored off and the other was a feed to Diamond DeShields and after the first period the USA trailed 20-10.
In the first quarter alone, the USA shot just 33.3 percent (5-15 FGs) from the field, including 0-of-6 from 3-point, while the Canadians connected on a red-hot 61.5 percent (8-13 FGs) of its shots during that time. Further, the first quarter saw the U.S. turn the ball over five times and Canada owned a 10-4 rebounding advantage.
Williams, who is out of Virginia Beach, Va., got another put-back to start the second and following a pair of free throws from the other side, Jordan Adams knocked down a three, then Massengale again picked Canada's pocket and raced home for a layup to close the gap to 22-17. However, each time the U.S. cut the deficit, Canada struck back. This time it was five straight points and with 2:24 to play before halftime, Rizzotti called for a time out. Behind five points from Massengale, the USA spent the remainder of the half on a quick 6-1 spurt and at halftime trailed just 29-23.
Through most of the third quarter, the U.S. and Canada swapped points and with 2:20 to go, after a pair of made free throws by the Canucks, it was a five-point game, 39-34. Hartley got a great screen by Williams and launched the USA's second three of the game, which was followed by a Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis bucket and with 55 seconds to go in the quarter, the ball game was even at 39-all. However, Hartley slipped and lost the ball on the USA's final possession, Canada was there for the steal and missed its first attempt, but grabbed the offensive board and got the ball back up and in just as the quarter buzzer sounded.
That fueled Canada as it outscored the USA 8-1 over the first 4:52 of the fourth quarter and go up 49-40. The USA was able to cut it as close as five points, 52-47, on a traditional 3-point play by Massengale, but were never again able to bridge the gap and Canada earned the victory.
In addition to the 17 points from Massengale and eight from Williams, Breanna Stewart chipped in eight points and Hartley finished with seven.
Canada was led the Plouffe sisters, with Michelle (University of Utah) scoring 24 and Katherine (Marquette University) netting 12, while 2011 Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Year Wumi Agunbiade (Duquesne University) added 15.
The game saw the U.S. finish with the most turnovers (24) and lowest shooting percentage (22-61 FGs, .361) in its six games. After allowing Canada to shoot nearly 62 percent in the first quarter, the red, white and blue held Canada to just 34.8 percent (23-66 FGs) on the game and won the battle on the glass, 43-38. A big difference in the game came from the line, where Canada hit 15-of-19 (.789), while the U.S. struggled to make 6-of-12 (.500).
In other Group E contests, China (2-4) ran out to an 87-59 win over Japan (3-3) and Russia (3-3) made it to the next round after coming back from a 14-point halftime deficit to down Italy (2-4) 62-55. Group F's games started off with France defeating Taiwan (2-4) 74-57, while Spain takes on host Chile (1-4) at 6:45 p.m. (all times EDT) and Australia will face Brazil in the final game of the day, at 9:00 p.m.
Only U.S. citizens who are 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1992) are eligible for this team.
Assistant coaches for the USA U19 World Championship Team are Sue Semrau of Florida State University and Joi Williams of the University of Central Florida.
Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the tournament was held every four years from 1985 through 2005. FIBA now conducts the U19 World Championship every other year. Prior to this year's start, USA women's teams were 49-11 all-time in U19/Junior World Championships, most recently capturing a third consecutive gold with an 8-1 record in 2009.
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