US National Team topples Canada

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, July 28, 2009

BANGKOK, Thailand – Following a day off, the United States U19 National Team tipped off second-round play at the FIBA World Championships on Monday afternoon with a 64-50 victory over Canada in a Group F contest at the Bangkok Thai-Japan Youth Center in Bangkok, Thailand.

Since its four-point upset loss to Spain on the opening day of the tournament, the USA has reeled off three consecutive victories and clamped down on the defensive end, holding its last three opponents to an average of 47 points per game.

Notre Dame incoming freshman guard and United States co-captain Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington) did not play in Monday’s win over Canada due to an illness.

With Diggins sidelined, Samantha Prahalis and Kelsey Bone picked up some of the scoring load, tossing in a game-high 14 points apiece. U.S. co-captain Nnemkadi Ogwumike added her second double-double of the tournament with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Collectively, the United States didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, making 25-of-78 shots (32.1 percent) and misfiring on all seven three-point attempts. However, the Americans held Canada to an even lower shooting percentage (.253, 19-of-75) and forced 21 Maple Leaf turnovers, making up for Canada’s 46-38 rebounding edge.

Kayla Alexander scored a team-high 12 points and Laura Dally registered 10 points for Canada (2-2), while Taryn Wicijowski snared a game-high 16 rebounds.

“We wanted to get Kelsey Bone going, and she did,” said Carol Owens, USA and Northern Illinois University head coach (and Notre Dame assistant coach from 1996-2005). “Sammy (Prahalis) really stepped up big and played a lot of minutes for us tonight. Not having Skylar, we had to have some people step up. Kelly (Faris) stepped us for us, also Lay (Clarendon) did a great job of coming off the bench and contributing.

“They outrebounded us,” Owens continued. “We knew they were going to be a very good rebounding team. They have (Kayla) Alexander underneath and she was probably leading the tournament in rebounds coming into our game. That was important for us.”

The United States will continue second-round Group F pool play at the U19 World Championships on Tuesday when it tangles with Russia (3:15 p.m. local) at the Bangkok Thai-Japan Youth Center.

Russia (4-0) is one of only two remaining unbeaten teams.