June 19, 2007
Monte Carlo, Monaco -
Auburn rising junior DeWanna Bonner scored 12 points as the USA Basketball Women's U21 World Championship Team (1-0) outscored France (0-1) 31-7 in the third quarter and took an eventual 82-59 exhibition victory over the French U21 World Championship Team at the Stade Louis II in Monte Carlo, Monaco Monday night.
The USA is preparing to defend its world title in this age group, at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship on June 29-July 8 in Moscow, Russia. The USA and French U21 squads will meet again on June 19 in Antibes, France, and on June 21 in La Garde, France. The Americans will remain in Antibes and train through June 25 before traveling to Moscow for the U21 Worlds.
"I think the team worked very hard, obviously we did much better in the third (quarter) defensively," said USA U21 National Team and Duke University head coach Joanne P. McCallie. "Holding them to 31-7 in the third quarter was very significant. I thought we were much nicer, more aggressive in the second half."
The United States, which began practicing in Colorado Springs, Colo., on June 12, got off to a sluggish start as France, after trailing 17-13 at the first quarter break, pulled it even at 36 points at the half. The USA's struggles produced 17 turnovers in the first half and the squad shot just 33.3 percent from the line (4-12 FTs) during that span.
"Turnovers killed us a lot in the first half," said Bonner. "Everybody's still trying to get use to playing together, we're trying to gel and get that chemistry going. I think that once we get the experience with each other we'll get more and more comfortable as time goes on."
However, the USA righted its course and came out of the locker room on an 11-0 tear to start the second half. After allowing a French field goal at 6:30, the American women produced another run that expanded the lead to 60-38 with 13:45 to go in the contest. By the end of the third quarter the lead was 67-43 and the U.S. cruised in for the 82-59 victory.
While Bonner, Essence Carson, Kia Vaughn and Candice Wiggins combined for 48 points, Abby Waner and Courtney Paris led on the glass with eight and seven rebounds, respectively. Waner passed out a team-best four assists and she and Paris notched four steals apiece.