July 6, 2007
Moscow, Russia -
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The 2007 USA Basketball U21 World Championship Team (6-0) made quick work of Belgium (2-4) 104-53 on Friday night at the FIBA U21 World Championship in Moscow. With the win, the U.S. advances to Saturday evening's semifinal contest (10:00 a.m. EDT) against host Russia (5-1), which defeated Hungary (3-3) 71-55 earlier this evening. Auburn's DeWanna Bonner turned in 11 points, six rebounds and two steals in 17 minutes of play.
"I thought it was a great game, a lot of people got involved," said USA U21 National Team and Duke University head coach Joanne P. McCallie. "I love to see six people in double figures. I thought the rebounding was absolutely tremendous. That's exactly what we need going into tomorrow's game.
"We're excited about tomorrow night. We need to work hard, play as a team, go to our strengths. We want to be relentless from start to finish, we want to run the floor very, very well and really challenge Russia to do so with us. And at the same time we want to rebound like crazy. If those components fall into place we should be in good shape."
Belgium hung around for the first quarter and with time winding down the USA was up 20-18. However, Abby Waner (Duke) nailed a three before the buzzer sounded to up the ante to 23-18.
Belgium couldn't keep up with the USA's fast-paced offense and stifling defense as the Americans dominated both ends of the floor in a 27-9 second quarter clinic and were up 50-27 at the half.
Any second half comeback hopes were quickly squelched as the U.S. came out of the locker room and went on an 11-0 tear to put the game out of reach 61-27 with 16:55 more to play in the game. Continuing to overpower their opponents, the Americans strung together a 16-0 scoring spree late in the game to double Belgium's scoring output for the biggest lead of the night, 98-49 at 2:04, and coasted in for the victory.
The USA forced 23 Belgium turnovers on 16 steals and held the opposing squad to 32.8 percent (19-58 FGs) shooting from the floor overall and 21.7 percent (5-23 3pt FGs) from 3-point.
The USA is hoping to defend its world title in this age group, open to athletes 21-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1986), at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship, which runs through July 8.