In the first semi-final of the 2019 Women’s U25 World Championship in Suphanburi, Thailand, USA showcased why they are one of the favourites to win the championship with a huge 78-24 win over Japan.
USA came out at the start the game with a full-court press causing some quick turnovers by the Japanese. If they did manage to break the press, they were forced in to difficult late shot attempts which the USA converted in to twelve fast break points. The time-outs by Japan saw the tempo settle, but a powerful, experienced two-man game from USA’s Abby Dunkin and Rose Hollermann, ensured they finished the half with a 51-9 lead.
The half-time talk seemed to help Japan compose themselves, and thanks to some forced turnovers and strong offensive plays including a big three from Amane Yanagimoto, they kept the scoring level for the first few minutes of the third. That forced the USA to rotate their starting five back on to the court and into a full-court press to seal the quarter, 17-9.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the final quarter, but USA were already home and dry, sailing through to the Championship final.
Following the game, USA’s Hollermann, who led the scorers with 33 points in just 15 minutes of play, said:
“We are feeling really positive following that game. As always when we come off any win or loss, any game really, we look at what we need to improve on and what we need to get better at. So we’ll be looking at that tonight to see what we can get better at by tomorrow going into the Championship Game.
“I felt really good going into the game, and having one of my teammates come out and hit that lay-up to start really got me jacked up, and then watching the girls find me with the ball once I got hot, getting me in a good position and then continuing to go to me was really wonderful. Abby Dunkin had a great game against Australia, she’s been shooting phenomenal all tournament, so just her taking a back seat and letting me cut because of her extending the defence and then her finding me.”
Looking ahead to the gold medal game, Hollermann, said:
“We will plan on sticking to ourselves and our game, focusing on what we need to improve on and what we need to work on.”
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