Jones Cup Team Escapes Japan, 83-80
July 19, 2000
Taipei, Taiwan - With Kelly Schumacher (Connecticut / Quyon, Canada) leading a dominating inside game with 24 points and nine rebounds, the USA Basketball Women's R. William Jones Cup team overcame a hot three-point shooting Japan team to take sole possession of first place in the tournament in Taipei, Taiwan. The win improves the USA's record to 3-0, while Japan fell to 2-1.
Washington's Loree Payne did not play in the game, after seeing limited action in the first two contests.
Japan dominated early in the first half, building up an 18-point lead, 38-20 with 8:09 remaining in the first half. The USA continued to trail until the last three seconds of the period, finally going up 43-41 to close the half after a Schumacher putback. The game continued to seesaw back and forth in the second half, and it was 58-all with 11:08 remaining. The USA opened their largest lead of the half, 80-70, with 2:10 remaining but Japan, after hitting a couple of three-pointers, closed the gap to 80-76. Marie Ferdinand (Louisiana State / Miami, Fla.) was fouled and missed her first free throw attempt, but made the second, then Japan scored on a layup, making it 81-78 with 43 seconds remaining. Schumacher came up with another big play, getting the rebound and the follow-up to put the U.S. up 83-78. Japan scored off a layup with seven seconds remaining, but the U.S. inbounded the ball and held on to win, 83-80.
"The comeback in the first half was big," said head coach Bonnie Henrickson (Virginia Tech). "Our post players dominated in the paint. Despite Japan's shooting three's very well, we executed down the stretch and won."
The Japanese were led by Akemi Okazato's 29 points on 8-of-11 shooting from three point range. Ferdinand and Brooke Wyckoff (Florida State / West Chester, Ohio) shared the task of defending her.
"I was very impressed with Japan's three-point shooting," admitted Wyckoff, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds (three offensive). "The game came down to our hustle plays and despite their great three-point shooting, we came together to win the game."
The U.S. had no shots from three-point range, but the inside games of Schumacher, Wyckoff, Camille Cooper (Purdue / Georgetown, Ky.) and Michelle Snow (Tennessee / Pensacola, Fla.) more than made up for it, as they combined to score 51 points, while recording 28 rebounds and shooting 66.7 percent (24-36 FGs).
For the third consecutive game, four players scored in double figures. In addition to Schumacher's game highs, Ferdinand scored 18 and had four offensive boards, Wyckoff had 12 points and Snow added 11 points in crunch time along with six rebounds. The eighteen offensive rebounds were crucial, giving the U.S. 20 second chance points. Cooper pulled down eight boards (three offensive) and Shea Ralph (Connecticut / Fayetteville, N.C.) led the team in assists with five to help the U.S. in their toughest game of the tournament.
The 2000 R. William Jones Cup is a five-team, round robin tournament being held July 16-20. The USA can capture the gold medal with a win over Malaysia Thursday at 4:20 (local time). Japan will face China, followed by the awards ceremony.
2000 Women's R. William Jones Cup Standings
2000 Women's R. William Jones Cup Results:
-Sunday, July 16
-Monday, July 17
-Tuesday, July 18
-Wednesday, July 19
-Thursday, July 20
USA Women's Jones Cup Team vs Japan National Women's Team