OSTRAVA, Czech Republic » Lindsay Whalen and the rest of the second unit again sparked the United States to victory.
Whalen scored 16 points and Angel McCoughtry added 11 to lead the U.S. to an 87-46 rout of Canada last night in the second round of the women’s basketball world championship. The Americans will face Belarus today.
"We’re able to come in and analyze what’s going on and see what’s happening on the court," Whalen said. "We can bring energy, intensity, and see what’s working and try to play hard."
For the second straight game the U.S. got off to a slow start. Canada jumped to an 11-5 lead, and coach Geno Auriemma turned to his bench. The second unit got four straight turnovers on the way to a 12-0 run. The U.S. forced 32 turnovers for the game.
"I like that second group," Auriemma said. "I thought about changing the starting lineup today as those guys are stuck in the mud. You got some high energy guys like Lindsay, Angel, Maya (Moore), as well. Tina (Charles) gave us a great burst at the beginning of the second quarter."
On one play, McCoughtry stole the ball from Kaela Chapdelaine, made a move to the basket, causing the Canadian guard to fall, and then scored an easy hoop.
Janelle Bekkering finally ended the spurt with a 3-pointer to make it 17-14. Bekkering was one of three college players in the game. She is a fifth-year senior at Gonzaga. Her Canadian teammate Natalie Achonwa is a freshman at Notre Dame. Connecticut’s Moore is the Americans’ lone college player.
Bekkering’s basket didn’t stem the tide for long. The U.S. held Canada without a basket for the next 7 minutes and went on a 16-3 run to make it 33-17. Charles had five points during the burst, including a three-point play on a drive from the foul line. By the time the half ended, the U.S. led 47-25.
Bekkering and Kim Smith scored eight points to lead Canada (1-3). Despite knowing what they were up against, the Canadians didn’t seem in awe of the Americans.
"We knew we’re all basketball players at the end of the day," Courtnay Pilypaitis said. "You don’t think about who’s who and who you’re guarding."
Canada (1-3) couldn’t get closer than 20 in the second half. The Canadians will play Greece today.
After a 12-year absence from the worlds, the Canadians returned four years ago to the tournament and placed 10th in Brazil.