Durr's 16 leads USA over Japan
While most of you were asleep this morning, the USA U23 team "hosted" Japan in their final game of the round-robin event in Tokyo. (While my colleagues have tried to explain to me how USA could host in Japan...I remain unconvinced). A resounding win for USA...103-71 over Japan.
Asia Durr led the Americans in scoring. She tallied 11 first-half points to help USA lead at the break 52-33. She finished with 16 in the contest...the second time in the three game round-robin event she has led the squad in scoring. A look at the stat line shows she was 5-6 on two-point attempts and sank two of her four 3 point attempts in 20:24 minutes of court action. The Japanese squad reportedly did a little media woofing before this one and were a bit chippy...but USA quickly turned that noise off and did work.
A nice shooting effort from USA...they went 50% from 3 point range (9 for 18) and 53.6% from two-point range (30-56). They wouldn't have been awarded a letter in our regular-season FRED scenario for free throws...going 16-23 from the stripe for 69.6%. The stat line also shows one other interesting stat on the sheet....they list Jeff Walz under the players and he was credited for 3 defensive rebounds. Good hustle, Coach!
Defensively, USA did the job....holding Japan to 25% beyond the arc and 33.6% on two point efforts. 19 turnovers and 49 rebounds for USA -- only 8 turnovers for Japan but just
Lost in translation? Also in double figures for USA were Kelsey Mitchell (listed as Michelle on the sheet) with 13 points, Jamie Nared (listed as Nard) with 11 points and Kalani Brown (listed as Karani) with 11.
So...a nice effort for Walz's team over the three-game event. Would you like to see this event enlarged next year? Maybe bring in eight teams instead of four. The Russians would probably jump in...as well as a few of the European nations and China if asked. Should WNBA players under the age of 23 be included? Just a few hypothesis I ran across from others while doing my research for today's write. Personally, I'd love to see the event enlarged but would vote against using WNBA or even college graduates in Euroball play.
I do lament the fact that none of these contest were shown on-line or on cable. I would have settled for even a Japanese broadcast (maybe with subtitles) but it was not to be. You would figure with today's technology....something could have transpired. Thanks to USAB for providing Twitter feeds and the photos here today...they helped me to construct parts of this article...but being a basketball junkie, I probably would have gotten up early than I normally do to watch.
I also wouldn't mind seeing this event come to the United States next year...or down the road. I suppose, if it did, they might choose the USAB training facility in Colorado Springs to host it...but I'll venture that if you brought it to the KFC YUM! Center, Rupp Arena, Knoxville, South Carolina or any of the other hotbeds for women's college basketball...they would be a sizable attendance. I'd go if it was within a reasonable driving time...how about you?
A special congratulations to Asia Durr for her efforts. Our buddy Howie Lindsey actually got a live interview via phone yesterday in Tokyo with her on his morning show Louisville First. You can hear that HERE It would be my guess that...if they do All-Tournament teams and Most Outstanding Player awards for this round-robin...she would be a prime candidate for each category. I'll continue to monitor social media and see if this develops.
Asia has stamped her mark as the natural floor leader for Louisville women's basketball this season. Remember the questions, concerns and doubts we had about her as a freshman? Let's not forget, she was injured then...but she's turned into the player we all expected we would get out of high school and as one of the top five in the nation on the women's college basketball scene.
We now turn our focus on Louisville women's basketball to the season ahead. I had an interesting chat with a huge Louisville WBB fan the other evening and was presented with her possible starting and game ending lineup. I think it's probably way too early for such speculations...but her list is definitely doable. She has Asia and Arica Carter at the guards, Myisha Hines-Allen at the "3" and Sam Fuehring and Bionca Dunham in the paint.
Time will tell...
Coach Walz sent out a couple of tweets after the contest:
Always fun coaching @A_Hooper25 Been an awesome 2 weeks with @usabasketball
What a great experience these past two weeks have been! Thank you to these 12 wonderful young women and @usabasketball
So, a brief lapse in basketball action for us. We'll still be watching to see how Asia Taylor and the Mystics are faring in the WNBA and we'll be resuming the "Catching Up" series with former UofL women's basketball players in a couple of weeks...but, for now, we'll plunge headlong into fall women's sports....as Case lined out in his article Monday. We'd added a full listing of the women's Soccer, Field Hockey and Volleyball schedules on "The Right Side of The Site"...so you can keep up with the where, when, what and who.