USA beats China, 73-56, to remain undefeated

By Gary Sheftick | U.S. Armed Forces Sports | July 28, 2016

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (July 28, 2016) -- After losing to China in overtime last year in the CISM championship, coach Nate Johnson was determined that Team USA would stay on the ball.

"Don't leave the basketball," he implored the squad. "If you see the ball across half court, you attack it."

Team USA listened. They forced 25 turnovers and only lost the ball to China seven times during the third day of action in the Conseil International du Sports Militaire Women's Basketball Championship here in Paige Fieldhouse, July 27.

Offensively, Team USA dominated the boards with 35 rebounds compared to China's nine. If a shot missed the net, USA's squad kept after it, scoring 26 second-chance points.

USA's Vanessa Lamison from Fort Bliss, Texas, was the game's leading scorer with 16 points. Shaniqua Bennet from U.S. Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay in Baltimore was second with nine points and six steals.

Danielle Salley, who just graduated from the Army's Officer Candidate School last month, had eight points and 10 rebounds.

"It feels good," Salley said about the 73-56 win over China, despite getting elbowed above the eye while fighting for a rebound with China's Liting Zang. "I ended up coming down with that rebound though," she added.

Salley's mother, Debra Mitchell Ward from Milwaukee, was there watching. She expressed concern about the elbow to the eye, but added that her daughter's "a big girl," and she was proud of her.

"She's my biggest fan," Salley said of her mother. Her aunt Patricia Rush from Wisconsin was also there cheering. This was the first time her family has been able to see her play in a while, since most of the games are so far from home. Last year's CISM basketball championship was held in France.

Salley was on the USA squad last year that lost to China and has remained friends with some of the Chinese players. In fact, Zang is her Facebook friend. 

The win over China tied USA for first place with Brazil in this year's tournament after the home team beat France on day one of the championship, 85-53; and Canada on day two, 82-25. 

FRANCE BEATS GERMANY

Earlier in day three, France faced Germany. After a close first two quarters with France ahead by only 23-21 at halftime, the French came out hustling to quickly rack up a lead and roll to an 82-40 victory. 

France had 24 steals to Germany's eight, and the French scored 44 points off turnovers. 

France's Laure Belleville was the game's leading scorer with 23 points, and 15 of those were off turnovers. Germany's Annika Danckert led her team with 16 points.

BRAZIL OVER CANADA

Brazil beat up the Canadians, 65-43, in a game in which the Brazilians racked up 25 personal fouls to Canada's 9. The Canadian women only made 9 of 22 foul shots, however, and the Brazilians were 0 for 3 on their free-throw attempts.

Canada's Nicolle Gaudet was the leading scorer of the game with 17 points. Brazil's Karla Cristina Martins Da Costa scored 12. Brazil had a deeper bench, however, with 10 of their women racking up points while only the top five on Canada's team scored.

Brazil and USA remain the only two undefeated teams after the third day of this five-day round-robin championship tournament. The USA will play Brazil on Friday.