CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (July 27, 2016) -- Team USA beat the French, 85-53, to remain undefeated in the second day of the Conseil International du Sports Militaire Women's Basketball Championship here in Paige Fieldhouse, July 26.
After a close first half, in which France momentarily took the lead twice, Coach Lt. Col. William Johnson went into a locker-room pep talk stressing defense.
"We're stagnant on the screens because we're not switching," Johnson told his players, urging them to move around and switch defensive positions to keep the French team guessing.
"The only person we don't switch off on is 14," he said, referring to France's leading scorer, 6-foot-3 Johanna Cortinovis, who netted 16 points during the game. Johnson wanted her double-teamed, as he said she was able to spin and shoot too easily during the first half.
"It's going to be physical," said Johnson, who came to coaching Team USA from Fort Sill, Oklahoma. "You've got to fight through it."
Team USA came out in the second half not only fighting to defend their turf, but also driving and scoring to quickly rack up a lead. Their hard charging also drew some fouls.
The game's lead scorer, Spc. Vanessa Laminson from Fort Bliss, Texas, scored a total of 26 points and made 8 of 10 free throws. She also made two shots from outside the paint that were nothing but net.
Then with only 5:39 left in the game, USA forward Sgt. Kimberly Smith was injured. Smith, from Camp Humpreys, Korea, twisted her upper torso in a battle for possession and went down on the floor in pain. She was treated at the Naval Medical Center at Camp Pendleton and later released. The team remains hopeful that she will return for the final game versus Brazil, scheduled for July 29.
GERMANY BEATS CANADA
In the day's second game, Germany came out ahead of Canada, 57-54, in a tightly contested matchup.
As the clock ticked down, the game was tied, 54-54. Germany passed the ball around in an apparent effort to manage the clock and wait until the final moment to score. Canada decided to stop that strategy, but fouled in the process. It backfired and free throws won the game for the German team.
Germany's lead scorer, Lt. Col. Annika Danckert, made five foul shots during the game as she racked up a total of 24 points.
Canada's lead scorer was Lt. Sondra Edmison with 13 points.
BRAZIL OVER CHINA
The battle of last year's gold and silver medalists went into overtime, with Brazil getting the final baskets to best China 68-66.
China had a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but Brazil drove back, tying the score 53-53 with 5:45 to play.
China's Wenqia Gu made a foul shot that put them ahead by one. Then Brazil's Tassis Pereira De Souza Carcavalli made a field goal to put them up by one. China's Zhenqi Pan made two points to give them the lead. Then Brazil's Soeli Garvao Zakrzeski put in the final field goal of regulation time to tie the game 59-59 just before the buzzer.
Brazil's Canina Felippus De Souza made the first field goal in overtime, but China quickly came back to score twice and take the lead. Brazil's leading scorer, Gilmara Justino -- who had a total of 19 points for the day -- got fouled and made two free throws to tie the game again at 1:38 remaining.
The lead changed three times more before Brazil's Felippus made the final field goal to put them up 67-66. Brazil's Karla Cristina Martins Da Costa made a final foul shot to seal the victory.
Last year Brazil beat China by one point for the gold, and this year they ended up winning by two.
Brazil and USA remain the only two undefeated teams after the second day of this five-day round-robin championship tournament. The USA plays China on Wednesday, Germany on Thursday and Brazil on Friday.