CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (July 30, 2016) -- With seconds to go and up by one point, USA's Sgt. Danielle DeBerry was forced out of bounds. The ball went to Brazil and Sgt. Debora Fernandes da Costa quickly threw it up for two points and the championship.
USA had to settle for silver in the 2nd Conseil International du Sport Militaire, or CISM World Military Women's Basketball Championship, July 29. The first such championship was in France last year and Brazil left there with the gold as well.
Team USA filed off the floor of Camp Pendleton's Paige Fieldhouse with long faces, but Coach Nate Johnson set them straight. Finishing in second place is not losing, he said, besides "it gives you energy to fight back even more."
"You can't take back all the free throws and rebounds you missed..." he said. "You can't take anything back." All that can be done is look ahead to next time, he added.
Team USA and Brazil both went into the final championship game undefeated after a week of competition. USA had beaten Canada on day one, 82-25; France on day two, 85-53; China -- last year's silver-medalist -- on day three, 73-56; and Germany on day four, 91-27.
However, Johnson and USA players said they knew that Brazil would be no pushover.
Team USA jumped out to a quick lead, thanks to a 9-2 run, and a 17-point first quarter. Brazil, though, fought back early in the second quarter to tie and take a momentary lead before USA pulled away again. By halftime, USA had racked up a 31-24 lead.
Coach Johnson knew that wasn't enough, though, and urged his players not to let up on the pace.
"We've got to pick up our intensity," he told the players. "Don't just watch the ball."
"They'll come out swinging," Assistant Coach Aaron Bryant, of Fort Stewart, Georgia, said of the Brazilian players. "You've got to strike first."
Sgt. Donita Adams of the Maryland National Guard had a good showing, leading USA's scoring with 12 points and shooting well from outside, making 50 percent of her six three-point attempts.
DeBerry, of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, had 9 points and four rebounds. Spc. Vanessa Lamison of Fort Bliss, Texas, had 8 points and six rebounds. Sgt. Creshenda Singletary, of Fort Bragg, had 8 points and four rebounds.
Sgt. Kimberly Smith of Camp Humphries, Korea -- back in competition after a shoulder injury on day two in the game against France -- had 8 points, four rebounds and a steal.
2nd Lt. Danielle Salley, who just graduated from Officer Candidate School last month at Fort Benning, Ga., was playing with three stitches above her eye after being elbowed during the game with China. She scored 4 points, brought down 10 rebounds and blocked two layup attempts.
It wasn't enough to stop Brazil's 37 points in the second half of the game, however.
Brazil's Sgt. Karla Cristina Martins Da Costa scored 18 points during the game, including four three-pointers from outside. Brazil's Sgt. Soeli Garvao Zakrzeski was hot inside, scoring six baskets in the paint and a total of 13 points.
Brazil's Sgt. Gilmara Justino was named the most valuable player of the championship tournament. She scored a total of 76 points during the five days of competition and came down with 17 rebounds. During the final game with USA, she had 10 points and nine rebounds.
CHINA BEATS GERMANY FOR BRONZE
In other action during day five of the championship, China beat Germany, 94-32, securing the bronze medal.
China's Zhenqi Pan scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds. China's Liting Zhang had 17 points and three rebounds.
Germany's K Nass had 12 points and three rebounds. M Wassman scored 6 points and came down with three rebounds. Nancy Loth scored 6 points and had nine rebounds.
China came down with a total 59 rebounds compared to Germany's 29.
FRANCE BEATS CANADA
France was awarded the CISM Fair Play Award after beating Canada, 66-27, during their final game.
France's Johanna Cortinovis was the game's leading scorer with 14 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Laure Belleville had 11 points, three rebounds and three steals.
Canada's Lt. Carley Lewis scored 6 points and came down with four rebounds. Lt. Sandra Edmison had 5 points and two rebounds.
Other than Team USA, France had the most active fan base at the championship. French fans constantly blew horns and waved flags during the five days of competition.