CALI, COLOMBIA – The U.S. Women’s National Team opened up competition against Brazil at the 2017 IWBF America’s Qualifier in a topsy-turvy game, where U.S. Women’s National Team rookie Morgan Wood of Gordonsville, Tennessee, secures the come-from-behind victory with a last-second shot to win, 55-53. The U.S. Women’s Team, comprised of 12 athletes, only has three returners from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games gold-medal team.
The young squad was led by two-time U.S. Paralympian Desi Miller of Monroe, Washington, who finished the game with a double-double scoring 18 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and credited with 8 assists in the opening game. 2016 Rio gold medalist Abby Dunkin, a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team since 2015, finished the day with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
In the first quarter, both teams went back and forth and finished tied, 16-16. Team USA broke away in the second quarter with a 14-8 run against Brazil, however the third was reversed when Brazil went on a 20-9 run for a 44-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Brazil led by as many as 7 points, until Wood made a lay-up with 7:51 remaining to play, and then snagged a defensive rebound to feed Lindsey Zurbrugg of Portland, Oregon, for another lay-up, cutting into Brazil’s lead, 46-43. With 2:43 left in the game, Miller scored a pair of points for Team USA’s first fourth-quarter lead, 51-50, however Brazil countered immediately.
Zurbrugg tied the game with 47 ticks left, 53-53. It was Wood’s jumper with 8 second left that sealed the win. On the day, Zurbrugg and Wood each scored 10 points.
Brazil was led in scoring by Debora Costa and Lia Martins, who each scored 8 points. Brazil narrowly outrebounded Team USA, 32-30, and Brazil forced 9 turnovers.
The America’s Qualifier is a classification event that determines who will compete in the 2018 IWBF World Championship in Hamburg, Germany in August. The U.S. Women’s team will be competing against Argentina, Canada, Colombia and Brazil for a spot in Germany. Team USA must finish in the top four teams in order to qualify for the world championships.
Up next, Team USA will face Canada on Friday, August 25 at 3 p.m. central time.
On August 28, the placement games in the women’s tournament will start at 11 a.m. central time. The bronze-medal game is scheduled for August 29 at 3 p.m. central, with the gold-medal game set for 7 p.m. central.
NWBA Hall of Famer Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, California, serves as the U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach. He is assisted by Amy Spangler of Madison, Wisconsin, and Adam Kramer of Northport, Alabama. Also joining the team is athletic trainer Karla Wessels of Lexington, Kentucky, and Team Leader Kearstin Gehlhausen of Denver, Colorado.
This is the first step for the U.S. Women’s Team as they are focused on advancing through the quadrennial to defend its Rio Paralympic gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Last September, Team USA also managed to break two of their own records (most points in a game and largest margin of victory) en route to the gold medal going 7-0 in the process.
IWBF America’s Qualifier
August 23-30, 2017
USA def. Brazil, 55-53
Date Time (CST) / U.S. Opponent
8/25 3 PM / Canada
8/26 11 AM / Argentina
8/27 3 PM / Colombia
IWBF America’s Qualifier Medal Rounds
8/28 11 AM, Women’s Play-offs
8/29 3 PM, Women’s Bronze medal match
8/29 7 PM, Women’s Gold medal match