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USA Women Go Undefeated in Pool Play

08/27/2019, 2:30pm CDT
By Will Waller

*Photo courtesy of Mark Reis and the USOPC

LIMA, PERU – The USA Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team defeated Brazil (57-42) in a physical contest. Both teams entered the game 2-0, and this game would determine who completed pool play as the number one seed entering the medal round on Thursday, August 29.

With such high stakes on the line, the USA Women were fully expecting a high degree of physicality. The officials in this game would allow the athletes to play through much of the contact, with a total of only 16 fouls called.

The 15-point differential does not truly reflect how closely contested this match was. Each team would mount a series of runs. This prompted Head Coach Trooper Johnson (San Lorenzo, CA) to substitute varied line-ups to find a combination that could work. Offensively, the USA had a down game, shooting only 44% from the field. “We got good looks and we missed them, and it kept feeding into their [Brazil’] emotional high, and they ran with it,” said Johnson.

Team USA entered the game leading all teams in scoring efficiency with a 68% average from the field. Rose Hollermann (Elysian, MN) entered the game leading all scorers with an average of 27 points per game, and third in scoring efficiency at 70%. By this standard, today’s game was an off game for Hollermann with 55% from the field. She went through a cold spell in the second quarter, leading Johnson to make a substitution with a little under three minutes left in the half.

Hollermann said she made an adjustment during the game to get back on track in the second half. “I kind of went through a drought in the 2nd quarter, and then coming off talking to Trooper, my coaches and my teammates and hearing them being encouraging and expecting more from me than what I showed,” she said.  

It was a quiet third quarter for Hollermann, as Becca Murray (Germantown, WI) went on a run of her own scoring eight points and running a picture perfect two-man game with her co-captain Natalie Schneider.

However, the fourth quarter would belong to Hollermann again. Under duress and forced out wide from the Brazilian pressure, Hollermann would receive a last second pass from Lindsey Zurbrugg (Portland, OR). Hollermann calmly released the shot from 15 feet away on the right baseline, hitting nothing but the bottom of the net. Hollermann would go on to score four of the next five baskets for Team USA as they extended their lead back to 15 to close out the contest against Brazil.

Prior to Team USA’s last two pool play games, Hollermann and her teammates supported the US Embassy by conducting a demonstration in Lima on Sunday afternoon to help local athletes learn the game. Her best move of the trip so far may have happened off the court. Hollermann surprised a local athlete by gifting her one of her old game chairs, bringing the athlete to tears. Rose said, “It’s really awesome that with the USA Team we have the opportunity to bring that equipment and donate it to people that need it and it can get used.”

Team USA will play in the semi-final of the Lima 2019 ParaPan American Games. Check our social media to learn who we are playing this Thursday and when.

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