For the first time in four games, the U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team came from behind to defeat a fast China team, 70-45, to keep its record impeccable. China came out quickly taking a 4-0 lead and maintained it until the 2:22 mark of the first quarter. Team USA’s Desi Miller of Monroe, Washington, sank a 12-foot basket to put the United States on top for the first time, 12-10. From this point forward, Team USA went on a 25-12 run to close out the first half, 35-22.
All five players scored during the run, with three-time U.S. Paralympic hopeful Becca Murray of Germantown, Wisconsin, scoring seven of her 25 points. Two-time Games hopeful Rose Hollermann of Elysian, Minnesota, contributed eight of her 20 points during this run. Murray and Hollermann have been the top two scorers for the United States in all games.
The second half, Team USA kept its foot on the pedal, and changed lineups during the fourth quarter for the first time all season to finish with a 25-point advantage. Miller finished with 9 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
Also putting in impressive performances offensively and defensively were four Games hopefuls: Gail Gaeng of Fredrick, Maryland; Megan Blunk of Gig Harbor, Washington; Darlene Hunter of Commerce Township, Michigan; and Natalie Schneider of Crete, Nebraska.
China’s Jimeng Dai and Yun Long combined for 27 points, with four others scoring.
The last game of the day pitted 2014 World Champions Canada against Brazil. Canada was challenged by the Rio 2016 Paralympics host. The Brazilians controlled the first three quarters and most of the fourth, until Canada’s Arinn Young scored the go-ahead basket at the 2:02 mark of the fourth, 49-48. The Canadians rallied on the tandem of young and cindy Ouellet in the fourth quarter as they tallied 19 points collectively. Young finished the game with 19, and Ouellet with 16 points.
Lia Soares and Perla Assuncao led the way for Brazil, who each scored 15 points each, and Ana Rosa contributed 8.
Tuesday closes out the three-day event that attracted a strong field of international teams. The final day pits the United States against Canada at 9 a.m. MDST, at the Olympic Training Center’s Sports Center I Gym. Fans are invited to attend the games, and must enter the Olympic Training Center through the Boulder Street entrance. All games are free to the public.
The other games for Tuesday are: China vs. Brazil at 11 a.m. MDST; USA vs. Brazil at 5 p.m. MDST; and China vs. Canada at 7 p.m.
In the final preparation phases for the Rio Games, the U.S. team will see a variety of teams in the next five weeks. Team USA will have two more international competitions following the Colorado Springs event (Olympic Training Center, Lake Placid, New York, June 22-26 and Women’s World Super Cup, Frankfurt, Germany, July 13-18).
The U.S. women’s team qualified for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games by winning the 2015 Parapan American Games. The U.S. women dominated the Parapan Am competition by outscoring their opponents by 55 points per game and avenged their 2014 World Championships fourth-place finish by defeating Canada for the gold medal in Toronto, Canada.
The U.S. Women’s Head Coach is Stephanie Wheeler of Champaign, Illinois, who won two Paralympic Games in 2004 and 2008, and will be assisted by NWBA Hall of Famer Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, California, and Amy Spangler of Madison, Wisconsin, with Kearstin Gehlhausen of Whitewater, Wisconsin, serving as the team leader.
The U.S. Women’s team finished fourth at the 2012 London Paralympics, after claiming the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing and 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.
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2016 U.S. Women’s International Friendly
Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado
June 5-7, 2016
Sunday, April 5:
Game #1 – USA def. China, 73-50
Game #2 – Canada def. Brazil, 58-44
Game #3 – USA def. Canada, 70-66
Game #4 – China def. Brazil, 54-35
Monday, April 6:
Game #5: Canada def. China, 62-57
Game #6: USA def. Brazil, 84-34
Game #7: USA def. China, 70-45
Tuesday, June 7 (All times MDST)
9 a.m. Canada vs. USA
11 a.m. China vs. Brazil
5 p.m. USA vs. Brazil
7 p.m. China vs. Canada
U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Roster
No. Name Residence Hometown Birthdate
4 Megan Blunk Urbana, Ill. Gig Harbor, Wash. 09/12/1989
23 Abby Dunkin Arlington, Texas New Braunfels, Texas 11/24/1995
11 Vanessa Erskine Zwickau, Germany Kearney, Mo. 07/12/1994
2 Gail Gaeng Champaign, Ill. Frederick, Md. 12/27/1992
15 Rose Hollermann Arlington, Texas Elysian, Minn. 12/25/1995
5 Darlene Hunter Arlington, Texas Commerce Township, Mich. 04/16/1982
9 Desiree Miller Whitewater, Wis. Monroe, Wash. 08/12/1987
12 Becca Murray Germantown, Wis. Germantown, Wis. 03/15/1990
10 Jennifer Poist Tucson, Ariz. McSherrystown, Pa. 03/14/1989
8 Natalie Schneider Crete, Neb. Crete, Neb. 02/11/1983
24 Christina Schwab Lakewood, Colo. Dane, Wis. 07/31/1980
33 Mackenzie Soldan Tuscaloosa, Ala. Hemlock, Mich. 05/14/1992
Head Coach: Stephanie Wheeler, Champaign, Illinois
Assistant Coach: Trooper Johnson, San Lorenzo, California; Amy Spangler, Madison, Wisconsin
Team Leader: Kearstin Gehlhausen, Whitewater, Wisconsin
Athletic Trainer: Karla Wessels, Lexington, Kentucky