RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The last time the United States and China women met at the Paralympics, the United States needed overtime to win and fight back from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Saturday night was quite the opposite. 2012 U.S. Paralympians Desiree Miller of Monroe, Washington, and Becca Murray of Germantown, Wisconsin, each scored 24 points to power by China, 70-36, and keep its pool play record a perfect 2-0 at the Rio Paralympics at the Carioca 1.
Team USA opened up quickly by making its first five baskets for a 10-2 advantage with Murray and Miller accounting for 8 points, and a pair from two-time Paralympian Rose Hollermann of Elysian, Minnesota. The U.S. pulled away to close out the first quarter with a 21-8 lead.
“It is easy to go on a shooting spree when you have great players like Rose (Hollermann), Darlene (Hunter), and Gail (Gaeng) creating openings for me to shoot,” said Miller. “We had a great practice this morning going over tendencies and movements of China. We saw it visually and then practiced it this afternoon. By the time we got to the arena, I felt more than prepared for what China had to offer.”
The second quarter saw Miller, a two-time Paralympian, sitting at 18 points scored, giving the United States a 39-20 advantage. The third quarter is where the trio of Miller, Murray, and Hollermann pace the U.S. to a 20-6 run and keep China scoreless for the last 3:21 of the quarter.
The fourth quarter was an even battle for both teams, with the United States outscoring China, 11-10, for the victory. The United States finished the night by out rebounding China, 40-27, and forcing 13 China turnovers. Team USA kept China shutdown on the floor as only four players scored, and China shot only 32 percent for the night.
“The game plan was to keep their two bigs out of the key, and with our defense is where we generated our offense this evening,” said U.S. Women’s Head Coach Stephanie Wheeler. “We scored the first five shots we too and that is what we wanted to do was create momentum. Those two (Desiree Miller and Becca Murray) have great chemistry. They know where each other are going to be on the court. Desi had a real beautiful shot tonight.”
China was led by Guidi Lyu and Jiameng Dai with 14 points apiece.
The United States is now 3-0 against China at the Paralympic Games. The two counties have met two prior times in 2008 and 2012, with the United States winning both games.
Up next for the United States is the Netherlands on Sunday, September 11 at 2:45 p.m. Eastern in Carioca I. The Netherlands and the United States have faced each other at the Paralympics a total of seven times, with the United States holding a 4-3 advantage. The United States is now 38-22 overall in the Paralympic Games.
The U.S. women’s team qualified for the Rio 2016 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 gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games, 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, and Karla Wessels of Lexington, Kentucky, is the athletic trainer. Dr. Roberta Kraus of Colorado Springs, Colorado, serves as both the men’s and women’s Team Psychologist.
The U.S. Women’s team finished fourth at the London 2012 Paralympics, after claiming the gold medal at the Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
September 7-18, 2016
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Wheelchair Basketball Results
USA def. France, 93-37
USA def. China, 70-36
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Record – 2-0
Most points in a game – 93 points (Old record – 75 points in 2008 vs. China)
Largest margin of victory – 56 points (Old record – 50 points in 2004 vs. Great Britain)