COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - With less than left two seconds on the clock in the U.S. Women National Team’s opening game against the Netherlands, Lindsey Zurbrugg caught the ball, turned at the three-point line and lofted a soft jumpshot toward the basket.
As the final buzzer sounded, the ball fell to the right of the rim — and with it the U.S. Women’s hopes of completing a ferocious second-half comeback.
The United States ended Day 1 of the 2018 International Friendly Games winless (0-2). The host country struggled to find a rhythm all day, with turnovers and missed layups defining their play for most of the day. Australia (2-0) asserted its dominance over the field early, defeating the U.S. and Netherlands’ teams by average of 20 points. The Netherlands (1-1) was a bit out of sync in the first game before holding on in a nail-biter against the U.S.
Here are the highlights from each matchup on Day 1:
AUS beats NED, 46-27
Early start effected both teams, who’d flew into Colorado Springs only two days ago. Sloppy and sluggish play dictated the action for both teams in the first half.
Australia pulled away in the third quarter, when they opted to show flashes of their full-court press.
Netherlands played without star Mariska Beijer, who hurt her back in a scrimmage yesterday. Her status is day-to-day.
NED beats US, 70-68 OT
After a tightly contested first half, Netherlands came out poised coming out the halftime break, outscoring the U.S. 20-10 in the third quarter. The U.S.’s inexperience showed at times, finishing with the game with 13 turnovers compared to only 3 for the Netherlands.
Morgan Wood scored 8 straight points to start the 4th quarter, capped off by a Lindsey Zurbrugg four-point play to complete the comeback having been down 14 coming into the 4th. Wood finished with 19 points (8-of-14 shooting) and Zurbrugg finished with 15 (6-of-15).
Mariska Beijer played, scoring 8 points in limited minutes. She didn’t have to do much since Bo Kramer was the hot shooter of the night having a game-high 29 points (11-of-24 shooting).
AUS beat US 62-43
Australia came out in a press that left U.S. flustered in the first quarter. Attempts to pass out of the pressure led to most of the U.S.’s 21 turnovers.
Amber Merritt ate the U.S. alive in the paint, finishing with 28 points. She used her remarkable wingspan to snatch errant passes (3 steals), snag rebounds (8 rebounds), and shoot over every defender in her way (13-of-28 shooting).
Australia frequently double-teamed Rose Hollermann, and the rest of the U.S. squad struggled to find their mojo offensively. Hollerman salvaged her poor offensive night (16 points on 7-of-23 shooting, 7 turnovers) with a strong performance on the glass (13 rebounds).
Day 2 of the Friendly games starts at 8 a.m. Mountain time, with the U.S. against the Netherlands.