Abby Dunkin got her first start of the week. The gold-medal Paralympian was coming off the bench, easing herself back into action after missing 2 months because of a spinal leak. She showed that when she's feeling healthy, she can be one of the best players in the world.
After a shaky start through three games (6.3 ppg, 8-of-22 shooting / 36.3%), Dunkin looked like her usual self in a tight game against the Netherlands. Dunkin paced the team offense early, and hit clutch buckets en route to 14 points on 6-10 shooting,
Even with Dunkin’s effort, the U.S. Women suffered another heartbreaking loss and dropped it’s fourth game in a row. Chemistry issues are expected when trying to make a new, young team mesh. Turnovers, lack of communication and missed rotations defines the team struggling to find its identity. Young as the U.S. is, they’ll have five weeks to get it together before they head to Europe for the Dutch Battle and World Championships.
The Netherlands machine moved like clockwork with their cornerstone Mariska Beijer back at full health. Beijer bullied the U.S. team with 27 point and 11 boards, bruising her way to the paint with ease. Australia took their first loss of the week against the Netherlands, even with Amber Merritt’s game-high 23 point effort.
Here are the highlights from each matchup on Day 3:
NED defeats US, 69-54
The U.S. missed a lot of easy, makeable shots. Even after running their sets and getting into the paint, the team struggled to convert good looks.
The Netherland’s two-headed monster of Mariska Beijer and Bo Kramer dominated with a combined 53 points and 23 rebounds.
Rose Hollermann tried mightily to carry her team with 18 point and 8 rebounds, but the unit struggled on offense and defense.
AUS defeat US, 63-61
Hollermann looked Herculean most of the week, but finally appeared human with a rough 10 point (3-of-10), 10 rebound, 6 turnover game. Her teammates found a rhythm and picked up the scoring load, with hot-shooting from Morgan Wood (18 points, 9-of-13) and Lindsey Zurbrugg (19 points, 8-of-11).
The U.S. struggled against the press again, turning the ball over 18 times. This includes one with 4 seconds left, when they had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead.
NED defeat AUS, 54-46
After missing the first matchup in her team’s loss to Australia, Mariska Beijer showed how much of an impact she can makes. She finished with a team-high 15 points, and defended the rim like fortress.
Australia’s press looked formidable in a back-and-forth first half. Netherlands coach Gertjan van der Linden, however, solved the puzzle in the third quarter -- play defense so suffocating that they can't get into the press.
Australia’s Amber Merritt struggled with foul trouble throughout the contest, but inspired a late comeback effort that fell short. Merritt finished with a game-high 23 points