The U.S. Women’s team got their first win of the International Friendly Games today on the final day of competition, defeating Australia 66-53.
They got into their sets early and often. The defense moved on a string. The team’s chemistry look like it skyrocketed overnight.
According to Head Coach Trooper Johnson, it kind of did.
“There was moment in last night’s game when the team just clicked,” Johnson said. "They knew where each other would be on offense, stopped worrying about making mistakes and just started playing."
Rose Hollermann got help on the offensive end from her University of Texas-Arlington teammates Morgan Wood and Abby Dunkin. Hollermann knows she can score a ton of points -- she did for most of the week. But Hollermann believes the team is better when everybody eats.
“That's the only way for a team to be successful,” Hollerman said. “It’s so important for [Lindsey Zurbrugg} to hit the shots that she did, for Abby to hit those middle shots. For Mo and I to get our two-man game going. Those are more important the points I put up.”
They didn’t play perfect all day. The team still struggled with defense and turnovers in their final game against the Netherlands. But these loses are just growing pains for a team with their sights set on more than just the World Championships in August.
“It’s a process,” Abby Dunkin said. “As long we take what we learn from Worlds and carry that over to Tokyo, I really think we can be back at the podium with gold.”
US defeats AUS, 66-53
Abby Dunkin split ball-handling duties with Rose Hollermann to help break the Aussie full-court press. The “Texas Big 3” of Hollermann, Dunkin and Morgan Wood combined for 54 of the 66 points for U.S.
A more physical effort on the defensive end for the U.S. forced Australia's Amber Merritt to shoot from outside the paint. After a slow start, Merritt finished the game with 24 points.
NED defeats AUS, 63-49
This was a tough match-up between two defensive-minded ball clubs. Australia tried its best to defend the paint, but there only so much you can do against Bo Kramer (23 points) and Mariska Beijer (20).
The Netherland defense shut down Amber Merritt, who was held to only 13 points.
NED defeats US, 71-57
Mariska Beijer asserted her dominance early, scoring 24 of her game-high 34 points in the first quarter. Nearly every bucket she made was over the outstretched hands of a U.S. defender.
The U.S. experimented with a few different lineups in the final game of the tournament, as every player on the roster saw court time. Rose Hollermann was still the center of the offense, scoring a team-high 24 points.
Rose Hollermann has shown the ability to do-it-all while Abby Dunkin works and recovers to get back to 100% health. With Morgan Wood in the mix, the “Texas Big 3” will be a scary sight for opponents.
The team showed their potential as the tournament progressed; new additions like long-range sniper Lindsey Zurbrugg and the aforementioned Wood showed flashes of brilliance through the week.
An electric, fun team who serves up a suffocating full-court press. They have a lot of size, a deep bench, and will be a tough out in the IWBF World Championships.
Their star, Amber Merritt, plays like an Australian box jellyfish -- long, graceful and deadly. Cobi Crispin is a level-headed floor general who always seems to find cracks in the opposing defense.
The Dutch have arguably the best duo in the world with the bruiser Mariska Beijer and sweet-shooting Bo Kramer. Those two pose a bevy of problems to opposing defenses and offenses.
Coach Gertjan van der Linden’s formidable defensive scheme and grinding offensive style wears teams down. Van der Linden is a wizard; his halftime adjustments often opened up double digits leads in the third quarter.
The U.S. women’s team will travel to Amsrerdam for the 2018 Dutch Battle at the Sport and Event Complex Merwestein. The Dutch Battle will feature The Netherlands (men/women), Great Britain (women), Germany (men/women), Turkey (men), Spain (men) and USA (women) . The games will start August 1 and end August 5. After that tournament, the ladies will travel to the World Championship.
The IWBF World Championships are set for Hamburg, Germany, August 16-26, at the Edel-Optics Arena. The tournament will feature 16 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.