HAMBURG, GERMANY - As a young team, breaking bad habits hold as much importance as learning good ones. For Team USA, the youngest team in a global competition, they did a lot of learning on the fly.
The U.S. women leave the 2018 IWBF World Championships with room for growth and hope for the future following a 68-53 loss to Canada on Saturday. Overall, the U.S. finished with a 4-4 record and a sixth-place finish, the lowest ever in its history at the World Championships.
2016 Paralympic gold medalist Rose Hollermann of Elysian, Minnesota finished her superb tournament run with a solid 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Emily Oberst of Brookfield, Wisconsin had her best game of the year with 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Both teams knew each other well heading into the matchup, but not well enough for the Americans to stop the Canadian offense.
“Defensively, [being aggressive] is something we really, really have to focus on in the upcoming years to 2020” said Hollermann. “Getting stronger, faster and more aggressive defensively is something that was really showing during this tournament.”
The U.S. only led for 16 seconds in what started as a tightly contested game. Canada got into the paint often through gaps and cuts, led by Cindy Ouelett, who finished with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Turnovers were the common thread linking together each of the United States’s losses in the tournament. The young team had another tough time breaking the Canadian’s full-court press; they faced the same problem last year against Canada in three friendlies and two matchups at the America’s Cup.
“I think everybody got excited about wanting to play Canada,” said U.S. women’s head coach Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, California. “There was so much excitement and so much energy and wanting to be perfect, wanting to make the perfect pass. They put so much pressure on themselves, they ended up throwing the ball away.”
By the halftime break, Canada scored 17 points off of 14 U.S. turnovers. Even with all the errors, the U.S. offense clicked when they held onto the rock. The team shot 50 percent from the field, with four players scoring at least eight points. Morgan Wood of Gordonsville, Tennessee racked a game-high 10 assists to go with her six points and six rebounds.
Hollermann finished fifth of all player in the tournament in points per game (18.5) and rebounds per game (9.5). She also tied with Wood for second place in the tournament in assists per game (6.7). The Americans moved the ball well as team, finishing second in total assists with 167, and fifth in points scored per game (58). Even though the finish today is not what the team hoped for, Johnson sees the seeds sown in the bigger picture.
“For these kids to come out here and play like the did throughout the weekend, I’m pretty excited about it,” Johnson said. “It’s really promising looking down the road.”
Joining NWBA Hall of Famer Johnson on the sideline are his assistant coaches Amy Spangler of Madison Wisconsin, and Adam Kramer of Northport, Alabama. Kearstin Gehlhausen of Denver, Colorado serves as the Team Leader, with Karla Franconi of Lexington, Kentucky, filling the athletic trainer position.
The U.S. had returned home with a medal from every World Championships, except for the 2014 World Championships, since its inception in 1990, accumulating two gold medals and four silver medals. USA played for the gold medal in six of the last seven IWBF World Championships.
2018 IWBF World Championships
August 16 - 26, 2018
2018 IWBF World Championships Results
USA def. Algeria, 75-38 (1-0)
Germany def. USA, 70-54 (1-1)
China def. USA, 74 - 43 (1-2)
USA def. France, 57-25 (2-2)
USA def. Argentina, 66-30 (3-2)
Quarterfinals: Great Britain def. USA, 70-47 (3-3)
Placement Game: USA def Spain, 56-54 (4-3)
5th/6th Place Game: Canada def. USA, 68-53 (4-4)
U.S. Women’s Schedule for 2018 IWBF World Championships
8/17 vs Algeria 11:30 AM (Eastern/New York)
8/19 vs Germany 6:45 AM
8/20 vs China 12:00 PM
8/21 vs France 10:15 AM
8/22 vs Argentina 4:00 AM
8/23 Quarterfinals, vs Great Britain, 12:00 PM
8/24 Placement Game, vs Spain, 11:45 AM
8/25 5th/6th Place Game, vs Canada, 6:15 AM
The U.S. play Canada in the 5th/6th place game of the IWBF World Championships on today 2018 at 7 AM Eastern.
Stay here to watch the game, get live stats and post-game recaps!