USA Rebounds From Slow First Quarter to Defeat Ukraine, Advance to Semifinals

USA 83 
Ukraine 50

United States Head Coach Deb Ayres making adjustments to counter Ukraine’s quickness
(Photo courtesy 2019 World Deaf Basketball Championships / DIBF)

LUBLIN, POLAND—Today was the first day of medal round play as United States, the top-seeded finisher from Group B, faced the fourth-ranked finisher from Pool A, Ukraine. Except that Ukraine didn’t look like a team that finished last in their pool. The Ukrainians opened the game with torrid shooting, and outscored the taller Americans 12-8 in the paint by the end of first quarter.

United States Head Coach Deb Ayres again went to her bench in second and third quarters to find the right combination to counter the Ukrainians’s quickness. The American bench came though again, pulling ahead by 5 points at halftime for a 31-26 lead.

In the second half, the point guard position got a big lift from
Christine Smith as she scored 12 points and dished out 9 assists to
extend her team’s lead to 12 at the end of third. The Americans
finished the game strong with a 12-0 run to put away the stubborn
Ukraine team.

Hannah Neild continued her stellar play with 25 points, 11 rebounds, 4
assists and 5 steals. Cassidy Perry followed suit with 22 points and
11 rebounds. As a team, United States scored 22 points off turnovers, 50
points from the paint, and the bench scored 18 to Ukraine’s 2. United States
also shot 79% from the free throw line, their highest since the
tournament started.

Next game:  Semifinals, Thursday, July 4th, against Lithuania at 6 pm.
In their first meeting on June 28, United States pulled out a 64-47 come-from-behind win over Lithuania.

Editor’s Note: Due to the holiday, this story is running late. USA lost its Semifinal match against Lithuania in overtime, 75-74.

USA and Ukraine pose for a photo following the match
(Photo courtesy 2019 World Deaf Basketball Championships / DIBF)
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