Diamond DeShields was in the zone Saturday, putting up 29 points to lead the U17 National Team to an 86-47 win over Canada on the second day of preliminary play. Team USA is now 2-0 at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship in Amsterdam and will take on Italy Sunday.
DeShields, who plays for Norcross High School in Georgia and has committed to North Carolina, posted nine points in the first quarter and 11 points in the second. She also added six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
“It started with taking good shots, and when they started falling, I just kept shooting,” said DeShields about her performance. “My team had enough confidence to keep feeding me the ball.”
Part of the reason DeShields performed so well was due to the team’s performance on defense. Team USA forced 35 Canadian turnovers, including 25 steals, for a total of 25 points off of turnovers. The Americans also held Canada to just 20.8 percent shooting from the field.
Kaela Davis added 14 points and nine rebounds for Team USA, Taya Reimer had 10 and every player scored for the U.S. with the exception of an injured Jessica Washington, who did not play because of a pulled muscle. She is listed as day-to-day.
Initially Team USA came out of the gate very slowly. Canada held an early 6-4 lead and never trailed by more than six points in the first quarter.
“I thought we started out pretty sluggish, and we didn't bring a lot of intensity defensively or on the boards at all.,” said USA coach Jill Rankin Schneider. “Canada has really good size, and we knew that was going to be a challenge for us on the boards. In the early stages of the game, we responded poorly to that. Certainly in the second quarter we started doing a better job -- I thought Erica McCall came in with a whole lot of energy and was part of the group that really got us going”
McCall, who came off the bench, had six rebounds and five points in just 13:38 minutes of playing time. In the second Team USA went on a 17-2 scoring run that included points from six different players and pushed the lead to 24 points by the half. Team USA then finished the job by outscoring Canada 28-9 in the fourth quarter.
In the last meeting against Sunday's opponent, Italy, just six days ago, Team USA rallied from 14 points down to defeat the Italians.