Delle Donne Scores 22 points Helps Lift Team USA Over Australia and Into Gold Medal Match Versus Taiwan
August 19, 2011
Photo Courtesy of USA Basketball
SHENZHEN, China – It would be hard to say that the Team USA World University Games squad “edged” Australia, but it was the closest game of the tournament for the American women's basketball team, which advanced to the Gold Medal game with a 79-67 victory over Australia Thursday night.
A large part of the win came from University of Delaware junior All-American Elena Delle Donne, who scored a team-tournament high 22 points. The Wilmington, Del. native posted her second double-double of the games, pulling down 11 rebounds, including nine on defense.
“I knew I needed to have a big performance tonight to help us pull out that win, and my teammates were finding me when I was open,” said Delle Donne of her highest offensive output of the tournament. “I was able to work the versatility a little bit by playing inside and out, so I just felt like I had a really good flow tonight.”
Team USA, which remained undefeated in the tournament and improved to 5-0, will take on Taiwan (5-0) on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time). Taiwan advanced to the Gold Medal game after eking out a 71-70 overtime victory over Sweden.
The International University Sports Federation (FISU) will air the Gold Medal game on Sunday. The stream can be accessed free of charge at http://www.livefisu.tv/watchlive after registering for an account.
Against the Australians, Delle Donne went 10-of-24 from the field, playing nearly every minute of the game (37). Her 22 points brought her tournament average up to a team-best 15.2 per game. She is also now the team’s leading rebounder, pulling in 8.0 boards an outing.
For the tournament, the 6-5 swing player has hit 42.6 percent of her field goals (29-68) while canning a team second-best 42.9 percent of her treys (9-21). Delle Donne is also averaging nearly a block per game with four during the USA’s five games. She is one of only two players on the team with double-digit assists, handing out 10.
As a team, Team USA has the best scoring average in the tournament, hitting the century mark twice (112 vs. Brazil and 114 vs. Slovakia) and averaging an impressive 97.2 points per outing.
The USA defense has been strong as well, coming up with 74 steals, including four from Delle Donne. The Americans have also blocked 22 shots and are outrebounding the competition 57.4 per game to 36.8.
Team USA will be going for its eighth World University Games Gold Medal. The program has also won the silver medal six times and received the bronze once. Should the United States win the Gold, Delle Donne would become the first player in Colonial Athletic Association and University of Delaware history to win the Gold Medal as a member of Team USA.
Team USA has met Taiwan just twice in previous World University Games and holds a 2-0 record. The two teams have not met since 2005 when the USA defeated Taiwan 109-57. The squads met for the first time in 1993 with Team USA earning an 84-73 victory.