2008 PARALYMPIC GAMES: U.S. Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team Defeats China, 75-31, to Advance to Semifinal

Sept. 12, 2008, 12:04 p.m. (ET)

BEIJING, China -The U.S. Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team easily defeated China, 75-31, on Friday to advance to the semifinal round of competition at the Paralympic Games. The experience, speed and height of the U.S. were no match for the new and developing team from China.

"I'm very pleased with our performance today," said U.S. head coach Ron Lykins (Stillwater, Minn.). "We're improving in each game we play and that's critical because we're going to have to play our best game of the tournament on Saturday in the semifinals."

Eleven U.S. players got on the scoreboard against China. The team was led by Loraine Gonzales (Ft. Worth, Texas) who posted a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds and Jennifer Ruddell (Rome, Ga.) who scored 16 points.

The American defense has been stellar throughout this tournament and Friday was no exception. The U.S. forced 24 turnovers, 18 of which were steals, and created 22 points off turnovers.

"Our goal is go out and improve with every game and not take other teams lightly and I think we've done that," said Ruddell. "We're excited to be in the semifinal game and it doesn't matter who we play because we're focused on ourselves and what we can control. If we play our game the way we're supposed to play it, everything will come together for us."

The U.S. will face Australia in the semifinals on Saturday, Sept. 13, at 7:00 p.m. at the National Indoor Stadium.

For more information, or to arrange an athlete interview, please contact Susan Katz at susan.katz@usoc.org or 139-1075-4845 (Dial 011-86 plus the local number if calling from the U.S.).