With help from Alana Nichols, Team USA scored a 67-55 victory over Canada.
LONDON – The stands at North Greenwich Arena were teaming with passionate fans from both sides of the border as theU.S. Paralympic Women's Basketball Team squared off against rival Canada on Tuesday at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The red, white and blue ultimately had the most to cheer for as Team USA netted a 67-55 victory.
While savvy play proved successful, it was more about passion for the Americans.
“You can't coach heart,” said Team USA coach Dave Kiley.
The first quarter was tough for the U.S. squad as they were down 21-10. But as the second quarter opened, Team USA came out strong. By the end of the first half, the Americans closed the gap to four with Canada still in the lead 33-29. In the half, Desi Miller (Monroe, Wash.) contributed 12 points; Rebecca Murray (Germantown, Wis.) eight; Natalie Schneider (Crete, Neb.) five; Alana Nichols (Farmington, N.M.) two; and Mary Allison Milford (Magnolia, Ark.) two.
Team USA returned to the court in the second half with renewed purpose and tied the game at 4:48 left to play in the third taking the lead for the first time at 3:36 with 39-39 on the board. Canada’s center Janet McLachlan, their biggest point contributor in the first half with 15, picked up her third foul early in the third but continued playing strong getting her fourth personal foul before the end of the quarter.
The aggressive third quarter ended with the Americans roaring back to a 45-41 lead.
Miller, who was leading the team in points and boards, helped stretch the lead to 10 at the halfway point in the fourth as the Americans forced multiple turnovers ultimately winning the game 67-55.
“Canada always brings their ‘A’ game,” said Miller. “We always do too so this is a great match-up. We came here ready tonight, once we got our momentum we just kept on pushing.”
Canada’s Janet McLachlan was the game’s top scorer with 31 total points. Final top scorers for Team USA were Miller with 26, Schneider with 15 and Murray with 12.
“I am so proud of our team,” said Kiley. “We play four quarters with all we’ve got.”
The Americans will next face Australia on Thursday.