USA off to rough start at 2009 Women's World ChampionshipGANGNEUNG, South Korea (March 22, 2009) - USA's Debbie McCormick rink is in unfamiliar territory after two days competing at the 2009 Mount Titlis World Women's Curling Championship at the Gangneung International Ice Rink.
McCormick (Rio, Wis.) and teammates Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.) and Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.) lost tonight to China's Bingyu Wang, 8-4, and are winless at the event so far. This team won silver back in 2006 and McCormick and Pottinger teamed up to win gold in 2003.
"We just have to sharpen up," Nicholson said. "Every team here is really good. It's frustrating, sure, but we're not down on ourselves because we know we're doing everything we can to fix this."
The Americans echoed similar frustrations after the third loss tonight.
"We struggled with the ice and rocks," Nicholson said. "We have to believe in what we're seeing - that they're not matched. We also need to pick up on the ice faster. I feel like we're throwing it well."
After giving up a steal in the opening end, McCormick had a chance for two in the second end but her final stone sailed through the house. Wang would make a takeout for two in the following end to pull ahead 3-1. The fourth end looked as if it were headed toward being blanked when the Americans failed to get the guards up early on. Wang put her first stone in the top of the 12 foot with McCormick drawing just behind it. Wang attempted the runback but missed it, giving McCormick the opportunity to make up for the second end and earn the deuce.
Wang made a double takeout in the fifth end but rolled her shooter out and earned just a single. Once again it looked like a blank end was imminent in the sixth. Pottinger tried to freeze her stone to the lone rock in the house belonging to China but came down too strong. That left China with the opportunity to get two stones in the house. McCormick ended up making the takeout of the Chinese rock hanging off the button for one point to tie the game at 4-4.
China was trying to blank the seventh end but made a nose hit with Wang's final rock, handing the hammer back to the Americans. What looked to be an opportunity to score multiple points early in the end, quickly fell. McCormick needed to avoid 13 stones in and around the house in order to smack out the Chinese rock sitting on the button in the eighth but she'd wreck on the guard and give the Chinese a steal of one.
The U.S. looked to have another good end set up in the ninth but Wang made a dandy promotion to lie three around the button. McCormick tried the double takeout but jammed a stone unto the button. Lying two, Wang opted to guard her bounty. McCormick tried to raise her guard but was really light and gave up a steal of two and conceded the match.
"In curling you can only be an inch off sometimes, but we're off more than an inch right now," Nicholson said.
The Americans return to the ice at 3 p.m. (local time, Korea) to take on Italy (0-3) and Germany (1-2) in the night draw.
Live scoring from the World Championship is available online at http://www.usacurl.org. All times posted are local (13 hours ahead of Eastern Time Zone; GMT + 9 hours).
Team USA line score:
*USA 010 201 000 x 4
China 102 010 112 x 8
*last rock in first end