GANGNEUNG, South Korea) - The dream is still alive for Team USA at the 2009 Mount Titlis World Women's Curling Championship as Debbie McCormick quarterbacked her team to another must-win game Wednesday morning.
"It's nice to get some wins put together here," McCormick said. The U.S. started the competition 0-4 but have since won four straight. "We're just going to stay focused and concentrate on our games. I know the girls are feeling better about how we're playing."
The victim this time for McCormick (Rio, Wis.) and teammates Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.) and Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.) was two-time world champion and 2006 Olympic gold medalist Anette Norberg of Sweden. The U.S. earned a 10-5 win by capitalizing on key mistakes by the Swedes to improve to 4-4 with three games remaining in the round robin.
"We know what to do more with the rocks, and we're being smarter about rock placement," said McCormick, who beat Norberg in the semifinals at the 2003 Worlds en route to winning gold. The two skips tangled in the final at the 2006 Worlds with Norberg earning the title that year.
The teams exchanged singles to begin today's match with the Americans taking a 3-1 edge after three ends when McCormick drew to the top four-foot for two points. Norberg wanted to blank the fourth end but the U.S. had two stones at the top of the house just barely touching the rings that she doubled out but her shooter spun into the house for a single.
"We knew we had to be precise with rock placement because Anette likes those double takeouts and is good at them," McCormick said.
The Americans grabbed momentum in the fifth end when McCormick made a clutch soft takeout of the Swedish rock in the four-foot to score three points and take a 6-2 lead. Sweden had a chance at the deuce in the sixth when McCormick tried to draw into the 8-foot to split the house with U.S. rocks. Her rock stopped at the top of the 12-foot but Norberg flashed her takeout attempt on the other stone, giving the U.S. a steal of one.
Norberg would earn her deuce in the seventh with a soft tap to close the gap at 7-4. Sweden had shot rock covered by a guard in the four-foot when McCormick went to throw her final toss in the eighth end. She'd skim past the guard thanks to strong sweeping by Nicholson and Joraanstad to make the takeout but the rock jammed on the U.S. stone in the back of the eight foot and her shooter rolled out, handing the Swedes a point.
The U.S. sealed its fourth straight win when McCormick made a takeout for three points in the ninth end.
The ladies return to the ice at 3 p.m. today to tangle with Switzerland (4-3). They finish off the round robin on Thursday against Scotland (4-4) and Denmark (6-1). The top four teams advance to Friday's page playoffs. Canada and China are both 7-1 with Denmark a half-game back. If needed, tiebreakers will be played Friday morning.
Game scores: USA 10, Sweden 5; Canada 7, Korea 6; Russia 9, Italy 6; China 4, Scotland 3
Team USA line score:
Sweden 010 100 210 x 5
USA* 102 031 003 x 10
*last rock in first end
Universal Sports will air 12 hours of TV coverage from Gangneung, featuring the following games:
* March 28: USA vs. Canada, 7 p.m. ET (tape-delayed)
* March 28, USA vs. Sweden*, 10 p.m. ET (tape-delayed)
* March 29: semifinal or bronze-medal, 7 p.m. ET
* March 29: Final, 10 p.m. ET
*featured game may change
For more information about Universal Sports TV in your area, visit http://www.universalsports.tv/Universal_Sports_on_TV.html
In addition, video-on-demand webstreaming from several of the games are posted atwww.universalsports.com. Live end-by-end scoring from the World Women's Championship is available online at http://www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks. All times posted are local (13 hours ahead of Eastern Time Zone; GMT + 9 hours).