(GANGNEUNG, South Korea) - The American women were officially eliminated from playoff contention after losing to Scotland, 7-6, Thursday morning at the 2009 Mount Titlis World Women's Curling Championship at the Gangneung International Ice Rink.
Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.) and teammates Allison Pottinger (Eden Prairie, Minn.), Nicole Joraanstad (Madison, Wis.) and Natalie Nicholson (Bemidji, Minn.) drop to 4-6 in the standings with one game remaining tonight against Denmark (7-2) to finish off their trip here to South Korea.
"It's definitely disappointing and frustrating, but we have almost a whole year to train and compete to get ready for Vancouver," said McCormick, who will skip this team at next year's Olympic Winter Games. "Even though we didn't perform well here, we know we can play better."
With the win over the Americans, Scotland's Eve Muirhead rink is still hanging on to hope of forcing a tiebreaker game with a little help from Sweden and Switzerland who have better odds of making it to the playoffs. Russia and Germany are still hanging on at the outskirts of the standings as well. Canada and China have clinched playoff berths while Denmark has secured at the very least a tiebreaker game.
The U.S. started the game with back-to-back steals when Muirhead, the 18-year-old skip who just won the World Juniors earlier this month, missed a double attempt allowing the U.S. to steal one. The Americans would steal another as Muirhead was left with no shot in the second end as 15 stones were in play either scattered around the house or above the rings protecting the U.S. shot rock on the button.
After Murihead earned her deuce, McCormick was forced to draw for one as the U.S. got into a bit of trouble keeping Scottish rocks out of the rings. Scotland set up another deuce in the fifth despite a valiant effort by Pottinger who made a double takeout with her first stone to fuel the U.S. attempts.
The U.S. had a chance at two in the sixth end but McCormick came up a few inches short as she drew through a port trying to reach the button. McCormick would be forced to draw for one in the eighth end then after Muirhead made a solid draw around the center guard to sit on the U.S. stone in the back of the four-foot. McCormick's final stone had just a bit too much energy and slid just out of scoring position, however, to give the Scots another point and a 6-4 advantage.
Scotland got two stones in the four-foot in the ninth end that spelled trouble for the U.S. When McCormick tried the hit, she wrecked on the guard allowing the Scots to bring in a third stone. McCormick made a takeout but after a measurement, it was one more point for the Scots. The U.S. was unable to get a big end set up for the win.
"I know we can play better. It's weird because we had a great week at the (Olympic) Trials and everyone was playing great, and here it is the opposite," McCormick said.
Game scores: Scotland 7, USA 6; China 8, Sweden 7; Canada 8, Italy 5; Russia 10, Korea 8
Team USA line score:
Scotland* 002 020 111 0 7
USA 110 101 000 2 6
*last rock in first end
*clinched playoff berths
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).