3rd DIBF World Deaf Basketball Championship

U21 USA Deaf Women’s Basketball- Gold Medalists 

Washington DC, USA.             July 6- July 14, 2018

Opening Ceremony

The 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships (WDBC) kicked-things off with a vibrant Opening Ceremony on July 7th at the Donald Padden Field House on the Gallaudet University campus in Washington, DC. The ceremony began with a parade of teams – each nation gathered on the center court of the Donald Padden Field House as they were welcomed by the roaring and patriotic crowd.

Master of Ceremonies Todd Bonheyo (who also played in the U21 WDBC back in both 2010 and 2014) welcomed the attendees by sharing how proud and honored that the USA team feels to be the host nation for the third U21 WDBC. Bonheyo then dove into a bit of history about the U21 WDBC, interacting with the crowd as he asked them to recall where the 2010 WDBC was hosted (Lublin, Poland) and where the 2014 WDBC was hosted (Samsun, Turkey).

Once Master of Ceremonies Bonheyo’s opening remarks wrapped up, the Washington Wizards’ Cheerleading squad came onto the court and delivered a rousing performance. The Wizards Cheerleaders danced in unison and pulled off one scintillating dance move after another. Music was provided by the Def Familia DJ team led by Dee Brown.

After the Wizards cheerleaders’ performance concluded, Master of Ceremonies Bonheyo introduced several key leaders who worked to make this year’s event a success. In order of those who addressed the crowd, followed by their role: Chris Miller, the U21 Organizing Committee Chairperson; Andrew Reese, a representative from the Washington DC Mayor’s Office; Tiffany Williams, an USA Deaf Sports Federation Board Member; and last, but not least, Jurgen Endress the Basketball Technical Director for the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf.

Then, Master of Ceremonies Bonheyo welcomed Yakup Umit Kihtir, a representative from the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, to center court. Umit Kihtir had the esteemed honor of declaring that the 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships was officially underway. After Umit Kihtir’s remarks, the official flag of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf was raised inside of the gymnasium on full display for all to see.

Once the flag for the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf was raised, the Washington Wizards Cheerleaders returned to the court to deliver yet another exciting dance performance to close the Opening Ceremony before turning the floor over to Master of Ceremonies Bonheyo for his closing remarks. Master of Ceremonies Bonheyo closed things by wishing everyone a safe tournament and wished everyone good luck.

Day 1

USA Women’s Team Impresses in 101-50 Win Over Italy in U21 World Deaf Basketball Championship Opener

Date: July 7th, 2018

Scoring in the triple digits, the USA U21 Women delivered a 51-point defeat of Italy in the opening game of the 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championship tournament on July 7th at the Gallaudet University Field House in Washington, DC, USA.

Despite shooting relatively well from the field during the first quarter at a 50% clip, team USA had a few mistakes at the start with a handful of turnovers that led to opportunities on the other end for Italy. The early mistakes by team USA and ensuing baskets by Italy along with strong inside-the-paint offense by Italy’s Simona Sorrentino were key factors in keeping the game close during the opening moments. Led by Sorrentino, Italy shot 36% from the field in the opening quarter and was able to keep the margin within 6 with a score of 24 to 18 in favor the USA.

In the second quarter, the USA players started to hit their groove and it was full speed ahead from then on. With point guard Emelia Beldon (Frederick, MD) running the helm alongside wings Lauren Chadwick (Gardiner, ME) and Hannah Neild (Litchfield, NH), the offensive attack was unrelenting. Though team USA shot 70% from the field in the second quarter alone and stretched the lead to 33. Italy was limited to 23% from the field in the quarter and this allowed team USA to end the half with a score of 59 to 26.

In the first half, Beldon was a perfect 4 for 4 from the field and dished out 6 assists as well, several of which went to Chadwick and Neild. Chadwick finished the half with 14 points on 5 for 8 shooting and displayed some really nice ball-handling and passing with one behind-the-back move after the other. Neild, who held a three-point clinic in the second quarter with a barrage of beautiful swishes from long distance, finished the half with 18 points on 6 for 9 shooting.

The depth of team USA was clear to see in both halves of the game, as Head Coach Lindsay Stergio kept the pressure on and often made 4-player or 5-player shifts. In the third and fourth quarters, the second unit led by Sunita Schmidjorg (Austin, TX) and Rajena Guettler (Frederick, MD) played defense with a sense of urgency that only continued to fuel the offensive fire on the other end. Guettler would finish the game with 16 points on a perfect 8 for 8 shooting from the field to go along with 4 rebounds in only 18 minutes of action.

Beldon’s poise and grace in knowing when to push the ball up court or to slow things down and run a half-court offense were sights to behold. Her ability to see the court, read the situation, and decide in the moment the correct course of action to take is at a level shared by few other point guards and this led to a good number of opportunities for USA to build their lead even further in the second half. By the end of the third quarter, USA had established a 77 to 38 lead over Italy.

Though USA did not shoot as well in the second half (45.2%) in comparison to their efforts in the first half (60%), it rarely mattered when they missed as it felt like Neild along with forward Cassidy Perry (Frederick, MD) were there to clean up the glass and put up second-chance points. Neild would finish with a team-high 8 rebounds accompanied by Perry’s 7 rebounds, respectively.

In addition to the rebounding tenacity of Neild and Perry, the overall hustle on display by team USA during the game and even down to the fourth quarter was something that should be shown on video screens across the nation at youth basketball camps. Leading scorer and rebounder Neild along with fellow starter Malia Zornoza (Fremont, CA) were diving for loose balls down to the last minute of the game. It is this kind of nitty-gritty hustle bustle that will carry the team far in this year’s U21 Deaf World Basketball Championship. The final score was 101 to 50 in favor of USA. All of the games are available via livestreaming at http://usadb.us/pressbox/u21.html.

Game Note: The head coach for Italy is Sara Braida and the assistant coach is Fabio Gelsomini. The USA’s head coach is Lindsay Stergio and the assistant coaches are Laura Edwards and Victorica Monroe.

Day 2

Beldon, Perry, and Neild Pave the Way for Another Drubbing; The USA defeats Lithuania 88 to 42 in Day 2 of the 2018 Women’s U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships

Date: July 8th, 2018

USA (2-0) defeated Lithuania (0-2), 88 to 42, in Day 2 of the 2018 U21 Deaf World Basketball Championship tournament on July 8th at the Donald Padden Field House at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, USA.

In the first quarter, things got off to a quick start for team USA, who opened things with a with a beautiful opening tip winner by Cassidy Perry (Frederick, MD) in which she tipped the rock to a streaking Emelia Beldon (Frederick, MD) for an easy layup. From then on, USA built an insurmountable lead – USA was leading 18 to 0 at one point early on – that would prove to be too much of an obstacle for Lithuania to overcome.

Lithuania’s Patricija Vanseuviclute at 14 years old is the youngest player in the tournament and the future for her sure is bright as she scored nearly a third of her team’s points in their Day 1 loss to Turkey (she had scored over 20 points and finished with a third of the team’s total score). Alas, the stout defensive prowess of the USA backcourt led by guards Emelia Beldon (Frederick, MD), Lauren Chadwick (Gardiner, ME), Rajena Guettler (Frederick, MD), and Sunita Schmidjorg (Austin, TX) proved to be too much for her today. In the first period alone, Vanseuviclute had a total of 4 turnovers and was held to 2 points and 0 assists (overall, she finished the game with 9 turnovers and was held to 5 points on 2 of 7 shooting to go along with 2 rebounds and 2 assists).

After being down at one point 18 to 0, Lithuania was able to close out the 1st period on a 10-6 run that brought them to within fighting distance. The score at the end of one was 24 to 10 in favor of USA.

In the second quarter, USA opened things with good ball movement against Lithuania’s half-court zone defense and continued to add to their lead. By making the extra pass and reversing the ball from one side of the court to the other, USA was able to find open shooters time and time again and often, it was Hannah Neild (Litchfield, NH) who was a willing recipient of these passes as she was able to convert these open looks into nothing-but-net swishes one shot after another.

Lithuania was led in the first half by Ramune Eskartaite, who finished the half with 6 points on 1 of 10 shooting (4 for 6 from FT) to go along with 1 block and 3 assists. However, though Eskertaite had a respectable first half, it was the offensive posie of players on team USA like Beldon that kept pace for USA. In the first half, Beldon efficiently shot a 100% clip on 5 of 5 shooting, dished out 2 assists, and took care of the ball with 0 turnovers. As Beldon did on the first day in USA’s victory over Italy, she once again utilized wise decision making as she made on-the-spot choices with whether to push the ball on the break or to slow things down and run a half-court offensive set.

When USA was running their half-court offense, they made a point of feeding the ball inside to forward/center Cassidy Perry, who scored 7 points, finagled 2 rebounds, and had 1 block in the 2nd quarter alone. By the end of the second quarter the score was 51 to 22, giving the USA a 29-point lead over Lithuania.

USA Coach Linsay Stergio opted to switch things up at the onset of the third quarter, choosing to start the half with Schmidjorg, Ariel Senics (Indiapolis, IN), and Tiffany Anderson (Austin, TX) to run the floor along with initial game starters Neild and Chadwick. These players were a stout defensive unit as they held Lithuania scoreless for the entire time they were together on the court. Eventually, Beldon, Perry, Guettler checked back in along with Crystal Salit (Washington, DC), and Malia Zornoza (Fremont, CA). Led by Perry’s 11 points and 2 steals in the third quarter alone, the USA continued to build their lead. The amount of defensive pressure applied also continued to be unyielding as the USA held Lithuania to only 4 points for the entirety of the third quarter. At the end of the third quarter, the score was 73 to 26 in favor of USA.

During the fourth quarter it was clear as day that the USA had decided to utilize a clock-killing strategy as they deliberately moved the ball around the perimeter in their half-court sets as patiently as possible. When the time was right, they continued to feed Perry inside the paint, who finished the game with a team highs in both scoring and rebounding; with 9 rebounds and 23 points on an efficient 8 of 9 shooting from the field. Neild was second in scoring, with 18 points on 7 of 15 shooting, respectively, Beldon once again delivered an astoundingly well-balanced game with 17 points on 8 of 9 shooting to go along with 3 assists, 2 steals, and 0 turnovers. At the end of the game, the score was 88, USA (2-0) to 42, Lithuania (0-2).

All of the games are available via livestreaming at http://usadb.us/pressbox/u21.html.

Game Note / Key Stat Leaders:
USA: Beldon (17 pts, 8-9 FG, 1 Reb, 3 Asst, 0 TO, 2 Stl), Neild (18 pts, 7-15 FG, 8 Reb, 3 Asst, 2 TO, 2 Blk, 2 Stl), Perry (23 pts, 8-9 FG, 9 Reb, 1 Asst, 1 TO, 3 Stl) LIT: Eskertaite (18 pts, 6-20 FG, 2 Reb, 6 Asst, 3 TO, 2 Blk, 1 Stl), Vanseviclute (5 pts, 2-7 FG, 2 Asst, 9 TO, 3 Stl), Makouska (9 pts, 4-8 FG, 1 Reb, 2 Asst, 5 TO, 2 Stl)

Day 3

Perry and Neild Lead USA Women’s 71 to 50 Triumph Over Japan on Day 3 of the Women’s 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships

Date: July 9, 2018

On Day 3 of the Women’s 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships, team USA defeated team Japan by a score of 71 to 50 on the Donald Padden court at the Gallaudet University Field House in Washington, DC.

The ball movement that characterized the spirit of chemistry on display by team USA in the first two days of the tournament rang true yet again on Day 3. Things opened quickly at the onset for USA with a nice set of passes that led to an easy bucket after Cassidy Perry (Frederick, MD) won the opening jump ball. Because of the USA players’ willingness to make the extra pass and to find the open player, by the time the first four minutes had passed in the first quarter, team USA had gone on a 12 to 1 run. The tenacity of Japan’s frontcourt, led by forwards Numaguchi Saya and Maruyama Karoi helped to keep them in the game initially; with 4:41 remaining in the game, Japan was down by only 7 points, facing a 12 to 5 deficit. Alas, this would not last long as USA quickly regained momentum after going on a 15 to 2 run to close out the first quarter. At one point team USA went on a run that consisted of a swish from long distance by Hannah Neild (Litchfield, NH) followed up by a rebound and ensuing putback bucket by Emelia Beldon (Frederick, MD). Then after getting a few more defensive stops, team USA nailed yet another set of back-to-back three pointers, this time by Lauren Chadwick (Gardiner, ME), and Neild. All of a sudden, the USA team took a 12 to 5 lead and turned it into a 27 to 7 score by the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the play of point guard Emelia Beldon (Frederick, MD) was bolstered by the efforts of her backcourt partner, Sunita Schmidjorg (Austin, TX). Beldon and Schmidjorg led a formidable two-way attack for team USA, pushing the ball on the break when the situation called for it and applying defensive pressure on the other end. Though Beldon and Schmidjorg had strong second quarters, team Japan was able to hang in there with team USA, scoring 14 points in the quarter to USA’s 18 points. Japan was led in the second quarter by Saya (6 points, 2 rebounds) and Kaori (6 points, 3 rebounds). At the end of the first half, the score was 45 to 21, with the advantage going to team USA. During the third quarter, things got off to a slow start for both teams. By the 6 minute mark USA had only scored 3 points to Japan’s 2 points. However, despite this slow start, the play of Cassidy Perry and Hannah Neild were what kept the USA from squandering their lead. Perry had one rebound after another and in all, finalged a total of 4 boards in the quarter. Neild, on the other hand, continued to beat down the hard-nosed defense played by team Japan as she went on to either facilitate ball movement or to score as needed. The grit and determination displayed by Japan in the 3rd quarter was an inspiring sight to see. Led by Kaori and guard Miyake Nagisa’s hustle, Japan was able to limit USA to 55 points after three quarters of play (in comparison, USA had already scored 77 and 73 points by the end of the first three quarters in their respective games against Italy and Lithuania on days 1 and 2). At the end of the third, the score was 55, USA, to 29, Japan.

Throughout the 4th quarter, USA head coach Lindsay Stergio did a solid job of keeping team USA from becoming complacent in their ability to close out games. She was pacing the sideline throughout the entire quarter, despite being up by more than 25 at one point, commanding for nothing but excellence from the USA players. When needed, she called time-outs and delivered inspirational talks to the team that kept the players centered and focused. The final score was 69, USA, to 46, Japan. After the game, Beldon noted with the view of an optimist how, eventhough she struggled to shoot the ball in today’s game, going 2 for 12 today after going 13 for 16 combined in her first two games, but that she’d be quick to bounce back on Day 4. “I just didn’t have my best shooting day today, that’s all it was. I’ll play better in the next game,” said Beldon and after seeing the poise she played with in the first three games, I would not bet against her performance on Day 4.

All of the games are available via livestreaming at http://usadb.us/pressbox/u21.html.

Game Note: Oga Reiko is the head coach for Japan and the assistant coach is Nakano Eri. Lindsay Stergio is the head coach for USA and the assistant coaches are Victorica Monroe and Laura Edwards.

Game Note / Key Stat Leaders:
USA: Beldon (4 pts, 2-12 FG, 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 4 TO), Perry (16 pts, 7-9 FG, 9 Reb, 2 TO, 3 Stl), Chadwick (10 pts, 5-15 FG, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 0 TO, 6 Stl), Neild (15 pts, 6-14 FG, 3-5 3PT FG, 7 Ast, 5 TO, 3 Blk, 1 Stl), Zornoza (10 pts, 5-11 FG, 8 Reb, 1 Ast) JPN: Saya (14 pts, 6-12 FG, 2 Reb, 1 Stl), Kaori (12 pts, 2-11 FG, 8-10 FT, 8 Reb, 6 TO, 6 Stl), Ayumi (12 pts, 4-8 FG, 4-8 3PT FG, 1 Stl)

Day 4

Perry and Neild Combine for 30 Rebounds as USA Wins 74 to 30 Against Turkey on Day 4 of the Women’s 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championship

Date: July 10, 2018

On Day 4 of the 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships, the USA (4-0) defeated Turkey (1-2) by a score of 74 to 30 on the Donald Padden Court at the Gallaudet University Field House in Washington, DC.

The game opened immediately with a physical presence. Turkey hung tough in the opening moments of what turned out to be a scrappy game as they dove for loose balls and forced two jump balls. Slashing guards Cagla Aslan and Caglanur Uzundurukan for Turkey penetrated the lane well but when they got to the paint, they were often met by Cassidy Perry (Frederick, MD) and Hannah Neild (Litchfield, NH), who were the paint protectors the USA needed to keep Turkey at bay as the USA shot an uncharacteristic 33% in the first quarter. Perry especially was a formidable interior force for the USA as she was able to snag 5 rebounds and score 4 points in the first. By the midway point of the first, the USA had built a 19 to 4 lead over Turkey.

Led by forward Neild’s offensive firepower and point guard Emelia Beldon’s poise, the USA was able to continue to build their lead in the remaining minutes of the first quarter. Neild finished with 9 points and 6 rebounds in the first quarter. Beldon had 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 0 turnovers in the first quarter. By the end of one, the score was 26 to 8, with the advantage going to team USA.

For the second quarter, USA head coach Lindsay Stergio opened things up by starting a new unit on the court that consisted of a backcourt with Crystal Salit (Washington, DC) and Sunita Schmidjorg (Austin, TX) along with a frontcourt of Malia Zornoza (Fremont, CA) and Tiffany Anderson (Washington, DC), to run the floor with initial game starter Rajena Guettler (Frederick, MD). This squad was a tight defensive unit, limiting Turkey to only 3 points in the first half of the second quarter. With about 4 minutes remaining in the half, Perry and Ariel Senics (Indianpolis, IN) checked in to give Anderson and Guettler some relief and both players went on to provide a strong physical interior presence for team USA.

With the score at 33 to 14 in favor of team USA with 2:45 remaining in the first half, USA Coach Stergio opted to re-insert starters Beldon, Chadwick, and Neild to run along with Perry and Senics with hopes of finishing out the half on a strong note. While the unit closed out strong defensively, preventing any points whatsoever from being scored by Turkey, they were unable to muster much on the offensive end, scoring only 2 points to close out the half at a score of 35 to 14 in favor of USA.

USA Coach Stergio went back to her starting unit consisting of Beldon, Perry, Chadwick, Neild, and Guettler to begin the third quarter and things sure did open up quickly for team USA in the second half as USA quickly jumped out to a 14-0 run on a jumper by Chadwick and two consecutive inside buckets – the first by Neild and the second by Perry – then a 3-point play by Beldon, followed up by yet another bucket inside the paint by Perry before the run was finally capped off after a three by Chadwick. At this point, there was about 6 minutes remaining in the third quarter and the score was now 49 to 15. Turkey head coach Gulseren Yarga had no choice but to call for a time out to try and slow down the burst of momentum for team USA.

After the time-out, team USA ran with a unit that consisted of starters Beldon, Guettler, and Perry to go along with reserves Anderson and Schmidjorg. Led by Beldon’s outstanding court vision, Perry’s interior presence, and Schmidjorg’s defensive pressure, this unit was able to close out the third quarter with enough efficiency to have team USA up by 40 at the end of the third quarter, leading 59 to 19 over Turkey.

Things got a bit chippy to start the fourth quarter as Turkey’s Coach Yarga was assessed a technical foul for berating one of the referees after a call did not go their way. Things remained intense for the rest of the fourth as both Turkey and USA played physical ball-hawking defense that enabled each team to force a bevy of turnovers. The difference was that USA was able to convert these turnovers into fast break points whereas Turkey struggled to do the same, shooting 18% in the fourth to USA’s 38% from the field. The game ended with a final score of 30, Turkey, to 74, USA.

All of the games are available via livestreaming at http://usadb.us/pressbox/u21.html

Game Note: Gulseren Yarga is the head coach for Turkey and the assistant coach is Gaye Cilvezoglu. Lindsay Stergio is the head coach for USA and the assistant coaches are Victorica Monroe and Laura Edwards.

Game Note / Key Stat Leaders:
USA: Perry (12 pts, 6-11 FG, 17 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 TO, 1 Blk, 2 Stl), Neild (14 pts, 5-9 FG, 2-5 3PT FG, 13 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 TO, 1 Blk, 4 Stl), Beldon (9 points, 2-10 FG, 0-3 3PT FG, 4 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 TO, 2 Stl), Chadwick (9 pts, 4-15 FG, 1-5 3PT FG, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 TO, 3 Stl), Guettler (7 pts, 3-4 FG, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 TO, 1 Stl), Zornoza (11 pts, 5-9 FG, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 TO, 1 Stl)

TUR: Aslan (9 pts, 4-17 FG, 1-9 3PT FG, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 4 TO, 5 Stl), Goger (4 pts, 2-6 FG, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 5 TO, 3 Blk, 1 Stl), Uzundurukan (5 pts, 1-20 FG, 0-11 3 PT FG, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 5 TO, 2 Stl)

Day 6

Defense Shines as USA Prevails Against Italy in Semifinals of the Women’s 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championship

Date: July 12, 2018

On Day 6, the first day of Semifinals for the Women’s 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships (WDBC), the USA (5-0) defeated Italy (1-4) by a score of 78 to 18 on the Donald Padden Court at the Gallaudet University Field House in Washington, DC.

Now that pool play has concluded for the 2018 U21 WDBC, the excitement of playoff matches begin as teams battle their way towards winning it all. In today’s Semifinal matchup between the USA and Italy, defense took front and center stage as both teams duked it out and played a hard-fought battle.

In the opening quarter of the game, the USA defense made it clear that they were here to play and that they had their sights firmly set on winning the gold. Led by Hannah Neild’s (Litchfield, NH) 4 steals and team defense that held Italy to only 11% from the field, the USA nearly held Italy scoreless for the entire first quarter until an inside basket by Italy’s Chiara Chiosi went in with about 40 seconds remaining on the clock. On offense, the USA was led in the first quarter by Lauren Chadwick (Gardiner, ME), with 6 points on 3 for 6 shooting, and by Sumita Schmidjorg (Austin, TX), who sank two three-pointers on her way to scoring 8 points. By the end of the first ten minutes, the lead was firmly in favor of the USA as they were up 26 to 2 over Italy.

After the first quarter came to a clase, Italy came out and played inspired defense in the second quarter. The defense for Italy was led by wing players Auoroa Maisano and Francesca Clorinda Giorni who snagged 2 steals apiece as team Italy went on to force a total of 7 turnovers by the USA in the quarter. In addition to harassing the USA offense into making several turnovers, the Italy defense also held team USA to an uncharacteristic 21% from the field during the quarter. In all, the USA offense was limited to scoring 9 points in all during the quarter, their lowest-scoring quarter of the entire 2018 World Deaf Basketball Championships thus far.

Hence, the age old “defense wins championships” adage rang true today: While the USA offense struggled to produce results in the second quarter, they were their characteristic gritty selves on the defensive side of the court as they limited Italy to just 5 points on 11% shooting from the field and out-rebounded Italy 16 to 8. By the end of the first half, the USA was leading Italy by a score of 35 to 7.

Things picked up in the second half again for team USA once the third quarter got started. The USA shot 53% from the field on 9-for-17 shooting during the third quarter and were led by a well-balanced team offensive scoring attack. In the fourth quarter, team USA’s offense was paced by Cassidy Perry (Frederick, MD) and Ariel Senics (Indianapolis, IN) as they combined to score 13 points while the USA went on to outscore Italy 23 to 9 in the final ten minutes of play. Italy was led by the interior presence of post player Simone Sorrentino, who finished with 7 points in the game. After four quarters of play, the final score was 78 to 18 in favor of the USA.

While the trio of Emelia Beldon, Lauren Chadwick, and Hannah Neild have risen to be the team’s established leaders, the play of Cassidy Perry has consistently improved each game during the WDBC as she is proving to be a two-way juggernaut for team USA. Today, she was able to finish the game with a team-high 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Team USA will play the winner of the Semifinals game between Japan and Turkey on Saturday, July 14th. All of the games are available via livestreaming at http://usadb.us/pressbox/u21.html

Game Note: Sara Braida is the head coach for Italy and the assistant coach is Fabio Gelsomini. Lindsay Stergio is the head coach for USA and the assistant coaches are Victorica Monroe and Laura Edwards.

Game Note / Key Stat Leaders:
USA: Beldon (4 pts, 2-4 FG, 4 Ast, 1 TO), Chadwick (14 pts, 6-14 FG, 2-4 3pt FG, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl), Guettler (8 pts, 4-9 FG, 13 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 TO, 2 Stl), Neild (13 pts, 5-6 FG, 3-3 3pt FG, 5 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 TO, 5 Stl), Perry (17 pts, 8-11 FG, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl), Schmidjorg (8pts, 2-8 FG, 2-6 3pt FG, 1 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 TO, 3 Stl), ITA: Sorrentino (7 pts, 1-10 FG, 5-7 FT, 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 TO, 1 Blk, 2 Stl), Chiosi (4 pts, 2-5 FG, 2 Reb, 2 TO, 1 Stl), Maisano (4 pts, 2-4 FG, 1 Reb, 7 TO, 2 Stl)

Day 8

Led by Perry and Neild’s Double-Doubles, USA Defeats Japan 79 – 63 in Gold Medal Game

Date: July 14, 2018

The USA defeated Japan by a score of 79 – 63 in the Gold Medal game of the 2018 Women’s U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships on the Donald Padden Court at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. The USA team was led by the outstanding inside game of Cassidy Perry (Frederick, MD), who grabbed 13 rebounds and scored 28 points as they were able to triumph over Japan. Hannah Neild also w

In the opening minutes of the game, the USA defense jumped out in front, taking charge as they held Japan scoreless for the first two-and-a-half minutes of the game. The USA took the early lead, going up 10 – 4 after a series of inside-outside combo moves between Emelia Beldon (Frederick, MD) and Cassidy Perry (Frederick, MD). Beldon would go on to score 5 points and had no turnovers while dishing out 2 assists in the first. Perry would lead the USA in scoring during the first quarter with 10 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the field.

Though the USA scorers were able to shoot an efficient 50 percent overall from the field, their outside game was shut down as they went 0-for-4 from the perimeter; in previous games, the deadly outside shooting of USA was a large part of why they were able to build large leads early on in games. The headstrong and tenacious defense of Japan’s guards/wings were able to hold Hannah Neild (Litchfield, NH), one of the USA’s most explosive scorers in recent history, to just 2 points on 1-for-3 shooting from the field in the first quarter. By playing tenaciously on the defensive end, Japan was able to even gain the lead late in the first quarter, leading by 1 after Japan’s Hirayasu Ayane swished a nothing-but-net three pointer on a transition play with just under a minute left. The USA was able to close out the first with two quick baskets, the first by Neild inside the paint off of an assist by Beldon that made the score 17 – 16 in favor of USA. Then on the USA’s next trip back down the floor on offense, Beldon made a strong inside move, drawing the foul and then sinking both ensuing free throws to make the score 19 – 16 just as the first quarter drew to a close.

Japan would open the second quarter by responding quickly on the offensive end, with a long-range shot by Miyake Nagisa that made the score 19 – 19 with 9:30 left in the first half. That would pose to be the last time Japan would be on the cusp of taking the lead, for the explosive USA offense would go on to seize momentum and establish a firm fifteen-point lead before halftime. With the score tied up, Neild swished a long three-pointer to give the USA the 22-19 lead. On Japan’s next offensive possession, Neild would steal the ball then find a streaking Beldon on the fast break who in turn, dished to a slashing Sumita Schmidjorg (Austin, TX) who sank her layup while drawing the foul. Schmidjorg would go on to sink her and-1 free throw to make the score 25 – 19 in favor of the USA.

With a six-point lead, the USA would not rest on their laurels, playing intense defense and executing on the offensive end. After getting yet another stop on defense, Rajena Guettler (Frederick, MD) made a nice pass inside to Perry, who used a nice drop-step dribble to get around her defender and score. Then on their next possession, Neild grabbed a nice offensive rebound and put the ball back up to make give the USA a ten-point cushion with a 29 – 19 score and a bit over seven minutes remaining in the half.

The USA defense would not allow Japan to score again until the 5:52 mark, when the quick-footed Ayane sped past the USA defense for a fast break layup to make the score 29 – 21. These type of scoring runs would persist throughout the rest of the half as the USA offense made it a focal point to keep feeding Perry inside the post. Perry would finish the first half with a total of 20 points on a red-hot 10-for-12 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds. When the defense for Japan collapsed on Perry inside the paint, Beldon and Neild were waiting on the perimeter to make use of their deadly three-point shooting abilities. By the end of the first half, the USA defense had tightened their clamps on the Japan offense, limiting Japan to just 29 percent from the field. The USA would go into halftime leading over Japan by fifteen, 45 – 30.

The third quarter opened with the USA’s Lauren Chadwick (Gardiner, ME) grabbing an offensive rebound and then scoring a quick put-back bucket to extend their lead even further. Japan would prove to hang tough, however, catching up to within a ten-point window of opportunity until Neild and Schmidjorg promptly shut it closed with three consecutive three-pointers that made the score 58 – 39 with under six minutes remaining to play in the third quarter. Schmidjorg would go on to provide key outside shooting in the third quarter and was a spark off the bench when the USA offense needed it most. She was a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe and was 50 percent on 2-for-4 shooting from three-point land. She hit her second three-pointer when there was just over four minutes to play that made the score 63 – 41 in favor of USA.

Despite being down by as much as 24 points in the third quarter, Japan refused to quit. They were able to catch a bit of momentum, closing the final minutes of the quarter out on a 8-to-2 run. By the end of the third quarter, the USA was ahead by sixteen, with a 65 – 49 lead over Japan.

The final ten minutes was a close one as Japan and USA tied for scoring in the quarter with 14 points scored by each team. The USA shot 31 percent from the field on 5-for-16 shooting, were unable to hit any of their attempted three-pointers and sank 4 of their 8 free throw attempts. Japan shot 26 percent from the field on 6-for-23 shooting, sank 2 of their attempted 14 three-pointers (that’s not a typo – Japan attempted three-pointers at a pace akin to the state of modern day basketball with 37 attempts from long range), and was unable to hit their only free throw attempt for the quarter.

In the end, the steady perimeter play of guards Beldon (15 points, 9 assists, 1 steal) and Schmidjorg (11 points, 2 assists, 1 steal) along with the double-doubles by USA’s Perry (28 points, 13 rebounds) and Neild (15 points, 13 rebounds) proved to be too much for Japan to overcome. While Japan played suffocating defense that caused the USA to turn the ball over sixteen times and were carried by the double-double of Numaguchi Saya (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Maruyama Kaori’s team high of 28 points, the deeply talented USA team was able to keep them at bay. At the end of regulation, the final score was 79 – 63.

Game Notes / Awards: Two USA players earned accolades for their performances this week. Cassidy Perry was named Most Valuable Player of the Women’s 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships. Hannah Neild was named to the Best Five team for the Women’s 2018 U21 World Deaf Basketball Championships (the five strongest overall performers in the tournament were selected for this award).

Game Note / Key Stat Leaders:
USA: Beldon (15 pts, 5-8 FG, 1-2 3pt FG, 3 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 TO, 1 Stl), Chadwick (8 pts, 4-12 FG, 0-6 3pt FG, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 TO, 2 Stl), Perry (28 pts, 14-20 FG, 13 Reb, 3 TO), Neild (15 pts, 5-13 FG, 3-7 3pt FG, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 TO, 2 Blk, 3 Stl), Schmidjorg (11pts, 3-8 FG, 2-4 3pt FG, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 TO, 1 Stl)

JPN: Ayane (13 pts, 6-11 FG, 1-3 3pt FG, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 TO), Kaori (20 pts, 6-22 FG, 3-12 3pt FG, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 TO, 3 Stl), Saya (16 pts, 6-21 FG, 1-10 3pt FG, 10 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 TO, 1 Blk, 2 Stl)

Game Notes / Coaches: Oga Reiko is the head coach for Japan and is Nakano Eri the assistant coach. Lindsay Stergio is the head coach for USA and the assistant coaches are Victorica Monroe and Laura Edwards.

 

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