April 8, 2006
Columbus, OHIO – Former Ohio State All-American Katie Smith led Team USA past Australia with 16 points Saturday in the second round of the 2006 Opals World Challenge in Cairns, Australia. Jessica Davenport, who completed her junior season with Ohio State this year, added six points in Team USA’s 83-63 win over the Aussies.
For the second consecutive game, Team USA trailed at the half. The Aussies held a 35-34 advantage at the break, but the Americans outscored Australia 26-12 in the fourth period to pull away. The U.S. connected on 64 percent of its field goal attempts in the second half vs. Australia’s 29 percent clip.
Smith and Davenport contributed to a U.S. 9-0 second-half run that proved decisive. During the scoring spurt, Smith buried a three and Davenport scored on a putback to up Team USA’s lead to 53-42 with 2:24 left in the third stanza.
Smith, who played at OSU from 1993-96, nailed 7-of-11 shots from the field and 2-of-4 from behind the 3-point line. Davenport played eight minutes Saturday. She made two of her three attempts from the floor and netted both of her foul shots for a six-point tally. The two-time Big Ten player of the year also added five rebounds.
With the win, the Americans now move on to Canberra, Australia where they will rematch with China April 11 at 8:30 p.m. EDT.
Jessica Davenport, center
On tonight’s game “It was really physical. You have Lauren Jackson out there, who was the MVP of the WNBA, and just all their post players who want to bang you all game so it gets pretty physical.”
Q: Speaking of Lauren Jackson, were you in awe at all or intimidated at all about going up against her? A: No. I was really excited to be able to play against that caliber of player. In practice I’ve been playing against great players. So my mentality was to just go out there and play. Q:You and the rest of the post players helped shut down Jackson. What happened there? A: It was a team effort. Everybody was guarding her, holding their ground and not letting her get easy baskets.
KATIE SMITH, guard
Q: How is the team coming together, how are the young players fitting in? A: “I think that with what we’ve been doing, all the changes, people coming in and out, the different environments, we’re here in Australia, we’ve been in Hungary and France, but I’m impressed. I think it’s great to groom some of the younger players, some of them have really stepped up. This also gives us a little bit of a heads-up on Australia, China, it’s kind of a pre-scouting report. I like where we’re headed. Then when you add all the pieces together at the end of the season, we’re all going to be clicking and excited to represent the USA.”
Q: Talk me through the run you started midway through the third quarter A: “I think we decided to be a little more aggressive. Obviously we also picked it up defensively, but we needed to go ahead and get some good looks and knock them down. For myself it’s just a matter of not just sliding into the background, but stepping up and making shots, knocking them down. That got us going a little bit. Tina (Thompson) started hitting a few too. I hit a couple, she hit a couple and it gave us a little cushion that helped us down the stretch. We didn’t have to sweat it out too much.”