April 12, 2006

Box Score.pdf | Team USA Stats.pdf

Columbus, Ohio – Jessica Davenport, a junior on the Ohio State women’s basketball team, played in Team USA’s finale 2006 Opals World Challenge in Canberra, Australia Wednesday. Davenport scored six points as the U.S. dropped a 76-65 decision to the Aussies. Despite the defeat, the Americans claimed the tournament title with a 4-1 record. Former Buckeye Katie Smith had nine points for the Americans.

Ahead 38-34 at halftime, Team USA started the second half cold from the field. In the third period, the Americans hit just 4-of-17 attempts from the floor, while Australia nailed 7-of-12 FG attempts and went 6-for-8 from beyond the 3-point arc. The Aussies’ collective hot hand helped them open up a 56-47 lead heading into the final period.

A Tina Thompson bucket cut Team USA’s deficit to three at 68-65 with just more than two minutes to play, but that was the closest the Americans would get as Australia closed the game on an 8-0 run.

Davenport, from Columbus Independence High School, came off the bench and logged double-digit minutes for the third-consecutive game. The two-time Big Ten player of the year posted her six points on 2-of-3 FG shooting and grabbed three rebounds. Smith added five rebounds and was 4-for-4 from the free throw line in a team-high 37 minutes.

For the five games, Davenport averaged 5.8 points and gathered 4.0 rebounds per game. She made 12-of-20 attempts from the floor for a 60 percent clip. Smith ranked third on the team during the Opals Challenge at 9.2 ppg. A starter all 11 spring training games with Team USA, Smith averaged 12.5 points and shot .485 from the field, including a .475 mark from 3-point land on the three tours.

Postgame Quotes (Courtesy USA Basketball)

What happened in the third quarter that allowed Australia to move ahead?
“They were a step ahead. Our help, we didn’t help at the right time, didn’t communicate on picks. They were able to move the ball and find the open person and knock down shots. With a night that we had offensively, we didn’t shoot the ball as well as we would have liked, but still we have to go down and get the job done on the defensive end. They picked us apart a little bit and on top of that they knocked down a lot of buckets.”

Australia got into a zone defense in the second half and shut you down – you shot 4-of-17 in the third quarter:
“Yeah, obviously we didn’t help ourselves either. Like I said though, we didn’t help ourselves offensively by not shooting the ball well for the most part. We still could have gotten that victory if we locked it down and became focused on who we were playing, what we needed to take away, who we can’t help off of, we just didn’t do a very good job across the board the whole game.”

You’ve played USA Basketball a number of years and haven’t had very many losses. How do you learn from those losses?
“I think you just have to remember how it feels. You have to remember that when you step out on the floor, no matter when, no matter where, no matter who’s on the team, it is a gold medal game. Bottom line. Every time we step on the court it’s the gold medal game. I don’t think we always approach it like that, but we need to. We need to understand that we have a target on our backs. That’s just the way life is. That’s just the way we want it because we want to be on top. We have to come in every night with that hunger to get the job done and do those little things. All these other teams, the edge is there because they haven’t won it and we need to find that edge every game.”

What does this say about the fact that we really need to have a group of players together for a longer period of time? Australia has been together five weeks and this group had five practices before starting tournament play in Australia.
“There has to be some kind of continuity, whether it’s chunks of time here or there or whatnot. We need to spend time together, we need to have progress, we need to be able to build on things. It is tough, but you have to make it work. This year, with the timing and everything, this is what we’ve got and you have to make it work with what you’ve got. I think we have the ability to get it done, it’s just getting tougher and tougher. I just hope that the time we get, we come together and get it done mentally and physically. We need to focus and find a way to get it done. I totally believe that, even with a couple weeks, this team, we’re still the best in the world.”

Anne Donovan was saying that you need to pass the word on how this loss made you feel to the other players in the system, what are you going to tell them?
“Just let them know that we need them and to have that edge to understand that it’s not going to be easy. Just like it has been in the past, it’s going to be tough. We need to let them know that we really have to be on our toes and to understand that (the opponents) are going to give us their best shot. With them not being here, not feeling this, not going through all three of the tours, playing in hostile arenas, you kind of forget a little bit about the atmosphere and what it’s going to be like, the officiating, everything. But when things aren’t going your way you still have to find a way to get it done. So just a reminder of how it feels and what it’s going to be like. We’ll let them know. I’m sure they’re going to see this and be excited and ready to roll when the time comes.”