After a tough first game, in which she scored no points, Courtney Williams showed out for Team USA, pushing them past the Chinese team in the second game of preliminary pool play.
The Americans got off to a slow start again in this game, allowing China to build an early 9-2 lead. Williams scored the first points for the U.S. team, and eight of their first sixteen. After four minutes of play, she stole the ball and took it down court for a layup to cut the Chinese lead to one point. She was a key to their success in the first quarter, in which she scored eight points, rebounded the ball twice, stole it once and assisted guard Jordin Canada (UCLA) in scoring a two-pointer. The U.S. ended the first quarter tied because of her efforts.
Forward Erica McCall (Stanford) and guard Nina Davis (Baylor) shined in the second quarter, giving the U.S. a 49-44 half time lead. Williams came out of the locker room surging, immediately making a jumper and blocking a shot before getting another defensive rebound. She sat out the last six minutes of the third quarter. In the fourth, a Williams jumper gave Team USA a double-digit lead and her free throws at the end of the game gave them an 18-point lead. All told, Williams led the team in scoring, finishing the game with 18 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Center Mercedes Russell (Tennessee) notched a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
China's stars were Di Wu, who made seven shots on the night, plus six of six free throws, to finish with 23 points, and Tongyi Liu, who earned a double-double with twelve points and ten rebounds.
Team USA is coached by Joe McKeown, who is the head coach of women's basketball at Northwestern University. McKeown coached the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament last season (something they are not accustomed to), and also had huge success in his 19 years coaching George Washington University.
The U.S. and the Czech Republic now sit atop Group B, where they are both 2-0 and China and Italy are both 0-2. The Americans play the Czechs next, but they will both move on to tournament play no matter the result.