KAZAN, Russia — The women’s basketball team from the Czech Republic proved much more competitive than Mali a day earlier for Team USA at the World University Games on Tuesday.
Rathern than losing by 88 points, the Americans’ second opponent lost by only 40 as coach Sherri Coale’s squad enjoyed its second victory rout, 101-61, in as many days.
Oklahoma’s women’s basketball coach has to be enjoying her first head coaching experience for USA basketball, and one of the reasons is Aaryn Ellenberg, who will be a senior Sooner next season and who’s making the most of her first chance to play basketball for her country.
Tuesday, Ellenberg scored eight of the U.S.’s first 13 points and scored 10 of her 12 points in the first quarter, a frame in which the American set the tone by arresting a 21-11 lead that would become 48-27 by the half.
“We came out strong out of the gates in both the first half and the second half,” Coale said, “but I thought it was our defensive intensity that set the stage.”
As the tournament continues, stamina should not be a problem for the Americans.
“Fortunately, we were able to play a lot of people, especially late in the game,” Coale said. “I think, again, having that depth tomorrow will help, as we can play a lot of people again. There’s not a big drop off from 1 through 12.”
The game “tomorrow” Coale speaks of was played against Brazil at 3:30 a.m. today, which is 12:30 p.m. in Kazan.
The World University Games is a multi-sport event that takes place every two years, reserved for male and female athletes between age 17 and 24.
Coale’s team is looking to defend the gold medal Team USA claimed two years ago in Shenzhen, China.