The United States, represented by the Maryland women’s basketball team, had its closest game of the tournament at the World University Games. But the U.S. got past the Czech Republic, 72-53, to win Pool C on Wednesday.
The U.S. advanced to Friday night’s quarterfinals.
After a cold first quarter, the Terps rallied to take a strong lead into halftime. The Americans started the game 0-for-9, but they went 8-for-9 from the foul line and trailed 17-15 at the end of the first period.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by senior Kristen Confroy helped the Americans jump out to a 32-26 lead with under three minutes left in the second quarter. They would take a 39-32 advantage into halftime.
In the third quarter, the U.S. outscored the Czechs 20-3 in the 10-minute period.
“I really liked our resiliency after an uncharacteristic slow start,” coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought we showed grit and resolve and really fought back against a tough team. We’re excited to win the pool and move on to quarterfinals.”
Ieshia Small led the U.S. with 17 points and sophomore Kaila Charles added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Michigan State alum Tori Jankoska scored 11 points.
The USA finished pool play with a 3-0 record and atop Pool C. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be Friday and Saturday, then the medal round games will be played Monday. The U.S. will play Australia in the quarterfinals Friday at 5:30 a.m. ET.