Brenda Frese’s Team USA opened up the 2017 World University games with a 121-34 victory over Team Uganda.
It hasn’t been quite that easy since then, but the team still cruised to a 3-0 record in the group stage with a 102-53 win over Team Poland Tuesday morning, and then a 73-52 victory over Team Czech Republic Wednesday morning.
Sophomore guard Blair Watson was again the star Tuesday, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the win over Poland. However, she scored only three points in Wednesday’s game, which saw a new Terp lead the team in scoring.
Senior guard Ieshia Small scored a game-high 17 points against the Czech Republic, but she wasn’t very efficient from the field, converting on just five of her 16 shot attempts.
Sophomore Kaila Charles’ efficiency from the floor shone for the third game in a row.Charles scored 15 points on just six shots and pulled down 11 rebounds in the process. The Terps starter is now 18-for-24 from the field in the three games so far in Taipei, racking up 47 points and 23 rebounds in that time.
With Destiny Slocum’s departure, Charles is transitioning into much more of an offensive role with the Terps, and the results are looking promising so far. Charles came to College Park as a big-time scorer, but fell into more of a defending and rebounding role while playing alongside Slocum. Now, Frese’s team will be able to defer to Charles more often and allow her to create her own shot, which she has shown she can do so far in Taipei.
Team USA now moves on to the quarterfinal round where they will face Team Australia Friday at 5:30 a.m. eastern time. The Australian roster has solid talent, including St. Mary’s Megan McKay (10.7 PPG last season) and Carly Turner (10.1 PPG), Virginia Tech’s Vanessa Panousis (9.2 PPG), Wake Forest’s Alex Sharp (7.4 PPG) and Baylor’s Kristy Wallace (7.6 PPG).
You can follow along and stream the game on Twitter @umdwbb.
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