July 20, 2007
SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA, Canary Islands — Notre Dame rising sophomore guard Melissa Lechlitner (Mishawaka, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph’s) was one of five United States players to score in double figures, tallying 10 points as the USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team downed Brazil, 90-75 in an exhibition matchup on Friday night in Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands. It was the second exhibition victory in as many days for the Americans, who had a much easier time than their two-point last-second conquest of Australia on Thursday.
For the second game in a row, Lechlitner came off the bench, playing 19 minutes and connecting on 5-of-11 shots from the field. She also led all U.S. players with three assists, while also collecting two rebounds and a steal. The Stars & Stripes led all the way against Brazil, opening up a 26-point lead after three quarters before the South American side cut into the final margin with a late rally. Maya Moore had a team-high 15 points for the USA, while Jantel Lavender and Jasmine Thomas scored 13 points and Italee Lucas chipped in with 11 points.
As a team, the United States did a much better job of protecting the basketball against Brazil with 16 turnovers, half its total from the previous night vs. Australia. The Americans also shot the ball well, connecting at a 45.6 percent clip (36-of-79) from the field, while holding Brazil to a .359 field goal percentage (23-of-64).
“The good news was that I thought that we got off to a good start, and the intensity level was much better today,” USA U19 and DePaul University head coach Doug Bruno said. “But we didn’t finish the game strong, and they really beat us badly in the fourth quarter. We need to understand how to contain a team for an entire game. Tomorrow, we play Spain, who is also undefeated, and this is their home court, their home country. We are not going to be able to have the lapses we had today.”
That final exhibition game against Spain for Lechlitner and the USA U19 National Team is scheduled for Saturday at 7 a.m. EDT (noon ADT in the Canary Islands). The United States will open the U19 World Championship on July 26 with a Group B first-round game against Ivory Coast.
— ND —