July 30, 2017

Canada wins first-ever U19 World Cup medal

After yesterday's crushing loss to Russia in the semifinals, Team Canada's captain Alyssa Jerome said, "We are still competing for a medal which was our goal coming into the tournament and we are hoping to finish with a bronze."

And the U19s did just that today as they defeated Japan 60-67 in the finals and took the podium for the first time ever in international competition.

Japan controlled most of the first quarter with their quick hands. They average nine steals per game and forced Canada to turn the ball over eight times. But Canada rallied at the end of the quarter with back-to-back threes and took the lead 14-10.

Canada was more aggressive in the second quarter and held on to the lead. Alyssa Jerome sank a buzzer-beater three-pointer that gave Canada a 33-27 lead at the end of the half.

Japan began the third quarter with a 9-2 run and took the lead. Then Canada took it back and ended the quarter with another buzzer-beater. Canada up 50-45.

Canada held on to the lead in the final quarter in spite of a strong effort by Japan. They led by nine points with a minute left to play and Japan began fouling. Canada was the worst free-throw shooter in the tournament, making only 55% of their attempts. They did a bit better than that (5-8) in the last minute and it was enough for the 60-67 victory.

Alyssa did a little bit of everything: Six points, eight rebounds, one assist, two steals, and three blocks.

Laeticia Amihere led Team Canada with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. She was named one of the Tournament AllStar-5.


Although Alyssa did not post impressive statistics in the tournament, she was a vital member of the team — a "glue" player, a mature dependable leader. She is highly regarded by Canada Basketball and although the second-youngest member of the team was chosen as the team captain.

July 29, 2017

Team Canada drops semifinal to Russia

Canada was overwhelmed by a big, powerful Russian team and lost its semifinal game of the FIBA U19 Cup, 65-41.

No Canadian player achieved a good performance. Alyssa Jerome had five points, two rebounds, two assists and a block. Laeticia Amihere had four points, eight rebounds (the team high), a steal and a block.


Team Canada will go for the bronze against Japan on Sunday morning at 9:30 am Pacific time. The USA and Russia will battle for the gold at noon.

Note:The semifinal games were not available for viewing on YouTube in the United States. Assuming that will also be the case for the medal games, your only choice for watching the games on Sunday is livebasketball.tv.

Opals win the silver medal in Asia Cup

The Opals were defeated by Japan 74-73 in the championship game of the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup and took home the silver medal, while Japan won the gold for the third consecutive time.

The game was all that a title game should be — a battle between two strong, detemined teams. The lead switched about a dozen times throughout the game, with neither team leading by more than six points in the last three quarters.

The Opals were down by one and had a chance to win with the last possession of the game, but Japan's smothering defense forced a desperation shot that did not fall.

A major factor in Japan's victory was their amazing performance from beyond the arc. They sank eleven three-pointers in the face of good Opals' defense; Saki Mizushima made seven of nine.

The Opal's power forward Kelsey Griffin had her sixth strong game of the tournament with 30 points and 15 rebounds. Although not on the winning team, she was named the tournament MVP.


During the tournament, Alanna was often referrred to as Australia's rising star. Her performance fully supported that accolade:

She was the 11th-best scorer in the tournament with 10.8 points per game.

She was the 13th-best rebounder in the tournament with 14.5 rebounds per game.

She had the 12th-best efficiency ranking in the tournament (efficiency is a composite statistic that is derived from basic individual statistics: points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers and shot attempts)

July 28, 2017

Team Canada reaches first semifinal since 2009

Team Canada looked to be in trouble against a strong China team in their quarterfinal game. They were down 10-21 at the end of the first quarter.

Both teams increased their defensive intensity in the second quarter, and Canada managed to narrow the margin to 26-28.

The battle continued in the second half, and Canada finally took the lead with a minute left in the third quarter, whch ended with Canada up 48-45.

Canada held on to its slim lead and emerged with a 68-65 victory.

Canada's efforts in the paint were seriously hampered by 6'9" Xu Han, who blocked seven shots and snagged 14 rebounds.

Team Canada's big gun today was Laeticia Amihere, who scored 21 points on 10-20 shooting, all layups and jumpers.

Alyssa got in some foul trouble today and spent 14 minutes on the bench. She tallied five points, four rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.


With the win over China, Canada advances to the FIBA U19 semifinals for the first time since 2009. They will face Russia on Saturday morning at 9:30. The FIBA website has this to say about the matchup:
Canada are not only chasing their first ever Final appearance, but victory against Russia would also seal a maiden podium finish too. Their last run to the Semi-Finals came back in 2009 and this time around they will need to extend their superb unbeaten run to six games. To be successful means blunting the phenomenal Maria Vadeeva, with the Russian center having been the standout player of the tournament so far. She has experience along with Raisa Musina of having played in the 2015 Final on home soil in Chekhov. There is also the potential 'X-factor' on the wings and in the backcourt of shooting pair Daria Kurilchik and Aislinn Konig who bring the additional scoring production for their respective teams.

Note: The U19 semifinal and final games will be live-streamed on both livebasketball.tv and YouTube. I strongly recommend that you watch them on livebasketball.tv, because those streams are accompanied by excellent commentary. (The Asia Cup games have been, and I assume that the U19 games will be too.)

Opals advance to gold medal game

Australia defeated Korea 81-64 in the Asia Cup semifinals.

Alanna was the Opals' second-best scorer with 12 points and also had six rebounds.


The Opals will go for the gold against two-time reigning champion Japan on Saturday morning at 7:30 Pacific Time.

July 27, 2017

Alanna leads the Opals to victory over DPR Korea in quarterfinal

Australia dominated DPR Korea for most of the game and cruised to an 81-48 victory in the Asia Cup quarterfinals.

The Opals, by virtue of being one of the top four finishers, have also officially qualified to the 2018 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in Spain

Alanna has recovered from whatever ailed her in the previous game. She played for 15 minutes and led all scorers with 20 points on 7-10 shooting and 6-6 free throws. And she was the top rebounder with nine.


Australia will face Korea in the semifinals early Friday morning at 3:00am Pacific Time. That game will be followed by the other semifinal between China and Japan.

July 26, 2017

Team Canada remains unbeaten with win over Mexico in Round of 16

Team Canada had a comfortable game today as they defeated Mexico 64-43 in the U19 World Cup Round of 16. Canada took a 22-5 lead in the first quarter, from which Mexico never recovered.

Alyssa was Team Canada's top scorer with 12 points, to which she added five rebounds, two assists and a block.


Team Canada advances to the Quarterfinals where they will find a much tougher game against China on Friday morning at 7:00am Pacific Time.

July 25, 2017

Team Canada wraps up perfect group phase with win over Latvia

In a very close contest, Canada and Latvia exchanged a modest lead throughout the game.

The fourth quarter began with Canada ahead by five points. Latvia fought back to a tie two minutes later, fell behind again, then advanced to a one-point lead with a bit more than a minute left to play.

Canada's Aislinn Konig sank a 3-pointer, Latvia answered back immediately with a 3-pointer. Canada was fouled and made a free throw and the score was tied again with 24 seconds left to play. Konig answered for the last time with another 3-pointer and a 74-70 win for Team Canada.

Konig had a huge game. She scored 32 points, including 10 of 15 3-pointers, on 69% shooting. Alyssa contributed a solid seven points, six rebounds, six assists and a steal to the victory.


With today's victory against Latvia, Team Canada joined the USA, Russia and Japan as unbeaten teams in the group phase. They will face Mexico in the Round of 16 on Wednesday morning at 5:00am Pacific Time.

Opals wrap up perfect group phase with win over Japan

Things were close throughout between Australia and Japan in their final match of the group phase, but the Opals proved to be steadier in the end, 83-74. Alanna played for only the last three minutes of the first quarter and put nothing on the score board. She headed for the locker room just before the end of the first quarter, but returned soon with nothing apparently wrong to account for her absence from the rest of the game.


Australia and China were the only undefeated teams in the group phase. As the winner of Group B, the Opals will face PRK of Korea (#4 in GroupA) in the quarter-finals early Thursday morning at 12:45am Pacific Time

July 24, 2017

Opals overwhelm Phillipines in second Asia Cup game

The Opals cruised to an easy 107-65 win against the Phillipines last night in what was described as a "Baby David and Goliath" matchup.

Alanna was once again prominent. She added 12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists to back up her brilliant Opals debut effort against Korea. yesterday. She is playing with excellent control, committing just one foul in each of her first two Asia Cup games


The Opals face the toughest opponent in their group, Japan, in their third and final group phase game early Tuesday morning at 12:45 am Pacific Time. Japan, which is ranked #13 in the world by FIBA (Australia is #4) , has also won its first two group phase games, so this should be a good competitive matchup.

July 23, 2017

Team Canada scores second win in FIBA U19 World Cup

Team Canada put forth another great team effort and defeated France 54-45 in their second game of the FIBA U19 World Cup group phase.

Scoring was less balanced than in the prior game. Just eight of the Canadian players saw action and ony two of them scored in double-digits. Alyssa contributed eight points, seven rebounds and an assist.


Canada continues group play on Tuesday morning against Latvia at 7:15 am PT. The game will be live streamed here.

Opals win big over Korea in Asia Cup opener

Alanna came off the bench at the beginning of the second quarter when Australia was down 15-12. She soon made her presence felt as the Opals took control of the game with a 17-2 point run, which led to the final 78-54 victory.

Alanna played for 21 minutes during which she scored the Opals' second-most points (13) and grabbed the team-high rebounds (7).

Alanna is the least-experienced member of the team — the only college player. All her teammates play professional basketball in Australia and/or in the WNBA.

The game commentators were lavish in their praise of Alanna's energy and hustle. They were discussing the Opals' being a young team with Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor gone and wondering who would take their place. One of them said, "I like what I see from Smith, that's for sure ... a tremendous addition to this Opals team!"


The Opals continue group play Sunday night at 10:30 pm PT against the Phillipines, a less challenging team than Korea.

July 22, 2017

Team Canada opens with 91-45 win

Team Canada began group play in the FIBA U19 World Cup this morning with a remarkably balanced effort in a 91-45 victory over Korea. Team Canada's individual top score was 10 points, but six players did that.

Alyssa Jerome started for Team Canada. She was one of the 10-point scorers and also had 10 rebounds.


Team Canada will continue group play on Sunday morning against France at 6:45 am PT.

July 21, 2017

See Alanna, Alyssa and Jillian in FIBA games

Alyssa is in Italy, ready to play for Team Canada in the FIBA U19 Women's World Cup

Alanna and Jillian are in India, ready to play for the Australian Opals and the New Zealand Tall Ferns respectively in the FIBA Asia Cup.

Their games begin early Saturday morning or late Saturday night, Pacific Time.

This schedule shows all their games, Pacific Time:

  Canada Australia New Zealand
Sat, July 22 5:00 am vs Korea 10:30 pm vs Korea  
Sun, July 23 06:45 am vs France 10:30 pm vs Phillipines 5:15 am vs China
Mon, July 24 no games - - - 12:45 am vs DPR Korea
10:30 pm vs Taipei
Tue, July 25 7:15 am vs Latvia 12:45 am vs Japan - - -
Wed, July 26 Round of 16 no games no games
Thu, July 27 no games Quarter-Finals Quarter-Finals
Fri, July 28 Quarter-Finals Semi-Finals Semi-Finals
Sat, July 29 Semi-Finals Finals Finals
Sun, July 30 Finals    

All the U19 games will be streamed live to YouTube and kept forever, so you can watch Alyssa play at your leisure. The link to each game is posted in the FIBA U19 World Cup schedule.

All the Asia Cup games will be streamed live by livebasketball.tv, but you need to pay a little ($9.99 for a month) to see them. Sign up here and see the game schedule here.

Basketball Australia reports that games will be uploaded to FIBA's YouTube channel for free 24 hours after each game is completed. I don't know yet where to find the links to the replays, but will include them in my game reports.

If you happen to be in Australia, you can watch the Asia Cup group games on Fox Sports TV

July 12, 2017

Alanna rejoins Opals for Asia Cup

Alanna will be playing in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup after all.

Two of the players chosen for the Opals' Asia Cup team have been injured, and Alanna has been chosen as one of the replacements.

The team is scheduled to travel to India next Monday, a week before the Asia Cup games, which will be played July 23 - 29.

The New Zealand Tall Ferns, with Jillian Harmon, will also be playing in the Asia Cup, but will not compete with the Opals in the opening round.

Alanna is still on the Opals team that will play in the World University Games in August, as far as I know.

Read more in the Basketball Australia announcement: Injuries force alterations to Opals team ahead of FIBA Asia Cup.

Brittany invited to USA Basketball training camp

Brittany McPhee is one of 40 athletes invited to the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U23 National Team Training Camp.

The training camp will take place July 31-Aug. 4 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

A 12-member team that will represent the USA in an inaugural U23 Four Nations Tournament for college-aged women this summer in Tokyo, Japan, is expected to be announced on Aug. 4.

Read more in the USA Basketball announcement: 2017 USA Women’s U23 National Team Training Camp To Feature 40 Elite Collegiate Athletes

July 11, 2017

Stanford women athletes win fourth Capital One Cup

Capital One announced last week that Stanford has won the Women's Athletics Program Capital One Cup for 2016-17.

The Capital One Cup is awarded annually to each of the best men's and women's Division I college athletics programs in the country. This is the fourth time in the seven years of the Capital One Cup program that the Stanford women have won the crown.

The cup will be presented at the ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards tomorrow night, which will be televised live on ABC at 5 p.m. PT.

Nneka Ogwumike will accept the cup as the representative of all outstanding Stanford women athletes.

Read more:

July 07, 2017

Alyssa selected for Canada U19 team

Freshman Alyssa Jerome was named to the final roster for the U19 Women's National Team set to compete at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup 2017 in Italy.

Alyssa, who is the second-youngest member of the team, is a rising star in Canada. She led her country in both scoring and rebounding at the FIBA Americas U18 Women's Championship last summer when Canada finished with a silver medal.

The team will travel to France for an exhibition tournament from July 15-17.

Then they will travel to Udine, Italy for the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup 2017 from July 22-30.

Read more in the anouncement from Basketball Canada: U19 women's national team announces FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup 2017 roster

Alanna not selected for Opals Asia Cup team

Sophomore forward Alanna Smith's summer won't be quite as busy as was anticipated.

Alanna will be playing with the Opals (the Australian national senior team) in the World University games in China from August 21-28. (See Basketball Australia announcement: 2017 Women’s World University Games team announced)

But she won't be playing in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup

The Opals have completed their first camp as they prepare to compete at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup and have narrowed the squad of 21 players to a final team of 12. Alanna did not make the final cut.

Read more in the Basketball Australia announcement: Opals team named with additions to coaching staff to contest 2017 FIBA Asia Cup