OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Lindsay Whalen and the rest of the second unit again sparked the United States to victory.
Whalen scored 16 points and Angel McCoughtry added 11 to lead the U.S. to an 87-46 rout of Canada on Monday night in the second round of the women's basketball world championship. The Americans will face Belarus on Tuesday.
"We're able to come in and analyze what's going on and see what's happening on the court," Whalen said. "We can bring energy, intensity, and see what's working and try to play hard."
For the second straight game the U.S. got off to a slow start. Canada jumped to an 11-5 lead, and coach Geno Auriemma turned to his bench. The second unit got four straight turnovers on the way to a 12-0 run. The U.S. forced 32 turnovers for the game.
"I like that second group," Auriemma said. "I thought about changing the starting lineup today as those guys are stuck in the mud. You got some high energy guys like Lindsay, Angel, Maya, as well. Tina gave us a great burst at the beginning of the second quarter."
On one play, McCoughtry stole the ball from Kaela Chapdelaine, made a move to the basket causing the Canadian guard to fall, and then scored an easy hoop.
Janelle Bekkering finally ended the spurt with a 3-pointer to make it 17-14. Bekkering was one of three college players in the game. She is a fifth-year senior at Gonzaga. Her Canadian teammate Natalie Achonwa is a freshman at Notre Dame. Connecticut's Maya Moore is the Americans' lone college player.
Bekkering's basket didn't stem the tide for long. The U.S. held Canada without a basket for the next 7 minutes and went on a 16-3 run to make it 33-17. Charles had five points during the burst, including a three-point play on a drive from the foul line. By the time the half ended, the U.S. led 47-25.
Bekkering and Kim Smith scored eight points to lead Canada (1-3). Despite knowing what they were up against, the Canadians didn't seem in awe of the Americans.
"We knew we're all basketball players in the end of the day," Courtnay Pilypaitis said. "You don't think about who's who and who you're guarding."
While Sylvia Fowles had another quiet game scoring just two points, she did answer any lingering questions about the health of her left knee.
The 6-foot-6 center, who had surgery for torn knee cartilage in late August, tried a dunk about 10 seconds into the third quarter. She stole the ball and went the length of the court. The official, however, called her for traveling before her two-handed slam attempt went off the rim.
"She's healthy and feels good," Auriemma said. "She's not experienced any issues or problems. I think she's got to get into the flow of the game. She hasn't played in a long time. She's such a presence out there. She makes our team incredibly different with her out there. Hopefully she'll stay healthy and little by little we'll get her more involved with what we're doing.
Canada (1-3) couldn't get closer than 20 in the second half. The Canadians will play Greece on Tuesday.
Auriemma wasn't thrilled with his team's play at times in the second half. On one possession the Americans had a 2-on-1 break and McCoughtry threw a pass off the rim. Another play really drew his ire — Charles driving the middle and trying to shoot over two Canadians. When the shot missed the U.S. coach looked at his former star at UConn and said, "Are you out of your mind?"
Despite sharing a border, Canada and the U.S. don't play each other very often. They last met in the 2007 FIBA Americas qualifier, with the U.S. winning by 48 points. The U.S. had won five of the six meetings, with Canada's lone victory at the worlds in 1975.
"I think we really struggled with the speed of the Americans," Canada coach Allison McNeill said. "Every turnover we paid for it and we had a lot of them. Love to do it more often. We'd love to play them all the time so we can get better."
Canada advanced to the second round by beating China in the opening pool play. After a 12-year absence from the worlds, the Canadians returned four years ago to the tournament and placed 10th in Brazil.