FAIRBANKS — Former West Valley High School standout Ruthy Hebard scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help the USA women’s basketball team steamroll China 91-51 in a preliminary-round game Sunday at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Cividale del Friuli, Italy.
Hebard, a sophomore at the University of Oregon, went 5 for 8 from the field and 1 for 2 from the foul line. The Fairbanks native made a major impact for Team USA on the defensive end during her 19 minutes of action.
She finished with a block and two steals, as Team USA cruised throughout the final two quarters after building a 48-15 lead by halftime.
“Defensively, we tried to stay in place, limit penetration and really focus on defending their offense,” USA U19 and University of Pittsburgh head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said in a USA Basketball news release. “Our players came out with a focus and energy defensively, and we were really impressed with the way we defended dribble penetration, contesting shots.
“I think our defense created a lot of opportunities in transition and other scoring opportunities.”
Joyner Holmes, who plays for the University of Texas and calls Cedar Hill, Texas, home, led Team USA with a team-high 14 points against China. Chennedy Carter, a high schol player from Mansfield, Texas, added 13 points in 21 minutes.
Holmes tied Hebard with a team-best nine rebounds.
Hebard also played for Team USA at the FIBA Americas U18 Championships last summer in Valdivia, Chile.
That team returned to America with gold medals in hand.
Team USA will close out the preliminary rounds against Italy at 10:45 a.m. AKDT Wednesday in Udine, Italy.
The team sits atop the Group A standings with a 2-0 record, while Canada and Japan share identical standings as the Group C and Group D leaders, respectively.
The round of 16 begins Wednesday, and the tournament concludes with a gold medal game at 11 a.m. AKDT Sunday.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Brad Joyal at 459-7530. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMSportsGuy.