TAIPEI, Taiwan – The United States pushed past the Czech Republic, 72-53, to win Pool C Wednesday night at the Heping Basketball Gymnasium. The U.S. advanced to Friday night’s quarterfinals.  

The USA pushed through a cold first quarter to take a strong lead into halftime. The Americans started the game 0-for-9, but they went 8-for-9 from the foul line and trailed 17-15 at the end of the first period.

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Senior Ieshia Small went 7-for-7 from the free throw line herself in the first period and scored 13 points in the first half to lead the way for the USA. Back-to-back three-pointers by senior Kristen Confroy helped the Americans jump out to a 32-26 lead with under 3:00 left in the second quarter. They would take a 39-32 advantage into halftime.

The USA took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Czechs 20-3 in the 10-minute period.

“I really liked our resiliency after an uncharacteristic slow start,” head coach Brenda Frese. “I thought we showed grit and resolve and really fought back against a tough team. We’re excited to win the pool and move on to quarterfinals.”

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Small led the U.S. with 17 points and sophomore Kaila Charles added 15 points and 11 boards. Michigan State alum Tori Jankoska scored 11 points.

The USA finished atop Pool C with a record of 3-0. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be Aug. 25 and 26, then the medal round games will be played Aug. 28. The U.S. will play Australia in the quarterfinals Friday at 5:30 a.m. ET.

The Maryland women’s basketball team was selected by the United States International University Sports Federation (US-IUSF) to represent the United States in the World University Games. The World University Games will conclude Aug. 30 with the closing ceremony.