The USA Women’s National Team closed out its participation in the Pan Am Championships with a loss to favored Venezuela 36-29 Saturday at the Handball Pavilion, Parque De Este, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The battle was interesting in that for the first time in the tournament, the offense was really clicking against a good opponent, particularly in the first half. The team enjoyed fewer turnovers while quickly moving the ball around and finding opportunities for attack. The defense had more difficulty than in most games. The Venezuelans threw a relentless, quick, and powerful attack against the Americans, creating seems in the defense. The halftime score was a very unexpected and quite impressive 18-17 in favor of Venezuela.
Unfortunately for Team USA, the second half began with several American turnovers leading to great scoring opportunities which Venezuela converted. In what seemed like moments, the USA was behind by several goals. While the offense was sound in the first half, it became erratic and problematic in the second half. With turnovers increasing by the Americans, the Venezuelans seized control and never relinquished it. Every time the Americans looked like they were going to make a run, the sputtering offense cost them the opportunity. A valiant effort by the WNT resulted in a somewhat respectable, but very disappointing loss, 36-29.
The WNT finished in 8th place in the tournament, won by Brazil in impressive fashion. Brazil destroyed a good Argentina in the finals, demonstrating to everyone that they are a threat in the upcoming World Championships in Serbia.
Team USA headed home to the United States on Sunday with very specific instructions for personal improvement from Head Coach Christian Latulippe. The efforts of Latulippe and Men’s National Team Head Coach Javier Garcia-Cuesta, with an assist from coach and technology expert Gilles Malfondet, have prepared a sound foundation for the development of the Women’s National Team Program.
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