Jessica Perry pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds against Puerto Rico Saturday.
July 26, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY - University of Utah women's basketball player Jessica Perry helped lead her Team Canada squad to a ninth-place finish at the FIBA Under-19 World Championships in Tunisia last week. Perry, who will be a sophomore for the Utes this season, saw action in all seven games for the Canadian squad.
After winning its opening contest in pool play, Canada dropped its next four contests. The Canadians played well in an 82-73 loss to Australia, with Perry scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds. Canada needed a victory over Spain in its final preliminary game to qualify for the quarterfinals. The Canadians came up short, 57-37, with Perry tallying two points and four rebounds.
Canada regrouped and focused its efforts on finishing has high as it could, after dropping out of the quarterfinals. The Canadian squad did just that, opening the classification round with a 67-51 win over the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Friday. A victory over Puerto Rico on Saturday gave Canada a ninth-place finish.
Puerto Rico held a 20-11 lead after the first quarter. But the Canadians pulled within four, 31-27, at the break. Strong offensive rebounding, including four offensive boards from Perry, propelled Canada to a 21-7 advantage in the third quarter and a 48-38 lead going into the final period. The Canadians weathered a 9-2 run from Puerto Rico late in the game and held on for the seven-point victory, 71-64. Perry scored five points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in the victory.
"We had to re-establish our team goal," Team Canada head coach Christine Stapleton said. "We accomplished that goal, to finish ninth place and finish the tournament with two wins. We had not beaten Puerto Rico since 2002, so this was especially important to our junior program."
For the tournament, Perry averaged 2.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 15.0 minutes of playing time per game.
This marks the first time Canada has ever qualified to compete in the Women's Under-19 FIBA Championships. Utah nearly had two representatives on the Canadian squad. According to Canada Basketball officials, Ute recruit Sasha McKinnon played very well at the Team Canada tryout camp and most likely would have made the team. However, she was diagnosed with mononucleosis during the camp and could not compete.
Perry's inclusion on Canada's Under 19 team gives Utah three current members of the roster who have competed internationally for their country. Seniors Kim Smith and Shona Thorburn have each competed for Canada's Senior National Team in the past.