USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Get Their First Win In Tokyo Against Spain

TOKYO, Japan —- For Team USA, it was essential to win Thursday’s match because they lost the first one they played in the pool stage against the reigning world champion – Netherlands.  And not only did they win, they responded to the call big time.

The Women’s USA Wheelchair Basketball Team beat Spain, doubling them up: 68-34.

The United States dominated for the entire game duration; they took the lead in the first few minutes with a six-point lead and increased it minute after minute, reaching a 37-point lead and a 19-point run.

Although it seems to have been an easy game from the numbers, in reality, it was a tough one for the players on the court. It was a very physical match; both teams fouled a lot, the Spanish national team was very aggressive, and it was pushing so much that more than once players got stuck in one another with the wheels of their chairs. 

Natalie Schneider during the match agains Spain at Ariake Arena on August 27, 2021. (PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine)

“Today’s game was awesome. Spain was super aggressive, they were hard on chairs and really pushed us, and we had to force ourselves to get better at things,” Rose Hollerman said.

“And I think today, we took a step to get better and to just perfect the basketball that we’re trying to play here.”

Hollerman made a difference for Team USA in the match against Spain, scoring 20 points and leading her team to the victory. 

“I mean, for me, personally, it’s just all a part of the process, like I wanted the team to do well, I want the team to succeed. So [I was] just trying to fill the role that the coaches are asking me to do and to just keep trying to make the team better and make myself better and just constantly trying to push myself.”

“Losing the game in pool play at the Paralympics is something that’s just going to happen,” she continued.

Lindsey Zurbrugg during the game against Spain at the Ariake Arena on August 27, 2021. (PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Clubine)

“The way that a team ends up bouncing back is just from learning from it. […] We went back, watched the film, had a walk through how to practice and worked on a couple of things that we saw were weaknesses for us and just trying to bounce back and use every game to get better.”

Although Team USA bounced back against Spain, Hollerman thinks there are still some margins of improvement. 

“[Trooper] Johnson has given us a really clear image of what he wants the team to look like, offensively and defensively,” she said.

“And I think the only thing we need to work on are those moments where we stray away from the plan, or where we don’t execute our offense or execute our defense. So it’s just like finding those really small moments where we stray away from the very clear path that we’ve drawn for ourselves and that we like to start to clean those up.”

Team USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball will play China at the Ariake Arena on Saturday, August 28, 2021, at 09:00 local time (Friday, August 27, 20217 at 8:00 PM EST).

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