Jordan High School graduate Josie Aslakson is currently competing for Team USA in the Tokyo Paralympics for women's wheelchair basketball.
USA 68 vs. Spain 34
Josie Aslakson scored two points and had one rebound in Team USA's 68-34 win against Spain in women's wheelchair basketball.
Match recap: TOKYO - Stepping up on the sport’s biggest stage took two different forms for the United States in wheelchair basketball at Ariake Arena on Thursday, as their men's and women's teams claimed their first wins at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
With the USA men clinging to a one-point lead with 17 seconds left in their group B opener against Germany, Joshua TUREK (USA) hit two clutch free throws to seal the 58-55 victory.
“We have to be accountable to each other because this is our Super Bowl,” TUREK (pictured above) said. “So you gotta step up and make your shots. I knew that they were going to call my number at the end of the game if it came down to free throws. I was mentally locked in; I knew what I had to do.”
The USA women had an easier time in their group B game against Spain, triumphing 68-34 to bounce back from their first-up loss to the Netherlands on Wednesday.
The margin allowed coach Lawrence JOHNSON (USA) to relax his tight playing rotation and let some younger players experience their first Paralympic Games action.
One of those players, 19-year-old Bailey Moody, scored the first basket of her Paralympic career with just over three minutes left in the contest.
“There was so much adrenaline going, and I was not even thinking, it just happened,” MOODY said. “It felt like my whole team was behind me. They helped me to get my first Paralympic points.”
With only three players returning from the gold medal campaign at Rio 2016 and the team in transition, incorporating the next generation of players has taken on extra importance.
“We were really excited to get our younger players in for their first Paralympic experience, and they did great,” said captain Natalie Schneider. "They stepped up well and I'm really proud of how they played.”
Henderson resident Josie Aslakson had one rebound in 4:59 of playing time.
USA 58, Netherlands 68
TOKYO - Netherlands star Bo Kramer (NED) cited defense and intensity as the keys to a 68-58 triumph over USA that highlighted the opening day of wheelchair basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
In a high-quality, heavyweight clash pitting the 2018 world champions Netherlands against Rio 2016 gold medallists United States, Kramer starred with 20 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
After trailing by two points at the end of each of the first three quarters, the Netherlands used a 6-0 run from 54-54 midway through the fourth quarter to take control of the contest.
“We knew this was going to be a tough game, maybe one of the toughest ofthe pool,” Kramer said. "The key was we fought for 40 minutes.”
Kramer’s all-around game and the inside scoring of Mariska Beijer (NED), with a game-high 28 points, proved to be the difference.
Lindsey Zurbrugg (USA) scored 20 points in her first Paralympic game, including 18 in the first half when she showed brilliant outside touch.
"It felt pretty glorious in the first half,” Zurbrugg said. "They adjusted their defense (in the second half). They could not let me shoot wide open any more, because I was hitting so well.”
Kramer said preventing Zurbrugg from getting open shots in the second half was a priority.
“Oh, that girl’s insane,” she said. “We changed some tactics in the defense - one small thing - and that worked out pretty well.”
While the Netherlands took care of one North American powerhouse, another, Canada, showed they will be a force to be reckoned with after defeating 2018 World Silver medallists Great Britain, 73-54.
Kathleen Dandeneau (CAN) dominated with 32 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 assists but played down her performance.
“A lot of the time it’s my teammates who are drawing the defense away that opens up lanes for me or gets me open shots, so it’s really a team effort,” she said.
Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team Schedule
(Central Standard Time)
L: August 24 - Netherlands 68, USA 58
W: August 26 - USA 68, Spain 34
Friday, August 27 vs. China at 7 p.m. - 11 p.m. (first game)
Sunday, August 29 vs. Algeria at 12:45 a.m. - 4:45 a.m. (second game)
Tuesday, August 31 Quarterfinals at 10:30 p.m. - 2:30 a.m. / 4:15 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.
Thursday, September 2 Semifinals at 4:15 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.
Saturday, September 4 Bronze/Gold and Ceremony at 3:45 a.m. - 8:15 a.m.