The USA, which trailed 25-8 after the first 10 minutes, fought back and tied the game twice in the third period but never led in the contest.
Australia extended its lead to its widest margin of the night, 27-8, with the first bucket of the second period, but Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne H.S./Virginia Beach, Va.) scored on an offensive bucket that ignited a 10-2 run that included 3-pointers from Betnijah Laney (Smyrna H.S./Clayton, Del.) and Kaleena Lewis(Mater Dei H.S./Anaheim, Calif) and cut the deficit to 29-20 at 7:09. The teams traded baskets until Williams was fouled on another offensive board and made one-of-two free throws to ignite a 7-0 spurt to end the first half with the USA down by just two points, 37-35.
Cierra Burdick (Butler H.S./Matthews, N.C.), Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook) and Breanna Stewart (Cicero North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y.) combined for nine points over the next two minutes to cut the lead to 56-48 on a Burdick made free throw at 5:41, but Australia had an answer for every U.S. score down the stretch, including making 4-of-6 free throws.
With Australia leading 64-55, Massengale hit a 3-pointer with 13.5 seconds remaining.
"I think it was a lesson learned," Massengale said, in a release. "Last year (at the U16 qualifier) we basically had easy games all the time, and we didn't have anything that pushed us or made us work hard. But I think it's a good thing this happened in a practice game and not in the world championships next week."