U.S. Youth Olympic Women’s Team Finishes Pool Play As Top Seed Of Group B; Advances To Face Venezuela In Round Of 16
On the last day of preliminary action in the 3x3 competition at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, the 2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Women’s Basketball Team (9-0) had no difficulty adding two more victories versus the Czech Republic (6-3) 21-12 and Guam (2-7) 21-10 on Sunday, Aug. 24, to close out Group B play with an unblemished record.
The first match of the day saw the U.S. team take on a gritty Czech Republic squad which for the first minute matched the red, white and blue, shot for shot.
With the game tied at 2-2 at the nine-minute mark, Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.) drove to the basket for a bucket and a foul. Despite missing the free throw, Ogunbowale’s shot kick started a 6-0 run by the USA and gave the North Americans an 8-2 lead with less than seven minutes to go.
The Czechs however, fought their way back, and in the span of a minute, went on a 5-0 run, sparked by back-to-back 2-pointers, to cut the USA lead to 11-9 with about five minutes left in the game.
Drawing a foul, Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.) stopped the Europeans’ momentum and allowed the USA to get back in rhythm, closing out the game with 10-3 run.
Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O’Fallon, Mo.) scored a team-high seven points, while Ogunbowale and Samuelson scored five apiece and De'Janae Boykin (Charles H. Flowers H.S./Springdale, Md.) finished with four. The USA also recorded a game-high 12 assists on 18 made baskets.
“I think today’s games were much needed for us,” Ogunbowale said. “Especially the game against the Czech Republic. We were challenged more, and it gave us a look into what we will be going up against heading into the round of 16.”
In the game against Guam, Collier and Ogunbowale took over, as they both matched Guam’s total points with 10 each. Boykin contributed with the final point and Samuelson did not see any action.
The top eight teams from each group have advanced to the Round of 16, which will be contested on Monday, Aug. 25, starting at 5 a.m. EDT.
Group A has qualified the Netherlands (8-1) as its top seed, followed by Hungary (8-1), Spain (7-2), Estonia (5-4), China (5-4), Germany (4-5), Brazil (3-6) and Venezuela (2-7). Group B was claimed by the USA (9-0), followed by Belgium (7-2), Thailand (6-3), Czech Republic (6-3), Taiwan (5-4), Romania (5-4), Egypt (4-5) and Guam (2-7).
“We have become a little like the team to beat now, so everyone will be bringing their A games and we just have to do the same,” said Collier of playing in the medal round.
“As long as we play our game and play together we should be fine,” added Boykin. “We have to stay on the right track and keep doing the things we do well, and we should continue to be successful.”
The matchups are as follows: Germany versus Thailand and Egypt versus Hungary at 5 a.m. EDT; Taiwan versus Estonia and Venezuela versus USA at 5:40 a.m. EDT; Romania versus Spain and Brazil versus Belgium at 6:20 a.m. EDT; and China versus Czech Republic and Guam versus Netherlands at 7 a.m. EDT.
The winners of each of those games will move onto the quarterfinals, which will also be disputed on Aug. 25 at 8 a.m. EDT. Semifinals and finals will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 26 and are scheduled to begin at 5:30 a.m. EDT.
Should the U.S. win, it will face the winner of the Taiwan versus Estonia round of 16 contest in the quarterfinals.
The U.S. team is led by head coach Dori Oldaker (Mt. Lebanon H.S., Pa.), who conducts practices, but as per 3x3 rules, is not allowed to coach during games.
The basketball competition at the Youth Olympic Games is a 3x3 format organized by the International Olympic Committee and FIBA. The 2014 Youth Olympic Games includes 20 men's teams and 20 women's teams, as well as the Shootout for women and a Dunk Contest for men. Each team is comprised of four players, and athletes eligible for this competition must have been born between Jan. 1, 1996 and Dec. 31, 1997.
Follow the 2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Women’s Basketball Team on their road to gold using #YouthOlympics, and on the official USA Basketball website usab.com and app, now available for free download. Stay connected with us on facebook.com/usabasketball, twitter.com/usabasketball, plus.google.com/+usabasketball,instagram.com/usabasketball and youtube.com/usab.
Also, watch coverage of all 28 sports live and on VOD on several platforms, including Olympic.org, Olympic.tv, YouTube.com/Olympics and via the Olympic TV App, and in China with CNTV and CCTV apps. You can also visit the Youth Olympic Games’ official website: Nanjing2014.com