U.S. Youth Olympic Women’s Team Onto Medal Semifinals After Taking Down Venezuela 21-7 and Estonia 21-12
A 21-7 victory over Venezuela (2-8) in the Round of 16, and a 21-12 win versus Estonia (6-5) in the quarterfinals on Monday, Aug. 25, in the 3x3 competition at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, earned the 2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Women’s Basketball Team (11-0) a spot in the medal semifinals, which will be contested on Tuesday, Aug. 26 starting at 5:30 a.m. EDT.
The USA will take on Hungary (10-1) in the second semifinal game of the day at 6:00 a.m. EDT, while the first semifinal match will see the Netherlands (10-2), which beat Guam (2-8) 17-1 in the Round of 16 and China (6-5) 21-13 in the quarterfinals, face Spain (9-2), which advanced by defeating Romania (5-5) 18-14 and Belgium (8-3) 16-14.
The losers of each semifinal will head to the bronze medal match at 7:30 a.m. EDT. The winners will play for gold at 8:30 a.m. EDT; both games will be played on Aug. 26, following the semifinals.
In the round of 16, the USA took on Venezuela. Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O’Fallon, Mo.) finished 7-for-9 from the field to lead all scorers with 11 points. Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.) and De'Janae Boykin (Charles H. Flowers H.S./Springdale, Md.) chipped in five each, and the USA closed out the game in six minutes and eight seconds. Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.) did not play.
The USA held Venezuela to 18 percent shooting from the field and kept two of its players scoreless. Givanna Padilla was the only Venezuelan on the board, scoring all seven points for the South Americans.
In the quarterfinals, the USA played an Estonian squad which kept it close until about the last three minutes of the game with its 2-point shooting and key drives to the basket. However, the USA got the Europeans in foul trouble early, and thus was able to close out the game from the free throw line.
“I think we played well in both games,” Samuelson said. “The energy definitely changed for all of us because everything is at stake now. It makes us work harder.”
“We started off a little slow,” Samuelson continued. “But as the game went on, we picked up our energy and started finishing better. The biggest key for us as we move on is to make our free throws.”
The USA’s scoring effort was pretty balanced in the contest versus Estonia with Ogunbowale recording seven points, Collier six, Samuelson five and Boykin three.
“I think as a team we are going in with a hungrier mentality and just sticking with what we do best,” Boykin said. “These games taught us that no team is going to come out and just give us a victory. We have to work for everything.”
“Today’s games made us work much harder and think a lot more,” Boykin added. “This is what we’re expecting in the semifinal game tomorrow.”
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.
In only its second ever Youth Olympic Games participation, the USA will look to make it two-for-two in capturing a medal, after the 2010 USA women's team, which featured Briyona Canty, Andraya Carter, Amber Henson and Kiah Stokes, finished with a 6-1 record and in possession of the bronze medal.
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