USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team Downs Host Mexico 101-29 To Advance To Gold Medal Game
– Three Players Finish With 16 Points Apiece For The USA –
June 22, 2013 • Cancun, Mexico
The 2013 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team (4-0) took control of its semifinal contest against host Mexico (2-2) in the first quarter and never looked back, sailing in for a 101-29 win on Saturday night at Polifórum Benito Juárez in Cancun, Mexico, to advance to the gold medal game of the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
The USA will meet Canada (4-0) tomorrow in the gold medal game at 5:30 p.m. (CDT). Canada earned its berth with a 64-36 win over Brazil (2-2). Brazil will play Mexico for the bronze medal at 3 p.m. (CDT). All games are being streamed live online at FIBAAmericas.com.
Three players finished with 16 points for the USA, including Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas), who added eight rebounds; Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.), who collected four steals; and Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.).
Also reaching double-digits were Kalani Brown (Salmen H.S./Slidell, La.), who added 13 points and eight rebounds; and Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.) with 11 points and four steals.
After trailing 5-4 in the first 1:30 of the game, the USA launched a 25-0 run to all but secure the game’s outcome.
“The start was a little hectic, and we broke down defensively a few times. Mexico is a solid team, and they are going to take advantage of our missteps, and I think that got our attention,” said USA head coach Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose Cagers AAU, Calif.). “We turned things around when we decided to defend and really pressure the basketball and turn them over. That created some transition opportunities.”
Overall, the USA forced Mexico into 33 turnovers, which it converted into 27 points.
“We played pretty well,” Ogunbowale said. “We moved the ball well and got into passing lanes. We did bad on our free throws and had too many turnovers, but we got some nice shots and found open looks. I think we stayed focused for the most part. We slipped up a few times, but we always got it back together.”
The USA put the first points on the board, but Mexico answered back and led 5-4 with a 3-pointer at 8:46. That was the last time Mexico would be close. A three from Durr at 8:31 was the start of a 33-2 finish to the quarter that saw the USA force Mexico into 13 turnovers in the first period alone, and at the first intermission the USA led 37-7.
The U.S. defense held Mexico scoreless for more than eight minutes in the second period, while six U.S. scorers put up 18 points to stretch the U.S. lead to 55-7. Mexico made three free throws and one field goal in the last 1:28, while Brown scored from the block and Crystal Dangerfield (Blackman H.S./Murfreesboro, Tenn.) made a 3-pointer to put the USA up 60-12 at halftime.
Dangerfield and Ogunbowale both shot 2-of-2 from 3-point for the game to tie the USA U16 record for single-game 3-point percentage.
“They have a lot of spirit,” Dangerfield said of Mexico. “They don't give up, and their fan base was great. It was fun to play for a crowd.”
Mexico nearly kept pace with the USA in the third quarter, adding 11 points while the USA scored 18 of its own. The fourth quarter, however, saw the USA outscore Mexico 23-6 to bring the game to its 101-29 final.
Viridiana Mazzocco led Mexico with 10 points.
The USA and Canada also met in the gold medal game of the inaugural FIBA Americas U16 Championship in 2009, with the USA recording a 103-52 win.
“They are really strong in their post game and extremely efficient on the glass,” Phillips said of Canada. “They can knock down the three-ball and score in transition. They are just tough, so we are going to need to bring our A-game tomorrow.”
In today’s classification games, Venezuela (1-3) beat Argentina (1-3) 53-46, and Puerto Rico (2-2) topped Costa Rica (0-4) 76-30. Venezuela and Puerto Rico will meet tomorrow at 1 p.m. (CDT) to play for fifth place, while Argentina and Costa Rica will play at 11 a.m. (CDT) for seventh place.
Serving as USA assistant coaches are Mary Coyle Klinger (Rutgers Preparatory School, Somerset, N.J.) and Brian Robinson (Bishop McGuinness H.S., Kernersville, N.C./Stealers AAU).
A two-time champion at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, the USA women are looking to maintain an unblemished record, which now stands at (14-0), and capture a third-straight U16 gold medal.
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Between 2009-12, USA Basketball men's and women's teams compiled an impressive 264-35 win-loss record in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, the Pan American Games, the World University Games, the Nike Hoop Summit and in exhibition games. USA teams are the current men's and women's champions in the Olympics; men's and women's FIBA World Championships; women’s FIBA U19 World Champions; men's and women's FIBA U17 World Champions; and the men's and women's U18 and U16 FIBA Americas Championships.
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