2010 USA Women's U18 National Team Defeats Argentina, 91-32
Nine players scored at least six points for the USA, leading the USA to a 91-32 win over Argentina (0-1) on June 23 in each team's opening game in the preliminary round of the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Chiney Ogwumike (Cy-Fair H.S./Cypress, Texas) led the United States with 15 points and 12 rebounds in 15 minutes. Stefanie Dolson (Minisink Valley H.S./Port Jervis, N.Y.) scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Bria Hartley (North Babylon H.S./North Babylon, N.Y.) and Kayla McBride (Villa Maria Academy/Erie, Pa.) scored 10 points apiece.
Every American player scored at least two points and logged a minimum of 10 minutes. Nine of the 12 had six points or more, and the USA bench, with 46 points, outscored the team's starters (45).
"I thought it was a good first game," said USA U18 and University of Hartford head coach Jen Rizzotti. "I was really pleased with the energy, and the kids were really excited to get going. I feel like we've definitely made some progress in the last few weeks of training, and it's nice to see it all come together."
The USA's 12 players have been in Colorado Springs training since June 8, when the trials to make the U18 National Team began. Some of the accompanying anxiousness to actually hit the floor showed in the game's first minute and a half. After settling, though, the USA shot 33-68 from the field (49.0 percent) and out-rebounded Argentina, 62-20.
"I think they were a little over-excited about playing, finally," Rizzotti said. "We've been here a long time, and to put the uniforms on and get out there, I know they were excited. Our first three possessions we turned the ball over, but once we settled in I felt pretty good. We've really focused a lot on valuing the ball and not turning it over. So minus the first minute, I was pretty pleased with their effort overall."
In total, the red, white and blue showed tremendous balance and efficiency on the floor, getting 44 points in the paint, 21 fast break points and 10 from second chances. Malina Howard (Twinsburg H.S./Twinsburg, Ohio) had eight points and 10 rebounds, while Hartley had six assists.
"It's easy to get that stat when I'm getting the ball to Chiney," Hartley said. "She's just a very versatile player, which makes my job easier."
The USA now plays Brazil (1-0), an 81-35 winner over Costa Rica in its preliminary round opener, at 5:45 p.m. on June 24 on the second of three preliminary round games in Group B. The winner automatically secures one of the top two spots in the group, qualifying for the medal semifinals on Sat., June 26.
"I thought we did a lot of things well tonight and it was a good first game to get out on the court as a team officially and see what we can expect," Ogwumike said.
After that frantic first minute, the USA settled when Howard put back Ogwumike's miss at the 8:32 mark, sparking a 13-0 run for the USA over the next four minutes. Four different players scored during that stretch, and eight different Americans put up points in the first quarter.
Scoreless for nearly seven minutes, Argentina got on the board with Malena Belen Jaime's 3-pointer at the 3:16 mark of the first quarter, and Rocio Evangelena Dias scored with nine seconds left in the period.
Celia Noemi Fiorotto then scored for Argentina to start the second quarter and cut her team's deficit to 22-7, but Ally Malott (Madison H.S./Middletown, Ohio) and Hartley hit consecutive 3-pointers, McBride made two jumpers in consecutive possessions, and the USA eventually held a 47-9 lead before Argentina scored again with 1:12 to go in the second quarter. Diana Maria Cabrera hit a jumper with 1:12 to go in the half, made two free throws with 45 seconds left and Carolina Martinez hit a 3 with 12 seconds to go, but the USA still led 49-14 at the half.
Hartley fed Ogwumike for a quick layup to start the third quarter, and the USA further buffered its lead until Daiana Noel Acosta made a 3-pointer and 2-point jumper to break the American run with 5:04 left in the third. Soon after, though, Cassie Peoples hit her own 3-pointer, Stefanie Dolson converted an and-one, while Reshanda Gray (Washington Prep H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.) and Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.) scored their first points of the game in giving the USA a 73-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Argentina rallied in the fourth for 12 points, its highest single-quarter point total in the game, though the USA coasted to victory.††††
In Wednesday's first round of Group A play, Canada (1-0) was a 77-31 winner over Mexico (0-1), and Chile (1-0)†beat Costa Rica (0-1), 75-53. Canada will play Chile on June 24 at 11 a.m., while Costa Rica and Mexico square off at 1:15 p.m.