USA U16 Women Earn Bronze Medal With 81-24 Win Over Mexico
The 2015 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team (4-1) jumped to an 8-0 lead and never looked back in its bronze medal 81-24 victory over host Mexico (2-3) in the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship on Sunday night in Puebla, Mexico.
The USA overpowered Mexico with depth and size, getting 41 points off of the bench, winning the rebound battle 71-49, recording 22 assists on its 34 made field goals and forcing 28 Mexican turnovers.
Canada (5-0) won the gold medal with a 72-71 overtime win over Brazil (3-2), which took home silver. By virtue of a top-four finish in the tournament, the USA, Brazil, Canada and Mexico all have qualified for next summer’s 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship.
“I thought we played well,” said USA head coach Dori Oldaker (Mt. Lebanon H.S., Pa.). “I thought they played very, very unselfish, and that was nice to see. It’s nice to finish on a really good note.”
Four players reached double-figure scoring, including Jade Williams (Prestonwood Christian Academy/The Colony, Texas) with 11 points and 12 rebounds, Alexis Morris (Legacy Christian Academy/Beaumont, Texas) with 11 points and Andra Espinoza-Hunter (Blair Academy, N.J./Ossining, N.Y.) and Destiny Littleton (The Bishop’s School/San Diego, Calif.) with 10 points each.
“I think that we played as a team,” Williams said. “We played very well, in my opinion. We ran our offenses really well. We rebounded really well, so I’m really proud of how we played against Mexico.”
Additionally, Desireé Caldwell (Johnson H.S./San Antonio, Texas) had 12 rebounds, while Sedona Prince (Faith Academy/Liberty Hill, Texas) collected 11 boards and Jayda Adams (Mater Dei H.S./Santa Ana, Calif.) dished out six assists.
“We did everything that we possibly could,” Adams said. “We finally played that game we all knew we could play. We played as a team, and it was a great game.”
After the USA’s 8-0 run to start the game, Mexico ended the streak with a 3-pointer at 7:33, and made another 3-pointer after four more U.S. points to bring the score to 12-6 at 5:33. The USA closed the quarter on a 10-0 run to lead 22-6 at the first break.
The teams traded baskets to start the second period, and the score was 26-11 at 7:50. From there, however, the USA allowed Mexico just three more points, while it raced to 26 point of its own and led 52-14 at halftime.
At the midway point, all 10 healthy U.S. player had points on the board. Valencia Myers (Solon H.S./Solon, Ohio) did not play due to a sprained left elbow, and Lauryn Miller (Kirkwood H.S./Kirkwood, Mo.) did not play due to illness.
The USA went on to outscore Mexico 19-10 in the third quarter and then held Mexico scoreless in the fourth while it added 10 points to bring the game to its 81-24 final.
“I am happy that I’m going home with a bronze,” Caldwell said. “I wish it was a gold, but we will take what we can get and thank God for this opportunity.
“It has been so awesome,” Caldwell added of her experience. “So much preparation, so much time, so much, blood, sweat and tears went into this, and it’s just awesome being able to come here.”
Over the USA’s five games, Alexis Morris was the team’s leading scorer with 13.6 points per game, and her 81.0 percent shooting from the free throw line (17-21 FTs) set a USA Women’s U16 record. With 7.5 rebounds per game, Myers was the team’s leading rebounder.
The USA women are 19-1 all-time in U16 play and overall have won three gold medals and one bronze medal in the four editions of the event since 2009.
Also today, Venezuela (1-4) edged out Honduras (0-5) 66-64 for seventh place, while Cuba (3-2) topped Argentina (2-3) 68-54 for fifth place.
The USA’s assistant coaches were Dianne Lewis of Thomas Edison High School in Virginia and Samantha Quigley, who is the head coach at the University of St. Francis (NAIA) in Illinois.