USA U16 Women Rout Host Mexico 85-44, Secure No. 1 Seed Into Semifinals
The 2015 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team (3-0) secured a No. 1 seed into the semifinals of the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship with an impressive 85-44 win over host Mexico (2-1) that saw the USA win the rebounding battle 70-23, score 50 points in the paint and limit its opponent to just 25.9 percent shooting from the field on Friday night in Puebla, Mexico.
The USA will play the No. 2 seed from Group B, Brazil (2-1), at 7 p.m. (EDT) on June 27. In the other semifinal, Mexico will meet also-undefeated Canada (3-0).
The semifinal winners will play for a gold medal at 9 p.m. (EDT) on June 28, while the losers will battle for the bronze medal at 7 p.m. (EDT). All of the games are being streamed live online at FIBAAmericas.com.
“We knew it was going to be a tough environment tonight,” said USA head coach Dori Oldaker (Mt. Lebanon H.S., Pa.). “What a fun environment. You have to be proud of the Mexican fans for the energy they brought, but I’m also proud of how we fought through that and played through that adversity.
“I thought we played disciplined. At times we had some mental lapses, but I thought overall, we played four good quarters.”
Destiny Littleton (The Bishop’s School/San Diego, Calif.) led for U.S. players in double-figure scoring with 17 points and seven rebounds; while Alexis Morris (Legacy Christian Academy/Beaumont, Texas) added 15 points and four assists; Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary’s H.S./Stockton, Calif.) finished with a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds; and Valencia Myers (Solon H.S./Solon, Ohio) scored 10 points. Additionally, Sedona Prince (Faith Academy/Liberty Hill, Texas) collected a game-high 14 rebounds.
“The crowd hyped us up,” Littleton said. “Our team as a whole did good with the crowd, sticking together and not getting frustrated when it became loud. We made sure everyone was on the same page, first and foremost.”
Mexico led 5-2 in the first few minutes of the game, but a three-point play from Morris, who scored seven of her points in the first 10 minutes, kicked off a 9-0 run that helped the USA lead 16-10 at the first break.
After a score from each team to start the second quarter, the USA compiled another streak, this time a 10-0 spurt to lead 28-12 at 5:08 when Jayda Adams (Mater Dei H.S./Santa Ana, Calif.) stole the ball and scored. From there, Mexico outscored the USA 7-5 to trail 33-19 at halftime.
That 14-point lead grew right from the start of the the third quarter, which saw the USA tally 32 points to Mexico’s 13 points, and the teams headed into the final 10 minutes with the U.S. advantage at 33 points, 65-32.
I think as a team, we came together and blocked out the crowd and just played together,” Myers said. “The atmosphere was really crazy, and you couldn’t hear, but we just knew each other and how to run our plays to succeed.”
The USA outscored Mexico 20-12 in the final 10 minutes to earn the 85-44 victory.
“We managed to step up and fight against the crowd,” said Lauryn Miller (Kirkwood H.S./Kirkwood, Mo.), who was 6-of-8 from the free throw line. “Mexico was very aggressive the entire time, but we managed to rebound and fight through it all.”
Maria Ruiz Leyva led Mexico with 13 points.
Also today, in the USA’s Group A, Argentina (1-2) won against Honduras (0-3) 62-52; while in Group B, Cuba (1-2) edged out Venezuela (0-3) 73-71, and Canada beat Brazil 64-50.
In the fifth-through-eighth place classification games on June 27, Argentina will play Venezuela and Cuba will meet Honduras. The classification winners will play for fifth place and the losers will play for seventh place on June 28.
“I’m excited,” said USA forward Jade Williams (Prestonwood Christian Academy/The Colony, Texas) of the USA’s semifinal matchup against Brazil. “I feel like it is going to be a good competition, and I think we are ready for them. It is going to be a good game.
The USA’s assistant coaches are 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.
The USA is 18-0 all-time in U16 play and is looking to capture a fourth-straight gold medal at the event.