USA Women Open FIBA U17 World Championship With Record-Setting 104-45 Win Over South Korea
The 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team (1-0) took advantage of its five-inch-average height advantage to overpower South Korea (0-1) 104-45 in its first game of the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship on Wednesday night in Zaragoza, Spain. En route to its overwhelming victory, the Americans set four USA women’s U17 records.
Forward Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary's H.S./Stockton, Calif.), who finished with 12 points, set a U.S. women’s U17 record with 17 rebounds, and as a team, the USA set new marks for rebounds with 85, as well as highs for free throws made (31) and attempted (43). Additionally, Destanni Henderson (Fort Myers H.S./Fort Myers, Fla.), who distributed 10 of the USA’s 22 assists, tied the U.S. assists record.
Post players Charli Collier (Barbers Hill H.S./Mont Belvieu, Texas), who finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds in 13 minutes, and Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Winder-Barrow H.S./Winder, Ga.), who had 21 points and 10 rebounds, led the USA’s high-powered offense, while center Janelle Bailey (Providence Day School/Matthews, N.C.) recorded a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double.
“It’s a nice win for our team, and it will help build our confidence, but we realize not all of the games are going to be like that,” said USA head coach Dori Oldaker (Mt. Lebanon H.S., Pa.). “I think it was really nice to get that game under their belts.”
The USA took a 10-3 lead at 6:33 in the quarter and never looked back. With the American post players combining to score 18 of the USA’s 28 points in the first 10 minutes, the USA led 28-14 at the first break.
“I took open shots, and I don’t think I forced anything,” said Collier. “The guards did a really good job of getting the posts the ball, and we just all played well.”
Eight different U.S. players put points on the board in the second quarter, totaling 23 points for the USA in the period, while its defense allowed South Korea just seven points.
At the midway point, the USA led 51-21, with 31 of those points scored in the paint, and already had a 42-16 rebounding advantage.
“Rebounding is always one of my focuses, but I wasn’t finishing well around the basket, so I was trying to rebound even more,” said DeCosta.
In the third quarter, South Korea scored first, but the USA put together a 22-0 run that began with a score from Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian School/Little Rock, Ark.) at 7:53 and finished with a basket by Nelson-Ododa off of an assist from Abby Prohaska (Lakota West H.S./Liberty Township, Ohio) to take a 75-25 lead at 1:30. South Korea made a 3-pointer at 1:08 to stop the spurt and another 3 with 9.0 seconds remaining in the period to make it 77-31 headed into the fourth quarter.
“I was really trying to make the right plays and the right passes to make sure my teammates were getting good shots,” Henderson said.
In the fourth quarter, the USA outscored South Korea 27-14. The USA broke the 100-point mark at 1:37 when Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe H.S./Ruckersville, Va.) made a free throw.
Overall, South Korea was whistled for 32 personal fouls, with two players, Yesol Lim and Min Jung Kim, fouling out of the game.
“The team did very well,” Brunelle said. “We were in sync. It was much better than when we scrimmaged Australia two days ago. We’ve improved since then, and we are just getting better and better as a team.”
After an off day on June 23, the USA continues Group C play against Czech Republic (0-1) at 8:15 a.m. (all times listed are EDT) on June 24 and a final preliminary round game against Italy (1-0) at 3 p.m. on June 25.
Also today in the USA’s Group C, Czech Republic edged out Italy 59-57; while in Group A, Japan (1-0) beat Latvia (0-1) 77-71, and Canada (1-0) earned a 20-0 forfeit win over Nigeria (0-1), who did not travel to Spain to compete; while in Group B, China (1-0) topped France (0-1) 56-44; and in Group D Spain (1-0) beat Portugal (0-1) 59-51 and Mali (1-0) won against Brazil (0-1) 77-70.
The round of 16 will be held on June 27, and those winners will advance to the medal quarterfinals on June 29. Round of 16 losers will play out for ninth through 16th place.
The semifinals are on July 1, and the finals are on July 2.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Dianne Lewis (Thomas Edison H.S., Va.) and Samantha Quigley (University of St. Francis, Ill.).
All games during the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship are available live online at youtube.com/user/FIBAWorld.