USA U18 Women Cruise Past Venezuela 110-52 And Into Semifinals
Leading from start to finish, the 2016 USA Women’s U18 National Team (3-0) wrapped up preliminary round play with a convincing 110-52 win over Venezuela (1-2) in the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship on Friday afternoon in Valdivia, Chile.
As Group A’s No. 1 seed, the USA advances to the medal semifinals on July 16 (time TBD), where it will meet the loser of tonight’s 6 p.m. (EDT) game between Canada (2-0) and Puerto Rico (2-0).
Along with the USA, the three other semifinal teams earn a berth into the 2017 FIBA U17 World Championship (site and dates still to be announced).
The USA drained six 3-pointers in the first quarter alone to help it compile a 36-17 lead in the first 10 minutes. Four of those 3s came from Amber Ramirez (Karen Wagner H.S./San Antonio, Texas), who finished 5-of-11 from 3-point and with 18 points and six assists.
“When you play games, it’s all about matchups, and with Venezuela being in the zone, Amber Ramirez really got us off to a great start,” said USA head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio (Pittsburgh). “She shot the ball well from 3 and was able to stretch the defense. We got great contributions off of the bench. I thought Jeannie Boehm was tremendous. She ran the floor hard. She cleaned up around the basket and really made things happen. Lauren Cox, it was great to have her back for her second game. Early on, she ran the floor hard and we were able to establish her inside. Our posts did a great deal of our scoring with the size advantage that we had.
“When you have five players in double-figures, it’s a great day, and it’s not even all our starters. We got great contributions from starters and players off of the bench.”
In the second quarter, the USA found its groove in the interior, scoring 16 of its 20 points in the paint, while allowing Venezuela just 14 points and increasing its lead to 56-31 at halftime.
“I thought we played awesome,” said Jeannie Boehm (New Trier H.S./Winnetka, Ill.), who finished with a game-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds. “We did a better job of coming out with energy and got a great win.”
The USA held Venezuela scoreless for the first 6:34 of the third quarter, while it tallied 15 points to lead 71-31 before Venezuela ended its drought. From there, Venezuela scored nine points to the USA’s eight, and the USA led 79-40 headed into the fourth quarter.
The USA outscored Venezuela 31-12 in the fourth quarter to secure the 110-52 win. The USA’s 100th point was scored by Evina Westbrook (South Salem H.S./Salem, Ore.) with 3:04 left in the game.
“We came out with intensity, and we played well,” Westbrook said. “As a team, we have so much talent that any combination the coaches put in, we work hard every time. We played great team basketball today.”
Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas) added 14 points, 10 rebounds and tied the U.S. women’s U18 record with five blocked shots; Sidney Cooks (Saint Joseph Catholic Academy/Kenosha, Wis.) had 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists; Dana Evans (West Side Leadership Academy/Gary, Ind.) contributed 14 points and five assists; and Tyasha Harris (Heritage Christian/Noblesville, Ind.) also recorded six assists.
The USA outrebounded Venezuela 65-31, got 55 points from the bench, had 35 points from turnovers and 41 points on the fast-break.
Also today in the USA’s Group A, Brazil (1-1) plays Guatemala (0-2) at 3:45 p.m. (EDT). In addition to the Canada – Puerto Rico matchup, Group B will see Mexico (0-2) take on Chile (0-2) at 8:15 p.m. (EDT) in a game that will determine the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds.
The top two finishing teams from each preliminary round group advance to the medal semifinals on July 16, while the third and fourth placed teams will play out for fifth through eighth place. The medal semifinal winners advance to the gold medal game at 8:15 p.m. (EDT) on July 16, while the loser will meet in the bronze medal game at 6 p.m. (EDT).
The USA’s assistant coaches are Kamie Ethridge (Northern Colorado) and Charlotte Smith (Elon).