USA Women’s U16 National Team Presses Past Mexico 100-37
After a one point lead in the first quarter, the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team (2-0) relied on a full-court press to pull away from Mexico (1-1) in the second quarter and earn a 100-37 win on Thursday evening in the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship at CENARD in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“We weren’t getting a lot of things going on either end of the floor – not getting the stops we wanted to. We were getting good shots and good looks at the rim and offensive rebounds, but they just weren’t falling,” said USA head coach Carla Berube (Tufts University). “So, we decided to pick up full court and change the tempo of the game and see if we can generate some offense. And, the team did a really good job of getting into the passing lanes, deflecting balls, and then converted those to scores. We haven’t worked on our press, it was just them playing and taking it to that level.”
The win was the first 100-point game by a USA U16 women’s team since 2013, when they defeated Mexico 101-29 on June 22, 2013.
Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./Eden Prairie, Minn.) set a USA women’s U16 single-game record for field goal percentage, shooting 7-of-7 on her way to 15 points.
“A lot of it was my teammates pushing the ball, a lot of fastbreak points and the offense the coaches gave us,” Bueckers said.
Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe H.S./Ruckersville, Va.) had an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double; Fran Belibi (Regis Jesuit H.S./Centennial, Colo.) tallied 12 points and seven rebounds; and Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy/Worcester, Mass.) grabbed 10 rebounds. As a team, the USA dished out 23 assists, while committing just 12 turnovers.
“It felt so good for us to all work together,” said guard Zia Cooke (Rogers H.S./Toledo, Ohio), who scored 11 points and dished out four assists. “We all played good defense together, and that lead to easy baskets on the other end.”
After five lead changes and two tied scores in the first period, the USA led 14-13.
The tide turned in the second quarter, however, when the U.S. defense and its full-court pressure, forced eight turnovers, which led to 11 points, and the USA began to pull away. Fueled by a 12-0 run from 8:15 to 5:33, the USA led 47-27 heading into the halftime locker room.
“We came out with a lot of energy in the second quarter” said Jordan Horston (Columbus Africentric Early College/Columbus, Ohio), who had four assists. “We played tough defense and cheered each other on.”
The USA continued to frustrate Mexico in the second half, giving up just four points in the third quarter and six in the fourth, while recording 26 and 27 points, respectively.
The USA also benefitted from a total of 41 points off of Mexico’s 31 turnovers, a 60-30 rebounding advantage, 31 fastbreak points and 55 points off of the bench.
“I think we played really well,” Belibi said. “It’s always good when you can keep a team under 40 and score 100 points. We played as a team and moved the ball around. We played good team defense.”
The USA will continue play against Puerto Rico (0-2) at 5:15 p.m. (all times listed are EDT) on June 9. Watch all of the USA’s games live on YouTube.com/FIBA.
Also, today in the USA’s Group B, Colombia (1-1) beat Puerto Rico 68-52. In Group A, Canada (2-0) easily downed Dominican Republic (0-2) 89-48, while host Argentina (1-0) will take on Venezuela (0-1) at 7:30 p.m.
Following the preliminary round, all of the teams will be seed in first through fourth places in their respective groups. Group A’s No. 1 seed will face the No. 2 seed from Group B, and Group B’s No. 1 seed will play the No. 2 seed from Group A in the medal semifinals. The third and fourth placed teams in each group will compete for fifth through eighth places in the classification semifinals.
The semifinals will be played on June 10, and the finals will be contested on June 11.
Steve Gomez (Lubbock Christian University) and Vanessa Nygaard (Windward School, Calif.) complete the USA staff as assistant coaches.