4-0 Record Advances USA Women To FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup Quarterfinals
With a pair of wins over Switzerland (2-2) 19-11 and Australia (2-2) 20-11 on July 1, the USA Women’s 3x3 U18 World Cup Team advanced to the quarterfinal knockout round of the 2017 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup in Chengdu, China.
As Group A’s No. 1 seed, the USA will play two-time defending 3x3 U18 world champion France (3-1), the No. 2 seed from Group D, in the quarterfinals on July 2 at 1:45 a.m. EDT. If the USA were to advance, the semifinal matchup is set for 5:15 a.m. EDT against the winner of Russia (3-1) versus Germany (2-2) in the top half of the bracket. The bronze medal game is scheduled to be played at 7 a.m. EDT with the gold medal game at 8 a.m. EDT. The other quarterfinal matchups feature Czech Republic (4-0) versus China (3-1) and Spain (4-0) versus Hungary (2-2).
Watch the action live at YouTube.com/3x3planet.
“This was very important,” said Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian School/Little Rock, Ark.). “It was important to us to get that No. 1 seed, because we think it puts us in a great position to go and win gold. But, we’re going to have to come out as focused as ever. They [France] are big and strong, so we will have to play strong, too. It should be a good game.
“We’re going to have to do a little bit of everything. On Thursday, we were going into the post. Today, we were blowing by as guards. The style and the players are only going to get better now, so it’s important that we put it all together and do a bit of everything in terms of scoring and defense.”
The USA wasted little time in jumping out in front against Switzerland with four quick points at the rim. The Swiss tied the game at 5-5 with 7:15 to play before a Williams step-back jumper and an Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary’s H.S./Sacramento, Calif.) layup built some separation. Janelle Bailey (Providence Day School/Matthews, N.C.) controlled the paint, scoring the next five points for the USA to push the lead to 13-8 with 2:52 remaining. Bailey finished as the USA’s leading scorer with nine points, after she added two more with less than 30 seconds to play, while Williams recorded six points and DeCosta totaled four.
Against Australia, the USA showcased its perimeter play, scoring 14 points on jumpers alone. Destiny Littleton (The Bishop’s School/San Diego, Calif.). kicked the scoring off with a 2-pointer from the left corner to give the USA a 3-2 lead at the 8:45 mark. Both sides traded baskets until a Williams jumper levelled the score, 7-7, with 5:32 remaining. Two DeCosta buckets followed by another Littleton 2-pointer put the USA up 11-9, and the USA never relinquished the lead, holding Australia scoreless for the final 2:40 of the game. The USA’s perimeter play combined for the team’s final 15 points, led by DeCosta’s seven points, while Littleton and Williams dropped in six points apiece.
“They were very physical,” said Williams of Australia’s play. “They were much bigger than the teams we played on Thursday, so it was easier for us guards to blow by. We knew who Australia was going to go to and we tried to shut her down.”
Medals were also available in three skills contests, including a shoot-out contest for men and women, a skills contest for women and a dunk contest for men. DeCosta, who had the second-fastest qualifying time of 27.72 seconds in the skills contest, dropped her semifinal matchup on Saturday, but bounced back to win the bronze medal. DeCosta became the first USA woman to medal in a 3x3 skills contest since the inception of the contests in 2011.
Littleton connected on five-of-10 shots in the shoot-out qualification round, but did not qualify for the event’s semifinals.
Now an annual event, the first FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup was held in 2011.
With four wins in the 2017 3x3 U18 competition, USA 3x3 Women’s World Cup Teams have now compiled a 39-7 overall record, with two gold medals (2012, 2013) and two-consecutive silver medals (2015, 2016).