Training Continues in Belarus for U17 Women
After wrapping up an exhibition tournament title in Latvia on the evening of July 16, the USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Cup Team traveled to Minsk, Belarus, on July 17. And, on July 18, the squad finally got the chance to practice at one of the two official game courts for the FIBA U17 World Cup – Falcon Club – in the morning, and then took on Australia in a friendly scrimmage later that night.
The team continued to improve as a unit, and it showed Wednesday night against the defending U17 gold medalists. While both squads were using it as a warm-up, they also played it a bit like poker as neither team gave their opponent too many offensive or defensive sets, each keeping an ace or two up a sleeve for when the tournament begins on July 21.
“It’s great anytime we can get on the court and play against the level of play that Australia has,” said USA and Tufts University head coach Carla Berube. “They have great athletes, they run their sets so well. They’re very good offensively and defensively, they’re tough. So, it was great to get here in Belarus yesterday and be able to play this high-caliber team today.”
Despite each side holding back a bit, the USA earned a 76-54 victory as Haley Jones (Archbishop Mitty H.S./Santa Cruz, Calif.) led the squad with 15 points, and the inside combo of Fran Belibi (Regis Jesuit H.S./Centennial, Colo.) and Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy/St. Thomas, USVI) chipped in 10 points apiece.
The USA continues training July 19 with a scrimmage against 2017 Europe U16 gold medalists France, followed by two additional practices on July 20.
The squad opens U17 World Cup play on July 21 against Italy (8:15 a.m. EDT), the USA will face Mali on July 22 (8:30 a.m. EDT) and China on July 24 (11:50 a.m., EDT). The preliminary games will be streamed live online at on YouTube.com/FIBA.