USA U17 Women Shatter China 107-50 to Close Preliminary Round Play Unbeaten
The 2018 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Cup Team (3-0) parlayed a 14-0 opening run to a 57-22 halftime lead and cruised home for a 107-50 throttling of China (1-2) to close preliminary round play at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup on July 24 in Minsk, Belarus. With the victory, the USA squad improved to 3-0 and claimed Group B’s number one seed for Wednesday’s round of 16.
Featuring five players in double-digit scoring, the Americans dished out 26 assists, held China to an icy 29.0 percent shooting from the floor and converted 20 turnovers into 32 points.
Jordan Horston (Columbus Africentric Early College/Columbus, Ohio) led the U.S. scoring parade with 18 points to go with six rebounds, eight assists and five steals; Zia Cooke(Rogers H.S./Toledo, Ohio) added 15 points; Celeste Taylor (Long Island Lutheran H.S./Valley Stream, N.Y.) and Haley Jones (Archbishop Mitty H.S./Santa Cruz, Calif.) each tossed in 14 points; while Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy/St. Thomas, USVI) contributed 10 points.
Led by Cameron Brink’s (Southridge H.S./Beaverton, Ore.) 11 rebounds and eight more boards from Boston, the USA dominated the glass 75-35.
All 16 teams competing in the tournament were seeded and advance to the round of 16 where the USA, the No. 1 team out of Group B, will face Colombia (0-3), which finished fourth in Group A, on July 25 (1 p.m. EDT). The game will be available to watch live online at Facebook.com/USABasketball and YouTube.com/FIBAWorld.
“I was really pleased with the way we played tonight,” said Carla Berube, USA U17 and Tufts University head coach. “I loved how we started the game, and how we came out after halftime as well. We’re really doing a great job on the defensive end, and then getting out and making plays on the break. It’s fun watching them making plays for each other. When we needed to execute, we did a good job with that. We really crashed the boards hard. We had 30 offensive rebounds. Getting those second-chance opportunities are really big. When you’re not shooting the ball really well, those second-chance opportunities are always better shots underneath.”
Sprinting to a 14-0 lead before allowing China to put any points on the scoreboard, the Americas were in control from the start and after the game’s first 10 minutes owned a 33-12 lead. Further, the USA passed off for 10 of its 24 assists in the first quarter, five of which came in the first four minutes of the contest.
“This team is so deep,” said Horston. “The bench is, all 12 of us, everybody’s in. Everybody’s on the same page, and it’s just a great team. We all are committed to get the stop.”
“It was really fun,” added Jones. “We started off the game with great energy and it carried through the game. There wasn’t a drop when we started subbing. Everybody just kept it up. We were sharing ball really well, which is always fun. And we made a lot of defensive deflections and steals, which always keeps the energy up.”
The U.S. was fully in charge by halftime possessing a 57-22 advantage, and went on to outscore China 26-16 in the third quarter and 24-12 in the final period.
The USA dropped 74 points from inside the paint, outscored China 28-8 on second chance points, 21-7 points on the fast break and 52-27 off the bench.
Through three games the USA has averaged 95.0 points a game, yet Jones is the team’s leading scorer at 12.0 ppg. and Azzi Fudd (St. John’s College H.S., D.C./Arlington, Va.), at 10.7 ppg., is the only other USA athlete in double digits. The next seven on the well-balanced American squad average between 7.0 ppg. and 9.7 ppg.
“Everyone with their hometown teams is like ‘the player,’” said Brink of her team’s depth. “They need to take charge of games, but no one has to put the team on their back here. We can all rely on each other. It’s a really reassuring environment to play in.”
Italy (2-1) finished second in Group B after earning a 74-63 victory over Mali (0-3). Group A saw France (3-0) earn the top spot with a 64-34 defeat of Belarus (1-2), and Japan (2-1) downed Colombia 72-52 for the No. 2 seed. In Group C, Hungary (3-0) came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to edge Spain (1-2) 57-56, and Argentina (2-1) came out on top of its clash against New Zealand (0-3) 60-52; while Group D saw Australia (3-0) remain undefeated with a 64-48 triumph over Canada (2-1), and Latvia (1-2) picked up its first win after taking down Angola (0-3) 68-47.
Winners of the round of 16 will compete in the July 27 quarterfinals. Medal semifinals will be held July 28, and the gold medal will be contested July 29.
Berube is being assisted by Lubbock Christian University head coach Steve Gomez and Winward School (Calif.) head coach Vanessa Nygaard.
FIBA U17 World Cup for Women
The FIBA U17 World Cup for Women, which is held every two years, originated in 2010. The USA captured the 2010 FIBA U17 World Cup gold medal. Also claiming gold in 2012 and 2014, the USA's winning streak at the FIBA U17s was halted in 2016 by eventual gold medalist Australia in the semifinal game. The USA, however, rebounded to claim bronze with a 6-1 record. Including its three victories in Minsk, the USA is now 32-1 all-time in the five editions of the event.
Some of the players who have competed for USA Women’s U17 National Teams include: Lindsay Allen (2012), Diamond DeShields (2012), Rebecca Greenwell (2012), Joyner Holmes (2014), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (2010), Ariel Massengale (2010), Olivia Nelson-Ododa (2016), Mercedes Russell (2012), Katie Lou Samuelson (2016), Breanna Stewart (2010), Christyn Williams (2016) and Elizabeth Williams (2010).