USA U18 Women Cruise Past El Salvador 87-27 and Into Semifinals
Capitalizing on its 6-inch average height advantage over El Salvador (0-4), the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team (4-0) held its opponent to just 14.3 percent shooting from the field in an 87-27 win in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship quarterfinals on Aug. 5 at Juan de la Barrera gym in Mexico City.
The win advanced the USA in to the Aug. 6 semifinals, where it will meet and Colombia (3-1). The USA’s semifinal contest will be available to watch live at Facebook.com/USABasketball.
The USA also compiled a 58-25 rebounding advantage, shot 56.1 percent from the field and featured three players in double-digit scoring. Additionally, Maori Davenport (Charles Henderson H.S./Troy, Ala.), who shot a perfect 4-of-4 from the field on her way to nine points, set a USA women’s U18 single-game record with six blocked shots.
“I thought we played well,” said USA head coach Jeff Walz (Louisville). “They really tried to do what we asked them to do as a staff. We were more patient offensively and tried to run through some things and work on our execution. So, it was a good performance.
“We played very well defensively in the second half. When you get leads to that amount, sometimes you can get sloppy, trying to come up with steals and trying to score, but I thought they a great job of focusing and staying disciplined.”
Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Connecticut/Winder, Ga.) finished with 14 points and eight rebounds; Nazahrah Hillmon-Baker (Michigan/Cleveland, Ohio); contributed 13 points and seven rebounds; and Ashley Joens (Iowa State/Iowa City, Iowa) added 12 points.
“We came together as a team and executed, so we made a lot of improvements,” Joens said. “We wanted to play defense and get a bunch of stops, execute our offense and get open looks for other people.”
The USA totaled 25 assists on 32 made baskets and Aijha Blackwell (Whitfield School/Berkeley, Mo.) and Rhyne Howard (Kentucky/Cleveland, Tenn.) each dished out four assists.
The USA was in control throughout the contest and led 24-6 after the first 10 minutes.
El Salvador’s best quarter came in the second, when the USA gave up 13 points while scoring 27, and the USA led 51-19 at halftime.
In the second half, the USA slowed its pace and focused on defense and execution, and in the third quarter the USA gave up just two points and led 68-21 headed into the final 10 minutes.
The fourth period saw the USA outscore El Salvador 19-6 to secure the 87-27 win.
“We played well,” Davenport said. “We just need to start off a little bit better with our energy. But, we are getting better and better every game.”
Sedona Prince (Texas/Liberty Hill, Texas) was injured in the USA’s game against Puerto Rico on Aug. 3 and will not be able to play for the remainder of the tournament.
Today’s other quarterfinals featured Canada (4-0) topping Chile (0-4) 98-52 and Colombia beating Puerto Rico (1-3) 85-58, while Argentina (2-1) will play Mexico (1-2) at 9:30 p.m. EDT.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Natasha Adair (Delaware) and Cori Close (UCLA).