USA U16 Women Close Preliminary Play with 98-33 Win Over Mexico
The 2019 USA Basketball Women's U16 National Team upped its record to 3-0 with a 98-33 victory over Mexico (1-2) on Wednesday evening in Puerto Aysen, Chile.
With the undefeated preliminary mark, the USA finished as the No. 1 seed out of Group A and will play Brazil (1-2), the No. 4 seed from Group B, in the quarterfinals at 3:30 p.m. EDT on June 20. All games will stream live online at YouTube.com/FIBA and Facebook.com/USABasketball.
The USA broke the game open with a 14-0 run in the first quarter, and the U.S. lead was not threatened for the remainder of the night.
“I was happy that we applied some things defensively, and we were in a lot better position defensively,” said USA head coach Mark Campbell (Union University). “We didn’t shoot as well from 3 tonight, so obviously that’s a different feeling, but I thought Olivia had her best game tonight. I thought Amari had her best game tonight, and I thought we made some extra passes.
“We have several things we’ve got to get better at coming into tomorrow. We are going to play a Brazil team that is a lot different than the teams we have played so far.”
Payton Verhulst (Bishop Meige H.S./De Soto, Kan.) was the high scorer with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, Lauren Betts (Grandview H.S./Centennial, Colo.) led in rebounding with 14 boards and to go with eight points and Olivia Miles (Blair Academy/Phillipsburg, N.J.) dished out a game-best nine assists and added six points.
Also scoring in double digits were Londynn Jones (Santiago H.S./Riverside, Calif.), who tallied 13, KK Bransford (Mount Notre Dame H.S./Cincinnati, Ohio) and Amari DeBerry (Williamsville South H.S./Buffalo, N.Y.), who each scored 12 points, and Sonia Citron (The Ursuline School/Scarsdale, N.Y.), who chipped in 10 points.
“The team played really well,” DeBerry said. “It was one of our better games. We really played together and hustled really hard. We worked for every board and on every possession that we had.”
The USA scored seven seconds into the game and never trailed. However, Mexico knotted the score at 7-7 early in the first quarter. That was as close as the opponent would get as the red, white and blue went on a 14-0 run to push ahead 21-7 at 2:37. After another Mexico bucket, the USA closed the quarter on a 7-2 spurt for a 28-11 lead.
Early in the second quarter, with the score showing 35-14, the U.S. took off on a 14-1 run to put the game out of reach, 49-15. By the midway point the USA's lead ballooned to 54-17.
Outscoring Mexico 17-11 in the third period, the USA then won the fourth quarter 27-5.
The USA outrebounded Mexico 47-35 and earned 40 points off of 32 Mexico turnovers. Additionally, the USA got 51 points off of the bench, scored 68 points in the paint and recorded 48 fast break points.
“When we have scouting reports, we have very specific details, and tonight we did a really good job of executing the specifics and the little things that matter, like having one foot in the passing lane,” said Saylor Poffenbarger (Middletown H.S./Middletown, Md.). “We pushed the ball and posted up, and our posts were really physical. Our guards were ready to pass, and we played really unselfish basketball.”
All eight teams advanced to the quarterfinals. Also-unbeaten Canada (3-0) will face El Salvador (0-3), Puerto Rico (1-2) will square off against Mexico (1-2) and Ecuador (1-2) will match up against host Chile (2-1).
The quarterfinal winners will advance to the medal semifinals that will be played on June 21, and the finals will be played on June 22.
The quarterfinal losers will play out through fifth through eighth places in the classification semifinals and finals on June 21 and 22, respectively.
“We have been playing for this for so long,” said Janiah Barker (Tampa Bay Tech H.S., Fla./Marietta, Ga.) of the USA’s quarterfinal game. “It has been a journey to get to this place. So, we are trying our hardest to win.”
The top four finishing teams at the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship - the four winners of tomorrow's quarterfinal games, qualify for the 2020 FIBA U17 World Cup that will be played in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Kelly Carruthers (James Bowie H.S., Texas) and Ruth Sinn (University of St. Thomas, Minn.).