USA U16 Women Race Past El Salvador for 114-19 Victory
Taking control of the game from the very start, the 2019 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team (1-0) earned an impressive 114-19 victory against El Salvador (0-2) in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship on June 17 at Polideportivo arena in Puerto Aysen, Chile.
Led by 21 points from Londynn Jones (Santiago H.S./Riverside, Calif.), seven assists from Olivia Miles (Blair Academy/Phillipsburg, N.J.) and 13 rebounds apiece from Janiah Barker (Tampa Bay Tech H.S., Fla./Marietta, Ga.) and Lauren Betts (Grandview H.S./Centennial, Colo.), who added 12 points, the USA took advantage of its 5-inch average height advantage and outrebounded El Salvador 64-23.
“We just have a really unselfish team,” said USA head coach Mark Campbell (Union University). “I think Olivia took two shots tonight, and every time she had the ball in her hands our team is better. So, if people are content doing the things they do great and not trying to get outside of that, then you are talking about team basketball.
“I think in the second half we had 14 assists to 17 baskets made, and that’s what we talked about at halftime, and I think we only had five turnovers. We handled the second half well by slowing things down and being able to set up our offense in the half court and show some discipline. I thought they did a really good job of that.”
The USA also tallied 70 of its points in the paint, dished out 23 assists and forced 30 turnovers, which it converted to 41 points.
“Just from the start, we played super strong,” Betts said. “We did a good job of playing together as a team, not playing one-on-one and working together.
“It was awesome. We just transferred all of our hype from yesterday, when we couldn’t play, to today. We were just so excited. Being out of the country is amazing, and I think it is awesome playing with all of these amazing girls.”
The USA’s first game was expected to be on June 16 against Mexico, but that matchup was rescheduled for 6 p.m. EDT on June 19 due to travel issues for Mexico.
Rounding out the double-digit scorers against El Salvador were Sonia Citron (The Ursuline School/Scarsdale, N.Y.) with 17 points and five steals, Payton Verhulst (Bishop Meige H.S./De Soto, Kan.) with 15 points and Kiki Rice (Sidwell Friends School, D.C./Bethesda, Md.) with 14 points.
“We played really well, especially from the start,” Miles said. “That is something that we are working on, really having that energy from the first play on and that leading into the rest of the game. We really just came out well, and that translated to the rest of the game.”
Owning a 34-5 lead at the end of the first period, the USA outscored El Salvador 23-4 in the second, 33-9 in the third and 24-1 in the fourth for the eventual 114-19 final.
El Salvador, which notched its first field goal with 1:25 to play in the first period, finished the game shooting 14.6% (7-48 FGs) from the field.
Following the preliminary round, all eight teams advance to the quarterfinals on June 20. 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.
The top four finishing teams at the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship 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.).
The USA is 25-1 all-time in women’s U16 competition and has captured four gold medals and one bronze medal in the five editions of the event.