U.S. Pan Ams Women’s Basketball Team Cruises Past U.S. Virgin Islands 103-55
The U.S. (2-0) had no trouble racing past the U.S. Virgin Islands (0-2) 103-55 on Wednesday evening on the second day of 2019 U.S. Pan American Games women’s basketball action in Lima, Peru.
The victory also advanced the USA to the medal semifinals, but whether as Group B’s No. 1 or No. 2 seed will be determined by the outcome of its final preliminary round game against Colombia (2-0) at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Aug. 8 (available live on ESPN3).
Led by a team-high 16 points from Taylor Mikesell (Maryland/Massillon, Ohio), 11 U.S. players scored, including six in double digits. Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA/Aurora, Colo.) scored 15 points on 7-of-9 from the field and grabbed six rebounds; Beatrice Mompremier (Miami/Miami, Fla.) contributed 12 points and five rebounds; Chennedy Carter (Texas A&M/Mansfield, Texas) added 11 points; and Peyton Williams (Kansas State/Topeka, Kan.) and Brittany Brewer (Texas Tech/Abilene, Texas) chipped in 10 points apiece.
Additionally, the unselfish USA squad passed out 26 assists, led by six from Kiana Williams (Stanford/San Antonio, Texas) and five from Tyasha Harris (South Carolina/Noblesville, Ind.), while also forcing 29 turnovers.
“The biggest thing we look for is for us to continue to improve and get better and build our chemistry,” said USA head coach Suzy Merchant (Michigan State). “I think it says a lot about our team that we shared the ball, and almost everybody scored. And, honestly, Kianna could have scored, she passed up shots to give them other people. I really liked our bench energy. I thought we got really good play off the bench from Taylor Mikesell. She got her shot going. That kid can really help us in situations. Our posts were phenomenal. I think we had 70 points in the paint. So, it was a really good team win.
“Sometimes when you are up like that, it is easy to get complacent, and there were a couple of spots where we did, but for the most part, we did a good job overall.”
The U.S. scored first and never trailed. The islanders tied the score at 2-2 one minute into the game, but the USA, holding a 6-4 edge, went on an 11-0 run to pull ahead 17-4 at the 5:28 mark. And by the end of the first quarter, seven USA athletes had points on the board and the red, white and blue’s lead was 34-10.
Outscoring the U.S. Virgin Islands 21-11 in the second quarter, the USA headed into the locker room with a comfortable 55-21 halftime advantage.
The second half was more of the same as the USA outscored U.S. Virgin Islands 23-13 in the third quarter and eased up in the fourth, 25-21, to close out the victory.
“I think everybody just came out there and worked hard, regardless of the score,” said Mompremier. “We just played as if the score was 0-0 and just kept playing hard.”The USA outrebounded the islanders 35-20, collected 19 steals and scored 30 points off of turnovers. The U.S. dominated the paint -- 70 U.S. points inside compared to 32 points for Virgin Islands, and its reserves outscored the U.S. Virgin Islands bench 53-3.
The USA’s offense shot a red-hot 56.4% (44-78 FGs) from the field, including 33.3% (5-15 3pt FGs).
“I think it was a really good team win,” said Lindsey Pulliam (Northwestern/Silver Spring, Md.), who added seven points. “We needed everybody, and everybody brought something. It was just a good win for us.”
Argentina (0-2) forfeited its contest to Colombia (2-0) in the other Group B game today; while in Group A, Canada (2-0) defeated Paraguay (0-2) 90-64, and Brazil (1-0) squares off against Puerto Rico (1-0) in the final game of the night.
Following the preliminary round, the top two teams from each pool will meet in the semifinals on Aug. 9, while the two No. 5 teams will play for fifth place, and the No. 6 teams will play seventh places.
The bronze (7 p.m.) and gold medal games (10 p.m.) will be played on Aug. 10.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Felisha Legette-Jack (Buffalo) and Vic Schaefer (Mississippi State).