USA Basketball E-National Team 4-1 After First Day of Competition
The USA Basketball E-National Team, which averaged 85.0 points to its opponents’ 48.0 points per game, finished the first day of the two-day competition of the 2020 FIBA Esports Open II North and Central American Conference with a 4-1 record and in a good position to advance to the finals.
The USA dropped its first game in the round-robin series to Puerto Rico (3-1), 60-54. The USA bounced back and ran past Honduras (0-4) 137-32, before taking a 67-61 victory over Canada (2-2), a 60-57 overtime win over Dominican Republic (3-1) and a 107-30 victory over Guatemala (2-3) to close the day atop the preliminary round standings.
After day one, the USA sits on top of the conference standings at 4-1, with Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico tied for second at 3-1, Canada is fourth at 2-2, Guatemala is fifth at 2-3, Costa Rica is sixth at 1-3 and Honduras is seventh at 0-4.
“Obviously we didn’t want to drop that first game,” said Kenny Got Work (Kenneth Hailey/Raptors Uprising GC) of the USA’s opening loss. “But things happen, and we did. We adjusted and talked about what we had to do, moved on and went 4-0 after that.”
In addition to Kenny Got Work, the seven-member USA E-National Team includes: ALittleLady87 (Wendi Fleming/BallHerAlert); Crush (Rafel Davis/Kings Guard Gaming); JBM (John Mascone/Wizards District Gaming); OriginalMalik (Malik Hobson/Knicks Gaming); Ramo (Ramo Radoncic/Pistons GT); and Ria (Spencer Wyman/Jazz Gaming).
In the second game, ALittleLady87, the first female to compete in a FIBA Esports Open, opened the contest by scoring the first two points in the USA’s rout of Honduras.
“I’m here as the first woman in the first USA Basketball E-Team and I definitely feel like I’m starting something new here,” she said after the game. “It feels great playing with people who are as passionate as I am. These are the best teammates that I’ve had, and I’m honored to be playing with these guys and representing my country on the first USA Basketball E-National Team. It’s just a great honor.”
The USA’s final game in the opening round is against Costa Rica (1-3) at 4:05 p.m. EST on Sunday afternoon. The top two finishing teams in the conference’s round-robin preliminary round advance to the best-of-three finals, which begin Sunday at 6:40 p.m. EST.
“We’re going to have to take it one possession at a time,” Kenny Got Work said about wrapping up competition on Sunday and the team’s goal of a championship. “We have to keep fighting like we did in the Dominican Republic game when we went to overtime. We were the hungrier team and it showed. We have to stay hungry and we’ll win the championship.”
This tournament marks the second edition of the FIBA Esports Open, the first of which took place in June and included five conferences featuring 114 gamers from 17 national federations. The FIBA Esports Open II field has been expanded to 38 national teams in seven regional conferences.
Each national team consists of up to seven players, five on the court and two reserves. Games are being played remotely on NBA 2K21 using the Pro-AM mode and allowing for customization of gamer avatars and uniforms.
As was the case for the inaugural FIBA Esports Open, this entire series is being produced from the FIBA Esports Studio in Riga, Latvia, with 54 hours of live content being streamed on FIBA's Facebook, Twitch and YouTube channels. Each game is available online with live commentary in English, as well as a daily show featuring up to 12 games.