USA Women Cruise Past Venezuela 102-53 at FIBA AmeriCup
Making 14-of-15 free throws, the USA set a U.S. women’s AmeriCup team single-game record at 93.3% from the line, as Sedona Prince (Oregon/Liberty Hill, Texas) led the USA with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Rhyne Howard (Kentucky/Cleveland, Tenn.) finished with 17 points and shot 5-of-9 from 3-point to set a U.S. women’s AmeriCup record for 3-point attempts while tying the record for makes. Aliyah Boston (South Carolina/St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.) tied the U.S. event record for field goal percentage at 6-of-6 from the field on her way to 15 points and six rebounds. She also was 3-of-3 from the line and matched the record she set the previous night with three blocked shots. Elissa Cunane (NC State/Summerfield, N.C.) also scored in double-digits with 11 points and nine rebounds.
“I'm hoping that we're able to use our depth throughout this entire tournament, because that is the thing that separates us from every other team in this competition,” said Dawn Staley (South Carolina), USA AmeriCup and National Team head coach.
“Defense is something that is a separator, and I think that (second) group is doing a great job of holding serve and getting out into the passing lanes and giving us a little bit of something different that we don't have in the starting lineup.”
The USA led 23-7 in the first quarter, but Venezuela closed on an 11-0 run to cut it to 23-18 after the first quarter.
The USA responded to start the second period, launching a 19-3 run that brought the score to 42-21 at 5:32 when Howard sank her fourth-straight and fifth 3-pointer for the game. The contest was all USA from there.
The USA led 56-29 at the midway point and went on to outscore Venezuela 25-16 in the third quarter and 21-8 in the fourth period to earn the 102-53 win.
“We played really well, Prince said. “We came out in the first half and had some problems with knocking down our shots, but after a while we got into our flow and decided to lock down on defense. I thought we played as a team and had a lot of assists, which is what we wanted to focus on today, so it was a really good effort.”
Veronica Burton (Northwestern/Newton, Mass.) dished out six assists, Destanni Henderson (South Carolina/Fort Meyers, Fla.) had five and Grace Berger (Indiana/Louisville, Ky.), Howard and Haley Jones (Stanford/Santa Cruz, Calif.) each had four assists to help the USA tally 34 assists overall.
“We were really just focused on ourselves coming into the game and getting better for this weekend, getting better for Saturday,” Berger said. “That's our ultimate goal, is to be our best on Saturday in the championship game. So, we just did the little things. We shared the ball, everybody got involved and did their role, so it was a good night.”
Diamond Miller (Maryland/Somerset, N.J.) did not play due to a left ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day.
The USA next is scheduled to play Argentina (1-1) at 9:10 p.m. EDT on June 15 (all games will be available on ESPN+) to wrap up the preliminary round, however, Argentina’s status is to be determined after inconclusive test results prevented the squad from suiting up in its June 13th game.
Also today, Canada (3-0) beat El Salvador (0-3) 98-41, and Brazil (3-1) topped the U.S. Virgin Islands (0-3) 77-56.
The top four teams from each preliminary pool of five teams will advance to the quarterfinals, which will be played on June 17. The semifinals are on June 18, and the bronze and gold-medal games will be played on June 19.
The top four finishing teams at the AmeriCup will advance to compete in one of four 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments, in hopes of earning one of the 12 spots in the 2022 FIBA World Cup.
Jennifer Rizzotti (Connecticut Sun president) assistant coach for the USA AmeriCup and Women’s National Teams, and University of Arizona head coach Adia Barnes completes the USA AmeriCup staff.