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Grace Berger

USA Women Down U.S. Virgin Islands 97-46 to Advance to Semifinals at FIBA AmeriCup

  • Date:
    Jun 17, 2021

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The USA (4-0) easily defeated U.S. Virgin Islands (1-5) 97-46 on Thursday afternoon in the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup quarterfinals at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The win advanced the USA to the semifinals, and guaranteed of a top-four finish, the USA also clinched a berth into one of the 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments.

In the semifinals on June 18 (game time still to be determined), the USA will meet the winner of today’s 6:10 p.m. EDT game between Brazil (3-1) and Venezuela (1-2). All games are available live on ESPN+.

Against U.S. Virgin Islands, the USA jumped out to a 24-10 first quarter lead, and its advantage only increased from there. The USA finished the game with a 58-35 rebounding advantage and held U.S. Virgin Islands to 24.7% shooting from the field (18-73 FGs).

“We wanted to play fast,” said Dawn Staley (South Carolina), USA AmeriCup and National Team head coach. “I thought the U.S. Virgin Islands team did a great job. They pressured us, slowing us down by jamming the rebounder. I thought we didn't adjust until probably a little bit later in the third quarter, where we just picked up our speed. We changed the speed of the game. We moved up and down the floor quickly. We got some easy buckets. We created an opportunity to get our bigs involved, and they converted for us.”

Naz Hillmon (Michigan/Cleveland, Ohio) shot 7-of-8 from the free throw line and led the USA with 17 points and six rebounds. Elissa Cunane (NC State/Summerfield, N.C.) added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Grace Berger (Indiana/Louisville, Ky.) also finished with 13 points to go with five boards and three assists. Aliyah Boston (South Carolina/St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.), who was playing against her older sister, Alexis Boston, rounded out the USA’s double-digit scorers with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Destanni Henderson (South Carolina/Fort Meyers, Fla.) dished out eight assists to go with her seven points, and as a team the USA tied the U.S. women’s AmeriCup record for free throw attempts, shooting 26-of-34 from the line (.765).

“There are some points of emphasis going into the next game that we could fix,” Hillmon said. “Throughout the tournament coach has been telling us that we are trying every day to get a little bit better, and today I felt like we were better than our last game.”

With the USA leading 24-10 after the first quarter, the islanders scored 15 points in the second to record its highest-scoring stanza, while the USA added 22 points to lead 46-25 at halftime.

Ahead 60-37 at 3:40 in the third period, the USA closed on an 11-0 run to go ahead 71-37 with 10 minutes remaining.

The USA limited U.S. Virgin Islands to nine points in the fourth quarter, while recording its highest scoring period with 26 points to secure the 97-46 win.

Diamond Miller (Maryland/Somerset, N.J.) did not play due to a left ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day.

“We know the competition is just going to keep getting harder and harder,” said Veronica Burton (Northwestern/Newton, Mass.). “We know we're a young team. We're an inexperienced team, but we're just going to follow the game plan that the coaches give us and try to just keep building on today's game.”

Today’s other quarterfinals will see Canada (4-0) take on Dominican Republic (0-3) at 3:10 p.m. (all times listed are EDT), and Puerto Rico (2-1) against Colombia (2-2).

The bronze and gold-medal games will be played on June 19.

Jennifer Rizzotti (Connecticut Sun president) assistant coach for the USA AmeriCup and Women’s National Teams, and University of Arizona head coach Adia Barnes complete the USA AmeriCup staff.

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