USA 3x3 U18 Women Finish Pool Play 3-1, Secure No. 1 Seed Heading Into Saturday’s Quarterfinals
The USA women (3-1) first defeated Mongolia (0-4) 21-8 before falling to Russia (3-1) 20-17 in its final preliminary round game at the 2021 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup on Thursday in Debrecen, Hungary.
With a three-way tie atop the Pool B standings between the USA, Russia and Belarus (3-1), the USA’s 78 total points were enough to claim the group’s No.1 seed into the quarterfinals. Russia scored just enough points against the USA to secure the No. 2 seed from Pool B, and Belarus ended its participation in the tournament. Only the top two finished teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals.
“We played hard,” said Ayana Patterson (Homestead H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind.). “We came in, and in the first game we stayed together and we played as a team. In the second game, we didn’t get the outcome that we wanted, but we are still on the pathway to our goal.”
In the quarterfinals on Aug. 28, the USA is set to take on Estonia (1-1), the No. 2 seed from Group D. All games are streamed live at FIBA’s 3x3 YouTube channel.
The USA started with momentum on its side against Russia, racing out to a 7-1 lead. Russia, which was playing in order not to be eliminated from the quarterfinals, made its first run to cut the margin to 7-6 at 4:57. Each time the USA pulled away, Russia found a way to stay close.
Barker scored a layup at 4:06 to put the USA in front 11-6, and after 2-pointers from each side, the USA led 13-8 with just over two minutes to play.
Russia scored twice to cut the U.S. lead to 15-13 with 1:14 left to play. The USA went back ahead by four points, 17-13, but that is when Russia made its game-changing rally, scoring the final seven points for the comeback win.
Russia’s final four points from the free throw line, which were scored in the last eight seconds, were followed by it getting the ball back, because the USA had reached the 10 foul limit.
The USA committed its seventh foul and entered the penalty at the 1:51 mark, while Russia entered the bonus with seven fouls with six minutes to play, and then committed its 10th foul with 1:40 left in the game.
“When it came to their pick and rolls, we talked about staying underneath them, and we kind of messed up on that a little bit,” said Janiah Barker (Tampa Bay Tech H.S., Fla./Marietta, Ga.). “Tomorrow, we have practice, and I know coach Nick (LoGalbo) and coach Kelly (Carruthers) are excited to go watch film. They will clip it up for us, and we will clean up whatever we messed up. We’re super excited to get back out there.”
Mikaylah Williams (Parkway H.S/Bossier City, La.) had six points against Russia, Barker had five, Kiki Rice (Sidwell Friends School/Bethesda, Md.) had four and Patterson added two points.
The USA’s first win saw it allow Mongolia just eight points, while Williams led the USA with nine points, followed by Patterson with seven points.
The USA led 3-0 early and only improved its margin from there. At least five of the USA’s scores were set up by offensive rebounds. Williams made the USA’s only 2s in the game, including the game-winner with 2:22 on the clock for the 21-8 win.
Rice added three points, while Barker had two points.
All three of Mongolia’s 2-pointers came from 5-foot-6 guard Enkhsolongo Ganbat.
“It definitely was a learning experience,” Patterson said of the USA’s two games on Aug. 26. “There are some things that we can do better. We will watch film and find some things we can work on.”
Groups A and C wrap up preliminary play on Aug. 27. The top two teams from each pool advance to the quarterfinals on Aug. 28, and the quarterfinal winners play in the semifinals on Aug. 29.
The semifinal winners play in the gold medal game at 2:05 p.m. EDT on Aug. 29, and the semifinal losers meet in the bronze medal game at 8:40 a.m. EDT on Aug. 29.
The 2021 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup also will feature a dunk contest, skills contest and shoot-out-contest, with medals being awarded to the top three finishers in each event. USA men’s forward Eric Dailey Jr. (IMG Academy/Tampa, Fla.) advanced to the semifinal round of the dunk contest on Aug. 28.
The USA coach is Nick LoGalbo (Lane Tech College Prep, Ill.), with Kelly Carruthers (Bowie H.S, Texas) as the USA assistant coach, however, in FIBA 3x3 basketball coaching is not allowed during games.
The FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup has been held annually since 2011, except in years that include a summer Youth Olympic Games (2010, 2014, 2018). In the seven previous FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cups, the USA women have compiled a 49-7 overall record while winning six medals, including gold in 2012, 2013, 2017 and 2019 and silver medals in 2015 and 2016.