USA U19 Women Cruise Past Egypt 97-36 to Wrap Up Preliminary Play
With an impressive start from the tip for the USA (3-0), Azzi Fudd (St. Johns College H.S. (D.C.)/Arlington, Va.) got things going and helped open up the game with a 24-3 run in the first 7:15, with Fudd scoring the team’s first eight points, leading the Americans to a decisive 97-36 defeat of Egypt (0-3). The win capped preliminary play at the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup in Debrecen, Hungary. The Americans advance as the No. 1 team out of Group A and play Taiwan (0-3), the No. 4 team from Group B, in the round of 16 on Aug. 11.
“I have been thinking too much and today I tried to let the game come to me,” said Fudd. “The shots were there, and I hit them today and that was definitely exciting because my first couple games were rough shooting.”
The USA finished a balanced offensive effort with 11 players scoring in the game and three players recording double-digit scoring efforts in the win. Fudd led the USA with 18 points, shooting 7-of-8 from the field, with five assists and three steals. Sonia Citron (The Ursuline School/Scarsdale, N.Y.) recorded a double-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists; and Caitlin Clark (University of Iowa/West Des Moines, Iowa) added a near triple-double with 13 points (3-of-6 from 3-point), eight rebounds and eight assists. Lauren Betts (Grandview H.S./Centennial, Colo.) also had a solid effort, finishing with six points, a game-high 13 rebounds and team-high-tying three blocks.
The Americans kept the strong play going in the second quarter, winning the quarter 21-12, and securing a 36-point lead (55-19) heading into halftime.
“Azzi (Fudd) said to me a couple days ago that she’s just really having fun playing the game again,” said USA head coach Cori Close (UCLA). “I think she’s so skilled, and has worked so hard at her skills. So, it's fun to see that get rewarded, and for her to have the joy of the game back.”
In the third quarter, the USA really showcased its talent both offensively and defensively, outscoring Egypt 26-4 to pull out to a 58-point lead (81-23) heading into the final stanza. The Americans closed the third quarter on a 19-2 run in the final 7:50 of the quarter with Betts and Citron combining for 13-straight points to end the quarter.
“I am just making sure I am mentally focused and ready to perform with how coach expects us to, and with a lot of energy,” said Citron. “I am impressed with our selflessness. None of us care about scoring, as long as we are getting the ball in the basket, and just playing and working together.”
The USA eased up in the fourth quarter to close with its third-straight victory.
The USA forced Egypt to 19 turnovers, resulting in 23 points, and won the rebounding differential 56-32. The Americans also outscored Egypt in the paint 54-18, in bench scoring 44-20 and in fast break points 29-8. The USA scored its 97 points off a USA women’s U19 record-tying 34 assists, recorded 10 blocked shots, and shot an efficient 11-of-20 (.550) from 3-point range.
“I think it's really important that we compete with ourselves, and I've really been challenging them to do the simple things with consistency, said Close. “We really shoot the ball well, but balancing that with getting paint touches first and being able to do more things out of rhythm in our offense together is key.”
In the other games today, France (3-0) defeated Spain (2-1) 65-61, South Korea (1-2) held off Brazil (0-3) 90-74, Mali (2-1) beat Canada (1-2) 88-62, Czech Republic (2-1) dodged Japan (1-2) 63-58, Russia (3-0) topped Taiwan (0-3) 72-45, host Hungary (2-1) took down Argentina (1-2) 80-29 and Australia (2-1) beat Italy (1-2) 58-42.
All 16 teams advance to the Aug. 11 medal round of 16 and the winner of the USA versus Taiwan contest will face the winner of the Japan versus Spain quarterfinal in the Aug. 13 quarterfinal. Winners continue to proceed through to the Aug. 14 semifinals and Aug 15 finals. Losing teams will continue play in classification games.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Aaron Johnston (South Dakota State) and Joni Taylor (Georgia).
The defending FIBA U19 World Cup champion, since 2005, the USA U19 women have won seven of the past eight U19 gold medals.
The reigning FIBA U19 World Cup gold medalist, USA women’s teams have won eight gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal while compiling an 89-13 overall record in U19 World Cup play since the event was launched in 1985. Even more impressive, the USA has posted a 65-3 record and won seven of the past eight U19 golds since 2005.