USA 3x3 Women’s AmeriCup Team Cruises into Quarterfinals
Giving up a total of just four points in wins over Trinidad and Tobago (0-2) and Argentina (1-1) while scoring 22 points in each outing, the USA 3x3 Women’s AmeriCup Team (2-0) was dominant on both sides of the ball in preliminary round action at the inaugural FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup on Saturday afternoon at Bayfront Park in Miami.
The USA will advance to the Nov. 14 semifinals as the No. 1 seed out of Group B and will play Dominican Republic (1-1), the No. 2 seed from Group D, at 12 p.m. (all times listed are EST) on Sunday.
“It was special,” said Haley Gorecki (Duke/Palatine, Ill.), who was playing on her birthday as the USA recorded a 22-2 win over Trinidad and Tobago and a 22-2 victory against Argentina. “I love basketball, and it was a lot of fun today.
“I think just preparing, and playing our game and getting some rest,” said Gorecki when asked what the team will focus on ahead of the knockout round.
The other quarterfinal matchups include Canada (2-0) versus Mexico (1-1) at 10 a.m., Brazil (2-0) against Argentina at 10:25 a.m. and Chile (2-0) taking on Puerto Rico (1-1) at 12:25 p.m. The quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals, and the bronze and gold medal game also will be played on Nov. 14. Should the USA win, it would take on the winner of Chile-Puerto Rico at 2:15 p.m.
In its first game, the USA held Trinidad and Tobago scoreless for the first 2:24 while jumping out to a 4-0 lead. After Trinidad and Tobago’s first score, Blake Dietrick (Princeton/Wellesley, Mass.) sank the first 2-pointer of the game, and the USA raced ahead 16-1. Trinidad and Tobago scored its second and final point at 5:14, and it took the USA just another 1:38 to tally eight points and end the game. Gorecki capped the victory with the USA’s fifth 2-pointer at 3:36 for the 22-2 win.
The USA forced nine turnovers in the game, while Gorecki shot 3-of-6 from 2-point and finished with seven points; Brionna Jones (Connecticut Sun/Maryland/Havre de Grace, Md.) scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds; Dietrick made the USA’s other 2-pointers and finished with five points and three assists; and Cierra Burdick (Seattle Storm/Tennessee/Charlotte, N.C.) contributed three points and three rebounds.
“Coming into every game, we want to be the best defensive team and the hardest working team,” Burdick said. “We're skilled, we're experienced, but if we can really hone in on our defense and make it difficult for other teams to score, then I think we'll be in a good situation.
“It's nice,” Burdick said of competing in Miami. “I rarely get to play in front of a home crowd, so this is a fun experience. I've got my family here, so it's just really special.”
In its second contest, the USA took advantage of its size inside the paint, and the 6-foot-3 Jones led the USA with 11 points and seven rebounds in the win; followed by five points and six rebounds from Dietrick; four points and six rebounds from Burdick; and two points and five rebounds from Gorecki.
Similar to its first win, the USA held Argentina scoreless for the first 2:10 of the contest, and then only gave up one more field goal, which came at 4:21, to bring the score to 13-2 in the USA’s favor. The USA made its only two 2-pointers in the final few minutes, the second of which came from Burdick and sealed the 22-2 win with 1:32 left on the clock.
“I think we were just taking advantage of what was given to us and how they were playing us on defense,” said Gorecki of the USA’s game against Argentina. “We were getting inside, getting rebounds and attacking the basket.”
The gold medalist women’s and men’s teams will earn a qualifying berth into the 2022 FIBA 3x3 World Cup, which will be played in June in Antwerp, Belgium. The USA women, however, already have qualified for the 2022 FIBA 3x3 World Cup by virtue of the USA’s gold medal finish at the Tokyo Olympic Games 3x3 tournament.
Joe Lewandowski (Point Park University), who has been coaching/advising USA Basketball 3x3 national teams since 2014, will serve as head coach for both teams.