USA Advances to WU18 Americas Championship Final with Win over Brazil
The 2022 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team is poised to compete for its 10th consecutive FIBA WU18 gold medal at the 2022 FIBA U18 Women’s Americas Championship, after an 84-40 semifinal win over Brazil Saturday at Estadio Obras Sanitarias in Buenos Aires.
The USA will play the winner of a contest between Canada and host country Argentina, set to take place later Saturday.
The game’s first minutes were defined by strong defense on both sides with each team shooting a low percentage and forcing each other’s turnovers. By the first quarter’s midpoint, a combined 10 points (6-4 USA) were scored before the U.S. became more active on offense and remained steadfast on defense. The Americans ultimately led 18-6 after the frame, holding Brazil to 21.4% (3-14 FG) from the field, forcing seven turnovers (for nine points) and limiting them to two points over the last 6:36.
Kiki Rice led the way with 11 first quarter points (4-5 FG, 3-4 FT) in 10 minutes played. By the 7:38 mark of the third quarter, Rice had scored her tournament-best of 17 points. She would go on to score 22 points, tying the second-highest scoring mark of the entire tournament, to go with four rebounds, three assists and one steal. Rice has recorded double-figure scoring in four of five games this week.
“This was a great team win,” Rice said. “We came out and really executed the game plan. We’re really excited about the win in the semifinals today and look forward to tomorrow and the last game. Both of those teams are really good and we have to be locked in and ready to play.”
At halftime, the USA lead was extended to 22 points, 35-13, following a Londynn Jones 3-pointer as time expired in the second quarter. Jones recorded her best scoring outing of the week with 10 points. She added a game-high five assists and game-high-tying three steals.
To chants “D-Up, D-Up, D-Up” coming from their bench, the U.S. stayed dialed in throughout the game, allowing them to overcome their early shooting struggles as they shot 43.2% (32-74 FG) from the field for the game.
For the fifth straight contest, the U.S. held their opponent to under 30% from the floor. Brazil shot 27.3% (15-55 FG) from the field, missed all 11 attempts from 3-point range and went 10-of-16 (.625%) from the line. The U.S. capitalized on Brazil's 23 turnovers and scored 34 points.
Justine Pissott scored 12 points for her second-best scoring game of the week. She hit four 3-pointers (4-8 3FG), including three in the second half. Her eight total 3-pointers for the week are the most by any player on the USA. She also had five rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Kailyn Gilbert and S'Mya Nichols missed today's game (health and safety protocols). Brazil’s Letycia Vasconcelos left the game due to injury with 11.6 seconds to play in the second quarter.