USA Tips Off WU18 Americas Championship with Win Over Colombia
The USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team tipped off 2022 FIBA U18 Women’s Americas Championship group play with an 81-29 win over Colombia Monday at Estadio Obras Sanitarias in Buenos Aires.
In her USA debut, Isuneh ‘Ice’ Brady, a 2022 McDonald’s All-American, led all scorers with 17 points. In a game that saw both teams shoot under 40% from the field, Brady hit 7-of-8 attempts from the floor (.875% FG) and added three free throws (3-4 FT). She also contributed three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 20 minutes.
“I was super excited and I know my team was super excited,” Brady said. “Everyone did a good job of picking up and feeding off each other’s energy. It was really cool and I’m looking forward to tomorrow."
2022 Naismith High School Girls Player of the Year KiKi Rice paced the U18 squad with a balanced effort that included 16 points, six rebounds and game-highs of seven assists and four steals.
The Americans relied on strong defense throughout after opening the game on an 11-0 run through the midpoint of the first quarter. Colombia got on the board at the 5:47 mark of the first quarter. However, the Colombians struggled to make field goals, shooting 14.9% (10-67 FG) from the field and converting 1 of their 24 attempts from 3-point range. The U.S. also came up with 21 turnovers, including 16 steals, resulting in 31 points.
“We did some things really well and it was nice to get the first one under our belt. We’ve been practicing a lot and it felt good to get out into competition,” USA head coach Joni Taylor said. “Colombia did some good things and challenged us on the boards. We buckled down in the second half and got some rebounds and attacked the glass. We shared the ball well and were strong defensively.”
For the afternoon, USA shot 38.0% (27-71 FG) from the field, 30.8% (4-13 3FG) from 3-point range and 69.7% (23-33 FT) from the free throw line. On their field goal makes, the U.S. enjoyed great ball movement with 24 assists. In addition to Rice’s seven, Londynn Jones had six dimes and Indya Nivar and Courtney Ogden dished three apiece.
The Americans saw an edge on the boards, 58-51, with two players coming away with double-digit rebounds. Alayah Del Rosario had a game-best 11 rebounds (10 DR) with another 10 coming from Cotie McMahon. Del Rosario also had nine points and a game-high-tying two blocks.
Kailyn Gilbert and S’Mya Nichols missed the game (health and safety protocols).
The USA will be back in action Tuesday with their second Group B contest against Puerto Rico. The game will tip off at 2:30 p.m. EDT on www.youtube.com/FIBA.