Blue Star’s Mike Flynn and Kevin Lynch are on their way to Argentina and are expected to be courtside for the rest of the action in Buenos Aires following some unexpected travel delays. Check back with Blue Star throughout the tournament for coverage, results and commentary.
RELEASE COURTESY OF USA BASKETBALL
BUENOA AIRES–The 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team (1-0) scored off the opening tip in its first game of the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship against Colombia (0-1), and dominated play from there to record a 91-33 rout on June 7 at CENARD in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“I thought it was a great game, a great team win,” said USA head coach Carla Berube (Tufts University). “All 12 players got some valuable minutes. Eleven out of the 12 played in their first international competition. It is great to come away with a team win against a tough, Colombia team. They didn’t back down, and they took it to us and made it difficult for us at times. It feels good to have that first win.”
Five USA players reached double-figure scoring, led by game-highs of 17 points and nine rebounds from forward Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy/Worcester, Mass.),
“We had some great passes, and we did a great job of crashing the boards offensively and defensively,” Boston said. “I think we played a great game overall.”
Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe H.S./Ruckersville, Va.) added 13 points, five assists and seven boards; Caitlin Clark (Dowling Catholic H.S./West Des Moines, Iowa) was 3-of-3 from 3-point on her way to 11 points; and Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./Eden Prairie, Minn.), who also recorded four assists, and Kylee Watson (Mainland Regional H.S./Linwood, N.J.) scored 10 points off the bench.
The USA got a total of 44 points of the bench, outrebounded Colombia 64-36 and forced 25 turnovers, which it converted into 30 points.
After rolling to a 32-4 advantage in the first quarter, Colombia outscored the USA 15-14 in the second quarter but still lagged behind 46-19 at halftime.
“After a tough first quarter for Colombia, they came out with a level of high intensity and put a zone on us that we needed to figure out as a team how to break, and we missed some shots,” Berube said. “I thought their defense definitely picked up. They were scrappy, they were physical and those are things that we need to match. We needed to be more intense.”
The North Americans turned up their intensity in the second half, outscoring Colombia 26-9 in the third and 19-5 in the fourth to earn the 91-33 win.
“I thought it was a really great learning experience for us, and I also thought it was a great for us to play against real competition and see how we stood up against them,” Watson said. “I think we played a fast game and really utilized our athleticism and our versatility. Overall, we played as a team.”
The USA’s biggest scoring run was a 16-0 span that began at 3:56 in the first quarter when Azzi Fudd(Potomac School/Falls Church, Va.) scored to make it 21-4 and lasted through the start of the second quarter, capped by a 3-pointer from Zia Cooke (Rogers H.S./Toledo, Ohio).
Hamileth Ulloa was Colombia’s top scorer with seven points.
For a look at the complete box as well additional game coverage follow the link below to the FIBA Americas site.
The USA will continue play against Mexico at 3 p.m. (all times listed are EDT) on June 8. and wrap up preliminary round competition against Puerto Rico at 5:15 p.m. Watch all of the USA’s games live on YouTube.com/FIBA, including the USA versus Mexico.
Also today, in Group B along with the USA, Mexico (1-0) beat Puerto Rico (0-1) 76-49. In Group A, Canada (1-0) cruised past Venezuela (0-1) 89-38, and host Argentina (0-0) will take on Dominican Republic (0-0) at 7:30 p.m.
Following the preliminary round, all of the teams will be seeded in first through fourth places in their respective groups. In the medal semifinals, Group A’s No. 1 seed will face the No. 2 seed from Group B, and Group B’s No. 1 seed will play the No. 2 seed from Group A. The third and fourth placed teams in each group will compete for fifth through eighth places in the classification semifinals.
The semifinals will be played on June 10, and the finals will be contested on June 11.
Steve Gomez (Lubbock Christian University) and Vanessa Nygaard (Windward School, Calif.) complete the USA staff as assistant coaches.