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WBB: Team USA Opens FIBA Americas U18 Championship with Win

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Posted: 8/7/2014 7:57 AM

WBB: Team USA Opens FIBA Americas U18 Championship with Win 


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Basketball opened its defense of the FIBA Americas U18 Championship with a commanding 104-55 win over Mexico in the first game in Group A action at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley saw her team dominate the paint (84-12) and the glass (53-17) and hold its opponent to 16 points or fewer in each 10-minute quarter of the game. South Carolina incoming freshman A’ja Wilson drew the start and answered with the game’s only double-double with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in 23 minutes of action.

Wilson’s stat stuffing started early with an offensive board and put-back on the U.S.’s first possession of the game. The Americans built a 12-2 lead just over three minutes into the game. With 5:08 to go in the first quarter, it was a 14-2 U.S. lead, but Mexico launched an 8-2 surge over the next three minutes to draw within six points at 16-10. Wilson’s work on the defensive glass helped stop the spurt as she pulled down Mexico misses on back-to-back possessions, while Jessica Shepard added a pair of buckets to get the U.S. back to a double-digit lead at 20-10 with 1:43 left in the quarter.

Team USA’s defense forced Mexico to take outside shots, which were not dialed in for the visiting team. Meanwhile, the host team’s front line cleaned up the glass to launch a 6-0 run that closed the first quarter with a 26-10 U.S. lead. The second quarter was more of the same and the Americans kept their foot on the gas offensively, adding to their 6-0 first-quarter run by scoring the first eight points of the second unanswered, including a pair of makes from Brianna Turner, the last of which made it a 34-10 U.S. lead with 8:14 to go in the half.

A Mexico 3-pointer stopped its four-minute scoreless drought, but the visitors could not capitalize on a lull in the Team USA offensive efficiency. The Americans took a 47-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Staley’s team opened the third quarter with another 8-0 surge fueled by Mexico’s inability to find its range from outside the 3-point arc. Behind Shepard’s basket with 6:43 left in the quarter, the Americans had stretched their lead into the 30s, and Mexico would never close the gap. Team USA led 79-40 at the end of the third quarter, and the margin was +40 two minutes into the fourth.

Team USA shot 56.0 percent from the field, including 70.0 percent from Wilson (7-of-10). The Americans turned 18 Mexico turnovers into 26 points and converted 17 offensive rebounds into 22 points. Wilson’s 15 points was second-highest on the team, trailing just the 16 by both Turner and Shepard. The Gamecock freshman added a block and two assists to her production.

Group play continues on Thursday with the U.S. taking on El Salvador at 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Amber Lynn Pennycuff
@PennycuffSports
GamecockPride.com
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Posted: 8/9/2014 12:54 PM

UPDATE: WBB-U.S. Turns Back Early Threat from Canada to Win 


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A 25-6 run in the final 6:44 of the first half turned a close battle between undefeated teams into a 107-76 win for USA Basketball over Canada on Friday night in the FIBA Americas Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The group’s top two teams were in a battle early with the Canadians offering the Americans their most consistent challenge of the tournament so far. Team USA head coach Dawn Staley’s team trailed by as many as six points in the first half before mounting a comeback that South Carolina incoming freshman A’ja Wilson helped solidify with a 14-point third quarter.

The U.S. started the game well, scoring nine unanswered points less than two minutes into the contest. Trailing 11-3 with 7:24to go in the quarter, the Canadians tied the game at 11 just over two minutes later as Team USA struggled. Paris Kea’s basket at the 5:39 mark of the period along with Briana Turner’s free throw seemed to calm the young Americans, putting them up 14-11 with 5:05 to go in the quarter.

The two teams traded the lead three teams down the stretch of the quarter with the Canadians holding a 23-21 edge at the end of the period. Napheesa Collier leveled the game with a basket early in the second quarter. The lead changed hands three more times with Christina Buttenham’s bucket with 8:25 to play in the half putting Canada up 28-27. The basket sparked a 5-0 run that Shaylisha Colley capped with a 3-pointer to put her team up 33-27 with 7:24 on the clock. The Americans chipped away at that six-point lead, but Collier again put the Canadians up by that margin at 35-29 with 6:44 to go until halftime.

It would be the final highlight for Canada as Team USA launched the decisive 25-6 run. Collier knotted the game at 35-35 at the 5:42 mark only to see the Canadians retake the lead on a pair of free throws from C. Creighton. After a Canada turnover, Marina Mabrey again drew the Americans even at 37-37 with 4:36 left in the half. From there the U.S. never looked back behind the offensive eruption from Collier, Mabrey and Kea and a defense that forced four turnovers down the stretch of the half that put the Americans up 54-41 in the locker room.

Team USA refused to allow the Canadians to get back in the game in the third quarter. After playing limited minutes in the first half with foul trouble, Wilson made up for lost time in the period. Her bucket with 6:22 to left in the period was her first since her only two points of the first half and put the U.S. up 64-45. She made it a 20-point advantage for the U.S. less than a minutes later and kept her foot on the gas, finishing the period with 14 points as Staley had her team pounding the ball inside throughout.

Collier and Turner led the U.S. offense with 22 and 21 points, respectively, and Wilson was next in line with her 16 in just 12 minutes of action. Team USA again dominated the paint, scoring 56 inside points, and had full command of the glass, outrebounding Canada 45-18.

As the winner of Group A, the U.S. will take on Group B’s second-place team in Argentina at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday in the semifinals. The winner will face the winner of the Brazil vs. Canada game in Sunday’s final at 7:30 p.m. (ET).

via gamecocksonline.com

Amber Lynn Pennycuff
@PennycuffSports
GamecockPride.com- Sideline Reporter/Analyst
Amber Lynn Pennycuff
@PennycuffSports
GamecockPride.com
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Posted: 8/10/2014 2:22 PM

UPDATE: WBB-Wilson Leads USA Basketball to Finals 



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – South Carolina freshman A’ja Wilson put together her most complete game of the tournament to date to lead USA Basketball to a 97-51 win over Argentina in the semifinals of the FIBA Americas U18 Championships at the U.S. Olympic Training Center Saturday night. Just one rebound shy of her second double-double in four games, the Columbia, S.C., native shot 10-of-11 from the field to net 23 points while also blocking four shots to lead head coach Dawn Staley’s team in all three categories.

The U.S. sprinted out of the gate against Argentina, scoring 11 unanswered points after winning the tipoff. Wilson hit the first shot of the game and added another bucket during the opening spurt. After a pair of free throws from Argentina, the Americans went right back to work with a 7-0 run to take an 18-2 lead midway through the opening quarter. Defense and rebounding helped Team USA hold the Argentines to just eight points in the quarter.

Leading 30-8 going into the second quarter, the U.S. did not allow Argentina a basket until the 4:54 mark of the period. By that point, the Americans led 44-9, including 10 points from Wilson during the run. Team USA was on cruise control on its homecourt, taking a 56-16 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Argentina’s offense finally found a rhythm in the third quarter, out-scoring the Americans 23-20 in the period, but the U.S. reasserted itself in the final period. The defensive effort returned, yielding just 12 points in the period to finish with a 46-point win.

In what has become the theme of the tournament, Team USA overpowered its opponent inside, scoring 42 points in the paint and out-rebounding Argentina 53-23. The Americans shot 58.6 percent from the field, highlighted by Wilson’s 10-of-11 accuracy. After Wilson’s 23 points, three other U.S. players turned in 11 points each, all off the bench.

The semifinal win set up a rematch with Canada, which gave the U.S. its sturdiest challenge of the tournament in the final game of group play before the Americans pushed through 107-76 Friday night. Sunday’s championship game is set for 7:30 p.m.

via gamecocksonline.com
Amber Lynn Pennycuff
@PennycuffSports
GamecockPride.com
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Posted: 8/11/2014 9:13 AM

UPDATE: WBB-Wilson Drives USA Basketball to FIBA Americas Gold 


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – South Carolina freshman A’ja Wilson posted her second double-double of the tournament to spearhead USA Basketball’s 104-74 win over Canada to claim the FIBA Americas Championship gold medal Sunday night at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. With 25 points and 11 rebounds Sunday for head coach Dawn Staley’s squad Wilson capped a strong tournament, earning MVP honors behind her 19.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.Sunday’s rematch with Canada begin much the way the first meeting did with the Canadians competing well early in establishing a lead over the Americans.
The U.S. took its first lead three minutes into the game on a bucket by Recee Caldwell to make it a 6-4 contest. The Americans could not pull away immediately, though, and Canada got with in two at 10-8 on Shaylisha Colley’s 3-pointer with 5:20 left in the first quarter. After Wilson was fouled rebounding her own missed shot, her free throw kicked off a 12-0 run that derailed Canada’s momentum.Leading by 14 after the first quarter, 26-12, the Americans withstood an early surge by the Canadians, not allowing them to get closer than 11. Wilson netted eight of her 23 points during the four-minute run to keep Canada at bay. Team USA took a 50-32 lead into halftime, and it came out of the break with even more energy and efficiency.
Canada tried to break through early in the third quarter, but again it was Wilson that guided the U.S. to another run. Fouled on a defensive rebound, she hit a pair of free throws to put her team up 52-36, a lead that multiplied quickly behind a 19-5, five-minute spurt that put the Americans up 71-40 with three minutes left in the period.Wilson’s 25 points, 15 of which came in the first half, led five Americans in double figures.
Team USA shot 56.3 from the field, continuing to capitalize on high-percentage opportunities, including 62 points in the paint.USA Basketball collected its seventh-straight gold medal in the FIBA Americans U18 Championship. This gold medal is the second for Staley as a head coach for USA Basketball as she also led a team to the 2007 Pan American Games title.

via gamecocksonline.com
Amber Lynn Pennycuff
@PennycuffSports
GamecockPride.com

Last edited 8/11/2014 9:14 AM by AmberPennycuff

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