Team USA continued its journey toward a seventh Under-18 FIBA Americas Championship gold with a 95-46 win over Canada. The win puts the Americans one game away from the title.
“I think it’s great that we’re into the finals and we get to play for the gold,” said Tennessee-bound Bashaara Graves, who had 14 points. “It’s a wonderful accomplishment.”
Morgan Tuck racked up 16 points by halftime and led all scorers with 22 points while Breanna Stewart added 20 points and eight rebounds. Team USA shot 57 percent from the field, outrebounded Canada 44-27 and tallied 32 points off of turnovers.
The United States, which lost to Canada last year in the U19 World Championship, didn’t give its neighbors to the north a chance in this game. Team USA jumped out to a 24-8 lead in the first quarter and then went on an 18-0 scoring run in the second to put the game out of reach.
“At the U-19s we lost to Canada, so, yeah we took that as fuel,” said Stewart. “We wanted to send a message to Canada that that was a fluke and it’s not going to happen again. I think we did that.”
Canada’s bright spot was shooting 50 percent from behind the arc, going 8-of-16, but the Canadians couldn't get a player into double figures. Paige Crozon led the way with nine points.
Team USA will play Brazil in the final, a team they defeated 97-36 in a scrimmage this past May. The United States boasts a 42-2 record since the FIBA Americas were started in 1988, and has claimed six gold medals (1988, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010) and two silver medals (1992, 1996).
"We know they’re really physical, really enthusiastic, they play off their emotions and their feelings.” said Lexie Brown about the matchup against Brazil. “When they’re up, they’re up, but when they’re down, they’re really down. So we just have to get them down and keep them down.”
Canada will play Argentina, which fell to Brazil 67-54 in the evening’s first semifinal, for the bronze.
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