From our friends at USA Basketball:
In a battle of undefeated teams that saw the game tied 27-all at halftime, the 2013 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team (5-0) rode a 31-7 third quarter to an eventual 82-48 win over Canada (4-1) in the gold medal game of the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship on Sunday evening at Polifórum Benito Juárez in Cancun, Mexico.
With the USA leading by just one point, 32-31, at 8:44 in the third quarter a 12-0 run by Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.) alone was the start of a 22-0 U.S. spurt that secured the game’s momentum for the USA.
In the bronze medal game Brazil (3-2) beat host Mexico (2-3) 70-56. The tournament’s top four finishers, the USA, Canada, Brazil and Mexico all qualified for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said USA head coach Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose Cagers AAU, Calif.). “I thought we kind of sat back a little bit, and Canada came out with great tenacity. We had trouble finishing, which was a credit to Canada and their defense. By the same token, we took some ill-advised shots. We needed to share the ball more and let our defense create some offense. We made some adjustments at halftime, and our full court press really led to some havoc for Canada, which gave us some transition points.”
Named tournament MVP, Durr finished the game with three USA U16 single-game records, including 26 points, eight steals and 22 field goals attempted, and she tied the high for field goals made with nine. She was not alone in the record books. Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.) shot 8-of-8 from deep to set USA U16 records for 3-pointers made and percentage on her way to 24 points; while Lauren Cox(Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas) barely missed a triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and a USA U16 best nine blocked shots. Further, the USA established a team record for 3-point attempts with 30 tries from deep.
“I was shocked,” Durr said of winning tournament MVP. “The whole team played great throughout this tournament, and for them to call my name, it means a lot.”
Both teams struggled to get started, with the USA shooting just 18.8 percent in the first quarter (3-16 FGs) and Canada not much better at 28.6 percent (4-14 FGs) in the first 10 minutes. After Canada put the game’s first points on the board, the lead changed four times before a made U.S. free throw tied the score 9-9 at the first break.
The teams continued to trade baskets in second quarter until the USA went on a 10-0 run to take a 22-14 lead at 4:04. Canada, however, closed the first half with its own run, a 13-5 stretch that included eight points from the free throw line, and the teams once again were tied, 27-27, as they headed to the halftime locker rooms.
“Canada played awesome,” Samuelson said. “They were there to win. We knew coming out of halftime that if we didn’t step up, they were going to take it. We just had to pick up our defense.”
A 3-pointer from Samuelson opened the third period as each team put up two scores in the first 1:16, and Canada trailed by one point, 32-31 at 8:44. A long-ball from Durr at 7:41, however, was the start of 12 straight points for Durr that spurred a 22-0 U.S. run that gave the USA the game’s momentum. Canada ended the onslaught at 1:20 with a free throw, followed by another score from the field, but the damage already had been done, and the USA headed into the final 10 minutes with a comfortable, 58-34 lead.
The USA forced Canada into nine of its 24 turnovers for the game in the third stanza, while the red, white and blue improved to 11-of-20 from the field for 55.0 percent in the third quarter.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Cox said. “The start of the second half, it was 27-27, so we came out and played really well on defense. We jumped on them and got quick points and steals.”
Five U.S. scorers put up 17 points in the first 3:46 of the fourth period, while the U.S. defense held Canada to just one made 3-pointer to take its largest lead of the game, 38 points, with a score from Sabrina Ionescu (Miramonte H.S./Walnut Creek, Calif.) at 6:16 that put the USA ahead 75-37. Canada did outscore the USA over the next six minutes, 11-7, but the effort was too little to late, and the USA cruised in for an 82-48 gold-medal victory.