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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Team USA Takes FIBA U19 Women’s World Championship Gold with Convincing 69-46 Rout of Spain

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Photo Caption: USA Basketball’s U19 Women’s team celebrate their gold-medal victory at the 2011 FIBA U19 Women’s World Basketball Championships in Puerto Montt, Chile Sunday. From left: U.S. Head Coach Jennifer Rizzotti (University of Hartford head coach); center Stefanie Dolson (Connecticut/North Babylon, NY); forward/center Malina Howard (Twinsburg High School/Twinsburg, OH); center Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne High School/Virginia Beach, VA), a Duke commit; forward Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook High School/Bolingbrook, IL), committed to Connecticut; forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Mater Dei High School/Anaheim, CA), a Connecticut signee; forward/center Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse High School/North Syracuse, NY), also headed to Connecticut; guard Jordan Adams (Mater Dei High School/Irvine, CA); guard Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook High School/Bolingbrook, IL), headed to Tennessee; forward Cierra Burdick (Butler High School/Matthews, NC), also Tennessee bound; guard Alexis Jones (Irving MacArthur High School/Irving, TX); forward Diamond DeShields (Norcross High School/Norcross, GA); and, holding the championship trophy, guard Bria Hartley (U. Connecticut/North Babylon, NY).

Photo Credit: Courtesy FIBA Media Central

By Lee Michaelson

If Team USA’s 19-and-Under squad had its troubles early in the tournament—squeaking past China, 80-77, and falling to Canada, 52-64, in the preliminary rounds—they left no doubters of their dominance when they strode to the podium for the medal ceremonies of the 2011 FIBA U19 Women’s World Championships in Puerto Montt, Chile on Sunday night. The American women took the gold for the fifth time in six junior World Championship outings, and they did it in style, with a 69-46, gold medal game shellacking of Spain, on the heels of an 82-66 victory over Brazil in the semis.

In both games, the Americans came out strong from the start, and though Brazil managed to close within five during the third quarter of the semifinal, in both games, the U.S. quickly closed the door on their opponents to seal the victories.

Two Americans—Tennessee-bound Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook High School, Bolingbrook, Illinois) and Connecticut-commit Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse High School, North Syracuse, New York Class of 2012)—were named to the All-Tournament team. Though held to just three points in Sunday’s final, Stewart averaged 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game—both team highs for the Americans—in just 19.9 minutes per game, roughly one-third less time on the floor than most of the other players on the tournament’s leaderboard. Meanwhile, Massengale was one of the tournament’s assist leaders, averaging 4.3 dishes (to 2.4 turnovers) per game and serving up nine each in the U.S. wins over Italy and Brazil and seven in the championship victory over Spain. Massengale also contributed 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per outing.

The pair were joined by tournament MVP Damaris Dantas of Brazil, who averaged 20.9 points and 12.6 rebounds per game (both tournament highs), and posted 26 points and 13 boards to lead her team to a 70-67 win over Australia in the bronze medal game.

Also named to the tournament All-Star team were Japanese point guard Rui Machida and Spain’s Senegal-born center Astou Ndour. Machida (5-3) posted a full stat line of 12.3 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the field and 40.7 percent from the arc, while dishing out a tournament-high 6.2 assists, and hauling down seven rebounds, per game despite her diminutive size. Japan finished seventh in the tournament. Meanwhile Ndour (6-4) averaged a near double-double of 12.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, and saved some of her best play for the critical run down the stretch. She was the only Spanish player to log double figures (10 points, six rebounds) in the championship game against the U.S., posted a 13-point, 13-board double-double in Spain’s semifinal win over Australia, and put up 19 points, while grabbing eight rebounds in her team’s quarterfinal victory over previously undefeated Canada.

Photo Caption: 2011 FIBA U19 Women’s World Championship All-Tournament Team honorees (second from left): Rui Machida (Japan), Ariel Massengale (USA), Breanna Stewart (USA), MVP Damaris Dantas (Brazil) and Astou Ndour (Spain) are flanked by officials of the Chilean National Basketball Association during closing ceremonies in Puerto Montt, Chile on Sunday, July 31, 2011.
Photo Credit: Courtesy FIBA Media Central

“I’m very excited to be standing up here as the gold medal winner,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, USA U19 World Championship Team head coach as well as head women’s basketball coach at the University of Hartford. “I don’t think I realized it until I arrived here and saw our competition, how difficult this tournament would be to win. Our play early in the tournament was inconsistent and we had to rely so much on individual talent. We didn’t play as a team.”

“But, I’m very happy to see that after these three weeks, our team was able to come together and play its best basketball in the final two games,” Rizzotti continued. “I feel like we learned a lot from all of the teams here, especially a team like Spain, who out of everybody here plays the best team basketball at both ends of the court. We learned a lot from Brazil, who plays with more passion than any other team here. We just need to put all of that together, the team basketball that Spain plays and the passion like Brazil plays and I thought that our team was able to do that tonight. That’s why we won the gold medal.”

Team USA ran up a 25-15 lead in the first quarter of the championship game in a game that was never close after the opening minutes. The Americans extended their edge to 15 points by the half, as the teams headed to the locker room with the U.S. on top, 37-22.

Though Spain made several adjustments, in particular stepping up its rebounding efforts, but in the second half, the U.S. continued to pound the ball into the post, where three Americans—Stewart, UConn’s Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis—finished with 15 points apiece. It seemed that Spain, powerless to stop the bleeding, could control only the pace at which the U.S. lead ballooned, as the American advantage stretched to 20 points (56-36). Even after both teams emptied their benches in the final period, the U.S. tacked on another three points to their edge.

Only center Astou Ndour reached the 10-point mark for Spain, but the U.S. held her in check by denying her the ball; the talented Spaniard got only one shot off (a make) in the second period and one more in the third (a miss) as the Americans dominated the paint. . Even when Ndour did get a touch, she was often forced to settle for mid-range jumpers.

The U.S. won the battle of the boards by a a relatively narrow, 44-39 margin, and managed to hold on to the basketball at least as well as its opponent (both teams finished with 15 turnovers apiece, but many of those came in garbage time).

But the Americans’ team play was demonstrated by their 21 assists on 25 field goals; several of the kick-outs and on-the-dime feeds were exhibition-worthy. (Spain produced 19 field goals on just seven assists, by comparison.) And though, overall, American shooting was something short of awe-inspiring (just 40 percent, or 25/63, from the field), the U.S. cause was helped out by a good night on the arc (38 percent, or six-of-16), as well as a withering defense that held the Spaniards to just 29 percent from both the field (19/66) and the perimeter (four-for-14).

Photo Caption: Team play underscored the U.S. gold-medal win, as three Americans—above, from left: Elizabeth Williams, Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis—finished with 15 points apiece, while Ariel Massengale (not pictured) added 10 points and spurred an American dish-fest with seven of the Americans’ 21 assists.
Photo Credit: All Photos Courtesy FIBA Media Central

Above all, the U.S. managed to defend without fouling, keeping the Spaniards off the free-throw line. Spain made just eight trips to the line, where they netted only four points. Meanwhile, the Americans tallied 13 points on 18 visits to the charity stripe.

The win marked the fourth consecutive U19 women’s gold for the U.S., and their fifth in the past six tournaments. The Americans finished no higher than fifth in the first three junior worlds, but have medaled in each of the last six tournaments, including five golds (1997, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011) and one bronze medal (2001).

Sunday’s silver medal is the second for Spain in U19 play, who took its first silver in the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship.

Meanwhile, in the undercard, Brazil picked up its first-ever U19 medal when it took the bronze with a 70-67 win over Australia in a close game that saw eight ties and 15 lead changes. Tournament MVP Damiris Dantas willed her team to the medal podium with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

Photo Caption: Damiris Dantas (Blue, No. 12) led Brazil to its first-ever medal in the FIBA U19 Women’s World Basketball Championships with a 26-point, 13-rebound performance in Brazil’s 70-67 win over Australia in Sunday’s bronze medal game.
Photo Credit: Courtesy FIBA Media Central

Australia’s Tayla Roberts, who was back in action after being held scoreless in the Gems’ semifinal loss to Spain, leaving the game with a muscle strain after just 13 minutes on the floor. Roberts, who had notched a tournament-high 41 points plus 17 boards for the Aussies against Japan in the quarterfinals, posted a team-high 16 points (tied with small forward Rebecca Allen, who double-doubled with 12 boards) in the bronze medal game against Brazil. But neither of their efforts could overcome the effect of the team’s 25 turnovers, nor their 21 personal fouls, which sent the Brazilians to the line 28 times, for a total of 16 points. (In contrast, Australia got to the charity stripe just six times, and though they netted 100 percent of their attempts there, they nonetheless lost the game at the line.)

Despite her team’s struggles, Australian point guard Rebecca Cole, who put up 12 points and handed out seven assists (to two turnovers) in the bronze medal game, put her squad in position to win when her two free throws tied the game at 53 apiece with 6:20 remaining in the final period. But Aussie turnovers fueled a 7-0 Brazilian run, and the Gems never got closer than three for the balance of the game.

Originally published Sun, July 31, 2011

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Week: February 7, 2012
1 Baylor (31) 24-0 1 1 1 775
2 Notre Dame 23-1 2 2 2 743
3 Connecticut 21-2 3 4 3 710
4 Stanford 20-1 4 5 4 685
5 Duke 19-3 6 8 5 650
6 Miami (FL) 20-3 7 7 6 604
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9 Wisconsin-Green Bay 20-0 9 24 9 530
10 Ohio State 21-2 11 NR-RV
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12 Delaware 20-1 13 NR 12 434
13 Georgetown 18-5 15 11 14 379
14 Texas A&M 16-5 16 6 15 378
15 Nebraska 19-3 18 NR 13 309
16 Rutgers 17-4 14 12 17 372
17 Louisville 17-6 12 9 20 276
18 Gonzaga 21-3 19 NR-RV
19 234
19 Purdue 19-5 17 21 16 222
20 Georgia 18-6 20 12 21 202
21 Penn State 18-5 21 14 18 176
22 DePaul 17-7 23 18 NR-RV
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
22 104
24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
NR 45
Dropped Out: No. 24 North Carolina, No. 25 Kansas.
First-place votes: Total first-place votes received (if any) are indicated in parentheses following school name.
Others receiving votes: St. Bonaventure (22-2) 34; North Carolina (17-6) 19; California (17-6) 18; Florida Gulf Coast (21-2) 16; Middle Tennessee (19-5) 15; Texas-El Paso (20-2) 8; Texas Tech (16-6) 5; Brigham Young (21-4) 4; Fresno State (19-4) 4; St. John's (15-8) 4; Princeton (15-4) 3; Oklahoma (15-7) 2; West Virginia (17-6) 2; Kansas State (15-7) 1.
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Credit: Courtesy Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The weekly Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, sponsored by USA Today and ESPN, is based on voting by a Board of Coaches made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions all of whom are WBCA members.