Chile Fights Off Mexico For 65-63 Win, Medal Semifinals Berth
Colorado Springs, Colo. - June 25, 2010
In a game that featured 14 lead changes and eight tied scores, the Chile Women's U18 National Team (2-1) survived a down-to-the-wire fight with Mexico (1-2) to earn a 65-63 win and a spot in the medal semifinals of the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women on June 25 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
As the host country for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, Chile already had its spot in the 2011 Worlds guaranteed, which means the fifth-place finisher in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship also will qualify for the U19 World Championship next summer.
'It was a great game, and we played really well,' said Chile head coach Christian Santander. 'We were never out of the game because we played with heart. I am very happy. This is the first time Chile has had a position in the top four. It is a great honor.'
Benefitting from 31 bench points compared to Mexico's nine, Chile was led by 17 points apiece from Cynthia Buscunan Luis and Fernanda Serrano Aburto, and 16 points from Javiera Morales Leyton, who also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Trailing 13-11 after the first period and 27-23 at halftime, Chile capitalized on Mexico's 10 team fouls in the third quarter and shot bonus free throws as early as the 5:04 mark. The Chilean team sank 13 of 15 attempts from the charity stripe in to help outscore Mexico 23-18 in the quarter and take a 46-45 lead into the final period.
In the first 4:09 of the fourth quarter, however, Mexico sank three 3-pointers to ignite a 13-6 run that gave Mexico the lead, 58-52. Chile answered right back with a 6-0 run, and the score was tied at 58-58 with 3:28 remaining. The game was tied two more times, at 60-60 and 62-62, before an old-fashioned three-point play from Aburto gave Chile a 65-62 advantage and the lead for the remainder of the game.
Mexico's Laura Nunez Guzman sank one free throw in a bonus opportunity at 1:12 to pull Mexico within two points, 65-63, but her shot at the buzzer missed its mark.
Mexico will face the No. 4 seed from Group B at 11:00 a.m. on June 26 and will play out for fifth-eighth place in the consolation semifinals. With Chile already qualified for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship as the host country, the fifth place finisher in the 2010 U18 Championship also will earn a spot in the 2011 U19 Worlds.