USA U19 Women Knock Out Brazil 82-66, Advance To Gold Medal Game
July 30, 2011 • Puerto Montt, Chile
Bria Hartley (Connecticut / North Babylon, N.Y.) scored a game-high 20 points to lead the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team (7-1) past Brazil (6-2) 82-66 in the medal semifinal on Saturday night in Puerto Montt, Chile. The U.S. will face Spain (5-3) in the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship gold medal game on July 31 at 6:45 p.m. (all times EDT), while Brazil will face Australia (6-2) at 4:30 p.m. for the bronze medal.
The bronze and gold medal games will be streamed live online by FIBATV.com.
The three-time defending champion at the U19 Worlds, the USA is now 56-12 all-time in U19 World Championship play, including 44-4 since 1997. After finishing no higher than fifth in the first three junior worlds, the American women have medaled in each of the last five tournaments, including winning four golds (1997, 2005, 2007 and 2009) and one bronze medal (2001).
In addition to Hartley, who scored all 20 of her points in 14 minutes in the first half and was 4-of-6 from 3-point, the USA’s winning effort was propelled by 12 points from Stefanie Dolson (Connecticut / Port Jervis, N.Y.), while University of Tennessee incoming freshmen Cierra Burdick (Butler H.S. / Matthews, N.C.) and Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook H.S. / Bolingbrook, Ill.) pitched in 11 and 10 points, respectively. Further, Burdick and Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse H.S. / North Syracuse, N.Y.) hauled in a game-high nine boards apiece and Massengale dished out a game-best nine assists.
“Obviously we’re very excited about advancing onto the gold medal game,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, USA U19 World Championship Team and University of Hartford head coach. “But, the win was bittersweet because we had to beat Brazil to get there. We have a lot of respect for Brazil. We forged relationships with them last year in Colorado Springs. We played them a few times this year and we have a lot of respect for their country, their basketball players and we brought our best tonight because we feel they are one of the best teams in the tournament.”
“I think it was a great game,” said Hartley. “Brazil came out and played really hard, they started off really strong, but we just stayed together and made sure we came out and executed on offense and got defensive stops. In the second half we knew that Brazil was going to play hard and come out even harder. So, we made sure we could withstand their runs, come out and keep our composure.”
After swapping leads to start the contest and with Brazil holding a 13-9 edge, Hartley hit back-to-back threes to spur an 11-2 run that put the U.S. up for good, 20-15. A big difference in the first quarter came on the boards, where the U.S. dominated 17-5, and at the line as the squad went 6-of-8, while keeping Brazil off the charity stripe altogether.
“The two-three (zone) had them rattled at the beginning,” said Massengale. “I don’t think they knew what to do against it. Offensively, we moved the ball. We passed the ball great, shared it and knocked down open shots. The post players did what they had to do. Guards got open shots. When we started knocking down shots, they started coming out on us and we just dumped it inside to the post.”
The second quarter opened with Brazil adjusting and cutting the gap to 26-23 at 7:35, thanks to a pair of long-range 3-pointers. That’s when the USA’s run and gun offense really got going. Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne H.S. / Virginia Beach, Va.) sprinted down the court for a layup at 7:29, kick-starting a 16-2 scoring spree that opened the game to 42-25 at 4:40. During the run five players scored, including Hartley with seven points. Brazil managed to outscore the U.S. 11-7 to close the first half with the USA’s lead cut to 13, 49-36.
Brazil whittled away the gap and managed to cut it to five points, 55-50, with 3:27 to play in the third period. However, the U.S. got two quick baskets to make it 59-50 at 2:14 and Brazil called for a time out to regroup. On their next possession, Damiris Dantas made a prayer of a shot as the shot clock was winding down and at 1:55 in the third, it was 59-52 in favor of the North Americans.
Mosqueda-Lewis countered 15 seconds later with a 3-pointer and after a stop, Burdick was fouled on a put-back attempt. She made both shots from the line and the lead was 64-52 with 1:01 left in the period. Massengale closed the third quarter by stealing the ball, running the length of the court and putting up a bucket and with 10 minutes to play, the USA led 66-52.
Not quite ready to play for bronze, Brazil stabbed back and cut the USA’s advantage to 69-57 with 8:12 remaining in the game. The USA responded with a quick 7-0 spurt and Brazil never again seriously threatened.
“I’m very proud of my team,” added Rizzotti. “Our game plan tonight was to pay a lot of attention to (Tassia De Souza) and (Damiris Dantas) and I thought our players did a really good job of making it difficult for them to score. We also wanted to win the rebounding battle, which we dominated. It’s nice to see my players play relaxed, have some fun and score some points offensively. I feel like they’re very young and they’ve been very nervous the last few rounds. Tonight we finally played like ourselves.”
Dantas, who was leading all competitors in the tournament with 21.3 ppg. and 13.1 rpg., was held to team-highs of 13 points and eight rebounds. Joice Coelho added 12 points and Tassia De Souza chipped in 11.
Through its first seven games Brazil had averaged 18.0 ppg. from the line and was held to just five from the charity stripe against the USA.
“Coach was telling us before the game to play defense without fouling,” said Dolson. “She told us that Brazil had over 100 points from the line and we only had about 50. So, we knew that they’re a team that gets to the basket and gets to the free throw line. We knew we had to defend without fouling. We just went out there and played really, really solid defense. We did a really great job of it.”
The U.S. owned the glass to a tune of 57-33. Additionally, the North Americans, who were whistled for just six fouls in the game, dished off 20 assists on 30 field goals and hit for 47.1 percent (8-17 3ptFGs) from 3-point.
“We played a lot of zone and that cuts down on penetration,” Burdick replied when asked about the USA’s low foul count. “We weren’t reaching a lot, which really helped us. So, the game was fast paced because of the lack of fouls. We just have to keep playing with our hands straight up, defend well and slide our feet.”
Spain advanced to the gold medal game by virtue of a 55-49 victory over Australia in Saturday’s first semifinal.
In the 9th-12th semifinal classification play, Canada (7-1) defeated Japan (3-5) 66-62, while France (6-2) drove past (3-5) 82-50. Canada and France will compete for fifth place on Sunday at 1:30 p.m., while Japan and Russia will face off for seventh place at 11:15 a.m. China (4-4) closed out 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship play with a 66-62 victory over Italy (3-5) in the ninth place game, while Taiwan (3-5) finished in 11th place after downing host Chile (1-7) 86-49 the day’s opening classification final.
Only U.S. citizens who are 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1992) are eligible for this team.
Assistant coaches for the USA U19 World Championship Team are Sue Semrau of Florida State University and Joi Williams of the University of Central Florida.
Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the tournament was held every four years from 1985 through 2005. FIBA now conducts the U19 World Championship every other year. Prior to this year’s start, USA women's teams were 49-11 all-time in U19/Junior World Championships, most recently capturing a third consecutive gold with an 8-1 record in 2009.