USA, Canada, Argentina, Mexico punch their ticket to FIBA U17 World Cup 2022
GUANAJUATO (México) - The four teams from the Americas who have qualified for the FIBA U17 World Cup 2022 have now been decided, but they will still battle out for a podium spot during the Semi-Finals.
With more basketball showcased and dynamic players leading the charge for their teams, here are four takeaways from the Quarter-Finals.
Argentina keeps momentum in nail-biter
The 1-2 record that Argentina had coming out of group play didn’t accurately depict just how strong their team was, and proving that during their Quarter-Final match is just what they did.
Starting slow in the first quarter and letting Brazil get off to a nine-point lead, Argentina outscored their opponent 22-7 to take a six-point lead at the half. After starting the third quarter tied at 41 all, the back and forth game saw the lead change between both times by mere points.
Though Argentina jumped to a six-point lead once again with just a minute and a half to go, they were held scoreless for the rest of game, but Brazil could not hold on and close the gap to force extra time. Delfina Cergneux had an almost double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds, while Gianella Espedale and Alma Bourgarel both poured in 14 points in the win.
Taissa Nascimento Queiroz came off the boards with the rebound and made a jump shot in the dying seconds, a last-ditch effort to close out her massive 19-point, 20 rebound performance to try and get her team the win, but missed shots back to back kept Brazil out of the Semi-Final.
Prosper can’t be stopped
Canada came out of the group phase of the competition undefeated on the heels of an incredible performance by small forward Cassandre Prosper who tallied 59 points through three games, and levelled up her performance in the Quarter-Final matchup against Chile.
Prosper recorded her first double-double of the tournament, knocking down eight of 18 shots from the fields while grabbing 16 boards, leading her team in both categories. Prosper also now leads the entire competition in scoring with 80 points in four games.
Canada also saw scoring assistance from Delaney Gibb, one of their most reliable shooters in the tournament, who tallied 15 points including 9 points from beyond the three-point arc in Canada’s win over Chile.
USA’s all-around win
The top seed coming out of Group B, many expected USA to win in their Quarter-Final matchup against Costa Rica, but the mechanics of the win prepared the team for their Semi-Final more than the actual win did.
Every single player who dressed for the game scored at least 7 points, and six different players scored 12 or more points in the win. Margaret Mendelson had her breakout game of the tournament leading the charge with 18 points, while Jadyn Donovan recorded a 16-point, 10 rebound double-double in the win.
Juju Watkins, one of the most prominent stars of the competition, recorded 17 points, 7 assists and 5 steals in the win, showing off her agility and gritty style of play while also working on her playmaking skills to assist her teammates and assure that everyone on the floor was equally involved.
Mexico secures World Cup bid on home court
When Mexico had a lead of 13 points, Puerto Rico’s hopes of making it to the World Cup seemed entirely out of reach. With just under two minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, Puerto Rico had managed to close the gap at 64 all, and though Mexico jumped back to a three-point lead, Puerto Rico cut the lead back to one with 16 seconds left to play.
With a hard defensive push, Mexico played hard until the final buzzer and the entire stadium erupted as Mexico had punched their ticket to the FIBA U17 World Cup 2022 and the team ran out onto the court to celebrate their 67-66 win.
Shooting 33 percent from beyond the arc and outrebounding their opponent helped Mexico keep their lead, but it was a performance from Valeria Mora that truly made the difference as she finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds to help her team move onto the next round.
Dianne Crespo played hard for Puerto Rico, scoring 18 points including the final layup that closed the gap to one point in the game’s final seconds, but it was not enough to overtake Mexico and move onto the Semi-Finals.