06 - 13
August 2017
6 Joice Rodrigues (BRA), 13 Debora Gonzalez (ARG)
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Semi-Finals are set!

BUENOS AIRES (FIBA Women’s AmeriCup) - Yesterday was the last day of the Group Phase and Canada, Puerto Rico and Brazil secured their participation at the tournament's defining round. Argentina played the South American derby with the serenity of having earned the pass to Semis the day before; and showed off their defensive skills and speed, making the most out of the clear spaces left by a disinterested Brazilian team. From now on, the challenge will be to maintain this high-level performance on Saturday's game against the Puerto Rican squad.

“We tried to finish well against Brazil and end first in our group. But now we’ll be facing the most difficult part, because we must win teams from the other groups, at least one of the two games that remain to qualify for the World Cup. We’ll keep being careful and respectful, and reflect on what's to come. Luckily, we're on the right path. We're confident, concentrated and in sync. That’s important,” Argentine coach Cristian Santander said.

Débora González, one of the key players of the game with 18 points, listed the excellent characteristics that Argentina exhibit. “We have a huge heart and a defense that leads us to execute good attacks. We're where we are because we've been working hard, and we possess the will and the drive to win. This is a very united team, both in and out of the court,” she said before continuing the celebration with her teammates and the public to the rhythm of their own version of “Despacito”.

“We couldn't imagine coming this far after all of the injuries and hard hits we had to take. It was more of an emotional challenge than a physical one. And yet, we knew how to move forward and reach our first objective,” the guard acknowledged.

At the other side of the court, emotions were the complete opposite. Brazil wasn't in the game and was almost left out due to the large difference in points. Coach Carlos José Lima’s face displayed his concern for the team's low performance.

“We must change the way we're playing the game and become more aggressive in the offense. We did 49 points, a very low score for this type of competition. We have a few young players without much experience. Our most experienced players are not here. They help the team very much,” he regretted.

The coach explained the hurdles the team had to overcome during the tournament: “The national championship ended on May 2, which is a problem for Brazil. The players are left without any competition. After the international tournament suspension was lifted, the new directives gave us everything we needed to train, but we only did so for 22 days. The physical and technical aspects fell short. I think that the players needed more time working together.”

Meanwhile, Canada showcased their versatility and had no inconveniences to achieve four victories in a row and winning their group, thus confirming that they are the great candidates for the championship title. During the Semi-Finals, they’ll go after Brazil.

“I think we're still sorting some things out on both ends of the floor. We're making minor gains each game and we're going to continue to get better heading into the medal round. I think our best is still yet to come,” Coach Lisa Thomaidis shared.

Virgin Islands and Paraguay are also celebrating; they both achieved a historic pass to the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.