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11 - 19
June 2021
11 Nazahrah Hillmon-baker (USA), Puerto Rico v USA
14/06/2021
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Five key takeaways from FIBA Women's AmeriCup Day 3

SAN JUAN (Puerto Rico) - After the third day of Women’s AmeriCup action, group play is taking shape as some teams have already completed over half their games for the first stage of competition. More close games and fantastic plays were seen on day 3, and here are five key takeaways as the teams move over halfway through group play and towards a potential quarterfinal berth.

 

Colombia’s bench takes shape

Having played three games in three consecutive days, including a tough loss to a strong Brazil squad, Colombia pulled out another win to stay on top of Group A with a 92-67 victory over El Salvador. Scoring only 56 points in their prior match, five different Colombian players had 10 or more points in the win, and four had 5 or more rebounds. Mabel Martinez also had five 3-pointers in the win.

On top of the well-rounded performance on both offense and defense, every single player on the Colombia roster not only played in the game but had at least one basket and one rebound as well. In contrast, only two players scored in double digits against Brazil, and only two players had 5 or more rebounds. Being able to share the ball equally on both sides of the court allowed for Colombia to have their most efficient game yet and set them up for a strong campaign against a currently undefeated Canada squad when they meet on Tuesday, June 15.

 

El Salvador finds their groove

Improving their score from Saturday by almost 25 points, and letting the opposition score 26 less points against them, El Salvador has been using every opportunity possible at their first ever AmeriCup to take high level competition and learn from their opponent. It’s no surprise that young standout Kimberly Villalobos recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but Emily Moran led the team in scoring with 20 points and 9 rebounds of her own, improving from scoring just 2 points in their first game against Brazil.

Keylin Murcia also added 10 points for El Salvador, having three scorers in double digits, improving from having only one in Villalobos on Friday night. Being able to move the ball better and get more comfortable as a team helped El Salvador’s confidence in the game that was seen clearly as they led Colombia in the first quarter.

 

The Canadian defensive difference against Brazil

The closest game of the day was Canada against Brazil, a rematch of the 2019 AmeriCup semi-final that saw Canada edge Brazil to move on to the gold medal game. The back-and-forth battle that was tied after the first quarter saw Brazil trail by 8 at the half but came back to cut the deficit to one point going into the final 10 minutes.

For both teams, the matchup was one of the toughest each will face in Group A play, but Canada edged Brazil once again, holding them to just 8 points in the fourth quarter as well as holding Brazil scoreless in the final two minutes of play. Defensive efforts from Canada allowed the team to slip past Brazil once again, and as Nirra Fields and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe each hit one foul shot to increase Canada’s lead to four in the final seconds of the game, Brazil’s leading scorer, Clarissa Dos Santos, was unable to hit a 3-point shot in the dying seconds of the match to bring Brazil within one.

 

Puerto Rico starts strong against USA

As the defending 2019 AmeriCup champions, the USA are once again favorites to win gold and defend their title from the previous competition where head coach Dawn Staley helped lead the team to an undefeated 6-0 record. However, the home team, Puerto Rico, are currently fourth ranked in the Americas zone for a reason, and the US found out the hard way as they trailed Puerto Rico by 5 points after the first quarter of the final game