11 - 19
June 2021
1 Tayra Melendez (PUR), Canada v Puerto Rico
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Puerto Rico head to FIBA Women's AmeriCup Final for first time after victory over Canada

SAN JUAN (Puerto Rico) - Three different Puerto Rico players finished in double digits as they advanced onto the AmeriCup final for the first time with a 65-61 win over Canada at home in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Friday night.

Puerto Rico’s packed crowd cheered on the team’s strong start as Jazmon Gwathmey hit every shot she took in the first quarter, tallying 7 points for the home team, but it was Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage’s 5 points and 3 rebounds off the bench that helped Puerto Rico lead Canada to begin the Semi-Final match.

Laeticia Amihere answered for Canada with 5 points and 3 rebounds of her own, putting her signature post move pivots onto her defenders to find the rim in the paint as Canada was held to zero 3-point shots in the quarter, something the team has relied on all tournament.

Canada’s saving grace to keep them in the game was their ability to grab the boards, outrebounding their opponent 11-6 and getting second chance shots offensively as they trailed Puerto Rico 17-13 to end the quarter.

Puerto Rico continued to shoot efficiently from the floor, with players like Jennifer O’Neill pulling up for long range 3-pointers, as they shot 45% from the arc compared to Canada’s 9%, and using their time to slow down the offense and find an open shot.


Canada pulled themselves back into the game via their fast break play and scoring in transition, in combination with their man-zone coverage on defense to avoid players like Pamela Rosado getting anything uncontested.

Finding their rhythm and finding the net, Aislinn Konig and Nirra Fields scored 5 and 7 points respectively in the quarter as Fields drove Canada’s offense and continued to push drives to the net despite Puerto Rico’s high-pressure defense that forced early turnovers for Canada.

While Canada found success in the paint continuing to pass to Amihere and Kayla Alexander when in the key, their real strength was outrebounding on offense, managing 12 offensive rebounds in the half to put the ball back into the net.

The back-and-forth game continued after the half, as Canada continued to dominate in the paint finding Alexander, Amihere and even Aaliyah Edwards, but Puerto Rico’s scoring momentum continued as Ali Gibson found her own scoring during the third quarter.

As Puerto Rico needed to watch their fouls on the defensive end, they lucked out on Canada being unable to find consistency at the foul line, shooting just 50% through three quarters, missing out on crucial points that could have secured the lead.

Closing out the quarter, Puerto Rico led Canada 50-48 entering the final 10 minutes of play at home at Roberto Clemente Coliseum.

Despite moving the ball well and creating chances, as shots were unable to fall for Canada, not being able to contain Puerto Rico on defense either caused Canada to commit fouls that left them in trouble as the clock counted down.

The crowds continued to make noise while Canada was at the line, as Puerto Rico led by 4 points with just under a minute in the game. The two-possession game saw both teams making errors and suddenly Puerto Rico only had a one basket lead with 43 seconds to play.

After back and forth by both teams with no baskets, Amihere fouled out for Canada after her double-double 12-point, 11 rebound performance trying to stop Rosado as Canada was down by one basket with 3 seconds to play.

Pamela Rosado, despite missing her first two free throws, was fouled once again and hit both of her second shots to give Puerto Rico the two-possession lead that would secure the game for them in front of the home crowd, guaranteeing their best AmeriCup finish in history with either a silver or gold as they take on USA again in the gold medal game.

Gwathmey finished the game with 17 points while O’Neill finished with 15. Fields was Canada’s leading scorer with 14 points for Canada, but Alexander tallied a near double-double with 11 points and 8 rebounds of her own.

"We’ve been at this for a long time with our coaches, staff and players, and I think we’ve just bought in – we’ve felt like we’ve been able to compete at this level for a while now," said Ali Gibson.

"Being able to show it and get this win tonight is huge and shows that we’re going to keep growing, keep our name in here and hopefully do more work tomorrow."