Brazil overcomes first half deficit to earn spot in Women's AmeriCup Final
LEON (Mexico) – Brazil celebrated Erika De Souza’s 100th official FIBA game representing her country by booking their spot in the 2023 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup final as they defeated Puerto Rico 85-74 at Domo de la Feria in León, Guanajuato, Mexico on Saturday evening.
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Puerto Rico were the team on top first as Arella Guirantes and Mya Hollingshed led the scoring charge, including a buzzer-beater to close out the quarter, but the whole rotation contributed as eight different Puerto Rico players were on the board.
Damiris Dantas had a hot hand early for Brazil with 7 points and Débora Costa added another 5 points, but with two other players adding just 2 points each Brazil trailed 22-16 after 10 minutes of action.
The boards were controlled by Puerto Rico and Hollingshed early, but it was Puerto Rico shooting 70 percent from two-point range in the first quarter that created the gap as Brazil shot just 45 percent.
With Dantas still on fire, Brazil looked to her to score as she added 8 points in the second quarter, complimented by Tainá Paixo and Isabela Macedo each adding 5 points of their own to close the gap to just 3 points.
Guirantes tallied 6 points in the quarter as Jacqueline Benitez added 6 herself to keep the lead, but despite leading by as much as 14 Brazil closed the gap to 42-39 going into the break as they started to gain traction in the paint as well as score off of every Puerto Rico turnover.
Brazil finally got the lead back in the third quarter thanks to 8 points from Kamilla Cardoso as well as Paixao and Dantas both racking up the points as Dantas tallied 21 points by the end of the quarter alongside 4 assists dishing the ball down low to Cardoso for buckets.
Benitez, Hollingshed, Guirantes and Jennifer O’Neill continued to find the rim for Puerto Rico, but Brazil’s 64 percent shooting through three quarters was hard to keep up with, though Puerto Rico closed a 6 point gap to 2 points looking ahead to the final 10 minutes of action.
The fourth quarter started with Brazil continuing to roll off the momentum they created in the third, as Paixao added 7 points driving the net and getting physical while Emanuely De Oliveria added 8 points going perfect from two-point range and the foul line.
Guirantes kept Puerto Rico in the game going 10-of-17 from the field adding 7 more points in the final quarter, but the difference became Brazil’s endurance, quick defense and their ability to score in transition or in the paint.
Dantas led Brazil with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, Paixao added 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists and De Oliveira finished with 13 points for Brazil in their full team effort win.
Guirantes led Puerto Rico once again with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and O’Neill contributed 17 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in the losing effort.