Huge third quarter lifts Brazil to record sixth Women's AmeriCup title
LEON (Mexico) – Brazil blocked USA from getting an AmeriCup three-peat as they defeated the defending champions in a 69-58 victory to claim the gold medal and win a record sixth Women’s AmeriCup on Sunday evening at Domo de la Feria in León, Guanajuato, Mexico.
The win automatically earns Brazil a berth in the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
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Brazil hopped out to an 8-4 lead over USA in the first quarter, but the dominance of Rickea Jackson was out early as she tallied 10 of USA’s 16 points in the quarter on 5-of-6 shooting as well as grabbing three rebounds.
USA dominated on the boards, not allowing a single offensive rebound from Brazil, and closed a once 6-point gap to lead by 2 points at the end of the quarter.
With the second quarter still a close affair, both teams tipped in 21 points as Jackson added another 7 for USA while Kamilla Soares Cardoso and Damiris Dantas led Brazil with 6 and 5 points respectively.
Brazil was shooting 51 percent as a team in the first half as USA was shooting just 30 percent, but USA’s control of their own offensive rebounds allowed them to score 12 second chance points to stay ahead 37-35.
The third quarter was a breakout for Soares, who had been a pillar to Brazil’s success all competition, as she tipped in 12 points and Dantas added 6, combining for 18 of their team’s total points for the quarter as Emanuely De Oliveira added another 5.
Brazil’s defense held USA to just 2 points to start third quarter for three minutes, and Dantas and Soares both played quick, stealthy defense as they racked up the steals and blocks forcing USA to make 10 turnovers.
Not only that, Brazil also held USA to just 10 points, holding Jackson to just two, though Lauren Betts picked up the scoring slack and added 8 of her team’s 10 points for the quarter, though USA now trailed by 13 going into the final frame of action.
USA found their momentum in the final 10 minutes of action as they outscored Brazil 11-9, but the gap created in the third quarter was not enough to overcome even with Betts recording a double-double and Jackson nearly adding one herself.
The rotation from USA that had been strong all tournament could not keep up with Brazil in the paint as the Brazil played physical and lengthy with 42 of their points coming from down low action.
Even with their aggression on the boards to win the rebound battles, USA shot just 29 percent from the floor as a team and struggled from the three-point line while no one other than Jackson or Betts contributed more than 6 points from the rotation.
Brazil shot 53 percent from two-point range and 46 percent overall, and tallied 18 assists as they moved the ball seamlessly to find open shots during the game.
Soares led Brazil with a double-double of 20 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals as Dantas added 11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists and De Oliveira added 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
Jackson led USA with 22 points and 8 rebounds while Betts added 10 points and 11 rebounds.