Puerto Rico pulls out win over Venezuela in Quarter-Final overtime thriller
LEON (Mexico) – Puerto Rico grabbed a three-point win after Venezuela forced an overtime, and will be moving onto the Semi-Final of the 2023 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup after an 89-86 victory at Domo de la Feria in León, Guanajuato, Mexico.
Arella Guirantes, who tied for third in the competition averaging 16.3 points per game in the group stage, once again showed her scoring power tallying 9 points in the first quarter for Puerto Rico as Jazmon Gwathmey added 6 points to score 15 of their team’s 22 points.
Venezuela’s trio of Daniela Wallen, Waleska Perez and Mariana Duran were all out early also, with Perez tipping in 5 points and Wallen and Duran adding 4 each combining for 13 of Venezuela’s 17 points.
Puerto Rico controlled the boards to keep a decent gap but allowed Venezuela to crawl back as they capitalized in transition and forced Puerto Rico to make turnovers early in a fast-paced, physical game.
Both teams struggled to score from long in the first quarter, but Jacqueline Benitez found the net from beyond the arc twice in the second quarter adding 7 points for Puerto Rico as Guirantes and Gwathmey both hit double digit scoring with 12 points each by the half.
Duran scored 11 points in the second quarter to keep Venezuela on pace with a fast Puerto Rico squad but with Perez held scoreless and Wallen held to just 3 points Venezuela trailed 44-35 even with the help of Yosimar Corrales.
But with Puerto Rico shooting 61 percent as a team and controlling the boards, Venezuela had to continue to take advantage speed wise while they could on the fast break in order to stay near level.
Closing a 9 point gap to a 6 point gap by the end of the third quarter, Wallen, Duran and Estefani Fajardo Girall all tallied 13 or more points as they pushed Puerto Rico defensively and started to hit more long shots while also challenging in the paint.
Venezuela had no answer for Guirantes, who scored 12 points in the half, as Mya Hollingshed also showed her two-way play to bolster Puerto Rico’s rotation going into the final quarter.
But the fourth quarter was all Duran, Perez, Wallen and Fajardo and suddenly the game was 79-79 at the end of regulation and the game was pushed to overtime as Venezuela held Guirantes to just 5 points in the final frame.
Gwathmey scored 4 of Puerto Rico’s 10 points in the overtime period with Hollingshed adding another 3 as Venezuela had Wallen and Duran each add 3 points but could only score 7 as a team in the five-minute period.
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Guirantes led all scorers with 29 points and 8 rebounds, Gwathmey added 21 points and 6 rebounds and Hollinghsed added 14 points and 7 rebounds for Puerto Rico in the win.
Duran led Venezuela with 24 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals and Wallen added a double-double of 23 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists for Venezuela in the close loss.
Check out the semifinals start times here