Quarterfinals: The Final 4 and the road to the Olympics are the prize
LEON (Mexico) – The continent's 8 best teams advanced past the Group Stage and moved on to the quarterfinals, to be played on Friday, July 7th at Domo de la Feria in Leon, Guanajuato (Mexico).
Their main objective is to advance to the semifinals, but equally importantly, to stay on the road toward the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Americas countries have 2 guaranteed berths to the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. One of them belongs to the United States, the reigning Olympic and World champions, and the other one will go to the next best team at 2023 Women's AmeriCup.
The next 4 best teams will earn a spot in the Americas Pre-Qualifying Tournament, vying for 2 more tickets to the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
With that much stake, these national teams will look to show their best version in the quarterfinals. Here are the matchups:
United States vs. Colombia
12:10 local time
The defending champs had a 3-1 record in Group A and took second place after losing to Brazil. They haven't looked as dominant as in previous occasions, but still possess a wealth of talent and the ability to perform much better. Rickea Jackson has been their offensive leader at 13.5 points per game, but center Lauren Betts was their best player, averaging 10.5 points and 11.8 rebounds. Forward Angel Reese (7.8 points) needs to take a step forward.
Colombia finished with a 2-2 record and took third place in Group B. They are coming off a great showing against Mexico and have the physicality to bother the Americans. Their fortune will depend on their shooters' ability to space the court. Shooting guard Jenifer Muñoz is the team's offensive engine after averaging 16.3 points per game.
The last time these teams matched up was during the 2019 AmeriCup Group Stage, with Team USA winning 88-46.
Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela
14:40 local time
Puerto Rico finished second in Group B with a 3-1 record but both Colombia and Mexico made things tough for them. They haven't looked like the fast-breaking team we're accustomed to, arguably because they didn't have a training camp prior to the tournament, but they showed great resolve in closing out games. Arella Guirantes, at 16.3 points per game, is still their main weapon but will need another teammate to step up and take some pressure off.
The Venezuelans (1-3) earned a surprising third place in Group A. Their epic comeback victory against Cuba allowed them to come out on top in the 3-way tiebreaker between them, Cuba and Argentina. The offense (fourth best at 73.0 points per game) has delivery and they had the Group Stage's leading scorer (Daniela Wallen at 20.5 points per game) but they'll need to more than that to shock the boricuas.
The most recent matchup between them was at the 2021 AmeriCup, where Puerto Rico prevailed, 88-50, in their Group Stage duel.
Canada vs. Argentina
17:40 local time
The squad helmed by Spanish head coach Víctor Lapeña has looked solid on both ends of the court. Canada was the team that scored the most (86.0) and allowed the least points (51.8) in the Group Stage. That explains their perfect 4-0 record in Group B and their label as the tournament's favorite. Team play has been their main weapon as they have 6 different players scoring more than 8.0 points per game, led by veterans Nirra Fields, Shay Colley and Kayla Alexander (who's leading the tournament with 13.0 rebounds per game).
Argentina has been the other side of the coin with inconsistency as the main culprit. They had great moments in the Group Stage against United States and Brazil but made too many mistakes down the stretch, which explains their 1-3 record and fourth place finish in Group A. However, this is still a dangerous team – especially due to the presence of Melissa Gretter (leading the team in assists at 7.3), Andrea Boquete (16.5 points) and Florencia Chagas (10.3 points) – and on a good day they're capable of upsetting anyone.
The last time these teams went head-to-head was at the 2017 AmeriCup final, where the North Americans beat the South Americans 67-65 in Argentina.
Brazil vs. Mexico
20:10 local time
The South American squad had an impressive showing in the Group Stage, finishing with a perfect 4-0 record in Group A. Head coach José Neto used a longer rotation than usual, giving all 12 of their players minutes in every game (Aline Moura played the least at 9.9 minutes). This will allow them to be rested heading to the decisive stages and with several players ready to go off. Tainá Paixao (13.8 points), Damiris Dantas (13.0) and Kamilla Soares (10.3 points and 8.8 rebounds) form a powerful trio with the potential to outclass any opponent.
Mexico (1-3), who finished the Group Stage in fourth place in Group B after a tough loss to Colombia, will look for the home crowd to carry them against a Brazilian team that looks stronger in just about every facet – especially in the paint. Their main calling card will be the offensive prowess of Sofía Payan (12.0 PTS), Claudia Ramos and Paola Beltrán (10.3 each).
This will be the first time these teams face each other since the 2013 Women's AmeriCup (played in Xalapa, Mexico). On that occasion, Brazil prevailed 97-45 in the Group Stage.