Sassá Gonçalves leads Brazil to first win of 2023 FIBA Women's AmeriCup
LEON (MEXICO) - With four scorers all tipping in 13 or more points, Brazil’s Sassá Gonçalves led her team with 16 points as Brazil notched their first win of the 2023 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup, defeating Cuba 92-53 on Saturday afternoon at Domo de la Feria in León, Guanajuato, Mexico.
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Brazil jumped to a hot start as they scored more than double what Cuba had, tipping in 29 points as Kamilla Cardoso led the charge with the help of veteran Damiris Dantas combining for 15 of Brazil’s 29 points.
Their defensive pressure caused Cuba to make seven turnovers and allowed Brazil to dominate on the defensive boards to stop Cuba from getting any second chances in the paint.
Nahomis Vargas led Cuba’s scoring after the first quarter and shot 66 percent from the field in the first half to reach 10 points as Isabela Jourdain added 7 points of her own as Cuba trailed 49-31.
Gonçalves also reached 10 points by the half as Brazil’s strong rotation shared the scoring responsibility as Alana Gonçalo stepped in to handle playmaking as she recorded 4 assists by halftime.
The advantage for Brazil was their three-point shooting, as Cuba had yet to hit a shot from beyond the arc by the half, while Brazil was making 50 percent of their shots and shooting 58 percent from the field to Cuba’s 31 percent.
Cuba was able to capitalize on turnovers scoring 12 points by the half from Brazil’s mistakes, but the difference came in the paint as Brazil used their size and skill to outwork Cuba under the basket on top of their precise ball movement.
Brazil’s depth continued to shine into the second half, as nine players scored five or more points in the win and Gonçalves, Dantas, Cardoso and Emanuely De Oliveira – who scored eight second half points – all finished with 13 or more points.
Yamara Amargo’s nine second half points, and 13 total, led Cuba’s scoring as she shot 45 percent from field goal range in the game, but as Cuba was shooting just 27 percent as a team compared to Brazil’s 50 percent, Cuba could not keep up in the fourth quarter with their bench depth.
Gonçalves finished with 16 points and 4 rebounds while Cardoso finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds, and Gonçalo added 6 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
Vargas’ double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds was key for Cuba on both sides of the ball while Amargo’s second half charge saw her finish with 13 points and 5 rebounds in the loss.