USA hold off Canada and move on to defend Women's AmeriCup title
LEON (Mexico) – A strong second half from Canada breathed life into their game, but USA held off their North American neighbor to take the 67-63 victory and move on to the Final at the 2023 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup at Domo de la Feria in León, Guanajuato, Mexico on Saturday Night.
Despite Canada getting the lead early, USA quickly reclaimed it as Janiah Barker’s 100 percent shooting from the field along with 4 points from Rickea Jackson, Deja Kelly and Lauren Betts gave them a 22-17 lead.
Cassandre Prosper led Canada with 6 points and Aaliyah Edwards added 5 as the two combined for 11 of Canada’s 17 points.
USA shot over 50 percent from all areas of the floor in the first quarter and played tough defense recording 4 blocks in the first 10 minutes alone.
Pulling away even further in the second quarter, Charisma Osborne and Angel Reese both joined in offensively while Reese commanded the boards as she had all competitions, holding Canada to just 12 points and leading 39-29 at the half.
But the third quarter was all Canada, scoring 21 points as Prosper, Edwards, Kayla Alexander and Nirra Fields all contributed at least 11 points through three quarters and controlled the offensive boards to get put-back baskets good enough for 14 points.
A three-point game going into the final quarter with USA leading 53-50, the two teams traded baskets back and forth until Edwards tied the game at 56-all and Alexander’s veteran presence on defense kept Canada close.
Fields pulled-up for a three-pointer for Canada to take the lead with just under 7 minutes to play, with Canada throwing double teams to Betts and Jackson to keep USA from scoring.
But as Jackson denied Alexander defensively, she pulled up from mid-range to take the lead back and flustered Canada as the started to commit fouls, though USA committed turnovers showing their own frustration.
Fields had been dominant for Canada pushing the ball the length of the floor and driving the hoop to cut the deficit, but as USA played solid under the basket, Canada had to adjust their gameplan and could not hit long range shots.
With the ball coming back down the floor and Canada needing to foul, USA’s young squad held their own hitting necessary foul shots from the line and creating a four-point gap that would prove good enough for the win.
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Betts led USA with 12 points and 4 rebounds, Jackson added 11 points and 6 rebounds and Reese recorded a double-double once again with 10 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals.
Alexander led Canada with 17 points and 9 rebounds, Edwards added a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds and Prosper tipped in 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals for Canada in the loss.