The United States women’s basketball national team played its first game of the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup tournament as expected, winning big over Paraguay.
Fowles (15 points, 14 rebounds) was the anchor, DeShields (20p/8assists/3r) was the motor and Canada (9p/5a/3s) was the conductor. Neither of them played in the fourth quarter, though Canada spent 23 minutes on the court, which was the most of any player. USA’s starting lineup featured Fowles, Tina Charles, DeShields, Canada and Napheesa Collier.
Stefanie Dolson contributed quality minutes, subbing in for Fowles and adding 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting and grabbing four rebounds. Arike Ogunbowale also added 17 points. All 12 players on the roster saw the court, and 11 scored. Khadijah Sessions was the only player who finished the game scoreless, and didn’t hit the court until the fourth quarter.
Team USA plays again on Tuesday, Sept. 24 vs. Colombia at 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN+.
Here are some takeaways from USA’s big win over Paraguay.
The backcourt of the future is fun, already
Canada to DeShields. DeShields to Canada. And repeat. Canada finished with a +/- of 54 and DeShields, 47 – the highest for the U.S.
Diamond DeShields and Jordin Canada had amazing WNBA seasons with Chicago and Seattle, respectively, and they’ve made an almost seamless transition from opponents to teammates in the Team USA system.
Their play together on Sunday for team USA is something to be excited about when not only thinking about the rest of the AmeriCup tournament and the future of Team USA’s backcourt. Veterans Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are committed to playing in their fifth Olympics for the U.S. in 2020, but with Bird and Taurasi recovering from injury, we got to see a peek at who’s up next.
The U.S. has such an embarrassment of riches in the talent department.
If it’s not 2020, it has to be 2024 for DeShields and Canada.
The changes in physicality
Before the USA blew the score open, the foul “trouble” was noticeable. The WNBA is a physical league, so it’ll be interesting how a team featuring 10 WNBA players will adjust to FIBA refereeing.
Paraguay’s game plan was to drive to the basket and had already shot 14 free throws early in the second quarter. By halftime, USA committed 12 fouls and Paraguay, 6.
Paraguay eventually caught up, ending the game with 13 fouls to the U.S.’s 17, but shot 23 freethrows throughout the content (the U.S. shot 11). And in the grand scheme it didn’t matter, but it may against a team like Brazil, which the U.S. plays on Sept. 26.
During one of the timeouts in the first half, head coach Dawn Staley could be heard through the broadcast coaching the team to focus on playing solid defense and staying out of foul trouble.
Next up for the U.S., Colombia on Sept. 23.
The USA selection committee chose 12 players to participate in the 2019 USA AmeriCup games that will take place in San Juan Puerto Rico
Love our 24/7 women’s basketball coverage? Join our Patreon now and support this work, while getting extra goodies and subscriber-only content for yourself.