A tough one against Brazil
The USA basketball women’s national team finished the group stage of the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup tournament undefeated after an 89-73 win over Brazil on Thursday. Team USA’s next game will be Saturday against the second-place finisher in Group A.
USA-Brazil was, as expected, the biggest test and most physical game of the tournament thus far for the U.S. And though the third quarter was sloppy and foul trouble remained an issue for Team USA, it led comfortably throughout the contest — up 53-40 at the half and 72-52 after three.
But Brazil remained a threat. Brazil matched the USA’s physicality, was able to both hit outside shots and take it to Fowles and Charles (and eventually Dolson and Williams) in the paint. It helped to have players that can match the U.S.’s size and abilities.
Multiple Brazilians have WNBA and quality FIBA experience, highlighted by Damiris Dantas (currently with the Minnesota Lynx), who finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds. Brazil is captained by 37-year-old WNBA veteran Érika de Souza, who finished with 13 points and 5 boards. Clarissa Dos Santos brought in 11 points and 4 rebounds.
A win is a win, though, and with it, the U.S. finished the group stage undefeated and will go into the knockout rounds as Group B’s No. 1 seed. On Saturday, the U.S. will play the No. 2 seed in Group A (which features Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico) and Brazil will play the No. 1 seed from Group A.
The United States women's basketball national team played its first game of the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup tournament as expected, winning big over Paraguay. ...
Adjusting to the “FIBA whistle”
As noted previously, the U.S. bigs will need to continue to work to adjust to the “FIBA whistle” moving forward, especially if playing Brazil again or Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico or really anyone else in Group A. Brazil essentially provided a road map to eliminating USA bigs. (Dantas drew fouls on three consecutive possessions in the third quarter.)
At one point, Charles slammed a ball in frustration after fouling Dantas and giving her an opportunity to complete a three-point play. Fowles seemed to yell in frustration after de Souza hit a layup, which Fowles couldn’t fully guard because at that point she had four fouls.
Eventually, Fowles fouled out, marking her second straight game with foul trouble. She wasn’t able to get into a groove against Brazil and provided only two points and four rebounds before her exit.
Interestingly enough, Olivia Nelson-Ododa registered the only block of the game (on Dantas). It was the only block from either side that didn’t come with even minimal physical contact, it seems. Nelson-Ododa is a sophomore at UConn.
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