PUERTO MONTT (2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women) – USA, Brazil, Canada and Australia have topped their groups at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women, each keeping their unbeaten run alive on Day Three in Chile.
The day started with the USA recording a comfortable 83-49 victory over an Argentine team that never stopped trying. Breanna Stewart (12 points) and Diamond DeShields (11 points) led the way for the US, while Melisa Gretter (9 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds) was again excellent for Argentina.
Her efforts were not lost on US coach Jennifer Rizzotti. “I love her, I think she is a great player and she played her heart out today,” she said. “I have a lot of respect for her game and my heart goes out to her that she can’t continue in this competition.”
Australia was next on court and they made light work of France, prevailing 67-45 thanks to their impressive size at each position, which made their zone defence impregnable for the French. Speedy guard Rebecca Cole led the way with 18 points, while the athletic Valeriane Ayayi scored 13 for France.
France coach Jerome Fournier frankly summed the day up by saying: “Our defence was not very good.”
Canada faced Italy in Puerto Varas in what was expected to be the game of the day, but the North Americans made light work of the challenge, running away with a 75-51 victory.
Nirra Fields again led her country with 19 points and 7 rebounds, while Michelle Plouffe also continued her strong form with 17 points and 8 rebounds.
Japan too defied expectations, blowing Russia away with a 21-6 final quarter to run out 90-66 winners despite losing leading scorer Aya Watanabe to a knee injury in the second quarter. She had scored 13 points in 12 minutes to that point.
Aoi Katsura led the way with 22 points, while Shiori Takada scored 19 points on 5/9 three-point shooting. Ksenia Tikhonenko was Russia’s best with 15 points and 8 rebounds.
Spain faced a strong challenge from the Mika Baric-less Slovenia, but in the end the depth of the Spaniards and the class of Queralt Casas shone through to force a 75-58 result.
Casas finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals, while Tjasa Gortnar finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds for Slovenia.
China secured their passage through to the Eight-Finals with a 93-67 victory over Egypt. Xi Yang was again excellent with 19 point and 8 rebounds, and Hala Elshaarawy had 14 points and 9 rebounds for the African champions.
In the final game of the day, Brazil burst out of the blocks with a 20-9 first quarter and never let up, winning 88-50. Damiris Dantas again led the way with 15 points and 9 rebounds.
Sunday is a rest day at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women. When action resumes on Monday, Canada, USA, Italy, Japan, China and Russia will be playing off in Group E, while Australia, Brazil, France, Spain, Chile and Chinese Taipei will take the court in Group F.
Egypt, Argentina and Slovenia will play off for places 13-15 over Monday and Tuesday.