Aug. 18, 2012
GURABO, P.R. -- The USA U18 basketball team steamed past Canada Saturday night, bolting to a 24-8 first-quarter advantage and eventually running the final score to 95-46 in the semifinal round of the FIBA Americas Championship for Women.
Tennessee freshman forward/center Bashaara Graves was one of four United States players scoring in double figures, tossing in 14 in 20 minutes of action, thanks to seven-of-eight marksmanship from the field. The graduate of Clarksville (Tenn.) High School also contributed three rebounds and three assists for the winning squad, which improved to 4-0 in the tournament.
USA moves on to Sunday's gold medal game, where it hopes to win its sixth-straight title at this tournament. The Americans will play Brazil (4-0), a 67-54 victor over Argentina, in the other semifinal round match-up on Saturday. Live video and stats will be available at www.fibaamericas.com.
The USA played incredibly well in the first half in taking a 53-20 lead at the break. The Americans committed only one turnover and shot a sizzling 62 percent from the floor, connecting on 23 of 37 attempts. Most of those baskets came at close range, with the United States scoring 32 points in the paint. Many of those easy buckets could be attributed to a tally of 26 fast-break points, with 19 of them coming off 12 Canada turnovers.
On defense, Team USA also was dominant around the basket in the first half, allowing only four points inside by Canada. The shots weren't falling for the Canadians elsewhere, either, as they managed only seven field goals in 26 tries during the first 20 minutes.
For the game, the Red, White and Blue finished at 57 percent from the floor, knocking down 40 of 70 shots, and out-rebounding Canada, 44-27. USA outscored Canada, 40-2, in fast-break points and 58-18 for points in the paint, with the USA harassing Canada into 22 turnovers and generating 32 points off those miscues.