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Another Dominant Win for USA in FIBA Americas Championship
Women's Basketball  . 

Another Dominant Win for USA in FIBA Americas Championship

Aug. 7, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – For the second time in as many games, USA Basketball controlled the paint en route to a 118-50 win over El Salvador in Group A action of the FIBA Americas Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. South Carolina freshman A’ja Wilson was aggressive early for head coach Dawn Staley, scoring eight of her 16 points in the first quarter to help stake the Americans to a 33-11 lead after the first 10 minutes.

“I felt we were ready to go,” Staley said. “I felt we used our length to our advantage. The players who started the game got us out to a big lead, and then we pretty much cruised the rest of the way.

“One of the goals we had coming in was to continue to try to get the ball inside and shoot high-percentage shots by giving the ball to the post players, and I think we did a good job of that,” Staley continued. “Then when we started hitting down low, it got contagious to the outside. Destinee Walker came in and knocked down some 3s; Marina (Mabrey) knocked down some 3s. It’s good to see that phase of our game get jump-started, because if you’re looking at our team, that’s probably where our weaknesses are. It was good to see them hit some open 3s.”

Team USA scored first, but El Salvador netted the game’s next five points. Off a U.S. miss, Wilson pulled down the offensive rebound and was fouled on her put-back attempt. Her free throws narrowed the game to 5-4, and Ariel Atkins put the Americans back on top, 6-5, with an inside basket. The combination was just the beginning of a 20-0 run that included six points from Wilson, who was also active on the glass. After Staley had challenged her team in the previous game to improve defensively, the Americans forced four turnovers during the four-minute run that broke the game open.

The first quarter ended with the U.S. leading 33-11, and the Americans doubled that advantage by halftime, outscoring El Salvador 34-11 in the second quarter to take a 67-22 lead into the locker room at the midway point of the game.

As it did against Mexico, Team USA surged again in the third quarter with the defense allowing just seven points while the offense poured in 38 in the 10-minute period. El Salvador hit just 3-of-16 from the field and lost the rebound battle throughout the game. Trailing 105-29, El Salvador won the fourth quarter 21-13, but it was too late to overtake the Americans.

The U.S. scored 78- of its 118 points in the paint and turned 18 El Salvador turnovers into 35 points, including 34 fast break points. Destinee Walker led the Americans with 18 points, while Jessica Shepard added 17 and Wilson came in third with 16. Napheesa Collier’s 12 rebounds were a game-high with Wilson close behind with eight to go with a steal and a blocked shot.

Team USA will close out group play on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (ET) against Canada. Both teams are 2-0 so far and are guaranteed a spot in Saturday’s semifinals. The winner of Friday’s game will win the group and play in the first semifinal at 5:30 p.m. (ET) against the second-place finisher in Group B, which has all four teams tied at 1-1 going into Friday’s action.