July 19, 2015
Pan Am Semifinals (USA 66, Cuba 65) | Box Score
TORONTO — South Carolina center Alaina Coates recorded her second straight double-double, tallying 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds for USA Basketball, which edged Cuba, 66-65, in the semifinals of the 2015 Pan Am Games on Sunday. With the victory, the Americans advanced to Monday’s Gold Medal game against the winner of Brazil-Canada.
Coates came up clutch late in the game on both ends of the floor. Her put-back layup with 46 seconds remaining in the game gave the U.S. a 63-62 lead, and the Gamecock rising junior recorded her second block of the game on Cuba’s next possession.
Cuba regained the lead (64-63) following a U.S. turnover, but two free throws from the Americans on their next possession put them back in front. Cuba was unable to get a shot away on its final possession.
Coates, who has averaged 10.3 rebounds per game in the tournament, continued to pace the U.S. on the glass down the stretch. Eight of her 15 rebounds came in the fourth quarter, and she added six points in the final 10 minutes for the Americans.
Cuba jumped out to an early 10-4 lead on Sunday after causing four early turnovers, but the U.S. scored six of the first quarter’s final eight points to take an 18-17 lead.
The Americans managed just eight points in the second quarter, as Cuba entered halftime with a 37-26 advantage. Coates tallied the first points of the third quarter to cut it to single digits, and her second basket of the afternoon made it 46-39 Cuba with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
The U.S. trailed by two (48-46) as the two teams headed to the fourth quarter. The Americans’ deficit remained at two (55-53) before Coates evened the game after a put-back basket following two offensive rebounds near the halfway mark of the fourth quarter. She finished with six of the team’s 13 offensive rebounds.
Monday’s Gold Medal game is set for 8:45 p.m. (ET) and it can be seen on ESPNU.
FIBA U19 World Championships (USA 88, China 62) | Box Score
CHEKHOV, Russia — South Carolina forward A’ja Wilson continued her strong play at the FIBA U19 World Championships on Sunday, leading USA Basketball to an 88-62 win over China behind 17 points and 10 rebounds. With the victory, head coach Dawn Staley and the Americans remained perfect in Group B play.
The rising sophomore, who tallied a double-double in the first game of the tournament on Saturday, once again paced the Americans in the early going. China built a one-point lead (11-10) less than three minutes into the game, but back-to-back field goals from Wilson gave the Americans a 14-11 advantage with 5:47 left in the first quarter.
Wilson finished the first half with 17 points to go along with eight rebounds for a U.S. team that outrebounded China, 60-25, on the day. The Americans closed the second quarter on an 18-3 run, as they took a 55-29 lead into halftime.
Staley’s squad saw its lead drop to 15 (58-43) after China scored 13 of the third quarter’s first 17 points. Wilson and the Americans responded, going on an 11-0 run to take a 69-43 lead with just under two minutes left in the quarter.
A defensive rebound by Wilson early in the third quarter secured the double-double for the Gamecock rising sophomore. Wilson has averaged a team-best 10 rebounds per game during the tournament, and her 17.5 points per contest also rank first on the team.
“One of the biggest strengths of our team is our length,” Staley said. “A’ja is able to score down there in the paint at will. We have six post players on this team, and they’re all different.”
Staley and the U.S. pushed the advantage to 85-53 following a 6-0 run halfway through the fourth quarter. The Americans shot 44.4 percent from the floor on the day, and the U.S. finished the game 7-15 from the 3-point line. China connected on 11 3-pointers, but ended the game with 17 turnovers.
Wilson, Staley and the U.S. resume group play when they face Egypt on Tuesday, July 21 at 1:15 p.m. (ET). The contest will be streamed live HERE.