COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Playing together in its first game of the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team (1-0) debuted with an impressive 104-55 win over Mexico (0-1) that saw five U.S. players finish in double-figure scoring as the team scored 84 of its points from the paint on Wednesday night at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
Team USA had five players in double figures, led by Brianna Turner's (Notre Dame) 16 points and a double-double from A'ja Wilson (South Carolina).
UCLA's Recee' Caldwell started at point and registered five assists, two points and one rebound in 17 minutes of action.
"Going into the Mexico contest, our game plan was to constantly go to our bigs," Caldwell said. "That is where our biggest advantage is. So we just tried to feed them as much as possible. I believe we did a good job in executing what Coach (Dawn Staley) wanted, but we need to just keep getting better."
The USA took control of the game right from the opening tip, and the first quarter saw the USA jump out to a 14-2 lead before Mexico fought back to cut it to 14-7 with a 3-pointer at 4:57. The USA closed the period with a 10-0 run to lead 26-10.
The run extended into the second quarter as the USA put up eight unanswered points to take a 34-10 advantage at 8:15 when Turner scored off of an assist from Caldwell. The 18-0 spurt was the USA’s largest run of the game.
Mexico ended its drought with a make from behind the arc, and then went on to make two more 3-pointers in the next two minutes to trail 38-21 at 4:56. The USA regained the game’s momentum form there, allowing just one more made three from Mexico while putting up nine points to lead 47-24 at the half.
While eight U.S. scorers put up 32 points in the third quarter, the only place Mexico found some breathing room was from beyond the arc, scoring nine of its 16 third-period points from deep. Mexico made its last 3-pointer of the stanza with just :02 remaining on the clock as Team USA led 79-40 after three quarters.
The USA never let up in the fourth, compiling its largest lead of 49 points just before the final buzzer to win 104-55.
The USA used its size advantage to outrebound Mexico 53-17, its depth to tally 55 points off of the bench and shared the ball to record 27 assists. The U.S. defense held Mexico to just 30.1 percent shooting from the field.
Mexico was led by 15 points from Claudia Ramos.
Also today, in Group B Argentina (1-0) beat Chile (0-1) 45-40 and Puerto Rico (1-0) downed Brazil (0-1) 64-57; while in the USA’s Group A, Canada (1-0) defeated El Salvador (0-1) 65-34.
The USA will take on El Salvador at 5:30 p.m. (MT) on Aug. 7 and then wrap up its preliminary round against Canada at 5:30 p.m. (MT) on Aug. 8. Admission to the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship is free, and all games will take place in Sports Center I at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
Following the preliminary round, the top two finishing teams from each group will meet in the semifinals on Aug. 9, with the winners meeting in the gold medal game on Aug. 10. The third and fourth-placed teams after the preliminary round will compete for fifth through eighth places, including consolation semifinals on Aug. 9 and classification games on Aug. 10.
The USA is looking for a seventh-straight gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women, and is now 43-2 over all in the event since it was first held in 1988.