It was a somewhat low-energy outing on both sides, but the United States prevailed 67-46 over Canada in Sunday’s FIBA Women’s AmeriCup gold medal game.
After taking down Puerto Rico 78-54 on Saturday, the expectation was that the meeting with Canada would be something more of a slugfest between the two best teams in the region. After having played five games in seven days leading to the gold-medal game, the shots simply weren’t falling.
Well, unless your name is Sylvia Fowles, Tina Charles or Stefanie Dolson: the three veterans who used their height and skill to maneuver around opponents all tournament long. Each shot over 60 percent in the final.
Fowles and Charles scored 12 points apiece, with Charles adding a game-high 11 rebounds. Jordin Canada contributed 11 points and six rebounds, while Dolson added 10 points and two blocks (a mark matched by Fowles). Napheesa Collier only scored five points, but she grabbed an impressive 11 rebounds.
Canada was without Kayla Alexander, who suffered an injury in the semifinal game against Brazil, and her absence showed. The team shot just 27.5 percent. Ruth Hamblin and Miranda Ayim stepped up on the defensive end, but it wasn’t enough to contain the United States.
At the end of the tournament, Fowles, Canada and Diamond DeShields were named to the tournament’s All-Star Five, along with Canada’s Alexander and Brazil’s Damiris Dantas. Fowles was named MVP of the tournament.
The next phase of the Olympic qualification process, the FIBA Women’s Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the Americas, takes place November 14-17. This will be the first tournament under the new USA Basketball training plan, wherein the United States will participate in the full Olympic qualification process despite having already qualified by winning the 2018 FIBA World Cup.
The top eight teams from AmeriCup were drawn into two groups, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in February. Team USA is in Group B and will travel to Argentina to face the host country, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia. Canada is hosting Group A, which consists of Canada, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
But first, the United States will play in exhibition games against some of the country’s best NCAA programs. Specific opponents have yet to be announced, but in the most recent iteration of this exhibition series, Team USA took on eight teams, including UConn, Baylor and Stanford.