The Team USA U19 women’s team is heading towards gold in the FIBA U19 World Championship just like their men counterpart. And just like with the men, a Duke basketball player is helping the cause.
Rising sophomore guard Alexis Jones is having an impact on the USA while playing in Lithuania. They are currently 4-0 and have breezed through each opponent so far. Their toughest test may come tonight against 2-2 Canada in the second round. They then play France on July 24th to finish up the second round. The top four teams advance to the quarterfinals (and the USA is already one of them). That begins on July 26th.
The USA beat host Lithuania in the first game of pool play by a 113-47 score. They were led by UConn’s Breanna Stewart, who scored 19 of her game-high 26 points in the first quarter. She was a perfect 6-for-6 in that opening quarter.
The USA went on a 14-2 run to start the game and never trailed. By the 6:55 mark, all five USA starters had already scored. At the end of the first quarter, the US led 38-15 and had scored 17 points off eight Lithuania turnovers.
Duke’s Jones started and scored six points and had a game-high five steals. She also hauled in four rebounds and dished out three assists.
In the second game of pool play, the USA beat China, 103-56. They were led once again by UConn’s Stewart, who scored a game-high 20 points and four steals. Nine of those points came in a 17-0 second half scoring run that put the game away.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the first quarter, as the USA led 23-18, but that was as close as it would get.
Jones scored 13 points and dished out a game-high five assists. She also hauled in three rebounds. She scored six of her points during a pivotal 12-0 USA run in the second quarter that gave them some breathing room.
The USA finished pool play with a 103-26 thrashing of Mali. They jumped out to a 30-5 lead. Every US player scored and six scored in double figures. They were led once again by Stewart, who scored 17 points.
Jones scored 11 points, hauled in three rebounds, dished out three assists, and had a steal and a block. She also played a team-high 23 minutes.
Mali’s average height is just 5’8, while the USA is over six feet tall. Mali is also ranked 20th in the world, while the USA is on top. However, Mali never stopped fighting or playing, despite the disadvantages and the score (they actually briefly led 3-2).
On Monday night against the Netherlands to start the second round, the USA won 102-42. The youngest player on the US team, A’ja Wilson, scored a game high 20 points and hauled in a game high eight rebounds. Morgan Tuck of UConn scored 18 points, hauled in five rebounds, dished out three assists, and had three steals.
Jones had 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists. She got the USA on the board just twenty seconds in with a three pointer.They gained a double-digit advantage with 6:11 to play at 16-6. The USA went on a 16-0 run to end the first half, and led 56-19.
The USA forced 28 Dutch turnovers and turned them into 31 points. The USA only committed nine turnovers and had 27 assists on 41 made field goals.
I already mentioned that the quarterfinals begin on July 26th. The semifinals will be played on July 27th, with the gold medal game on July 28th. Hopefully Jones can bring home the third gold medal this summer to Duke (Rasheed Sulaimon with the U19 USA team and Tricia Liston with the women’s team).