The U.S. women’s national team at the Pan American Games escaped its semifinal contest with Puerto Rico at Colisei Eduardo Dibos on Friday, walking away with a 62-59 win to advance to the gold medal game.
This is the second straight time the U.S. will play for the Pan American Games gold medal and the 13th overall. Brazil will be the opponent in Saturday night’s game, which started at 9 p.m. The result of the championship tilt was unavailable at presstime.
Prior to Saturday, the two countries had played six times now with a gold medal on the line.
Kansas State women’s basketball player Peyton Williams grabbed two rebounds in Friday’s victorey, extending her streak of recording at least one board in every game this tournament.
The U.S. trailed after the opening quarter for the first time during this year’s Pan American Games. The U.S. led 16-13 with 2:30 left in the quarter before Puerto Rico made consecutive 3s and a running jumper to edge ahead.
The second quarter was a low-scoring affair, as both teams struggled to score for nearly three minutes. The U.S. hung on to a 33-30 lead at the half after Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter finished a layup towards the end of the half. Miami’s Beatrice Mompremier played 20 minutes in the opening half with 14 points and 10 rebounds. She finished with that same scoring line and picked up two more rebounds.
The third quarter was physical, both teams trading scoring runs. The U.S. held a 41-40 advantage with 3:09 to play in the quarter before Puerto Rico took the lead with a layup. Princeton’s Bella Alarie scored a layup and Stanford’s Kiana Williams hit a jumper to give the U.S. three points of separation with under a minute and a half to play.
The U.S. defense was dominant in the fourth quarter, not allowing Puerto Rico a field goal for the first four and a half minutes. However, the U.S. struggled to score just as much, not making a field goal in over five minutes. Puerto Rico took a one point lead with five free throws and a layup.
Carter answered this run with a layup, contributing to her 14 points in the game. Carter countered two more free throws from Puerto Rico with a jump shot to take the lead again. The two teams went back and forth a couple more times before Alarie finished a put back with under a minute remaining. She and Carter each made a free throw with under 25 seconds left to seal the win.
The U.S. shot 39.1% from the field (27-of-69), and Puerto Rico shot 35% (21-of-60). Puerto Rico was more accurate at the foul line though, at 83.3% (15-of-18), while the U.S. shot 60% (6-of-10.