LIMA, Peru – The U.S. Pan American Games Women’s Team survived a physical semifinal game on Friday night against Puerto Rico to record a 62-59 win and advance to Saturday night’s gold medal game at the 2019 Pan American Games at Colisei Eduardo Dibos.
The U.S. will play for Pan American Games gold for the second straight event and the 13th time overall. The USA will face Brazil on Saturday night at 9 p.m. This will be the sixth time the U.S. will face Brazil with a gold medal on the line. Saturday’s game will be streamed live on ESPN3.
K-State’s Peyton Williams aided Friday night’s USA effort with a pair of rebounds. Williams has now pulled in at least one rebound in every game in the tournament.
For the first time in the 2019 Pan American Games, the U.S. (4-0) trailed after the opening quarter, 21-18. The U.S. led by three, 16-13, with 2:30 remaining after a 10-2 run. Puerto Rico (2-2) responded with consecutive three-pointers and a running jumper to go in front after the first 10 minutes.
The second quarter was a physical battle, as neither team scored for just under three minutes. After Puerto Rico went up five, 23-18, the USA used a 10-3 run to lead 28-26 with 2:14 to play.
Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter would finish a layup with 45 seconds to push the U.S. in front by five, 33-28. A pair of free throws from Puerto Rico provided the U.S. with a 33-30 lead at the half. Miami’s Beatrice Mompremier led the USA in the first 20 minutes with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Mompremier would finish with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The third quarter matched the second for intensity and physicality. Puerto Rico rallied from a three-point deficit, 35-32, with an 8-0 run to force a U.S. timeout with 5:46 remaining in the third frame.
Following the timeout, the USA went on a 6-0 burst to take a 41-40 lead with 3:09 to play. After a Puerto Rico layup put them in front by one, a layup from Princeton’s Bella Alarie and a jumper from Stanford Kiana Williams gave the U.S. a three-point lead, 45-42, with 1:23 to play. A buzzer beating three-point from Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle pushed the U.S. in front by four, 50-46, heading into the fourth.
The USA defense did not all Puerto Rico to convert a field goal for over four and a half minutes to begin the fourth quarter. The U.S. offense was just as dormant, making one field goal in just over five minutes. Puerto Rico used five made free throws to close to within one before a layup at 5:34 of the final stanza gave them the lead, 53-52.
Carter, who shared team-high honors with Mompremier with 14 points, answered with a fastbreak layup to push the U.S. back in front, 54-53.
After two free throws from Puerto Rico, Carter again gave the U.S. the lead on a jumper with 2:52 to play. The teams exchanged the lead two more times before Alarie finished a putback with 42 seconds remaining. Carter and Alarie each hit a free throw with under 25 seconds to play to seal the win.
Due to the strong defensive play from both teams, the shooting percentages were subpar as the U.S. shot 39.1 percent (27-of-69) and Puerto Rico turned in a 35.0 percent (21-of-60) performance. Puerto Rico stayed in the game from the foul line, shooting 83.3 percent (15-of-18) compared to the USA’s 60.0 percent (6-of-10).
– kstatesports.com –