Guadalajara, Mexico – Compiling an 18-2 run midway through the first period, the USA (2-2) went on to record a convincing 87-41 win over Jamaica (0-4) to finish the 2011 Pan American Games in seventh place on Monday morning at the CODE Dome in Guadalajara Mexico.
Tavelyn James (Eastern Michigan/Detroit, Mich.) sank 5-of-6 from 3-point to lead the USA with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Tallying 10 points in the first quarter, Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y.) added 12 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots, while Shante Evans (Hofstra/West Chester, Pa.) recorded a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double and Kevi Luper (Oral Roberts/Adair, Okla.) finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
"We were a little flat to start, but they regained their focus and got the job done," said USA head coach Ceal Barry. "I think they had a healthy respect for Jamaica, and they executed our offense and took care of the ball."
The USA's 62 rebounds against outsized and overpowered Jamaica, including 10 boards from Avery Warley (Liberty/Washington, D.C.), established a new high for the U.S. women in Pan American Games play, and the team also set a U.S. competition record with 49.5 rebounds per game.
"We knew we were bigger and stronger than our opponent, but we didn't lose our focus," said Christine Flores (Missouri/San Antonio, Texas). "Of course, we wish we had been competing for a medal, but it was a great experience. We all got to play and contribute, and we finished strong with two wins."
Jamaica managed to keep pace with the USA over the first three minutes of the game, and the USA trailed 9-6 at 7:17. A 3-pointer from Emilie Johnson (UC Santa Barbara/Loomis, Calif.), however, ignited an 18-2 U.S. run that included eight points from Stewart and four U.S. scorers overall, and the USA lead 24-11 at the first intermission.
The Americans did not slow their pace in the second quarter as James sank three 3-pointers and Luper added nine points in the stanza to help the red, white and blue race to 28 points while its defense held Jamaica to just six points.
"We hit shots today, and we made good passes, made a lot of layups," James said. "It was good basketball."
With the game's outcome already decided, the USA went on to outscore Jamaica 19-15 in the third period and 16-9 in the fourth.
All 11 available players had scored for the USA by the end of the third quarter. Valencia McFarland (Mississippi/Edwards, Miss.) did not play due to a sore right shoulder.
As just the second U.S. girls high school basketball player to represent her country in a Pan American Games competition, Stewart now lists second overall in the U.S. competition record book for blocked shots (9, 2.3 bpg.), third for rebounds (45, 11.3 rpg.) and fourth in free throw percentage (.885, 23-26 FTs).
Averaging a team-high 15.3 points per game, Stewart set a single-game high with 21 rebounds against Argentina on Oct. 21, while McFarland collected a record seven steals in that same game.
Also against Argentina, the USA collected 24 steals for a new U.S. single-game high.
"This experience was energizing for me," Barry said. "I loved being around the players, and these players had great energy. They were very resilient. We lost our first two games, but they didn't get down on each other. They didn't get negative or cynical; they just had big eyes and big ears and really listened. That's very impressive.
"This experience definitely will help them in their upcoming seasons," Barry added. "Playing four games of international basketball is going to make all the difference in the world for themselves and their teams. It will be a positive impact on their team. The college coaches that allowed their players to play on this team, it was an unselfish move on their part. I know USA Basketball and myself personally are very appreciative of that."
Overall, the USA women in Pan American Games competitions have won seven of 15 gold medals, as well as four silver and two bronze medals, compiling a 74-14 overall record.
Release courtesy USA Basketball