The dominant force in the women’s event, the US quartet of Aliyah Boston, Hailey van Lith, Samantha Brunelle and Paige Bueckers completed their unbeaten tournament at the Urban Park with an 18-4 win over the French four of Diaba Konate, Eve de Christophie Mahoutou, Mathilde Peyregne and Olivia Yale.
Despite only minimal playing time together prior to the Youth Olympic Games – a four-day training camp and one domestic 3x3 tournament – the four gold medallists said their experience together at under-17 level had helped them form an immediate bond.
“I think we executed our offensive plan and used our advantages to help us out and we just made the easy baskets,” said Van Lith, 17, who scored five points in the final.
Brunelle, also 17, said: “We kind of saved up the plays so we could use them in the gold-medal game, because that’s what we were focused on. When we ran those, we executed them well.”
Bueckers was USA’s top scorer with 10 points in their 21-9 semi-final win over China, and the 16-year-old added six more in the final, as did Boston. Gold medallists at Nanjing 2014, USA’s women also won bronze at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010.
In the bronze medal match, Singapore 2010 champions Australia (Suzi-Rose Deegan, Alexandra Fowler, Ruby Porter and Sara-Rose Smith) led from start to finish against China and came out 16-13 winners.