UCLA guards contribute to US gold in U19 Women’s World Cup
The U.S. won the gold medal in the FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup with a 69-66 victory over Spain on Sunday in Madrid, with a roster including former standout player Londynn Jones from Centennial High School in Corona and fellow UCLA guard Kiki Rice.
Ohio State forward Cotie McMahon made the tie-breaking layup with 22 seconds to play and Spain was unable to get a shot off on its final two possessions as the U.S. won the tournament for the third consecutive time and ninth time in the past 10 editions.
The U.S. entered the fourth quarter with a 54-52 lead. Incoming Notre Dame freshman guard Hannah Hidalgo’s 3-point basket with six minutes, 14 seconds remaining capped a tie-breaking 8-0 run that gave the U.S. a 62-54 lead.
Guard Elena Buenavida scored five points during Spain’s ensuing 7-0 run that cut the deficit to 62-61 with 3:46 left. McMahon ended the run with a driving layup with 3:03 to play.
Spain tied the score, 66-66, on Buenavida’s 3-point play with 1:25 remaining and guard Iyana Martin Carrion’s driving layup with 45 seconds left.
Spain did not get a shot off on the possession following McMahon’s basket, with Hidalgo stealing the ball from guard Alicia Florez Getino with 11 seconds to play.
UCLA guard Rice made the first of two free throws following Hidalgo’s steal. Center Awa Fam grabbed the rebound after Rice missed her second free throw but Spain was again unable to get a shot off.
McMahon led the Americans with 16, making six of eight shots and four of five free throws. University of South Carolina sophomore guard Chloe Kitts was the other American in double figures with 15 points, making seven of 12 shots.
Carrion led all scorers with 19, while Buenavida added 16 and Fam 11 in front of a crowd announced at 7,033 at Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad Madrid.
Jones, a 5-foot-5-inch UCLA sophomore guard, scored three points in 16:30 off the bench Sunday. She averaged 8.7 points in seven games in the tournament, all as a substitute.
The gold medal was the third for Jones in international competition. She played on the U.S. teams that won the gold medals in the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and 2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship.
The U.S. was 7-0 in the tournament. The U.S. has won 21 consecutive games since an 86-82 loss to Russia in the 2017 gold medal game.
Spain was 6-1. It is fourth in the girls rankings compiled by FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, based on recent performances in international tournaments. The U.S. is ranked first.
Players in the FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup must be born on or after Jan. 1, 2004.
The tournament was first played in 1985 and was played on a quadrennial basis through 2005, then a biennial basis since 2007.