Pilsen, Czech Republic - The USA edged Spain 77-75 in a dramatic championship game to earn the title at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship for Women. Angela Salvadores was incredible for Spain, keeping them in contention with a 40-point performance and was named the tournament MVP.
Lauren Cox was the difference for the USA, coming close to a triple-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks while Asia Durr added 17 points as both came up with big plays when it counted for the winners. Arike Ogunbowale contributed 15 points and eight rebounds for the champions. Maria Cazorla added 14 points in the defeat.
The score was tied at 71 with just 90 seconds remaining when Cox and Durr won the contest for the Americans. Cox scored inside to put the USA in front and then came up with a big blocked shot. Durr was then fouled and made both free-throws to bring the victory to the USA.U17USASpain1
Spain stayed in the game with excellent three-point shooting (11-of-25) as Salvadores canned 5-of-7 while shooting 16-of-29 overall from the field. The Americans out-rebounded Spain 51-40, and that, combined with Cox's eight blocks were the deciding factors in the game. The two squads were by far the best of the bunch as the closest win for both undefeated teams coming into the final were two 18-point wins by Spain. The USA's closest game was their 28-point semifinal win over Hungary.
Virag Kiss had 21 points and 10 rebounds as Hungary rallied from a 15-point deficit to edge out tournament hosts Czech Republic 67-61 for third place. It was the Hungarians best effort ever in a major international competition and the game was played to almost a full house.
Hungary started off very poorly as the Czech Republic led 25-13 after the first quarter. But Hungary changed their defense, and they came within one point (37-36) by halftime. Dorottya Nagy was the leader of Team Hungary as she scored in critical situations. Kiss was solid on defense, holding Julia Reisingerova to only 7 points (and 13 rebounds). Previously Hungary had some problems against the zone, but in this game they found the open outside shots. Debóra Dubei scored an important 3-pointer as they went into the final two minutes with a four-point lead. Nagy added 18 points and 9 caroms for the winners while Petra Holesinska had 16 points for the hosts.
Australia easily topped Canada 69-39 in the fifth place game. Maddison Rocci and Anneli Maley provided ten points each for the Aussies. Maley added ten rebounds and three steals to her tally. Bridget Carleton responded with 11 points for Canada.
Japan finished a strong tournament with a 7th place finish as they beat France 65-60. Risa Nishioka had 11 points for Japan while Johanna Muzet answered with 16 points for France.
Brazil beat Korea 68-63 for ninth place. China walloped Mali 61-27 for 11th place as Zhen Wang had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the winners. Italy won over Mexico 64-52 for 13th place and the Slovak Republic escaped the cellar with a 63-55 win over Egypt despite 16 points and 19 rebounds from Egypt's 6'1″ center Raneem Mohamed.
Carl Berman is a Managing Partner of NetScouts Basketball.