The U.S. women’s basketball team added some hardware to its Olympic preparation Sunday night, taking the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup championship over Canada 67-46.
Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles, who have combined for five Olympic gold medals, led the way in points for Team USA in the gold-medal game in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Charles, who won a gold medal with a U.S. national team for the eighth time and plays with the WNBA New York Liberty, scored a double-double with 12 points and 11 points. Fowles, who plays for the Minnesota Lynx, had 12 points and six rebounds.
Jordin Canada added 11 points for the U.S. and Stefanie Dolson scored 10.
The team also included 3x3 Youth Olympic gold medalists Napheesa Collier, Arike Ogunbowale and Katie Lou Samuelson, who reunited on the same team for the first time in five years.
The U.S. powered through the tournament, which determines regional superiority with all the top teams from North and South America. The U.S. hasn’t played in the AmeriCup since 2007, when it also won the gold medal.
Team USA won all six games by double digits. It joined Canada as the only teams in the tournament to enter the medal round with 5-0 records. Team USA won games by as many as 79 points and held five of its opponents to 54 or fewer points.
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The U.S. has already qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by winning the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, but will still participate in one of two FIBA Americas pre-Olympic qualifying tournaments in November. A top two finish there would send the U.S. to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February.
Fowles, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, shined again for the U.S. She hit her first three shots, and had eight points and four rebounds in the first quarter alone. In Saturday’s 78-54 win over Puerto Rico in the semifinals, Fowles scored 17 points and had 13 rebounds.
Team Canada, which was led by Jamie Scott’s 12 points, did not make it easy. Team USA was ahead by just five points, 14-9, after one quarter and was up 34-24 at halftime, but blew the game open with 23 points in the third quarter.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.