The USA Basketball Women’s 3×3 U18 World Cup Team is coming home from China with a perfect 7-0 record and the gold medal.
The Americans beat previously unbeaten Czech Republic 21-14 on Sunday night to win the gold medal game.
Aquira DeCosta, a 6-2 wing from St. Mary’s (Stockton, Calif.) who is ranked as the No. 5 rising senior by ESPNw, was named the tournament MVP. She scored 35 points over the seven games and takes home her first gold after being part of bronze medal teams at the 2015 U16 National Team and 2016 U17 World Cup Team.
“Because of (the bronzes), I came out every game with such intensity,” she said. “I wanted to win every game, and that’s what we did. We got the gold medal, and I’m truly blessed to be able to play with this group of girls. I’m just happy. Words can’t explain how I’m feeling right now.
“All of us played exceptionally well. I thought other players, Janelle in the post scored well, Destiny (Littleton) hit some key shots the whole tournament, Christyn (Williams) attacked really well, so I was shocked that I got MVP.”
Littleton, a McDonald’s All American and Texas signee, averaged 48.1 points per game for The Bishop’s School (LaJolla, Calif.). Bailey, a North Carolina signee from Providence Day (Matthews, N.C.), was a McDonald’s All-American and ranked No. 4 among post players by ESPNw. Williams, a 5-11 guard from Central Arkansas Christian School (North Little Rock, Ark.), is ranked as the No. 1 rising senior by ESPNw.
Bailey scored a team-high 11 points in the gold medal game and finished with 40 points overall. Littleton completed the tournament with 32 points, while Williams scored 22 over the seven games.
The score was tied at 13-13 with 3:30 remaining. DeCosta and Littleton each scored a point, but the Czech Republic answered to cut the lead to 15-14. A Littleton two-pointer upeed the lead to 17-14, and Bailey and DeCosta combined for the next three points – all from inside the paint. Bailey then scored on a drive with 43.6 seconds left for the win.
“When you put this jersey on and USA is across our chests, just to play for our country and win gold means everything,” said Littleton. “The first couple of games, we’re new to this. None of my teammates have played 3×3, and it’s a lot different from five-on-five. We just stuck together and fought through.”
It was Team USA’s third gold medal in six editions of the event and the first gold since 2013.