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Arizona freshmen Helena Pueyo, Mara Mote continue in Round of 16 of U19 FIBA World Cup

Helena Pueyo and Mara Mote went 3-0 in group play of the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup

Mara Mote goes up for a basket against Mozambique in FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup
Courtesy of FIBA

Group play in the FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup wound up as most Tucsonans were sleeping. Both of Arizona’s incoming freshmen were wrapping up 3-0 records in group play and preparing to move on to the round of 16, which will be played at more Tucson-friendly hours.

The round of 16 includes all of the teams that competed in the group phase, but matches them across groups based on placement in the previous round. The winners move on to the quarterfinals on July 26, while the losers will play in classification games for placement.

Helena Pueyo and Spain

On July 14, Spain faced Germany in the 5/6 classification game of FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship. Spain won 86-61, but Helena Pueyo struggled to score, going 0-7 from the floor but contributing 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals.

On Tuesday, the game was closer—Spain won 56-49—but Pueyo once again struggled on the offensive end. This time, she went 0-6 from the field, ending up with 3 points on 3-4 from the foul line, and turned the ball over four times. On the positive side, she still managed 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 6 steals and 1 block.

If nothing else, the matchups against Germany over the past few weeks have shown that Pueyo doesn’t allow her offensive difficulties to get in her head. She can find a way to contribute even when her shots aren’t falling.

Pueyo ended the group phase averaging 11 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 1 block per game. Her best outing was a 21-point showing against Japan.

In the round of 16, Pueyo once again had difficulties on the offensive end. She shot just 25 percent, connecting on two 3-point shots. She ended the game with 6 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block, once again showing that she can affect a game even when she isn’t hitting her shots.

For the tournament, Pueyo is now averaging 9.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2 apg, 2.8 spg and 1 bpg.

The game against Korea is not available online presumably due to technical difficulties that affected several games.

Mara Mote and Latvia

Latvia looked like it could be in for trouble in the first quarter of the game against Mozambique. Mozambique built a 10-2 lead midway through the first quarter and were still ahead by two at the half.

They weren’t able to hold on as the game wore on. Latvia outscored Mozambique 16-12 in the third quarter, then went on to control the fourth by a score of 20-8. The late-game push gave Latvia the 68-54 victory and a 3-0 record in Group A. Mara Mote was a big reason why.

Mote showed her versatility in this game, regularly bringing the ball up the court and leading her team with 4 assists. She’s often listed as a forward, but her ball-handling skills are important to her game. She added 16 points on 55.6 percent shooting including 3-6 from distance.

Mote went for 12.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.7 spg and 0.7 bpg in the group stage. She shot 35.7 percent from the field, a stat greatly improved by her final game in the opening phase.

In the round of 16, Latvia had the same slow start that they showed against Mozambique. Mali proved too tough to come back against, though. Mali won in a 67-34 blowout holding Latvia to under 10 points in all but the second quarter.

Mote left with 3:08 left in the third quarter and didn’t return to the game. Most of the Latvian starters had been pulled by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.

Despite playing just 23:36 minutes, Mote still led the team in scoring. Of course, the fact that her 7 points were the team high was the problem. She added 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals to her day.

For the tournament, she is now averaging 11 ppg on 32.5 percent shooting. She has also contributed 4.5 rpg, 3 apg, 1.8 spg and 0.5 bpg.

The game against Mali was streamed on Facebook due to technical difficulties, but is now also available on YouTube. The win marked the first time an African team has advanced to the quarterfinals of this event.

What’s up next?

Spain’s win over Korea moves them into the quarterfinals, where they will take on China. That game will begin at 3 a.m. MST on Friday, July 26.

After losing their round of 16 game to Mali, Latvia falls to the classification games where they will be competing for 9-16 placement. They face Colombia Thursday night at 11:00 p.m. MST.

Games should be available on FIBA’s YouTube channel unless technical difficulties strike again.