Duke WBB: Stevens, Salvadores go head-to-head at U19 World Championships

CHEKHOV, RUSSIA – Led by Duke Blue Devils sophomore Azurá Stevens, Team USA improved to 2-0 with an 88-62 victory over China at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championships on Sunday.

Stevens, a Raleigh, N.C. native, collected 16 points, five rebounds, and one assist in 17 minutes of play.

The six-foot-five-inch forward hit 7-of-11 field goals and was 2-of-2 from beyond the arc.

Also on Sunday, Duke incoming freshman guard Angela Salvadores guided Spain to an 87-64 victory over Egypt as the guard erupted for a game-high 25 points on 12-of-20 showing from the field.

Salvadores, from Leon, Spain, also posted six rebounds, three assists and two steals as Spain moved to 1-1 in preliminary action.

Spain will next play China (0-2) on Tuesday.

While the Americans have one preliminary round game remaining – on Tuesday against Egypt (0-2) – Sunday’s victory ensured the U.S. of the No. 1 seed out of preliminary round Group B.

No matter the outcome against Egypt, the USA will face the No. 4-seeded team from Group A in the Round of 16 which begins Wednesday – playing the loser of Tuesday’s game between Argentina (0-2) and Taiwan (0-2).

“One of the biggest strengths of our team is our length,” Team USA and University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said.

“We have six post players on this team. Unfortunately Kristine (Anigwe) was a little under the weather today, otherwise we would have shown them all six of our post players. And they’re all different.

“A’ja (Wilson) is able to score down there in the paint at will, Azurá (Stevens) stretches the floor out, Lauren (Cox) is a really good passer who is able to see the floor and make great post-to-post passes.”

“I think it’s really hard for teams to play against us, because for one, we’re so much bigger and we’re stronger,” Stevens said.

“So, that’s really hard to work around, especially when there are two taller players. We’re able to work the high-low really well, which is really difficult for other teams to defend.”

On Saturday, Stevens and Salvadores faced one another as the USA posted a 72-57 victory over Spain in preliminary play.

Stevens recorded three points and one rebound in 10 minutes of play, while Salvadores collected nine points, four assists, and three rebounds in 28 minutes for Spain.