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USVI Women’s Basketball Team Looking To Rewrite Script On Colombian Team

SAN JUAN — When the USVI senior women’s basketball team squares off against Colombia at Coliseo Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico at 12:10 p.m. on ESPN+, the current team will try to start a winning streak to erase three previous losses to their current opponent in Americup competition.

It’s a rematch from the 2017 AmeriCup, when just seven points came between the teams as Colombia took the game 70-63, but Virgin Islands had the last laugh as they finished the tournament in 5th while Colombia finished 7th.

Colombia improved to a 5th place finish in 2019, while Virgin Islands did not compete. Colombia has played — and beaten — the U.S. Virgin Islands three times in international competition since 2017 — so tonight’s matchup is about respect.

Each team will be looking to get a leg up in the competition, but it will be difficult for either team to latch onto a top spot in a tough Group A.

The group includes both Canada and Brazil and fighting for third place means less of a chance of having to play a team like USA in the Semi-Finals.

The USVI will play four games over a five-day span in the group round — after Colombia, they face No. 4 Canada on Saturday, No. 15 Brazil on Monday and No. 85 El Salvador on Tuesday —with one goal in mind: making it to the elimination round.

The top four teams in each group — Group B has top-ranked United States, host team and No. 23 Puerto Rico, No. 28 Argentina, No. 44 Dominican Republic and No. 52 Venezuela — advance to the elimination rounds.

From there, the Women’s AmeriCup’s four semifinalists earn berths in one of FIBA’s Women’s World Cup 2022 qualifying tournaments, which will be played in February 2022.

“I’m still thankful that we’re here,” USVI Coach Tajama Abraham-Ngongba said. “I tell the girls every day, ‘Just remember — we’re doing what we love to do, and we get a chance to play for our country. No matter what happens, we’re trying to keep our eyes on the prize, what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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