TUNIS, TUNISIA – Rutgers’ Essence Carson (Paterson, NJ) scored nine points as the USA Basketball Junior National Team routed Puerto Rico, 116-28, at the 2005 FIBA Women’s U-19 World Championship on Tuesday.
Carson started for the fourth consecutive game and played 19 minutes, making the most of her opportunity with nine points on four-of-six shooting. She added a team-high six steals as the Americans forced 30 Puerto Rico turnovers. USA led 34-7 after the first quarter and proved just too much for Puerto Rico. At halftime the lead had grown to 65-17 and the U.S. had made 65.0 percent of its shots
The United States closes out preliminary play Wednesday and despite its 4-0 record, the number one seed from Group A has not yet been assured as South Korea and Russia sit right on the USA heels with 3-1 records.
The top four teams in each group will advance to the medal quarterfinals Friday, July 22. The medal-round semifinals will take place Saturday, July 23, and the medal finals will be conducted Sunday, July 24.
The U-19 National Team has been training continuously since June 28, when the group reconvened in Colorado Springs, CO. The Americans also worked out in Washington, DC, July 3-6, and were in Budapest, Hungary, July 7-11, splitting a pair of games against the Hungarian Junior National Team July 9-10. The team traveled to Tunisia July 12 for two days of training prior to the start of the World Championship.
The Americans hosted the International Sports Invitational June 8-11 in San Diego, using the four games to whittle the 15 finalists for the U-19 World Championship team down to the final 12-member roster. Carson, a 6-0 guard, played in all four games and started twice, averaging 3.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.8 steals in 16.5 minutes per contest. She helped lead the U.S. to the gold medal at the International Sports Invitational, and earned one of the 12 coveted rosters spots for the USA Basketball U-19 World Championship Team.
Carson started 23 of 35 games as a freshman for Rutgers during the 2004-2005 season, ranking fifth for the Scarlet Knights in scoring (6.6 ppg) and second in rebounding (5.5 rpg). A member of the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association (MBWA) All-Second Team, she was named the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week Jan. 10.
Carson helped lead the 2004 U.S. Women’s Junior World Championship Qualifying Team to a gold medal in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, averaging 8.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. She also played on the 2003 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival East Team that won a gold medal.
Carson is one of two Scarlet Knights playing for USA Basketball this summer. Fifth-year senior Cappie Pondexter (Chicago, IL) is one of 16 finalists for the USA Basketball World University Games Team. She will travel to Colorado Springs July 28 to rejoin the team as it makes it final roster cuts and prepares for the World University Games in Turkey next month.