RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- The least-experienced team in the women's basketball field at the Pan American Games, the Americans romped over Canada 75-69 Monday night for a berth in the final.
The United States will play host Brazil, one of the most veteran of teams, on Tuesday night for the title. Brazil beat Cuba 79-60.
Louisville's Angel McCoughtry was the spark for the Americans with 21 points and six rebounds.
"I just felt like I needed to help the team out because I felt we got off to a slow start," said McCoughtry, who played 20 minutes as a reserve, shooting 6-for-10. `And I thought when I come in I have got to give energy and help this team. And the rest of the bench came in, as well, and just really helped."
Indeed, the United States got 52 points from its reserves, while two starters failed to score.
Perfect thus far at the Pan Ams, the Americans know Brazil will offer a strong test.
"It's really important to all of us. We worked so hard to get here," McCoughtry said. "It's a humbling experience. We want to come out, play hard and give it all we got. We really want that gold."
The gold might be within reach, but to have expected it when the tournament began would have been highly optimistic. The young collegians have very little international experience.
But the team has depth, and coach Dawn Staley has used everyone, so none of her players should be tired for the final.
"It's exciting. I think that the committee put together a great team to compete for a gold medal and to win a gold medal," Staley said. "And I think our team has played extremely well under these circumstances, being the youngest team here.
"But they will be tested (Tuesday), tested like no one. I kind of compare it to some of them having big rivalries with each other's schools and it is going to be much like that, but probably with 10 times as much hype."