FAIRBANKS — Team USA, comprising Fairbanks’ Ruthy Hebard and three of her University of Oregon basketball teammates, were ousted from the FIBA 3x3 Women’s World Cup after a quarterfinal loss to eventual champion Italy on Tuesday in Manila, Philippines.
The 17-14 loss was the Americans’ first defeat in the 20-team tournament that started Friday in the Philippine Arena. Team USA was the top seed from pool C after finishing 4-0 with wins over Iran, Andorra, Russia and Uganda.
On Tuesday, Hebard and Sabrina Ionescu scored five points each to lead the U.S., while Otiona Gildon provided three points and Erin Boley put up one point.
Marcella Filippi scored a game-high six points for Italy.
The Italians later edged China 15-13 in a semifinal to set up the gold-medal game against Russia. The Russians won 21-14 over the Czech Republic in a quarterfinal and downed France 19-17 in the other semifinal.
Italy earned the gold with a 16-12 victory over Russia. France gained the bronze medal with a 21-14 win over China.
Hebard, Ionescu, Gildon and Boley advanced to the World Cup after winning the USA Basketball Women’s 3x3 National Championship on April 22 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
A week before the World Cup in Manila, the Oregon quartet captured the title in the Big 12 International 3x3 Tournament in Voiron, France. The United States pulled a 21-19 overtime victory over France in the final.
Hebard, a former West Valley High School standout and three-time Gatorade Alaska Girls Player of the Year, is entering her junior year at Oregon. She helped the Ducks win the Pac-12 Conference tournament and reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division I women’s tournament last season.
Hebard’s sophomore season with Oregon included her receiving the Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
The 3x3 World Cup was Hebard’s third competition for a U.S. women’s national basketball team. She helped the Americans win the gold medal in the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and was part of Team USA’s silver-medal squad in the FIBA U19 World Cup.
Utgiaqvik’s Kamaka Hepa and the Team USA men’s U18 squad wrapped up pool play in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship with a 115-71 romp of Puerto Rico on Tuesday in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Hepa contributed four points on 2-for-4 shooting from the field and corralled three rebounds in a 7-minute stint.
It’s the first national-team experience for the 6-foot-8 forward and University of Texas recruit.
Hepa helped Barrow High School win Class 3A boys state basketball titles as a freshman and sophomore.
The two-time Gatorade Alaska Boys Player of the Year transferred to Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon. He helped Jefferson earn a state title during his junior year and placed second last season.
The Americans had six players in double-digit scoring Tuesday, led by 20 points from Quentin Grimes, of The Woodlands, Texas.
Coby White, of Goldsboro, North Carolina, chipped in 15 points; Cole Anthony, of Briarwood, New York, had 14; and Jerimiah Robinson-Earl, of Shawnee Mission, Kansas, scored 13 points and collected a game-high 10 rebounds.
The U.S. got 12 and 11 points, respectively, from Matthew Hurt (Rochester, Minnesota) and Mark Watts Jr. (Detroit).
Team USA compiled a 3-0 record in group A and will take on Ecuador, the fourth-place team from group B in the knockout round at 2 p.m. AKDT Thursday.
The Americans, guided by Kansas head coach Bill Self, have scored more than 100 points in each of their four games in St. Catharines. Team USA posted its other group-play wins over the Dominican Republic (105-73) on Sunday and Panana (118-26) on Monday.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.