The United States continued its domination of the women’s U-16 FIBA Americas championship last week, and soon De’Janae Boykin will have the gold medal and jersey framed together on the wall of her Springdale home to prove it.
Boykin of C.H. Flowers and Taylor Murray of Annapolis Area Christian, both rising juniors, helped the U.S. team claim the title in Cancun, Mexico, its third victory at the biennial event in as many tries.
With an 82-48 win over Canada in Sunday’s final, the U.S. finished 5-0, outscoring opponents 463-144, good for an average margin of victory of more than 60 points. The team qualified for next summer’s U-17 FIBA world championship in Slovakia, though USA Basketball will conduct another round of tryouts next year to pick that squad.
“Ah man, it was crazy all the talent we had on that team,” Boykin said. “It was like, ‘Wow,’ seeing all the different stuff everybody could do, all the athleticism. It was so much fun to be a part of that.”
Boykin started every game for the U.S. team and finished fifth on the team in scoring at 8.4 points per game. The 6-foot-2 forward was also the squad’s second leading rebounder (7.6 per game) behind 6-foot-4 forward Lauren Cox.
Boykin showcased an efficient offensive game, making 19 of her 34 field goal attempts in the tournament, nearly 56 percent. Ranked the nation’s No. 4 prospect in the 2015 recruiting class by espnW, she’ll stay busy during the July open recruiting period with AAU tournaments scheduled for Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina.
“I just took the shots that were best for me instead of trying to force it,” Boykin said.
Murray, a 5-foot-6 point guard, averaged eight minutes per game off the bench and scored 10 points for the tournament.
Boykin and Murray were selected via tryouts at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado in late May and returned there for a week of training camp before heading to the FIBA Americas championship, where they also faced teams from Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica and host Mexico.
In Cancun, the players had the chance to spend an afternoon at the beach and explore the local markets, in addition to their basketball duties. After the dominant run on the court last week, Boykin said she hopes the group will be able to return mostly intact for next year’s world tournament.
“We all made great friendships that we didn’t think we would make in two weeks,” Boykin said. “We’re basically like sisters. It was hard to say goodbye [Monday]. It was very emotional.”