The U.S. Virgin Islands’ senior women’s national basketball team finally got its first win in the FIBA CentroBasket Women’s Championship on Thursday.

And the USVI National Team did it as much with their defense as their offense.

After trailing early, the U.S. Virgin Islands held Costa Rica to single-digit scoring over the second and third quarters en route to an 81-51 victory in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Taylor Jones had a game-high 25 points to lead four players in double figures for the USVI (1-1) — including two with double-doubles.

Imani Tate finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Anisha George had 12 points and 12 boards for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, Brittney Matthew added 11 points.

That — along with the USVI’s defense — was more than enough to handle Costa Rica (0-2), which also lost to host team El Salvador 84-79 on Wednesday night.

Natalia Morales led Costa Rica with 12 points.

Turning point

The second quarter. Costa Rica had taken a 20-18 lead at the end of the first period, but the USVI took the lead for good on a pair of baskets by Tate — the last at 8 minutes, 18 seconds left.

The U.S. Virgin Islands pulled away from there, holding Costa Rica without a point for more than 4½ minutes to stretch its lead into double digits.

In the second quarter, Costa Rica made just 3 of 16 shots — 2 of 10 of them 3-pointers — while the USVI made 12 of 24 shots (1 of 5 3-pointers).

Key players

Taylor Jones, U.S. Virgin Islands: The 5-foot-8 guard had a big night for the USVI, making four of the team’s six 3-pointers (in six attempts). In all, she made 9 of 14 from the field and 3 of 6 free throws. Jones also had seven rebounds.

Natalia Morales, Costa Rica: At age 37, the 5-7 guard is the Costa Rica National Team’s oldest player. But she only made 5 of 14 shots — 2 of 9 on 3-pointers — grabbed four rebounds and had three steals.


• The U.S. Virgin Islands had another big rebounding night, posting 50-plus boards for the second straight game. After outrebounding Puerto Rico 55-36 on Wednesday, the USVI had a remarkable 70-34 rebounding edge over Costa Rica, with four players finishing with 10 or more boards — George (12), Tate (11), Lanese Bough (11) and Akia Frett (10).

• The USVI National Team didn’t have that great a shooting game, making 28 of 77 shots (36.4%) and just 6 of 20 3-pointers (30%). However, thanks to its defense, the USVI held Costa Rica to 28.2% from the field (20 of 71) and 8 of 31 on 3-pointers (25.8%).

What’s next

The U.S. Virgin Islands, 49th in the FIBA world rankings, faces the 44th-ranked Dominican Republic at 6 p.m. today at the Jose Adolfo Pineda National Gymnasium in San Salvador.

— Contact Sports Editor Bill Kiser at 340-714-9117, or email