USA Wraps Up Exhibition Schedule With 93-51 Rout of Senegal
Sept. 18, 2010 • Salamanca, Spain
In a game that put on display the USA's speed and athleticism, the 2010 USA Basketball Women's National Team (3-1) wrapped up its exhibition schedule with a 93-51 run-away win against Senegal on Saturday evening in Salamanca, Spain.
While the USA forced 23 turnovers, dished out 22 assists and outrebounded Senegal 48-23, all 13 U.S. players scored, including six in double figures.
"I thought that defensively we were much better than we were last night," said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who referred to the USA's 83-77 loss to Australia in exhibition on Sept. 17. "Obviously the level of competition was much different. We are much more talented than Senegal. I don't want us to be dependent on that. Hopefully what we brought to the defensive end today is going to be more indicative of how we're going to play. It's evident that unless we're committed, especially on the defensive end, it's going to be very difficult to reach our goal of winning the World Championship."
Also this evening in Salamanca, Australia will play Spain at 8:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. EDT) in the championship game of the 2010 Spain International Invitational.
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) led the way with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, along with five assists in just 15 minutes played; Maya Moore (University of Connecticut) recorded a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds; Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun) shot 5-of-5 from the field, including 3-of-3 from 3-point, for 13 points of her own; Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) also was 5-of-5 from the field on her way to 11 points; while Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) tallied 10 points and six rebounds; and Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) added 10 points and four assists.
"We did a good job focusing on ourselves," Taurasi said. "After yesterday's performance I think everyone was really down. We wanted to get back on the court and do well and that's what we did."
The USA, which virtually secured the game's outcome with a 31-8 lead after the first quarter, was red-hot for the entire 40 minutes, finishing 39-of-60 from the field (65.0 percent) and 6-of-9 from deep (66.6 percent).
"It was great," said Moore, who sat out against Australia. "I knew when I stepped out there on the court that I was going to bring a lot of energy, just by virtue of not getting to play yesterday. Knowing that that's what our team needs, energy. That's what really hurt us yesterday. I know one of my jobs is to bring that energy."
After Taurasi secured the jump ball to start the game and scored two points, Senegal took its only lead of the game, 3-2, with a long ball at 8:36. The USA responded with a 10-0 run that was briefly interrupted by two points before another 13-0 spurt that brought the score to 25-5 after two free throws from Charles at 3:36. Senegal connected on a 3-pointer at 3:00 for its final points of the first quarter, and the USA headed into the first break with a 31-8 advantage.
As the USA's second group continued to force turnovers and get lay-ups in the second period, Senegal settled for outside shots, making four 3-pointers to nearly keep pace with the Americans. Meanwhile, six U.S. scorers put points on the board in the second, led by eight points from Augustus and four from Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun), and by halftime the U.S. led by 25 points, 50-25.
The USA began to fire from behind the 3-point line after halftime, getting two long-range baskets from Lawson and one from Taurasi, while its defense held Senegal to just five made field goals and shut down its outside scoring. With the help of seven scorers, the red, white and blue headed into the final stanza up 79-37.
"Our energy level tonight, particularly on the defensive end, we made more of a commitment to limit them to only one shot," Lawson said. "Australia really killed us on the offensive glass last night. That translated into some 3-pointers and also them getting to the free throw line. That was a major difference in the six-point game (against Australia). We just wanted to get back to defensive fundamentals and really try and work on getting our offensive flowing."
Senegal, which never gave up despite the deficit, managed to match the USA's 14 fourth-quarter points to bring the game to its 93-51 final.
Twice the USA stretched its lead to as many as 42 points, with the margin coming at the conclusion of third and fourth quarters.
"I guess the disappointment from last night motivated us today" Augustus said. "We just had the energy coming out on the defensive side, being aggressive and trying to dictate the pace early on instead of not being aggressive and letting other people dictate it."
The USA played without the Seattle Storm's Sue Bird and Swin Cash, who won the 2010 WNBA championship on Sept. 16 against the Atlanta Dream's Angel McCoughtry and USA assistant coach Marynell Meadors. All four are expected to join the squad in the Czech Republic in the next few days.
Additionally, Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) is rehabbing her right knee and is listed as day-to-day.
The U.S. will get one final warm-up before the start of the 2010 FIBA World Championship when it faces host Czech Republic in a scrimmage at 5:00 p.m. (11:00 a.m. EDT) on Sept. 20 in Brno.
The official, 12-member 2010 USA Women's World Championship Team must be announced by the FIBA technical meeting on Sept. 21.
"I think that going in today, some things were made a little bit clearer, but not enough to know who the 12 are," Auriemma said. "When you factor in that there's three players missing who are still on their way, we're closer. We're not all the way there, but we're closer. Today's Saturday, and we play on Thursday. So, by Tuesday night we'll have to make that decision. Tonight went a little ways towards that. The committee and everyone else are going to have some tough decisions to make, but it's time now. It's time to make them."
Assisting Auriemma and the USA National Team through the 2010 FIBA World Championship are DePaul University head coach Doug Bruno, Los Angeles Sparks head coach Jennifer Gillom and Meadors.
The U.S. will look to capture
the title at the 2010 FIBA World Championship that will be held Sept. 23 - Oct.
3 in Brno, Karlovy Vary and Ostrava, Czech Republic, with the gold medal winner
earning a berth to the 2012 Olympic Games.