USA Sails Past Senegal For 108-52 World Championship Win
Sept. 24, 2010 • Ostrava, Czech Republic
The USA Basketball Women's World Championship Team (2-0) dominated Senegal (0-2) from start to finish on its way to a 108-52 win in preliminary round play of the 2010 FIBA World Championship on Friday evening in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Six players tallied double figures in points for the USA, and all 12 players on the U.S. roster scored and grabbed at least one rebound.
Maya Moore (University of Connecticut) led the way with team-highs of 15 points and five assists to go with three rebounds, Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury) added 14 points and five boards, and Swin Cash (Seattle Storm) and Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) scored 11 points each. Contributing 10 points apiece were Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) and Linsday Whalen (Minnesota Lynx), who was 5-of-5 from the field.
"We wanted to come out and make sure that we didn't give up a lot of 3-pointers early on and that we were able to get out in transition and score," said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. "I thought we did a great job of that. We ran the floor well. We moved the ball well. We got a lot of people involved. I think we had five or six players score in double figures. I think (Senegal's) coach is right, we just have more good players than they do. When we sub our second team, it just puts a lot of pressure on the other team, and that's what we wanted to do tonight."
Outrebounding Senegal 44-25 and forcing its opponent into 28 turnovers, which it converted into 28 points, the USA recorded 66 of its points in the paint and 21 off of fast-break opportunities.
"I think both teams came out and played pretty hard," Dupree said. "We came out with a lot of energy and intensity and we were able to keep it up for the entire 40 minutes. Overall I thought we played pretty well,"
The USA struggled in the first few minutes, shooting 1-of-7 from the field before Taurasi capitalized on a Senegal turnover with a 3-point play at the other end at 7:03. After another 3-point play from Taurasi and yet another from Swin Cash (Seattle Storm), the USA had loosened the rim and built an 11-4 lead. The points were the start of a 17-0 run, which was the USA's largest of the game. Senegal interrupted the scoring spree with a 3-pointer at 3:23 before another 11-4 U.S. spurt, and the USA held a 30-11 lead at the first break.
After its cold start, the USA quickly recovered and went on to shoot 50.0 percent (11-22 FGs) in the first period and 61.1 percent (44-72 FGs) for the game.
Several players just missed double figures, including Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), with nine points, five rebounds and three assists; Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), with nine points, four rebounds and four steals; and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), with eight points, all of which came in the first quarter.
"It's funny because we have so much talent on this team, and at any point any player can go off," said Sue Bird (Seattle Storm). "But that's where our advantage lies, where we don't have the training, we have the depth. So, we can go 12 deep, and it could be anybody in double figures. It could be six people, seven people, and that's really where our strength is."
With the U.S machine in motion, the second quarter featured several red, white and blue highlights as the USA outscored Senegal 28-14. Catchings fed Fowles inside to start the period, Bird and Moore nailed 3-pointers, and all 12 U.S. players had scored by the time Charles converted an old-fashioned 3-point play at 2:15.
Maybe the prettiest play of the game came at 1:43 when McCoughtry kept alive a USA miss, which was collected by Moore, who dished to a waiting Charles for an alley-oop. The USA headed to the halftime locker room with the game's momentum and a 58-25 lead.
Four consecutive points from Cash opened the third period for the USA, and its starting five compiled a 14-5 advantage in the first 5:25 of the quarter to take a 72-30 lead off a Catching's jumper at 4:35. Led by six points from Charles, a fresh group of five players closed out the period with a 14-6 margin to head into the final stanza up by 50 points, 86-36.
"It's something that we are going to have to concentrate on in this tournament, coming out of the half strong because those first minutes are important, so I think today we did a good job," Taurasi said.
The USA's lead ballooned to as many as 60 points in the fourth quarter. The Americans opened the period with a 10-0 run to secure the 96-36 advantage when Whalen stole the ball and raced to her second-consecutive fast break lay-up. Senegal never quit fighting, however, and responded with 16 points to the USA's next 12, and the scoreboard read 108-52 as the final buzzer sounded.
"Our chemistry is building," said Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars). "It's kind of the same mindset every night, in the sense that each game that goes on, everyone is getting more comfortable, starting to trust each other a little more. So everything is definitely starting to work, and we're getting more and more pieces of the puzzle."
The U.S. wraps up preliminary play against France (2-0) on Sept. 25 at 3:15 p.m. (live on NBA TV at 9:15 a.m. EDT). All of the USA games will air live on NBA TV, and fans can also watch live streaming of all FIBA World Championship games at www.FIBATV.com.
In today's other Group B preliminary round action, France topped Greece (0-2) 69-55. Also in Ostrava, Group A saw Canada (1-1) hold on against China (0-2) 65-61, and Australia (2-0) top Belarus (1-1) 83-59. Meanwhile in Brno, Spain (2-0) downed South Korea (1-1) 84-69, and Brazil (1-1) won against Mali (0-2) 80-73 in Group C; while in Group D Japan (1-1) edged out Argentina (0-2) 59-58, and Russia (1-0) survived a late scare by host Czech Republic (1-1) 55-52.
Following preliminary play, the USA will cross over against the top three finishers out of Pool A, which includes defending world champ Australia, Belarus, Canada and China, for the Sept. 27-29 second round games to be played in Ostrava. The medal round will be played in Karlovy Vary, with the quarterfinals scheduled for Oct. 1, the semifinals on Oct. 2 and the medal games played on Oct. 3.
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 Atlanta Dream head coach / general manager Marynell Meadors.
Not only is a gold medal at stake, but the gold medalists will earn a berth to the 2012 Olympic Games.
Should the U.S. not finish with the gold medal in '10, it
would have two additional chances to qualify for the Olympics: the 2011 FIBA
Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD) and 2012 FIBA World
Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD).