USA Women Down Canada 87-46 In FIBA World Championship
Sept. 27, 2010 • Ostrava, Czech Republic
Leading 19-14 after the first quarter, a monster 28-11 advantage in the second period propelled the USA Basketball Women's World Championship Team (4-0) to a 87-46 win over Canada (1-3) in the second round of the 2010 FIBA World Championship on Monday evening in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
The USA's defense starred in the game, forcing 32 turnovers and collecting 20 steals, which it converted into 38 second-chance points and 31 points off of fast-break opportunities.
Linsday Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) was the USA's leading scorer with 16 points as 11 of 12 U.S. players recorded points in the win, including six with nine or more.
"We have more depth and we're able to stay fresher throughout the game," said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. "We're able to get in passing lanes, be disruptive on defense and we thought, going into the game, that's exactly what we had to do because we watched Australia-Canada and that was a lot closer game than the score indicated, because they do make it difficult to guard them because they stay with their stuff over and over again. You have to be disciplined. You have to be determined not to break down. I thought our guys did a great job today of staying within that and not being impulsive and trying to steal it every time down the floor. Lindsay (Whalen) was just great. She set a tone. She and Candice Dupree were really special today the way they played. Now we're looking forward to tomorrow."
Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream) added 11 points and five steals, and Swin Cash (Seattle Storm) tallied 10 points. Scoring nine points apiece were Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) and Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), who also collected a game-high seven rebounds, including five offensive boards. Additionally, Maya Moore (University of Connecticut) dished out a game-high four assists.
"I think we have a really balanced team," Dupree said. "Everybody is going to have an off night, and then you have nights where people play really well. That's the good part about our team. We have a lot of all-stars on our team, and somebody steps up every night."
The USA will continue second round play against Belarus (2-2) at 8:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. EDT) on Sept. 28 and Group A's top seed Australia (4-0) at 8:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. EDT) on Sept. 29. 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.
The USA opened the game shooting just 2-of-7 from the field (28.6 percent) and trailed 11-5 in the first quarter when the USA's second unit, including Charles, Dupree, McCoughtry, Moore and Whalen, entered the game at 4:43. The reserves finished the period 6-of-11 from the field and forced eight Canadian turnovers to close with an 8-3 run that put the USA up 19-14 at the first break.
"Defensively, we picked up the intensity, we got into some passing lanes, we got some rebounds and some run-outs and that led to our offense," Whalen said. "We just tried to get into a good flow offensively and keep that going, keep the ball moving, work it inside out, and I thought we did a good job of that tonight. It all started with good defense. We're happy with the win."
A steal and fast-break bucket from McCoughtry started the second period, which was a big one for the USA. Six U.S. scorers combined for a 21-5 run that gave the Americans a 40-19 lead off of a Bird assist and Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun) basket at 2:39. Overall, the USA outscored Canada 28-11 in the second, thanks in part to 12-of-18 shooting (.667) that included 16 fast break points and a 10-4 rebounding advantage in the quarter.
"I think it takes some time for us to settle down," Bird said. "But the people coming off the bench do a great job of watching the game, seeing what's happening, and they come out and make an immediate impact."
The USA and Canada traded baskets for much of the third quarter. Plays like back-to-back and-ones from Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and from Cash, however, helped the USA improve its advantage by six points, and the scoreboard read 66-38 as the buzzer sounded on the third period.
"I thought tonight was a great defensive effort," Moore said. "It was really obvious that it was our defense that sparked our offense. I think we had at least five and-ones; that just shows you that we are making improvements, and we are more focused. So, I think it was a step forward tonight."
Dupree converted on another old-fashioned three-point play to open the final stanza, and the USA's depth continued to wear down Canada as its advantage grew. The USA closed the game with a 10-0 run to take its largest lead, 41 points, on the final basket of the game, which was from Whalen at 47 seconds that brought the score to its 87-46 final.
Two players led Canada with eight points apiece, including Kim Smith and Janelle Bekkering.
In today's other Group E second round action, Australia (4-0) easily rolled past Greece (1-3) 93-54, and France (3-1) fought off Belarus (2-2) 58-48. In Brno, where Group F is playing its second round, Spain (4-0) handed Japan (1-3) an 86-50 loss, Czech Republic (3-1) downed South Korea (2-2) 96-65 and Russia (4-0) beat Brazil (1-3) 76-53.
The No. 4 seeds following the preliminary round, including Argentina (0-3), China (0-3), Mali (0-3) and Senegal (0-3), will play out for 13th-16th places on Sept. 28 and 29 in Karlovy Vary.
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).