Preview >> USA Women vs. Spain (Semifinals)
Oct. 2, 2010 • Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
• Complete Game Notes (PDF)
TV: Live on NBA TV, 2:45
In the 2010 World Championship
Spain finished preliminary round play as Group C's No. 1 seed after wins over Mali (80-36), South Korea (84-69) and Brazil (69-57). Four players in double figures helped Spain easily beat Mali, including Amaya Valdemoro with 18 points, Sancho Lyttle with 13 and a team-high seven rebounds, Alba Torrens with 11 and Anna Montanana with 10 points. Lyttle led the way with 28 points and 15 rebounds against South Korea, while Valdemoro (17) and Montanana (15) also recorded double-digits. In its victory over Brazil, Valdemoro finished with 17 points, Laia Palau contributed 12 and Lyttle added 10 points and five assists.
In the second round, Spain topped Japan 86-59 and Czech Republic 77-57 before losing to Russia 76-67 to finish as Group F's No. 2 seed. Four players in double figures, highlighted by 29 points and 11 rebounds from Lyttle, propelled Spain past Japan; while a different four-player combo starred against host Czech Republic, including 25 points from Valdemoro and 18 points and 19 rebounds from Lyttle. In its loss to Russia, Valdemoro finished with 21 points, Lytttle recorded another double-double (16 points and 12 rebounds) and Montanana contributed 15 points and four assists.
The trio of Valdemoro (28 points, eight rebounds), Montanana (14 points) and Lyttle (11 points, nine rebounds) sparked the Spainards to a 74-71 overtime win against France to help Spain earn its place in today's semifinal against the USA.
Overall, Valdemoro is her team's leading scorer at 19.9 ppg., followed by 17.9 ppg. and 11.6 rpg. from Lyttle and 10.8 ppg. from Montanana. Spain is averaging 44.1 percent from the field (193-438 FGs), 35.2 percent from 3-point (38-108 3pt FGs) and 73.1 percent from the free-throw line (87-119 FTs).
Sept. 23: Spain 80, Mali 36 • Stats
Sept. 24: Spain 84, South Korea 69 • Stats
Sept. 25: Spain 69, Brazil 57 • Stats
Sept. 27: Spain 86, Japan 59 • Stats
Sept. 28: Spain 77, Czech Rep. 57 • Stats
Sept. 29: Russia 76, Spain 67 • Stats
Oct. 1: Spain 74, France 71 (OT) • Stats
A Little History
Spain claimed the bronze medal and finished with an 8-1 record at the 2009 European Championship to earn its place in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. All-time in World Championship play, Spain is 24-18 (.514) in five appearances, including 2010. It's best finishes were in 1998 and 2002, when Spain finished in fifth place.
In the 2006 World Championship in Brazil, Spain finished in eighth place with a 4-5 record.
Against the USA, Spain is 3-0 in FIBA World Championships, with the teams last
meeting in 2002, when the USA claimed a 94-55 victory.
More recently in exhibition play, the USA recorded a 85-69 win on Sept. 12 in Hartford, Conn. Five players recorded double figures for the USA, while Spain received 21 points from Anna Montanana, 13 from Alba Torrens and 11 from Nuria Martinez. The USA, which shot a sizzling 56.5 percent (35-62 FGs) from the field and 53.8 percent (7-13 3pt FGs) from beyond the arc, coughed up the ball 23 times and forced just 14 turnovers but was credited with 21 assists on its 35 made baskets.
Players To Watch
Thirty-four-year-old Amaya Valdemoro, who is leading her team in the 2010 Worlds with 19.9 ppg., owns three WNBA titles with the Houston Comets (1998-2000) and has experience from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics as well as the 2006 and 2002 World Championships. MVP of EuroBasket in 2007, Valdemoro began playing with Spanish national teams at the junior level in 1993.
Spain's second-leading scorer (17.9 ppg.) and leading rebounder (11.6 rpg.) is Sancho Lyttle, but Lyttle may or may not play against the USA after suffering an injury sometime during their overtime win against France on Oct. 1. Lyttle reached the 2010 WNBA Finals with the Atlanta Dream, which happened to be coached by USA assistant coach Marynell Meadors and include USA team member Angel McCoughtry. She was a 2009 WNBA All-Star selection who also played with the WNBA Houston Comets from 2005-2008. This is her first stint with the Spanish national team at the senior level.
Another 2006 World Championship and 2008 Olympic team member is Anna Montanana, who began playing for Spanish junior teams in 1998. In 2010, Montanana is contributing 11.4 ppg., 2.9 rpg. and 3.1 apg.
Spain's youngest player, 21-year-old Alba Torrens is averaging 6.9 ppg., 2.9
rpg. and 1.1 apg. Torrens first suited up for Spain in the 2004 FIBA Europe
U16 Championship and has since played every summer for Spain, including the
2008 Olympics (7.7 ppg., 2.0 rpg.).
The Scouting Report
USA Assistant Coach Doug Bruno (DePaul University)
Do you expect to see a different game than three weeks ago when we won in exhibition play?
Absolutely. When we played in Hartford we won a pretty decisive ball game, but we also lost the first quarter by one point and we really ran them out in the second quarter. We took a 24-point lead at one point, and then they came back within five. So, when you look at the whole game, Spain actually played with us for 30 to 35 minutes. And they are much better now. They added Sancho Lyttle to their lineup, which makes a huge difference. She is one of the best rebounders in women's basketball and a great pro. So, they are a lot better now than they were three weeks ago.
What are their offensive strengths?
Offensively, Valdemoro and Montanana are both very skilled players, and they have a great low-post presence with Sancho Lyttle and I think that's huge for them. They love to get out and go. They want to run if they can, and we have to make sure that we execute our transition defense. We need to be better than them at every position defensively, so that we are able to be better than them collectively. The little factors for our defense really become a huge factor for them because they will take advantage of our mistakes and a score lot of points off of the back board.
How should we attack Spain?
They are a good man-to-man defensive team that is sometimes spotty. At times, they are very vulnerable, but in big games they do a great job for the most part. So, for us that means we have to execture our offensive system and be able to run plays all the way through the shot clock. Our players all understand and have bought into our offense now, so that is something that will be a matter of patience, discipline and teamwork.