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USA Cashes In Czechs 89-69 For Gold Medal, 2012 Olympic Berth

USA Basketball

Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic (Oct. 3, 2010)The USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team (9-0) stormed out of the locker room at halftime on a 15-2 run to pull away from host Czech Republic (6-3) and finished the night with the eventual 89-69 gold medal victory at the 2010 FIBA World Championship. The win saw four players score in double digits, led by a game-high 18 points from Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream).

With the gold medal victory, played in front of a boisterous and deafening crowd of Czech supporters who never gave up hope on their squad, the USA became the first team to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games that will be held July 27-Aug. 12 in London, England.

In addition to McCoughtry, the USA’s offense was paced byDiana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) with 16 points, Tina Charles(Connecticut Sun) tossed in 13 points and grabbed a game-best 10 boards, including six on the offensive end; and Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) chipped in 11 points and dished out three assists.

Diana Taurasi (middle), who averaged a USA-best 12.0 ppg., was named to the five-member FIBA World Championship All-Tournament team.(USA Basketball Photos)

Taurasi was named to the five-member All-World Championship Team along with Hana Horakova and Eva Viteckova of the Czech Republic, Yelena Leuchanka of Belarus, and Amaya Valdemoro of Spain.

“I thought the Czech team played with so much heart and so much passion and they’re so smart,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma . “Every time you make a mistake, they make a basket. I can’t tell you with how impressed I am with coach (Lubor Blazek) and his style of play. That was the best team we played in the entire tournament, without question. We’re fortunate to be world champions. I know my players worked really, really hard. To do it here, in the Czech Republic, against the Czech national team, in front of an unbelievable crowd. The crowd last night was incredible and tonight was just as good. I think it makes this win even more rewarding because of who we had to beat and where we had to beat them.”

The American women now own a 97-21 (.822) all-time record since the first FIBA World Championship was held in 1953, earned their ninth straight podium finish at the Worlds dating to the 1979 tournament, and the 2010 gold medal represented a record eighth gold for the U.S. in World Championship competition.

The silver marked the first medal of any color for Czech Republic in World Championship play. In addition to the silver being the first medal for the host nation, Spain (7-2) also earned its first World Championship medal after defeating Belarus (4-5) 77-68 in the bronze medal game.

“I think it really speaks to the talent, the amount of talent that we have in the U.S. I mean, here is a team filled with great players, and if you think back to the Olympics, we are missing two people who were in our top seven,” said Bird, who now has two World Championship gold medals and one World Championship bronze to go with two Olympic golds. “When you look at some of the players that got left off this roster that could of made it, it just really speaks to our depth. I think that is why we are able to beat teams the way we did. We just kind of wear them down with our depth.”

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Belarus vs. Czech Republic Highlights (


The USA will battle host Czech Republic (6-2), which outlasted Belarus (4-4)  81-77 in overtime,  for the gold medal at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Oct. 3 in Karlovy Vary; while Spain will meet Belarus to play for bronze at 11:30am EDT. The USA’s final game, which will be played in front of a raucous crowd of Czech supporters, will air live on NBA TV, and fans can also watch live streaming of all FIBA World Championship games at

Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)

What do you think it’s going to be like in the arena tomorrow night?

It’s going to be very hostile. Just sitting and watching their game, you could barely talk to the person next to you. I know it’s going to be really difficult. But it’s fun, you know? Everybody on this team has played overseas, and in Europe what you find is smaller arenas, louder fans and crazier fans. I’ve actually played in the Czech Republic for big games, and that’s what it was like. It was very, very difficult. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to energize their team and it’s going to put pressure on our team, but I think we’re all looking forward to it.

Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)

You’ve won everything else in the world, but not a FIBA World Championship:
Yeah, not a World Championship. We talked about it with a lot of the other players. You know, a World Championship might be the hardest one to win. When you talk about nine games in 11 days, that really tests a team and individual’s character. We have to go out there and play really well.



USA Cruises Past Spain 106-70, Into Gold Medal Game

story courtesy of

Oct. 2 , 2010 • Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic–

After opening the game shooting 5-of-5 from the field to ignite an 11-1 run, the USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team (8-0) steadily improved its advantage throughout to easily secure a 106-70 win over Spain (6-2) that featured points from all 12 players and earned the USA its place in the 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal game.

Tamika Catchings had a team high 14 pts vs Spain (USA Basketball photo)

“I thought we played really, really well on offense,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “Our defense got better and better as the game went on. We’re about as ready as we can be going into tomorrow night.”

The USA will battle host Czech Republic (6-2), which earlier today outlasted Belarus (4-4) 81-77 in overtime, for the gold medal at 8:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. EDT) on Oct. 3 in Karlovy Vary; while Spain will meet Belarus to play for bronze at 5:30 p.m. (11:30 EDT). The USA’s final game, which will be played in front of a raucous crowd of Czech supporters, will air live on NBA TV, and fans can also watch live streaming of all FIBA World Championship games at

“Tomorrow night’s going to be one of the most difficult challenges for this team,” Auriemma continued. “You’re playing the Czech Republic on their home court, with all their fans, in kind of a Cinderella run for them to get to this point. I think the emotions and the energy in this building is going to be a great place to be tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to it.”

Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), who was 3-of-4 from 3-point, led four U.S. players in double figures with 14 points. That was followed by Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) with 13 points and a game-high six rebounds, Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream) with 11 points and three steals and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) with 11 points and four assists.

Additionally, Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) dished out a game-high five assists and three players just missed double digits, including Swin Cash (Seattle Storm), who was 4-of-4 from the field, Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) andAshja Jones (Connecticut Sun) with nine points apiece.

“We came out in the first quarter and set the tone early,” Taurasi said. “They’re a tough team. They made some good plays to stay in it, but our depth outlasted theirs today.”

The USA’s 11-1 run to start the game was interrupted by a basket from Spain’s Alba Torrens at 7:16, and while the U.S. onslaught was slowed, the Americans continued to widen the gap to take a 13-point, 29-16 lead after the first ten minutes. Eight U.S. players put points on the board in the first quarter, including Catchings with six and Fowles and Jones with five apiece.

The trend continued throughout the game as Spain prevented any unanswered U.S. run from growing past seven points, but it could not stop the USA’s balanced attack or exploit the USA’s defense.

Angel McCoughtry (USA Basketball Photos)

Nine players scored for the red, white and blue in the second period, highlighted by three U.S. 3-pointers and five points from Cash, and the USA took a 58-34 margin into the halftime locker room.

“We have a mix of young and older, veteran players coming off the bench, and I think that really helps us sustain our energy and take it to another level,” Cash said.

Spain compiled its largest run, a 6-0 stretch, at the start of the second half and came within 17 points, 59-42, at the 7:34 mark but would come no closer. A Taurasi pull-up jumper followed by a basket from Charles inside gave the USA back a 21-point margin and was the start of a 28-11 scoring advantage to help the USA take a 87-53 lead into the final stanza.

As the U.S. reserves, who were responsible for 62 of the USA’s 106 points, got much of the playing time in the final quarter, the USA took its largest lead of the night with a basket from Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars) that put the USA up by 41 points, 106-65, at 1:48. Spain put the game’s final five points on the board for the 106-70 finish.

Overall, the USA tallied 60 of its points in the paint, outrebounded Spain 44-28 and shot 60.0 percent from the field (42-70 FGs) and 58.0 percent from 3-point (7-of-12 3pt FGs).

“No, it wasn’t easy,” Fowles said. “You have to go out there and be focused, but at the same time coach was on our butt, and he wants us to do exactly what he said to do. It was hard at times, but at the same time we were just playing USA Basketball.”

Spain, which was led by 16 points from Marta Fernandez, was without injured forward Sancho Lyttle who had been her squad’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder.

Earlier this afternoon, Australia (6-2) edged Russia (6-2) 78-73 to earn the right to play tomorrow at 2:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m. EDT) for fifth place against France (5-3), which recorded a 61-46 win against South Korea (3-5). Meanwhile, Russia and South Korea will meet in the seventh place game at 12:00 p.m. (4:00 a.m. EDT).

In today’s morning’s games, Brazil (4-4) beat Japan (2-6) 84-79 to finish ninth in the tournament and Greece (3-5) topped Canada (1-7) 71-55 to take home 11th place.

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.

The American women, who now own a 96-21 (.821) all-time record since the first FIBA World Championship was held in 1953 and are assured of their ninth straight podium finish at the Worlds, will be fighting for their eighth World Championship gold medal.

“We’re very excited about this,” said Bird, who was on the U.S. team that lost to Russia in the semifinals in 2006. “For the few of us who were here in Brazil, this is where we fell short last time. To come out and play the way we did, Spain was a great opponent. But for us, we’re very focused and right now we’re one step away from where we wanted to be a couple years ago. Hopefully we can redeem ourselves.”

Not only is a gold medal at stake in Karlovy Vary, but the gold medalists will earn a berth to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Should the U.S. not finish with the gold medal on Sunday, 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).




USA (7-0)   vs   SPAIN (6-1)

TV: Live on NBA TV, 2:45 p.m. (EDT)

In the 2010 World Championship

Amaya Valdemoro

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.).



USA Runs Away With 106-44 Quarterfinal Victory Over South Korea

Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic (Oct. 1, 2010)Behind six players who scored in double digits, the USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team (7-0) continued its unbeaten streak by opening up a 48-22 halftime lead en route to dismantling South Korea (3-4) 106-44 in the 2010 FIBA World Championship medal quarterfinals on Friday afternoon in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.

Sylvia Fowles added 10 points and five rebounds in just 14 minutes in the USA's win over South Korea (USA Basketball Photos)

With the win, the U.S. advances to the medal semifinals and will face on Oct. 2 the winner of tonight’s quarterfinal game between France (4-2) and Spain (5-1). The USA was the only one of the world’s top three teams to advance to the medal semifinals after both host Czech Republic (5-2) and Belarus (4-3) pulled off stunning upsets today, with wins over defending World Champion Australia and Russia, respectively.

With the loss of two of the world’s top three teams today, this year’s medal stand will have a decidedly different look. Australia, 2006 silver medalist Russia and the United States, bronze medalists in ’06, have collected all available FIBA World Championship medals since 1998. In ’98and again in 2002 the U.S. won gold, Russia took silver and Australia bronze.

Times for the semis are 6:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. EDT) and 8:45 p.m. (2:45 p.m. EDT), and the order of the games will be determined following tonight’s last contest. The gold and bronze medal games will be played on Oct. 3.

Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream) paced the USA’s offensive attack with 17 points; Maya Moore(University of Connecticut) had 15 points and three blocked shots, Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury) posted a double-double with 12 points and 16 boards, Swin Cash (Seattle Storm) scored 11 points, while Tina Charles(Connecticut Sun) and Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) chipped in 10 points apiece.

“The beginning of the game, we knew we had a big advantage over them, size-wise, quickness-wise, and we are obviously a much deeper team,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “We have more options. Korea was down to nine players, so it was very difficult for them to try to do anything with some of our players. But we didn’t want to start the game and not be ready and not be 100 percent.”

With the win the U.S. has now advanced to nine consecutive World Championship medal semifinals, dating back to the 1979 Worlds in which University of Tennessee’s Pat Summitt coached the U.S. to gold. The American women, who now own a 95-21 (.819) all-time record since the first FIBA World Championship was held in 1953, have posted an even more impressive 66-5 (.930) win-loss mark dating back to the 1979 Worlds.




story courtesy

Tamika Catchings (USA Basketball)

After posting a perfect 6-0 mark in the first two rounds of 2010 FIBA World Championship action in Ostrava, the USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team today traveled to the spa town of Karlovy Vary, where the medal round will be played. The U.S. goes up against South Korea, which is 3-3 after splitting its first round of games, in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon (live on NBA TV at 9:30 a.m. EDT) for the right to advance to Saturday’s medal semifinal contest. The winners on Saturday will then clash at 8:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. EDT) on Sunday night for the 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal.

Eight teams remain in the hunt for gold and in addition to the USA and South Korea, teams still standing include Australia (5-1), Belarus (3-3), host Czech Republic (4-2), France (4-2), Russia (6-0) and Spain (5-1).



USA Battles Australia For 83-75 Win, Earns No. 1 Seed In Quarterfinals

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (Sept. 29, 2010) — Led by 24 points from Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) the USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team (6-0) remained undefeated and earned an 83-75 win after fending off a second-half surge from Australia (5-1) to wrap up the second round of the 2010 FIBA World Championship on Wednesday night in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Diana Taurasi (USA Basketball)

With the victory, the USA is the No. 1 seed out of Group E and will face South Korea (3-3), the No. 4 seed out of Group F, in the medal round quarterfinals on Friday, Oct. 1 (time TBD) in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. All of the USA’s games will air live on NBA TV, and fans can also watch live streaming of all FIBA World Championship games at

“Diana’s a great competitor more than anything else,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coachGeno Auriemma . “As good a basketball player as she is, and as skilled at basketball as she is, she’s an unbelievable competitor. Games like today are what defines great players when you’re playing great teams. Some players play great a lot of nights, but Diana plays great usually against the best teams. Australia is the defending World Champions, and I knew they would bring out the best in Diana. Her performance tonight didn’t surprise me one bit.”

“The USA also received double-digit scoring from Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), who was 6-of-7 from the field for 15 points to go with her six rebounds, and Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), who finished with 14 points.

Sylvia Fowles in the paint against Lauren Jackson

Tina Charles who finished with 14 points in the USA's win over Australia . (USA Basketball Photos)

With the USA leading by as many as 24 points in the second period and by 15 points at the start of the fourth quarter, Australia twice cut the USA’s lead to nine points in the last 2:26 of the game and closed the gap to eight with a 3-pointer at 54.0 seconds remaining that brought the game to its 83-75 final.

“I think it was surprising,” Auriemma said. “The first half, the first quarter especially, I thought we came out and played great and did a lot of really, really good things offensively and defensively. Played with a lot of confidence, and I thought the second half was more like what I thought the whole game would be like – very, very physical, very difficult for either team to get great shots.”




USA (5-0)   vs Australia (5-0)

TV: Live on NBA TV, 2:15 p.m. (EDT)

Fowles/Catchings (USA Basketball)

Team USA will play Australia in the final game of the second round. The unbeaten Aussies have already qualified for the quarterfinals that begin Friday in Karlovy Vary. The two teams could meet again Sunday in the gold-medal game.

A Little History

The reigning World Champion, Australia claimed the gold medal with a two-game sweep of New Zealand in the 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship to secure its place in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Overall, in 12 World Championship appearances, Australia is 53-58 (.582) and has won a medal in each of the last three Worlds, including bronze medals in 1998 and 2002 and gold in 2006, when it finished with a perfect 9-0 record.

Against the USA, the Americans are up 8-0 in the series, with the last World Championship meeting coming in the 2002 semifinals, when the USA won 71-56.

Players To Watch

American basketball fans surely will be familiar with Lauren Jackson, who has played with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm since 2001. In 2010, she was teammates with the USA’s Sue Bird and Swin Cash in Seattle, where the trio captured the WNBA Championship. Jackson, a three-time WNBA MVP and two-time WNBA Finals MVP, led all scorers at the 2006 (21.2 ppg. and 8.9 rpg.) and 2002 FIBA World Championships (23.1 ppg. and 5.4 rpg.).

Australia also features Penny Taylor, who collected MVP honors after the ’06 Worlds when she averaged team second-bests of 18.0 ppg. and 5.4 apg., while dishing out 3.1 apg. She also is teammates with the USA’s Diana Taurasi on the Phoenix Mercury during the WNBA season.

Much like Jackson was in 1997, young Elizabeth Cambage was brought into the Opals line-up following the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship last summer. Named to the All-FIBA U19 World Championship Team after averaging a tournament-best 20.4 ppg., the 6-8 center also shot a tournament-leading 62.7 percent from the field and rebounded at a clip of 6.8 rpg.

Thus far in the 2010 World Championship, as expected, Jackson, Cambage and Taylor are Australia’s top performers. Jackson leads in both scoring and rebounding with 13.0 ppg. and 8.0 rpg. in 19.0 mpg.; Cambage is the team’s second leading scorer with 10.2 ppg., but also leads the team in turnovers with 3.8 tpg. in 15.0 mpg.; and Taylor is averaging 10.0 ppg. in 15.6 mpg.

Veteran Hollie Grima (8.0 ppg., 6.2 rpg., 24.8 mpg.) and newcomer Jenna O’Hea (8.0 ppg., 22.4 mpg.) lead the team in playing time.

Coach Geno Auriemma on playing Australia

photo courtesy of USA Basketball

I think you’ve got two teams that really want to win, that really want to beat each other. You’ve got a lot of players on their team, a lot of players on our team that are very familiar with each other. I think tomorrow is going to be like a gold medal game. It’s going to be played like that. I know it is on our end. It’s important to us tomorrow.

There’s no guarantee that either the United States or Australia will be in the gold medal game. We may not play each other again, so tomorrow might be the only time. So we’re going to play to win, as I’m sure they are.

Coach Auriemma on Aussies Post Players
Yeah, they’re probably the biggest team. (Liz Cambage) gives them a whole new dimension than they’ve had in the past. They’re able to play different combinations, so they don’t have to play Lauren (Jackson) on the inside all the time. That makes it a tough match-up for whoever is guarding her, because you’re going to need your biggest guy to guard who they put out there.

We’re not as big as they are. You can tell when you watch them play that they’ve played together. They’ve played a lot of basketball together. You could see it. They read each other. Penny Taylor is so good. Everybody talks about how great Lauren is, and I know Lauren’s a great player, but to me, I think Penny Taylor is what makes it work on both ends of the floor. It’s going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to it. It should be a lot of fun.

Sylvia Fowles-Team USA Center- on playing against Australia

I expect the game to be very physical and a very up-tempo game. They are a very good team, and the USA has to bring our A-game and be ready.



USA Blows By Belarus Early, Takes 107-61 World Championship Victory

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (Sept. 28, 2010) —  Tina Charles(Connecticut Sun) and Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury) earned spots in the starting lineup and did not disappoint. The duo accounted for the USA’s first 10 points as the USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team (50) ran out to a 236 lead and never looked back en route to beating Belarus (23) 10761 in the second round of the 2010 FIBA World Championship on Tuesday night in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Candice Dupree (USA Basketball)

Tina Charles (USA Basketball)

“I think anybody that coach decides to put in the starting lineup wants to go out and get the first punch, be the aggressor out there,” said Charles, who finished with eight points. “Candice and I took the opportunity to go out and play hard. We were just going to do all the things that coach wants us to do and expects from us individually.” Ten team members scored at least eight points against Belarus and Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) led five U.S. players in doubledigit scoring with 15 points after shooting a perfect 5of5 from the field and 5of6 from the line. Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) netted both her 3point tries and notched 14 points; Dupree, who scored eight points in the first quarter, closed the night with 12 points on 6of7 shooting from the field; while Swin Cash (Seattle Storm) andMaya Moore (University of Connecticut) topped out with 11 points each.

Geno Auriemma-Head Coach Team USA

“One of the things that is difficult about playing against us when we substitute, when we go to the bench and the team doesn’t change that much,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “So it puts a tremendous pressure on the other team to have to keep up with that, and it’s very difficult. We’re fortunate. We’re lucky that we have some really good players who want to play together. They’re unselfish. They want to share the ball, like they did tonight. We made a couple changes in the starting lineup just to give us a new look, and it worked great.”



USA Women Down Canada 87-46 In FIBA World Championship–

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (Sept. 27, 2010) — 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.

With nine points and five rebounds, Tina Charles was one of six U.S. players to finish with nine or more points in a win over Canada. (USA Basketball Photos)

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.

Candice Dupree (USA Basketball Photos)

Lindsey 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.”

Lindsay Whalen led the USA with 16 points against Canada. (USA Basketball Photos)

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

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).


USA Fights Off France For 81-60 Triumph, Remains Undefeated

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (Sept. 25, 2010) — The USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team (30) got off to a slow start, but rebounded to fight off France (21) and take an 8160 victory to close preliminary round play of the 2010 FIBA World Championship on Saturday afternoon in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Diana Taurasi scored a team-high of 15 points in the USA's 81-60 victory over France. (FIBA Photos)

With the win, the U.S. advances to the second round as the No. 1 seed out of Group B, while France advances as the No. 2 seed. Following a day off the Americans will remain in Ostrava for second round action and will play the top three teams out of Group A, including No. 3 seed Canada (12) on Sept. 25 (times TBD). They will then meet No. 2 seed Belarus (21) on Sept. 26 and Group A’s top seed Australia (30) on Sept. 27.

USA tricaptain Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) paced the attack with 15 points and six rebounds, while Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) and Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury) came off the bench to score 10 points apiece. Additionally, tricaptain Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), who shot a perfect 4of4 from the field, Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream) and Maya Moore (University of Connecticut) each contributed nine points. Moore came close to a doubledouble after grabbing a gamebest eight rebounds.

“I thought the first half, the first 10 minutes especially, were difficult for both teams to make any shots,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma . “Usually when you play pretty good defense and hold the other team to three or four or five points, you would think that you would come down and get maybe 10, 12, 14, but it was difficult for both teams in that first 10 minutes. As we settled into a rhythm we played really well. Our defense was much better in the second half. Our second group that came in did a great job in the third quarter. We have a young team, but we have some talented players and we have depth. I think that helped us again tonight.”

The first quarter was choppy. Neither team was able to get into a flow, and after nearly eight minutes of play only 11 points were on the board with France leading 83. A pair of Taurasi jumpers, the first with 2:01 to go, bookended a 102 American run to close the first quarter with the USA up 1310, and the U.S. never against trailed.

After starting the first quarter shooting 1of5 from the field and committing four turnovers in the first six minutes, the U.S. finished the period 5of11 (.455) from the field with seven turnovers, while France’s firstquarter shooting was an icecold 3of15.

Sue Bird (USA Basketball Photos)

“I would just say that we started out a little slow,” said McCoughtry. “We just had to settle down and run our plays better, because once we start running our offense, passing and cutting, we get easy layups. We just have to come out with a little better start in the future.”

The USA began to slowly increase its lead, and at 5:47 the team pulled away by nine, 2617. The French never capitulated and continued to fight back, however, never allowing the Americans more than a 10point cushion, and by halftime the U.S. lead was whittled down to 3629.

“We were a little stagnant on offense, the ball was not moving, we were not getting to the spots we needed to, and that’s what happens,” stated Taurasi. “But we found a way to turn that around in the next three quarters.”


USA Crushes Senegal For 108-52 World Championship Win

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (Sept. 24, 2010) — 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 led six U.S. players in double figures with 15 points. (USA Basketball Photos)

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,”

Candace Dupree (USA Basketball)

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.



OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (Sept. 23, 2010) –The USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team (1-0) opened up 20-point lead in the first half and finished with a 99-73 victory over Greece (0-1) to open play at the 2010 FIBA World Championship on Thursday evening in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Pacing the U.S. to victory were Swin Cash (Seattle Storm) and Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), who arrived in Ostrava on Tuesday after competing against each other in the WNBA Finals, with 16 points apiece.

With 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds, Tina Charles was one of five players in double figures for the USA in a 99-73 win over Greece to open FIBA World Championship play. (USA Basketball Photos)

All 12 U.S. players scored in the victory, and in addition to Cash and McCoughtry, Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) posted 12 points and nine rebounds, while Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points each.

“For our first game we’re very, very happy with the way we played and not happy with some things, but very happy with the (outcome),” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “The first game’s always the most difficult of games because you’re not sure what your team is going to do. I thought we played a really good team, we played really well for long stretches and I’m excited about tomorrow.”

The U.S. continues preliminary play against Senegal (0-1) on Sept. 24 at 6:00 p.m. (live on NBA TV at 12:00 p.m. EDT) and closes out preliminary round play facing France (1-0) 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

“I thought our effort was there,” said Cash. “I was really happy with how everyone played, and came in the game and contributed. For us, we haven’t had a lot of time together, so there were a lot of mistakes defensively that we can clean up. You’re happy that those are mistakes that you can fix. Having the talent, having the effort, is going to be something that’s really going to help us throughout this World Championship run.”

Angel McCoughtry came off the bench for the USA and tied for a team-high 16 points in the USA's win over Greece. USA Basketball Photos

The game opened with four lead changes and one tied score, and at 7:10 the U.S. squad trailed 9-6. Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) caught a pass from Catchings, drove to the hoop for two, and then followed that with a 3-pointer to give the Americans the lead for good, 11-9, at 6:22. Taurasi’s five points sparked what became a 24-6 spurt that included points from six different players, and with 1:15 left in the first period, the lead was 30-15.

The U.S. expanded its lead to 20 points, 48-28, on a McCoughtry steal and layup at 2:21 in the second quarter and at the midway break owned a 52-35 advantage. Eight of the 10 USA team members who played in the first half put up points by halftime, including Cash and McCoughtry, who had 13 and 10 points, respectively.



The USA opens FIBA World Championship play against Greece, and U.S. fans can watch live on NBA TV at 12 p.m. EDT. USA Basketball Photos

A Little History
The No. 18 ranked country in FIBA’s women’s rankings, Greece will appear in its first FIBA World Championship in 2010 after placing fifth in the 2009 European Championship, where it recorded a 5-4 record.

This past week, Greece played two exhibition contests against Russia. Losing 81-73 in the first game despite 19 points from Evanthia Maltsi and 18 from Pelagia Papamichail, and falling 70-59 in the second matchup, when Stella Kaltsidou tallied 22 points.

“After almost a month of practices, things are very good in our team and we are all waiting for the great challenge of the World Championship,” veteran point guard Dimitra Kalentzou told “Thank God there were no injuries in our team.”

Players to Watch
Greece forward Evanthia Maltsi, aka the “Greek Killer,” was selected as MVP of the 2009 European Championship after she led the field in scoring (22.6 ppg.), steals (3.1 spg.) and free throw percentage (91.0 percent), while also recording 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game and shooting 40.0 percent from 3-point. The veteran certainly will be a force for Greece again in 2010, and American basketball fans may recognize Maltsi from her time with the Connecticut Sun in 2007.

Second to Matsi in scoring for Greece at the 2009 zone qualifier were Pelagia Papamichail and Stella Kaltsidou, who each averaged 9.2 points per game. In addition to four years of professional experience in Spain, Croatia, France and Greece, Papamichail is a 24-year-old power forward who played in the 2007 and 2009 European Championship and the 2006 U20 European Championship. Kaltsidou is another forward, 27 years old, who played for Greece in 2007 and 2009 and has extensive international experience as well.



2010 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team Announced

2010 Women's National Team (courtesy of

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (Sept. 21, 2010) – Selecting five Olympians who have captured a combined eight Olympic gold medals, USA Basketball today announced the 12 international veterans who will represent the U.S. at the 2010 FIBA World Championship that will be held Sept. 23 – Oct. 3 in Ostrava and Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. The player selections, made by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, were announced following a two and a halfweek training camp that included four exhibition games.

Tamika Catchings (right) and Sue Bird will join eight past USA Basketball standouts as three-time USA Basketball World Championship competitors when the 2010 Worlds tips-off on Thursday (Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant / NBAE / Getty Images)

Named to the 2010 USA World Championship squad are two-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); 2008 Olympic gold medalist Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky); 2004 Olympic gold medalist Swin Cash (Seattle Storm); as well as top-tier international newcomers Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars), Tina Charles(Connecticut Sun), Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (University of Connecticut), and Lindsay Whalen(Minnesota Lynx).

Lindsey Whalen (photo by USA Basketball)

In addition to their Olympic experience, Bird and Catchings have played in a pair of FIBA World Championships, winning gold in 2002 and bronze in 2006, while Taurasi was also on the 2006 USA World Championship squad; and each member of the USA team has won at least one gold medal on a previous USA Basketball team.

“The process has been unbelievably difficult. It’s taken a lot out of us, the committee, coaches, staff,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “It was probably the most difficult time that I’ve had as a coach in 35 years. When you have to say goodbye to players as committed to USA Basketball as Kara (Lawson) and Seimone (Augustus) have been, it’s very, very, very difficult. But there’s so much uncertainty in our post players position that we had to make some very difficult decisions. I think the team that was picked is a terrific team. It’s a terrific group of kids and the next nine games will give us an opportunity to prove that.”

“This was an extremely difficult decision for the committee to make,” said USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director and USA Selection Committee member Carol Callan. “After four exhibition games and the scrimmage against the Czech Republic, we believe we have selected the 12 players who will make the best team to be competitive at the World Championship. These players fill various needs that this team has in terms of the international styles of play that we will face in the Czech Republic.

“Players not selected have been and remain a vital part of the USA National Team program and we appreciate the effort they gave throughout our training camps in helping the USA prepare for this important competition. Again, it was not an easy decision to make. Any combination of the 14 finalists would make a formidable team, which is why this was such a tough decision to make.”

Sue Bird ( Jesse D. Garrabrant /NBAE/Getty Images)

The USA opens World Championship play against Greece on Sept. 23 at 6:00 p.m. (12:00 p.m. EDT) and all of the USA’s games will air live on NBA TV. The U.S. will tip-off against Senegal on Sept. 24 at 6:00 p.m. (12:00 p.m. EDT) and close out preliminary round play facing France on Sept. 25 at 3:15 p.m. (9:15 a.m. EDT). Fans can also watch live streaming of all FIBA World Championship games at

2010 USA World Championship Team Members’ USA Basketball Medal Count

Jayne Appel

  • Gold Medals: 2007 Pan American Games, 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
  • Silver Medal: 2005 USA Youth Development Festival.

Sue Bird

  • Gold Medals: 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational, 2008 Olympic Games, 2008 FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, 2004 Olympics, 2002 World Championship, 2002 Opals World Challenge, 2000 R. William Jones Cup.
  • Silver Medal: 2007 FIBA World League Tournament.
  • Bronze Medal: 2006 FIBA World Championship.

Swin Cash

  • Gold Medals: 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, 2004 Olympics.
  • Silver Medal: 2008 Good Luck Beijing Tournament.

Tamika Catchings

  • Gold Medals: 2008 Olympic Games, 2008 FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament, 2004 Olympic Games, 2002 FIBA World Championship, 2002 Opals World Challenge, 1998 R. William Jones Cup, 1997 FIBA Junior World Championship.
  • Silver Medal: 1997 COPABA Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament (U18).
  • Bronze Medal: 2006 FIBA World Championship.

Tina Charles

  • Gold Medals: 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational, 2009 World University Games, 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
  • Bronze Medal: 2005 Youth Development Festival.
  • Honors: Named the 2009 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year.

Candice Dupree

  • Gold Medal: 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational, 2005 World University Games.

Sylvia Fowles

  • Gold Medals: 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational, 2008 Olympic Games, 2008 FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, 2006 Opals World Challenge, 2005 World University Games.
  • Silver Medals: 2008 Good Luck Beijing Tournament, 2003 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival.

Asjha Jones

  • Gold Medal: 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational.

Angel McCoughtry

  • Gold Medals: 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational, 2007 Pan American Games.

Maya Moore

  • Gold Medals: 2009 World University Games, 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship, 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Diana Taurasi

  • Gold Medals: 2008 Olympic Games, 2008 FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, 2004 Olympic Games, 2000 Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament.
  • Silver Medal: 2007 FIBA World League Tournament.
  • Bronze Medals: 2006 FIBA World Championship, 2001 Junior World Championship.
  • Honors: 2006 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year, awarded the 3-point trophy at the 2006 World Championship, named to the five-member 2001 FIBA All-Junior World Championship Team.

Lindsay Whalen

  • Gold Medals: 2003 FIBA World Championship For Young Women (U21), 2002 World Championship For Young Women Qualifying Tournament (U20).


USA Wraps Up Exhibition Schedule With 93-51 Rout of Senegal

Diana Taurasi (USA Basketball)

SALAMANCA, Spain (Sept. 18, 2010) – 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.”

Seimone Augustus (USA Basketball)

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).


USA Women’s National Team Drops Exhibition Contest To Australia, 83-77

Tina Charles (photo by USA Basketball)

SALAMANCA, Spain (Sept. 17, 2010) – Despite receiving 18 points and seven rebounds from Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), the 2010 USA Basketball Women’s National Team (2-1) fell to Australia 83-77 in its third pre-World Championship exhibition contest on Friday night in Salamanca, Spain. The game, which opened the two-day Spain International Invitational, also saw Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) check in for 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, including the USA’s only 3-pointer; while Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) added 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Diana Taurasi (USA Basketball)

In the second game of the day, Spain takes on Senegal. The U.S. will close exhibition play against the loser of tonight’s game on Saturday night at 5:00 p.m. (11:00 a.m. EDT) in the consolation contest, while Australia will face the winner in the championship game.

“I thought our defense was nowhere near as good as it was when we played (Australia) in Hartford,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. “I thought our energy level was way below where it needed to be, and I was really disappointed in our rebounding and how many times we would get a stop and they were able to continue the possession by getting an offensive rebound. They are an excellent free-throw shooting team, and we put them on the free-throw line. So, we gave up threes, we put them on the free- throw line and we gave them second shots. Anytime you do that against a team, especially a good team, you’re not going to win the game.”

“They were just aggressive on the boards,” added Charles “And I think that’s one thing they try to take advantage of, especially their guards. Their guards just really dove in there and got on the boards, especially (Holly) Grima.”

Featuring seven tied scores and six lead changes, the game was close through three quarters.

The first quarter, which saw all the knotted scores, was a struggle for the U.S. The American women committed 10 turnovers in the opening 10 minutes, no less than half of which came from traveling calls, and closed the quarter trailing 20-17.

Regaining the lead midway through the second quarter on a Whalen jumper that put the squad up 30-29, the USA retained its edge and was up 34-31 with four minutes to play before the half. However, Australia went on a 5-0 run to head into the locker room at the midway break leading 36-34.

Lindsey Whalen (photo by USA Basketball)

Tamika Catchings (photo by USA Basketball)

The U.S. continued to struggle to find its rhythm in the second half, and with 1:30 to play in the third quarter, Australia was up 61-54. Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun) hit a free throw to start a 6-0 run that included a Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) steal and pass to Charles for a traditional 3-point play and Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun) drove the lane with seven seconds on the clock as the U.S. closed to within a point, 61-60, with 10 minutes remaining.

Augustus extended the USA’s run with a jumper to open the fourth quarter scoring, but as was the case all night, Australia struck right back with a 9-0 scoring streak to retake the lead for good, 70-62, with 7:38 to play. The Americans pulled as close as 70-67 at the 6:17 mark, but their struggles continued as Australia prevailed for the win.

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