Basketball

USA Basketball Women’s National Team Rallies Past Great Britain, 88-63

USA Basketball Women’s National Team Rallies Past Great Britain, 88-63

Maya Moore Scores 18 Points, Earns Tiffany & Co. Player of the Game

MANCHESTER, England (July 18, 2012) –  After a sluggish start, the 2012 USA Basketball Women’s National Team (3-0) erased an11-point deficit and rode a 21-0 run to an eventual 88-63 win over Great Britain in an exhibition contest on Tuesday night at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.

Seen here accepting the Tiffany & Co. Player of the Game trophy from USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO, Jim Tooley, Maya Moore led the USA with 18 points, five assists and six rebounds. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) earned the Tiffany & Co. Player of the Game after leading the USA with 18 points, five assists and six rebounds, while Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) tallied 13 points and dished out five assists.“I’m not surprised by their start, I’m surprised by ours,” said Geno Auriemma , USA and University of Connecticut head coach. “When you’re playing a road game and you’re the United States, you always expect the other team to be ready, or more ready, than they ever will be. The emotions of the game were very high for them at the beginning. We were kind of passive in our offense and in our defense. The English team is very disciplined on the offensive end. They took advantage of whatever mistakes we made. It might have been the best thing that happened to us, to be honest with you, to get down 10, 11 at one time. Because, sometimes when you’re the U.S. and you’re constantly playing from ahead, you never get an opportunity to play from behind and see how you respond. It might have been a good thing for us that that happened.”

The USA’s depth was one factor in its lopsided win, as the bench accounted for 55 points for the red, white and blue. Speed was another advantage as the Americans raced to 30 fast-break points compared to GB’s two. “We’ve been together since we broke for the WNBA, and I thought Great Britain did a great job of coming out strong, being aggressive, hitting the shots they were supposed to hit, just playing aggressive,” Moore said. “Once we responded to that and our aggressiveness started to impact the game more, I thought we did a great job of getting out in transition. Some of our half court offense started to work a little bit better after our defense picked up a little bit. I respect the way Great Britain fought. They scrapped really well the full game.”

With the score tied at 6-6, Great Britain compiled a 15-4 spurt to take its largest lead of the game, 21-10, at 3:20 in the first quarter. Two free throws from Tamika Catchings(Indiana Fever), however, were followed by two free throws from Moore and an old-fashioned three-point play from Whalen as the USA began to right the ship, thanks in part to a defensive trap.

The USA forced 23 turnovers overall while collecting 19 steals, including five of those apiece from Catchings and Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream). “Yeah, we’re out there pressuring and pressing and running so you’re definitely going all out and giving everything you have,” Whalen said. “So if you get tired you get a sub, and if you get tired and get a sub, then whenever you go back in you do the same thing.”

The USA’s 21-0 run lasted through to the first few minutes of the second period and included five scorers and seven points from Moore, and by the time Great Britain scored at 8:03 in the second, the USA led 31-23. Another 10-0 run for the Americans from 4:08 to 2:11 helped the USA take a 15-point, 47-32 lead into the halftime locker room.

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VIDEO:  Women’s Basketball Olympic Exhibition: USA vs Brazil

USA Basketball Women’s National Team Breezes By Brazil, 99-67

The 2012 USA Basketball Women’s National Team (2-0) led from start to finish in its 99-67 exhibition win over Brazil on Monday evening at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The exhibition contest was the first for the USA since it gathered in the nation’s capitol for training camp on July 14.

Lindsey Whalen poses with the Tiffany Player of the Game trophy. (photo credit: USA Basketball)

Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx), who tallied 21 points and dished out five assists, was honored as the Tiffany Player of the Game; while four other players also reached double-digit scoring. Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) tallied 16 points and seven assists, Seimone Augustus(Minnesota Lynx) scored 12 points, Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds and Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) finished with 11 points and six boards.

“I wanted to make sure we came out, got good looks and shared the ball, moved the ball,” said Whalen. “I think it was a good start for us; we got up, pressured the ball, made sure things happened. I think that was the biggest thing coming in, and making sure we got good looks.”

The USA trailed 4-2 in the first 1:30 of the game, but two points from Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) ignited a 13-0 U.S. spurt that included two 3-pointers from Augustus. Meanwhile, Brazil was ice-cold from the field, shooting 0-for-5 to start the game and just 31.9 percent overall (23-72 FGs). By the time the first quarter buzzer sounded, the USA had built a 27-14 advantage.

Eight of the USA’s 25 forced turnovers came in the first quarter, thanks in part to a full-court press, and the North Americans tallied 27 assists on their 35 made field goals.

“There were moments where we looked really, really good, and there were moments where we really struggled at both ends of the floor,” said USA head coach Geno Auriemma. “Little by little, we’ll get to where we need to be, but they’re a great group, and we’re going to be okay.”

Brazil competed throughout the game, but the USA had too much talent and depth, and never let up. By halftime, the lead had stretched to 20 points, 51-31.

Two 3-pointers from Taurasi in the third quarter, as well as seven points in the period from Moore, helped the USA take a 24-point lead, 72-48, into the final stanza.

The largest advantage of the night, however, came with just 1:10 remaining in the game when Moore sank a 3-pointer to put the USA ahead 97-64.

Brazil was led by 21 points from former WNBA player and international veteran Iziane Castro Marques and 19 points from Karla Costa. Clarissa Dos Santos was the game’s top rebounder with 15 boards.

Diana Taurasi

The USA women continue their preparations in Manchester, England and on July 18 (7:10 p.m. local time, Manchester is +5 hours from EDT) will play Great Britain at the Manchester Arena. The USA men will square off against Great Britain on July 19 at (7:10 p.m. local time). Tickets for both the USA men’s and women’s national team games against Great Britain are available by calling +44 (0) 844 847 8000 or at www.ticketmaster.co.uk.

From there, the USA women travel to Istanbul, Turkey, where the team will face Croatia on July 21 (times TBD) before wrapping up its exhibition schedule against Turkey on July 22.

Auriemma is assisted by DePaul University’s Doug BrunoJennifer Gillom of the Washington Mystics andMarynell Meadors of the Atlanta Dream.

Stories & photos on this page are courtesy of usabasketball.com (unedited)

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Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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