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TINA CHARLES & TEAM USA DEFEAT SPAIN IN HARTFORD

TINA CHARLES & TEAM USA DEFEAT SPAIN IN HARTFORD

USA Women’s National Team Fights Off Late Spanish Charge For 85-69 Win

TINA CHARLES

Tina Charles posted a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds against Spain (Photo: David  Dow / NBAE / Getty Images)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Sept. 12, 2010) – The 2010 USA Basketball Women’s National Team (20) overpowered Spain on both ends of the court and came away with a 85-69 exhibition victory on Sunday afternoon in front of 2,732 fans at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. The USA, which shot 7-of-13 from 3-point and grabbed a 47-27 rebounding advantage, staved off a late Spanish run for its second straight exhibition victory.

Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) shot 8-of-12 from the floor and led the USA with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun) hit 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and 2-of-2 from the line for 11 points; whileCandice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury), Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun) and Maya Moore (University of Connecticut) contributed 10 points apiece.

“The object of these two games, obviously, was for us to get a feel for our team, put ourselves in a competitive situation against two of the world’s best teams and try to work on some things at the same time,” said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma . “I thought both days we accomplished a lot of that. There is still a lot of work that we have to do, but we knew that was going to be the case. There are some combinations that look really good out there together, and there are some that don’t. We knew that would happen, but it gave us a little bit clearer picture of what we have ahead of us, what we are facing in terms of some decisions that the committee is going to have to make, and now it’s on to Spain and a couple more exhibition games, and we will know a lot more after those two. So, everything that we wanted to accomplish this weekend, we got accomplished.”

Today’s contest wraps the weekend’s games, which saw the USA defeat Australia 89-56 on Friday night and Spain down Australia on Saturday afternoon, 87-74.

Candace Dupree Team USA Forward (photo by David Dow / NBAE / Getty Images)

Spain went up 6-0 to open the contest, while the USA missed its first five shots and had three turnovers before Ebony Hoffman (Indiana Fever) got her squad’s first points at 5:47 in the first period. Jones followed with a 6-0 run of her own and at 4:01 the USA held its first lead of the night, 8-6. However, the score seesawed the remainder of the quarter, and at the end of the opening 10 minutes, Spain held a 17-16 edge.

Charles got an easy layup 20 seconds into the second period to give the American women the lead for good, 18-17, and spur an 8-2 run. She followed that with two more layins for the U.S., including a pretty feed inside from her former UConn teammate Moore, and after a Lawson three at 7:36, the Americans led 25-19. Alba Torrens made one of two from the line at 6:52 and closed her team’s gap to five points.

The U.S., however, clamped down on defense as the offense took off on a 17-0 run that opened the game up 4220 with 3:12 to play before halftime. Spain at 2:58 stopped the fun with a pair of free throws and following a Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) bucket, scored its second field goal of the quarter as the USA took a 44-24 lead into the locker room. Over the final 6:30 of the first half, the USA held Spain to just 1-of-9 from the field and forced four turnovers.

“I thought overall, first half we did really well,” said Catchings. “Second half, defensively, we had some letups here and there, but I think really we got a good feel for how good this team can be and then of course, not so good at times, just from that chemistry; we haven’t played with each other, so I know Geno will probably say his few words, but I’m happy. I’m excited about what we have.”

The USA held a large lead through most of the third quarter. But with the score at 6241 and just over two minutes to play, Spain closed out the period on a 92 run and closed to 6450 with 10 minutes remaining.

Following a Dupree layup at 9:41, Spain netted three straight 3-pointers in a 13-2 run and with 6:10 to pull to within five points, 68-63. Lawson made a pair of free throws and then fed Jones for two after a Spanish turnover, putting the USA back on track. By the 4:14 mark the USA’s lead was back up to double digits, 76-65, and with the ship righted, the USA sailed in for the win.

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

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