USA Women's Senior National Team Bounces
Six Players Score In Double Digits As USA Offense Runs Wild
April 9 , 2004 Denver, Colorado Box Score
In a game that promised contrasting basketball styles, the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team dominated in virtually every way and behind balanced scoring that was headed by Swin Cash's (Detroit Shock) 21 points, the USA posted a 123-71 victory over the Japan National Team Friday night at the University of Denver's Magness Arena.
The win improved the USA team's record to 11-0 for its spring tour and the 123 scoring barrage was the most points scored by the U.S. in its 2004 Tour.
The U.S. resumes its three-game series with Japan on April 12 ( 7:00 p.m. local time). at Texas Tech University, alma mater of USA's Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets). The third and final game takes place April 13 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas (7:30 p.m. local time), WNBA home of USA stars Swoopes, Tina Thompson (Houston Comets), and U.S. head coach Van Chancellor.
"USA Basketball was pretty impressive tonight offensively," said Chancellor. "We had 39 assists. It's hard to believe you would win 123-71 and have 39 assists. Lots of times when you have that you get selfish, this team has never been selfish. They moved the basketball, shared the basketball, we dominated them on the boards, we were suppose to win and we won."
Thompson made her first five shots and the USA women followed her lead sinking 10 of its first 12 shots as they sprinted out to a 20-6 lead with 4:44 left to play in the opening quarter to eliminate all the suspense in the outcome of Friday's USA-Japan contest.
Shooting a sizzling 70.8 percent (17-24 FGs) for the opening quarter, and outrebounding Japan 16-4, the USA steam rolled to a 35-15 advantage as nine different U.S. players scored. Japan struggled to put points on scoreboard in the opening quarter, sinking just 35.0 percent (7-20 FGs) of its shots.
Japan began to find its shooting eye in the second quarter, and following a 10-0 run, reduced the U.S. lead to 47-32 with 4:20 to play before halftime. But the U.S. regaining its focus and outscored Japan 13-3 to pad its advantage to 60-35 with 1:15 before half. The USA owned a commanding 65-39 lead at halftime, led 88-51 after three quarters and sailed on in for the 123-71 victory.
"I thought we had good continuity and we were moving the ball really well," said USA forward Thompson. "Our game plan was to get the ball to the inside as much as we could and open up our perimeter game. And it worked. A couple of the baskets Lisa (Leslie) made inside opened up the middle so I could get a couple of short jumpers in the key and we just went from there."
All 10 healthy USA team members scored (Shannon Johnson of the San Antonio Silver Stars did not play). While Cash led the scoring frenzy, Natalie Williams (Indiana Fever) contributed a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, Thompson finished with 17, Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) scored 15 points and grabbed seven boards, and Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks) was credited with 14 points.
Olympic team hopeful Diana Taurasi (University of Connecticut), who joined the senior national team Thursday after leading UConn to its third consecutive NCAA title during her stay, picked right up where she had left off, scoring 13 points and adding four rebounds and four assists. Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) led the USA handing out nine assists, while Dawn Staley (Charlotte Sting) finished up with eight assists. Japan's scoring was led By Ryoko Yano who scored 17 points.
As a team, the USA shot 61.4 percent (54-88 FGs) from the field and made 8-of-16 shots from 3-point. Owning a 55-27 rebounding advantage, the USA's defense stymied Japan's offense and limited the visitors to 36.2 percent (25-69 FGs) shooting from the field overall and 31.8 percent from 3-point (7-22 3pt FGs).
Opening its spring training with a sweep of a three-game series versus Cuba in Havana Feb. 24-26, the American women followed that up by claiming victories in all six games played Feb. 19-27 during its European Tour. The USA opening its April 2-13 domestic tour with a dominating win over the WBCA All-Stars during the women's NCAA Final Four. Upon the conclusion of its April training, the U.S. team members will break for the WNBA season and reconvene on Aug. 3 to complete their pre-Olympic training at sites to be announced.
The U.S. squad is competing currently without DeLisha
Milton-Jones (Los Angeles Sparks), who tore the ACL in her right knee
on Feb. 22.
USA head coach VAN CHANCELLOR, Houston Comets
On his team's overall defensive effort:
On the USA Women's Senior National Team scoring 123 points against
On what his team is trying to accomplish on their tour, outside of
winning basketball games:
LISA LESLIE, Los Angeles Sparks
On a possible matchup against the Japanese in the Olympics:
On attacking the middle of the Japan defense:
On the differences between playing internationally compared to the
playing in the WNBA:
DAWN STALEY, Charlotte Sting
On the team's shooting percentage:
On the 39 assists on 64 baskets:
DIANA TAURASI, University of Connecticut
On playing with former Connecticut teammates Swin Cash and Sur Bird:
On what it would mean to her to make the Olympic team and compete
for a gold:
TINA THOMPSON, Houston Comets
NATALIE WILLIAMS, Indiana Fever
On playing against a team (Japan) without a legitimate post presence"
On her team scoring 123 points: