USA Women's Senior National Team Bounces Japan 123-71
In First Game Of Three-Game Series

– Six Players Score In Double Digits As USA Offense Runs Wild –

April 9 , 2004  • Denver, Colorado •  Box Score

USA head coach Van Chancellor boasts a 25-0 record as a USA Basketball head coach after the April 9 game against Japan

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.

 

Additional Quotes:

USA head coach VAN CHANCELLOR, Houston Comets
On giving up 72 points against the Japanese:
Outside of the Russians in the gold medal game, tonight was the first time we've ver had 70 points scored on us. We don't usually give up that many points. I thought the Japan team had a very good offense.

On his team's overall defensive effort:
I thought we did a good job in transition, where they hurt us was just shooting the three ball.

On the USA Women's Senior National Team scoring 123 points against Japan:
That's the most points we've scored. That's the most points I have ever scored in my 41 years of coaching. In any game, high school, college or pro.

On what his team is trying to accomplish on their tour, outside of winning basketball games:
We're trying to build a base for women's basketball constantly and win friends and we're also trying to improve our play. When you get to Europe, when you get to Athens, you're going to play teams like that (Japan) right there. Teams that don't have a post player and they dribble penetrate and that is hard to mathchup against.

LISA LESLIE, Los Angeles Sparks
On the USA Women's Senior National Team scoring 123 points against Japan:
I think scoring 123 points might be a record for me personally and the USA team, I believe.

On a possible matchup against the Japanese in the Olympics:
They (the Japanese) move around a lot, they're excellent shooters from the outside, so it is important for us to even get an opportunity to play against them now, because we're going to see that (a different style of basketball) in the Olympics in the first or second round. I believe we play South Korea in the second round and could possibly face Japan.

On attacking the middle of the Japan defense:
I think it was important for us to go to our strength and that was to attack the middle. We did a good job of really crashing the boards and getting second and third shots. But at times, they'd send a double and we'd have to kick it back out look for the outside shot. But we were definitely able to get an advantage inside tonight.

On the differences between playing internationally compared to the playing in the WNBA:
Internationally is totally different from playing in the WNBA. It's different basketball. There are different styles, different rules. This international style is important for us to see on this tour and get used to, because when you play a Brazil they have a totally different style of basketball. Australia may have the most similar style to us than anybody, but it is still totally different. Then you have the Japanese or Koreans, and they play a different style of basketball. It is very fast, excellent shooters and they don't need to have an established post player. So it is important for us to get out there and guard on the perimeter against them and see this type of offense. Sure, they're smaller but they can shoot, so you have to get out there on them.

DAWN STALEY, Charlotte Sting
Did you expect to jump out that strong so early?
The people that started the game, we wanted to get out quickly because we know that we have to keep coach Chancellor under wraps (laughing). He gets really intense when we don't come out strong and ready to go. I didn't think we had a good shoot around so we wanted to come back here and give him a good impression and play well in front of our home fans. Also, I wanted to get my feet wet with the international play.

On the team's shooting percentage:
With this particular team, we're always looking for the easiest shot on the floor and that's hard to get that when you're bringing different people in and out. But we share the basketball, we're always looking for one another. We sometimes over pass, but we're looking to get the easy shot and tonight it was clicking. Everybody was clicking and hitting their shots, we were getting layups. We were in a great flow offensively.

On the 39 assists on 64 baskets:
It's been typical of this team since I've been playing. Everybody's looking to get everybody involved. If we continue to play together like this through the Olympics, we're going to be a very dangerous team. We have to really concentrate on not giving up as many points as we've given up.

DIANA TAURASI, University of Connecticut
On whether she felt pressure to contribute in her first game with the team:
Yeah, I think so. The team had been practicing together and I just came in, so I wanted to have an impact. But it was easy for me to get right into to a flow, some of the players on this team (Swin Cash and Sue Bird), we played together for two years.

On playing with former Connecticut teammates Swin Cash and Sur Bird:
I think sometimes when the three of us were on the floor together we might have been running some of the stuff we ran at Connecticut (laughs) and maybe the other players didn't know what was going on. We had a great chemistry when we played together and it is still there.

On what it would mean to her to make the Olympic team and compete for a gold:
Just to be in the Olympics alone would be a huge thrill and an honor that I haven't experienced before. If I get to be on the team, I'll be thrilled.

TINA THOMPSON, Houston Comets
On Japan's team:
They were coming off a long flight a couple of days ago and I also think the altitude might have bothered them a little bit, I don't think they were used to that. Not that we were, but it was something that we expected because we've been (in Colorado) before and competed. Being in Houston and Lubbock is definitely going to change the complexity of the game because they are a running team and they move quite a bit. The altitude caught them by surprise a little bit, and I think it took them out of their game.

NATALIE WILLIAMS, Indiana Fever
On scoring a double-double against Japan:
One thing I do well is adjust to the defense. If they're going to front me, then I'm going to score and my teammates did a good job of getting me the ball. I think Japan had a hard time stopping it. I felt like I'd just turn and shoot and have an easy layup tonight.

On playing against a team (Japan) without a legitimate post presence"
It really helped. They didn't have a player on their team that was my height, they were all shorter and that really helped.

On her team scoring 123 points:
I think it was great. It was great to see the second team come in and work really hard and play together. I think we had 39 assists as a team and it was nice to be a part of that tonight.

 

 

 




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