Ohlde's 18 Paces U.S. To 87-66 Win Over Mondeville
For the second time in as many games, Nicole Ohlde (Minnesota Lynx) checked in off the bench and scored a team-high 18 points as the 2006 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team (5-0) continued its winning ways after running away with a 93-67 win over a Hungarian All-Star squad in Györ, Hungary, on Wednesday night. The USA will conclude its second European tour with a March 24 contest against MiZo Pécsi in Pécs, Hungary.
"They really showed why they're the Hungarian All-Star Team in the fourth quarter when they finally settled down and ran good offense," said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan."We didn't play exceptionally well in the fourth quarter, giving up 22 points. We didn't start the game exceptionally well, we didn't end the game exceptionally well, so as a coach that frustrates me. But I remind myself that we've only been together five or six days and with everyday we're getting better."
The United States won the opening tip and collected the game's first four points, but the Hungarians struck back, getting on the board at 7:43 with a back-door open layup. That foretold of things to come in the game and especially in the first quarter. The USA was continually getting beat off of screens and failed to convert buckets as Hungary pushed ahead 17-15 after the first quarter was completed. Not only were the Hungarians able to beat the U.S. with screens, physical play and back-door passes over the game's first 10 minutes, they also held the Americans to a paltry 4-of-12 (.333) shooting from the field.
"We talked about the back cuts (during the first and second quarter break) and a lot of the off-ball movements that they were doing," said Donovan. "I thought we responded to that in the second and third quarters and did a nice job."
After Hungary opened the second stanza with another easy bucket to take its largest advantage of the game, 19-15, the USA got on track. Ohlde took a pass inside from Kristin Haynie (Sacramento Monarchs) for a layup at 8:41 and the U.S. was off and running on a deadly 26-2 run that opened up the game 41-21 with 2:21 to go before halftime. Not only did the offense step up, connecting on 11-of-18 (.611) from the floor, its defense held Hungary to just a pair of free throws during the run. With 1:16 showing, Hungary got another pair from the line and closed the half with a pair of layups in the final minute and the Americans retired to the locker room with a 41-27 upper hand.
The U.S., which outscored Hungary 26-18 in the third quarter and 26-22 in the fourth, was never seriously threatened as it closed with the final 93-67 victory after Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets), who scored 17 points in the win, hit a fade-away jumper with four seconds on the clock.
In addition to Ohlde's 18 and Swoopes' 17 points, the United States received 16 points from Katie Smith (Detroit Shock), while Alana Beard's (Washington Mystics) and Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Connecticut Sun) each pitched in 10 points. Michelle Snow (Houston Comets) missed a double-double by a field goal after scoring eight points to go with her game best 10 rebounds, while Haynie was credited with four steals.
The U.S. shot 49.3 percent from the field, but saw Hungary hit on 50.0 percent oftheir shots. The Americans held a 37-21 advantage in rebounding, including a 13-1 advantage on the offenisve boards. Committing just four turnovers, the U.S. was credited with 12 Steals, while Hungary committed 12 turnoverds and made just four steals.
Donovan is being assisted on the sidelines in Europe by 2006 USA World Championship assistant and WNBA Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault, the only coach known to have served as a coach for a USA Basketball men's and women's team. Collegiate head coaches Gail Goestenkors of Duke University (N.C.) and Dawn Staley of Temple University (Pa.), have also been selected to assist Donovan and the U.S. squad at the 2006 World Championship, but are unable to aid in Europe due to their collegiate coaching commitments.
USA Basketball, which is in the middle of the second of three training camps, will conduct its final leg of training beginning in Boston, Mass., March 31-April 4 and conclude with the April 7-12 Australia-hosted Opals World Challenge. Participating athletes will be announced prior to each training session. The USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee is utilizing these spring training camps to evaluate players for the final12-member team that will represent the United States at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 12-23.