USA National Team Comes From Behind For 88-61 Victory Over Southern California
Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks) celebrated the homecoming to her alma mater by scoring 17 of her 25 points in the second half to lead the 2007 USA Basketball Womenï¿½s National Team (7-0) to an 88-64 come-from-behind victory over the University of Southern California on Tuesday night in the Galen Center in Los Angeles. Leslie also grabbed 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the 2007 College Tour, while Kara Braxton (Detroit Shock) scored 21 points and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) notched 14 points and grabbed nine boards.
The USA, which will not practice tomorrow, concludes its eight-game tour with a contest against Stanford University on Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m. (PST).
ï¿½I think USCï¿½s got a great team this year,ï¿½ said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan. ï¿½They took me off guard a little bit. They lost four starters and they really did a nice job tonight, played confidently. Outside and inside they really did a nice job. (They) have an exciting year ahead of (them).ï¿½
ï¿½They definitely played like a ranked team,ï¿½ said Leslie. ï¿½This is a really good team that plays well together. Hailey (Dunham) does a great job of running the team from the point guard position. She was very savvy with the ball and ran the team well. Morghan (Medlock), who always plays really hard, also played incredibly well tonight. As far as their size, their presence inside and their ability to move the ball and their heart, they were right up there with some of the teams that weï¿½ve played.ï¿½
Going up 11-4 to open the contest, the USAï¿½s shooting went cold as USC played like it had nothing to lose and outscored the National Team 12-3 to lead 16-14 seven minutes into the game. With the red, white and blue trailing by one, 19-18, Southern Calï¿½s Brynn Cameron scored eight consecutive points in a USC 10-0 run to take a 29-18 lead at 7:17. By that point in the game the U.S. had made just 28 percent of its tries (7-25 FGs) and was staring down its largest deficit of the tour.
The U.S. squad responded by hitting 7-of-14 and closed out the half trailing by just three, 36-33.
ï¿½It was another shaky first half and then we came out in the second half really strong,ï¿½ said Taurasi. ï¿½Thatï¿½s something as a team we have to look at very closely and fix. All it is is kind of a mental status that all of us have to take into a game. Once we do that weï¿½ll be alright.ï¿½
While the Women of Troy owned much of the first half, it was all USA in the second half.
With a little over one minute elapsed in the second half, it was a three-point ball game, 38-35.
Sparking a 19-3 run, Braxton took over on the inside with her own 10-3 spurt, giving the USA a lead it would never relinquish. It was Taurasiï¿½s turn next. She drained three straight threes and Kara Lawson (Sacramento Monarchs) capped the run at 13:12 with the USA on top 54-41. The seasoned vets went up by as many as 26 points, 79-53 at 3:53, before easing into the victory.
After shooting just 35.9 percent (14-39 FGs) from the field in the first half, the USA, which dominated on the glass 50-24, upped that to a sizzling 69.2 percent (18-26 FGs) in the second half to finish at 49.2 on the night. In another impressive unselfish showing, Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Los Angeles Sparks) and Taurasi each dished out four assists as the squad was credited with 26 assists on 32 baskets.
Hailey Dunham led three Trojans in double figures with 14 points to go with six of her sideï¿½s nine assists, Morghan Medlock had 12 and Cameron finished with 11 poitns.
Donovan is being assisted by Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault.