USA Basketball Women's Select Team Opens 2007 FIBA World League Tournament With 93-49 Victory Over Canberra Capitals
Oct. 22, 2007 ï¿½ Ekaterinburg, Russia
Kara Lawson (Sacramento Monarchs) poured in 20 points off the bench as the 2007 USA Basketball Women's Select Team (1-0) opened FIBA World League Tournament play Monday afternoon with a 93-49 victory over two-time defending Australia WNBL champions Canberra Capitals (0-1). The game, played in Ekaterinburg, Russia, also saw double-digit scoring efforts by the USA's Janel McCarville (New York Liberty), who scored 15 points, Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) finished with 12, Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix Mercury) added 11 and Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Los Angeles Sparks) chipped in 10 points.
The USA continues play Tuesday against TEO Vilnius on Oct. 23 (1:00 a.m. EDT) and caps the opening round against CSKA Moscow on Oct. 24 (6:00 a.m. EDT). The tournament semifinals will be played on Oct. 26 and the finals will be contested Oct. 27.
In the day's first game, China (1-0) edged Cuba (0-1) 82-76, while the third game saw CSKA Moscow (1-0) demolish TEO Vilnius (0-1) 101-57. The final game of the night pits host UMMC Ekaterinburg against MiZo Pï¿½cs 2010 at 7:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m. EDT).
'With the exception of about one quarter I felt we played really well today, especially considering we've only been here four days and we're playing Katie Smith out of position,' said Anne Donovan of the Seattle Storm, head coach of the USA Select Team and the 2006-08 USA Basketball Women's National Team. 'We're struggling to figure out our post situation right now. All things considered I was pleased, it was a good win for us.
'We didn't shoot the ball particularly well in the first half, but in the fourth quarter we locked it down and played much better defense. We're going to really have to get focused and concentrate on rebounding the basketball since we are so much smaller than most of the teams here. It's something we have to really work and concentrate on. Our guards are going to hit second shots off a miss typically isn't their responsibility, but now in our starting lineup we have one post player in Taj (McWilliams-Franklin) and we have to get Seimone (Augustus) and Katie (Smith) on the boards more. I'm pleased with the overall effort, but I also see areas where we have to get better at if we want to be competitive here.'
McWilliams-Franklin scored the game's first four points in a 19-4 opening run by the Americans. The U.S. continued to pound away in an overall balanced scoring rush that saw seven different players score in the first 10 minutes of action and by the end of the quarter the USA was on top 26-11.
Lawson, who had nine points by halftime, hit a three to open the second quarter. But Canberra found its shooting touch and countered with an 11-2 spurt and with 5:00 to go before half the gap was narrowed to 31-22. The USA's defensive pressure, however, held the Capitals scoreless over the next five and by halftime the lead was back into double digits, 41-22.
With the suspense gone from the game, the second half saw the USA Select Team go up 64-38 at the end of the third quarter and cruised home for the eventual victory by outlasting Canberra 29-11 in the fourth quarter.
'The first quarter we did a pretty good job, but in the second quarter we kind of let it get away and then the third quarter they scored more points than they did in any quarter of the game,' said Lawson. 'We know that we can't have lapses like that. It's kind of a good progression for us because in the first three games the difficulty goes up each game. Tomorrow we're playing a great team that's played together for awhile and then our third game will be even tougher. Hopefully we can use today as a learning experience and hopefully tomorrow we'll get a little bit better.'
Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) and Pondexter dished out five assists each, while Loree Moore (New York Liberty) passed out four in the unselfish effort. By the game's end, 25 of the USA's 37 field goals were assisted. McWilliams-Franklin just missed a double-double after grabbing nine boards. Playing in her first game in a USA Basketball uniform, Katie Feenstra (Detroit Shock) grabbed eight to go with six points.
Jessica Bibby and Crysta Hays scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Capitals.
Hitting a scorching 56.8 percent (21-37 FGs) of its field goal attempts in the second half, the U.S. closed the game shooting 48.1 percent (37-33 FGs) from the floor, while its defense held the Capitals to a frigid 26.9 percent (14-52 FGs). The USA edged Canberra on the glass 40-36 and committed just seven turnovers, while forcing 22 Canberra errors and snatching 11 steals.
The Connecticut Sun's Mike Thibault, also an assistant coach for the 2006-08 USA National Team, is assisting Donovan along the sidelines.
USA Basketball is the national governing body responsible for men's and women's basketball in the United States and is responsible for representing the USA in international competitions. The USA Basketball Select Team consists of eight players from the 2007-08 USA Basketball Senior National Team who are candidates for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team.