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Behind 16 points and eight rebounds from Diana Taurasi and a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds from Janel McCarville, the 2007 USA Basketball Women's Select Team fought back from a 13-point first-half deficit, but fell just short as TEO Vilnius

USA Women's Select Team Fails In Comeback Bid, Falls To TEO Vilnius 79-76

Oct. 23, 2007 � Ekaterinburg, Russia

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Behind 16 points and eight rebounds from Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds from Janel McCarville (New York Liberty), the 2007 USA Basketball Women's Select Team (1-1) fought back from a 13-point first-half deficit, but fell just short as TEO Vilnius (1-1) edged the U.S. 79-76 on Tuesday morning. Also scoring in double figures for the USA in its second contest at the 2007 FIBA World League Tournament in Ekaterinburg, Russia, was Katie Smith (Detroit Shock), who notched 15 points.

'We didn't start the game with very much intensity at all and we had to play catch-up to come back,' said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan. 'We thought we did that at one point, then we gave up four straight threes. Our intensity ebbed and flowed throughout the whole game and that certainly caught up with us. This was a very disappointing game for us, that's for sure.'

The USA Select Team and TEO Vilnius swapped leads 10 times with six knotted scores in the opening 13 minutes and a Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Los Angeles Sparks) bucket at 7:13 in the second quarter gave the USA its last lead of the game, 26-25.
The Vilnius squad, which received 15 of its first 23 points from the Connecticut Sun's Nykesha Sales, took advantage of the USA's shooting woes and sagging defensive effort to reel off 14 unanswered points to go up 39-26 with 3:46 left in the half. Two minutes later McCarville sunk a pair of free throws, followed by a Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) jumper as the USA Select Team closed to 39-30 at halftime.

'I think we didn't come out as intense as we could have and that put us in a little hole,' said McCarville. 'They obviously made some big shots early and went up on us. We were able to catch up and tie the game, take the lead a couple times, but we weren't able to sustain it. They hit some big shots down the stretch.'

Vilnius again extended its lead, 45-32 with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter. But the U.S., behind six points from Smith countered with a 15-2 scoring spree and with 10 minutes remaining in the contest the score was once again even at 47-apiece.

Almost knocking the wind out of the USA's sails, Vilnius netted four 3-pointers on as many possessions to open the fourth quarter. Holding the Americans scoreless, while also swishing in a pair from the line, with 7:32 remaining the United States faced a 61-47 hole. Taurasi then scored eight points in a 10-0 USA run to pull within four points, 61-57, with almost six minutes left on the clock.

From there neither team managed to string together more than four points in a row and with less than two minutes to play TEO Vilnius remained in the lead 76-68.

Smith was fouled heading to the hoop and connected on both tries. The ball then swapped sides a few times before Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) found the bottom of the net from afar to pull the United States to within three points, 76-73, with 22 seconds to go.

Forced to foul, the Americans sent Kristin Haynie (Sacramento Monarchs) to the line, but she made just her second attempt. Working the ball up the court, the red, white and blue got it to Smith, but her shot was off the mark and the U.S again had to foul. This time Lithuania's Sandra Valuzyte hit both to ice the game at 79-73 with nine seconds to play. The USA's final points came from Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix Mercury), who hit a three for the game's final points as time wound down.

TEO Vilnius was paced by 21 points from Sales, 17 points and 18 rebounds from Leuchanka and Haynie finished with 15 points.

Shooting an uncharacteristic 28.6 percent in the first half, the USA finished the game making an even 36 percent of its tries. In stark contrast, TEO Vilnius made 48.4 percent in the first half and capped the game shooting 40.9 percent from the field and a sizzling 55.6 percent from 3-point.

The USA closes preliminary against CSKA Moscow (1-0) 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.

'We have to be ready (for CSKA Moscow),' said Bird, who scored eight points today. 'We're going to be going up against a very good team. A team has a lot of the Russian National Team players, but beyond that it's almost like an all-star team, an all-star team that's been playing together for a long time. Of course they have some new additions, but they're very, very good. I've played against them a lot in the last couple years and you have to play almost a perfect game to beat them, to be perfectly honest. So we all have to be very focused, we all have to be ready to go and do the things that we're good at. Hopefully that'll be enough.'

In other games today, CBA Beijing (2-0) defeated MiZo P�cs 2010 (0-2) 69-56. The evening's session will pit the Canberra Capitals (0-1) against CSKA Moscow (0-1) and BC Havana (0-1) versus host UMMC Ekaterinburg (1-0).

The Connecticut Sun's Mike Thibault, also an assistant coach for the 2006-08 USA Basketball 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.