2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
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2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
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May 9-11
Behind a game-high 25 points, 15 from beyond the arc, from Diana Taurasi, the USA Basketball Women�s Select Team (3-1) surged past host UMMC Ekaterinburg (3-1) 97-79 and into the 2007 FIBA World League Tournament championship game. Taj McWilliams-Frankl

USA Women�s Select Team Defeats UMMC Ekaterinburg 97-79, Advances To FIBA World League Title Game

Oct. 26, 2007 � Ekaterinburg, Russia

 

Behind a game-high 25 points, 15 from beyond the arc, from Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), the USA Basketball Women�s Select Team (3-1) surged past host UMMC Ekaterinburg (3-1) 97-79 and into the 2007 FIBA World League Tournament championship game. Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Los Angeles Sparks) contributed a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) finished with 13 points and six assists and Janel McCarville (New York Liberty) notched 11 points and seven boards in the semifinal game played Friday night in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

The day�s first semifinal contest saw CSKA Moscow (3-1) thrash CBA Beijing (2-2) 103-56, setting up a USA-CSKA Moscow rematch in Saturday�s title game (8:00 a.m. EDT). UMMC Ekaterinburg and CBA Beijing will play for third place (5:00 a.m. EDT).

�I am so pleased with the way we played tonight,� said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan. �We shot the ball so well in the first half. We get excited about our defense because as well as we shot it, we made them very uncomfortable running their sets. It�s a beautiful thing when you shoot the ball well and you�re playing like that on the other end of the floor. In the second half we didn�t shoot as well, but we still shot very good. Even though they made the run, which we knew they would, we kicked it in defensively and got stops when we had to have them.�

Setting the tone early, the USA came out on fire and knocked down four of its first five tries, all from 3-point range and including three from Taurasi, and two minutes into the contest led 12-5. Ahead six points, 24-18, with less than three minutes remaining in the first quarter the United States continued its onslaught, closing the period with a 9-0 run to go up 33-18. The USA outscored the hosts 27-20 in the second period and headed to the locker room with a 60-38 advantage.

Taurasi�s 20 points led USA Basketball�s 22-point first half dominance, while McWilliams-Franklin had 12 by the midway point. Overall, the squad in the first 20 minutes of play connected on a red-hot 61.1 percent (22-36 FGs) of its attempts from the field, including a sizzling 53.8 percent (7-13 3pt FGs) from beyond the arc.

�She definitely got in a groove and everybody recognized that and got the ball to her,� said Donovan on Taurasi�s performance. �When Diana gets on a roll like that, there�s nobody who can stop her.�

Ekaterinburg returned to the court with renewed vigor, playing tight man-to-man defense and chipped away at the gap, outscoring the U.S. 23-16 in the third quarter.

Heading into the final 10 minutes of play up 76-61, the red, white and blue saw its lead drop to 10 points, 76-66, 32 seconds into the final stanza. Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix Mercury) and McWilliams-Franklin hit back-to-back buckets and after a pair of made free throws on the other end, closing to 80-68, the hosts still held out hope of a comeback.

However, Bird sandwiched a pair of threes around a U.S. defensive stop to take the wind out of Ekaterinburg�s sails and up the ante to 86-68 with less than five minutes remaining. Never feeling threatened again, the American women finished out the contest on top 97-79.

�We shot really well in the first half, much better than them so I think we knew they were going to start hitting their shots more,� said McWilliams-Franklin. �But more than anything, our defense was one step slower. In the first half we were really quick to help, really quick to rotate, in the second half, especially in the third quarter, we were watching a lot. The pass was going by and we were watching it get there and then reacting. In the fourth when we buckled down a little more, fixed what was wrong with our defense, we extended the lead again from 10 to 18.�

The U.S. closed out the contest with a respectable 54.4 percent shooting percentage from the floor and 47.6 percent from 3-point, while dominating the boards by a 38-18 margin and allowing the hosts only eight rebounds in the second half. The USA�s unselfish play, which produced six assists from Bird and five apiece from Katie Smith (Detroit Shock) and Taurasi, was underscored by 21 assists on 36 field goals.

Ekaterinburg was led by Sandrine Gruda�s 20 points, Agnieszka Bibrzycka scored 19 and Suzy Batkovic added 13 points.

In classification games today the Canberra Capitals (1-3) secured their first win after taking Basketball Club Havana (1-3) 74-68, while MiZo P�cs 2010 (1-3) also collected its first victory by downing TEO Vilnius (2-2) 79-69.

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.