USA Women's Senior National Team -- 1999 Winter European Tour Team
Slovakia, France & Hungary • January 27 - February 6, 1999
In its on-going effort to prepare its core group and National Team Pool for the 2000 Olympics, the USA Basketball Women's National Team completed a five-game 1999 Winter Tour against European professional teams with a 4-1 record after defeating Slovakia's SCP Ruzomberok 78-51 on January 27 and 63-60 on January 28, and France's US Valenciennes Orchies 71-55 on February 2. Rebounding from a disappointing 73-70 loss against Hungary's Ferencvarosi Torna Club on February 4, the USA concluded its tour with a 79-74 victory over Hungary's PVSK on February 6.
|1999 USA EUROPEAN TOUR RESULTS|
"I thought the trip was another great opportunity for USA Basketball to give us some more international experience as we continue to prepare for 2000," said USA Women's National Team head coach Nell Fortner, who was assisted on the sidelines by WNBA head coaches Linda Hill-MacDonald of the Cleveland Rockers and Orlando Woolridge of the Los Angeles Sparks.
"This tour pointed out again the difference in the international style of play. The FIBA rules are different in regards to some of the offensive moves we make and also the differences in general in the international style of play. But this really was another good opportunity to experience these differences and try to adjust to that style of play. We have got to be able to continue to have these kinds of opportunities so that we can give as many players as possible this kind of international experience. It's very important in our progression towards the 2000 Olympics. One of the things that really became apparent is the importance of a good defense. We've got to be able to stop the penetration and defend the outside shooting more, we were exploited in those two areas."
The U.S. squad, which included Lisa Leslie, Nikki McCray and Dawn Staley, three of the six USA Women's National Team core group members, was also comprised of international veterans DeLisha Milton, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. Designed to give younger players more experience at the Senior National Team level, the team's roster was rounded out with Tamecka Dixon, Kristin Folkl, Shannon Johnson, Murriel Page and Nykesha Sales.
1996 Olympian Swoopes led the U.S. in scoring, averaging 13.4 ppg., and also posted a team high 18 steals (3.6 spg.). 1996 Olympic and 1998 World Championship gold medalist Leslie was the only other USA team member to average in double digits with I 1.0 ppg. and finished as the squad's leading rebounder, averaging 7.2 ppg. 1998 World Championship team member Milton averaged 8.8 ppg., '96 Olympic and '98 World Championship gold medalist McCray averaged 8.2 ppg. and USA Women's Senior National Team newcomer Sales finished as the fifth leading scorer with 6.8 ppg. USA point guard Staley, a member of the 1996 Olympic and 1998 World Championship gold medal winning squads, averaged 6.6 ppg. and closed out the tour as the USA's assist leader, passing off for 24 assists (4.8 apg.).
Outscoring opponents 72.2 ppg. to 62.6 ppg., the United States edged out its European foes by seven rebounds a game, 36.4 rpg. to 29.4 rpg. The Americans' unselfish offensive play notched 72 assists overall, while its defense collected 61 steals.
USA 78, SCP Ruzomberok 51
Opening play on January 27, the USA logged a 78-51 victory over SCP Ruzomberok in Ruzomberok, Slovakia. Both teams were sluggish to start the game, and at 13:05 each team had notched four turnovers and the Slovakians held a slim 9-8 lead. The United States regrouped and outscored SCP Ruzomberok l6-9 to take a 24-16 advantage at 7:35, while not committing a single turnover during the 5:30 span. The Americans' offense capitalized on its defense, which continued to force turnovers and missed shots, and outscored SCP Ruzomberok 20-8 to close out the first half with a commanding 44-24 lead. The U.S. allowed only seven field goals in the second half, and forced the Slovakians into 13 turnovers, and the USA steadily increased its lead to the final 27 point margin.
Swoopes led the USA's effort with a team high 13 points and added six rebounds, five assists and five steals. Leslie was the only other U.S. player to score in double digits with 12 points, while grabbing six boards, McCray and Sales added nine points and Milton scored eight. Johnson, who scored five points, was also credited for five assists.
USA 63, SCP Ruzomberok 60
Behind another strong team effort, the U.S. came back from a 34-25 halftime deficit to defeat SCP Ruzomberok 63-60 on January 28. After failing behind by nine points at halftime, the United States came out of the locker room with renewed vigor and Thompson, who had missed her first six shots on the tour, hit a pair of quick three pointers to pull the U.S. within five points, 36-3 1, at 18:1 1. The USA continued to close in on SCP Ruzomberok's lead and with 7:36 remaining in the game Johnson stole the ball, went the length of the court and was fouled while making her layup. After converting on the free throw, the U.S. earned its first advantage of the second half, 47-46. Following four lead changes and two ties, McCray put the Americans up for good, 58-55, with 2:27 to go after she was fouled on a drive and made the ensuing free throw. The U.S. didn't relinquish its lead in the closing minutes and finished with the 63-60 victory.
Sales led the USA in scoring with I I points, and Swoopes was the only other American in double figures with 10 points, while passing off for five assists. McCray and Johnson each scored nine points and Thompson totaled eight points and a team high six rebounds.
USA 71, US Valenciennes Orchies 55
Traveling to St. Amand, France on February 2, with the help of 19 points from Swoopes and a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds from Leslie, the United States topped US Valenciennes Orchies (USVO) 71-55. The United States, which won the opening tip and logged the first two points of the contest, never trailed and by the midway buzzer, held a 10-point, 35-25 lead. After swapping baskets to begin the second half, the United States continued to hold a double-digit advantage and led 45-34 with 13:44 remaining in the contest. USVO came as close as seven, 50-43, at 10: 17, but the Americans scored 12 unanswered points to go up by 19 points, 62-43, with 4:50 remaining on the clock and went on to earn the 71-55 victory.
Swoopes, who made her first four shots, led all scorers with 19 points on 9-of- 12 shooting from the field, while Leslie posted a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds and Sales checked in with 12 points. Staley passed off for five assists.
Ferencvarosi Torna Club 73, USA 70
Suffering its only loss of the tour, despite a stellar 17-point, five-assist performance by Staley, the USA was edged 73-70 by Ferencvarosi Toma Club (FTC) in Budapest, Hungary on February 4.
The U.S. fell behind early and trailed 35-29 at the half. FTC scored the second half's first four points to take a 39-29 lead and at 13:10, FTC still held a 10-point lead, 51-41. Behind the scoring of four different players, the U.S. went on a 10-2 run to close to within two points, 53-51, at 9:08 but FTC bounced back and after the USA called its final timeout at 1:07, the score stood at 70-63. Staley nailed a three-pointer and followed it with a steal and a layup on FTC's next possession to close to 70-68 with 23 seconds on the clock. After the U.S. was whistled for its eighth foul of the half with 10.7 seconds showing, Szilvia Torok made both of her attempts from the line to give FTC a four point lead, 72-68. The USA's Johnson was fouled following the inbound pass and answered with two good free throws with 8.7 seconds left, but Torok was again sent to the line, this time with just two seconds to play in the game. After making her first shot, she missed her second attempt and Thompson grabbed the rebound, passed it down the court to Johnson who missed a desperation three-pointer from mid-court and the United States logged the 73-70 loss.
In addition to Staley's 17 points, the USA was aided by 12 points from Leslie and 10 from Swoopes, while Milton recorded a team high six rebounds.
USA 79, PVSK 74
With the help of a near-perfect 21-point performance by Milton on 10-for-11 shooting from the field, the USA closed out its five-game tour with a 79-74 victory over PVSK in Pecs, Hungary on February 6.
PVSK made its first six shots from the field and went 4-of-4 from the charity stripe to start the game, while the USA started off shooting 4-of-10, and at 14:36 PVSK was in command 17-9. Milton, who had scored just two points in the first nine minutes of the game, returned to the floor with the USA trailing 25-13 and was perfect on her next seven tries to help bring the United States to within two points, 35-33, with 5:30 to go in the half. Continuing to keep the game close, the U.S. retired to the locker room trailing 44-40 at the halftime buzzer.
The Americans scored six unanswered points to open the second half and take a 46-44 lead at 17:39, and the score see-sawed back and forth and 12 minutes later the USA held a slim edge, 67-66, with 5:36 remaining. The United States did not relinquish its lead and, after making four of its final six field goals, went on to earn the 79-74 victory.
In addition to Milton's 21 point output, the USA's effort was further aided by 16 points from Leslie, Swoopes added 15 points, Thompson grabbed a team high nine rebounds and Staley scored nine points and passed off for a game high eight assists.
1999 USA BASKETBALL WOMEN'S WINTER EUROPEAN TOUR TEAM ROSTER
|Tamecka Dixon||G||5-9||148||23||Los Angeles Sparks||Kansas '97||Westfield, NJ|
|Kristin Folkl||F||6-2||190||23||Minnesota Lynx||Stanford '98||St. Louis, MO|
|Shannon Johnson||G||5-7||120||24||Columbus Quest||South Carolina '96||Hartsville, SC|
|*Lisa Leslie||F/C||6-5||170||26||Los Angeles Sparks||Southern Cal '94||Hawthorne, CA|
|*Nikki McCray||G||5-11||158||26||Washington Mystics||Tennessee '95||Collierville, TN|
|DeLisha Milton||C||6-1||165||24||Portland Power||Florida '97||Riceboro, GA|
|Murriel Page||F||6-2||158||23||Washington Mystics||Florida '98||Bay Springs, MS|
|Nykesha Sales||G/F||6-0||160||22||Orlando Miracle||Connecticut '98||Bloomfield, CT|
|*Dawn Staley||G||5-6||125||28||WNBA||Virginia '92||Philadelphia, PA|
|Sheryl Swoopes||F||6-0||145||27||Houston Comets||Texas Tech '93||Brownfield, TX|
|Tina Thompson||C||6-3||185||23||Houston Comets||Southern Cal '97||Los Angeles, CA|
|Head Coach: Nell Fortner, USA Basketball|
|Assistant Coach: Linda Hill-MacDonald, Cleveland Rockers|
|Assistant Coach: Orlando Woolridge, Los Angeles Sparks|
|Team Physician: Dave Weinstein, Colorado Springs, Colorado|
|Athletic Trainer: Ed Ryan, U.S. Olympic Committee|
|* 1998-2000 USA Basketball Women's National Team Core Group member.|
1999 USA BASKETBALL WOMEN'S WINTER EUROPEAN TOUR TEAM RESULTS (4-1)
|Date||Opponent||Score||Site||High Scorer||High Rebounder||High Assists|
|1/27||SCP Ruzomberok||78-51||Ruzomberok, Slovakia||Swoopes-13||Leslie, Swoopes-6||Johnson, Swoopes-5|
|1/28||SCP Ruzomberok||63-60||Ruzomberok, Slovakia||Sales- I I||Thompson-6||Swoopes-5|
|2/2||US Valenciennes Orchies||71-55||St. Amand, France||Swoopes- 19||Leslie- 1 3||Staley-5|
|2/4||Ferencvarosi TC||70-73||Budapest, Hungary||Staley- 1 7||Milton-6||Staley-5|
1999 USA BASKETBALL WOMEN'S WINTER EUROPEAN TEAM FINAL CUMULATIVE STATISTICS