Flashback: USA Women Remain Perfect with 96-79 Win Over Australia
Behind highlight film performances from four-time Olympian Teresa Edwards and three-time Olympian Katrina McClain, the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team kept its record perfect with a 96-79 victory over previously undefeated Australia (3-1) on July 27 at the Georgia Dome. Another women's Olympic basketball record crowd of 33,952 witnessed Edwards' remarkable 20-point, 15-assist and seven-rebound performance and McClain’s 24-point, 11-rebound game, as the USA improved its record in preliminary play to 4-0 and insured itself of the number one seed in the quarterfinals.
"I think Teresa has been working extremely hard this year and this was one of her best games I've seen all year," said Tara VanDerveer, USA head coach. "She made really good decisions with the ball. She made great passes, she finished, she got to the free throw line, she did it all. She rebounded for us, I thought she played really good defense on people and it was great to see her play that well, especially coming home and playing that way here. That was really exciting.
"Katrina also had a great game, but for our team, it's not about individuals. It never has been. If Teresa wasn't having a good game, Dawn (Staley) would for us, or Jennifer (Azzi), so we're counting on everyone every night."
In a first half that see-sawed back and forth, the U.S. pushed out to an early four-point lead, 19-15, with 12:21 to go before halftime. Australia battled back to take a 31-25 lead with 8:39 to play in the first half and with 1:29 remaining in the first half, Australia still led 43-41. But a pair of baskets by Sheryl Swoopes and a free throw from Edwards made up a 5-0 run that helped the USA take a 46-43 lead to the locker room at halftime.
The Americans started the second half by expanding their lead to seven, but the Aussies once again fought back to even the score 56-56 with 16:34 to play. Holding a 60-58 lead with 15:49 remaining, the U.S. broke the contest open with a 16-4 offensive run over the next 5:34 which increased the USA’s advantage to 76-62. Australia managed to cut the gap to nine, 86-77, with 3:57 to play, but the U.S. closed out the game with a 10-2 run to seal the 96-79 win.
The United States shot 52.0% (39-75 FGs) from the floor, and limited Australia to 38.4% (28-73 FGs) overall and just 22.2% (4-18 3pt FGs) shooting from 3-point. The USA also dominated on the boards and outrebounded Australia 47-28.
In addition to Edwards' and McClain’s shinning efforts, Swoopes added 17 points to the USA cause and Lisa Leslie finished with 16 points and six rebounds.
Michele Timms spearheaded Australia's attack with a game-best 26 points.