Flashback: 1996 USA Women Continue Impressive Run, Outclass South Korea 105-64
The U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team wrapped up preliminary play July 29 in front of 30,453 fans at the Georgia Dome with an exclamation point, recording a convincing 105-64 rout of South Korea. The win left the USA standing on top of the preliminary Pool B standings with a 5-0 mark and earned the Americans a number one seed for the quarterfinals.
All 12 USA players scored in the game, with guards Nikki McCray and Ruthie Bolton leading the charge with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Lisa Leslie added 14 points and a game-best eight rebounds, while Sheryl Swoopes tossed in 12 and Dawn Staley accounted for 11 points.
"I liked our offensive production, it was excellent," said U.S. head coach Tara VanDerveer. "But I felt we could have done a better job handling some of their screens and done a better job denying their cutters.
"We came out kind of flat after our big game with Australia and we had taken the day off yesterday. It just took us a little longer to get going. What I was especially pleased with was our effort off the bench in the second half."
South Korea played well in the game's first half and despite hitting 20-34 field goals (58.8%), including 42.9% (6-13 3pt FGs) of its 3-point tries, and committing just six turnovers, South Korea found itself trailing by 10 points at the intermission, 60-50. The U.S. outshot Korea in the first half, hitting a red-hot 67.6% (23-34 FGs) of its shots from the field overall and 50.0% (5-10 3pt FGs) from behind the 3-point line.
If South Korea was entertaining any ideas of rallying for the upset victory, they were quickly crushed in the second half as the U.S. opened the second stanza with a 17-2 run which pushed the Americans' lead to 25, 77-52, with 11:39 to play. From there, the U.S. cruised on in for the 105-64 win.
The USA's second half defensive pressure handcuffed South Korea. Allowing South Korea only 14 points in the second half, South Korea made just six of 35 field goal tries, 17.1%, and sank just one of 24 3-point tries. Adding to its woes, South Korea was forced into 12 turnovers in the second half and badly outrebounded for the game by the USA, losing the battle on the boards by a 45-24 margin. The USA shot 57.3% from the field overall and 37.5% (6-16 3pt FGs) from 3-point land.
"The most important thing is to stay focused," said Bolton of advancing to the medal round. "I am very pleased with the way that we are playing as a team and I know the competition is going to get harder but we just have to stay focused and take one team at a time. We need to do whatever we have to do in that particular game."