Game Preview: USA vs. Serbia
Tonight’s contest features the USA, defending FIBA World Championship gold medalist, and Serbia, which earned its trip to Turkey by virtue of finishing fourth at the 2013 European Championship. To follow the action, watch the game live (2:30 p.m. EDT) on ESPN3/WatchESPN or NBA TV and follow the USA Basketball Twitter account for in-game updates.
In its opening game, the USA limited China to just eight points in the third quarter while it scored 21 to capture the game’s momentum on the way to an 87-56 win in the 2014 FIBA World Championship on Sept. 27 at Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul, Turkey.
The USA’s seven-point halftime lead, 39-32, quickly ballooned to 16 points after the USA opened the second half with a 9-0 run that made it 48-31 after a 3-pointer from Diana Taurasi at 5:44 in the third quarter.
Brittney Griner, who was playing in her first game with the team since arriving in Istanbul on Sept. 24, had a dunk just 1:46 into the game, grabbed seven rebounds overall and finished with 15 points and four blocked shots. Maya Moore had 15 points and eight rebounds; Seimone Augustus added 11 points; Angel McCoughtry had 10 points; and Tina Charles collected 15 rebounds. All 12 players contributed points to the USA's win.
Making an historic first appearance at the FIBA World Championship, Serbia in its opening game was up 22-10 over Angola after the first quarter, and continued to roll to a 102-42 victory on Sept. 27 in Istanbul.
Serbia qualified for this year’s competition by securing a fourth place finish at the 2013 European Championship. Serbia’s top athletes on that team were: Jelena Milovanovic (13.7 ppg., 4.3 rpg.), Ana Dabovic (10.0 ppg., 2.8 apg.), Milica Dabovic 8.6 ppg., 3.6 rpg.) and Tamara Radocaj (7.6 ppg., 3.2 rpg.), all of whom feature on this year’s roster.
In its game against Angola, all 12 players scored for Serbia, including 16 points from Milovanovic (8-13 FGs) and 15 points from Dajana Butulija (6-11 FGs, 2-4 3pt FGs). Serbia scored 29 points off of 27 Angolan turnovers, outscored Angola 43-12 off the bench and outrebounded Angola 40-25.
“We haven’t seen much of them,” said USA head coach Geno Auriemma. “We didn’t see them in the Czech Republic or London. But, I had seen them when we were scouting the European Championship. They’re really tough. They’re really aggressive. They put a lot of pressure on you with their defense. They play an aggressive kind of offense, where they’re attacking you all the time. It’s a country that has a tremendous culture of basketball. Since I’ve been a part of the national team program, I’ve never played them. So, I’m really anxious for the game tomorrow. At this point, you just have to make sure that you’re ready for anything and that you just play as well as you’re capable of playing.”
USA Basketball women are 1-0 all-time against Serbia, having played the nation once in the 2009 World University Games preliminary round. That USA team featured current U.S. members Tina Charles and Maya Moore.
After a first-quarter fight from Serbia, which was hosting the 2009 WUGs in Belgrade, the USA buckled down on defense and held its opponent to just 36.7 shooting from the field overall to secure a 84-50 win and Group A's No. 1 seed headed into the second round. Charles, who shot 8-of-10 from the field, led the USA with 17 points. The USA went on to capture gold with a 7-0 mark, while host Serbia finished in 11th place with a 3-4 record.
Streaking: The USA is riding an 11-0 FIBA World Championship winning streak that dates back to the 2006 bronze medal game. Overall, the USA owns a 98-21 record all-time in FIBA World Championship play. Adding to the 11-0 winning streak in World Championship play, the USA currently has won 32 consecutive games in official senior-level competitions dating to the 2006 bronze medal game. That streak includes identical 8-0 records at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, a 9-0 mark at the 2010 Worlds, the 2006 bronze-medal victory, a 5-0 mark at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and the current 1-0 record in Istanbul.
Next Up: The USA’s final preliminary game is against Angola, which dropped its first match to Serbia 102-42.
Today’s Probable Starters
No. Name PPG RPG AST FG% 3P% FT%
06 Bird, Sue 4.0 3.0 3 .333 .000 .000
07 Moore, Maya 15.0 8.0 3 .389 .200 .000
12 Taurasi, Diana 8.0 3.0 3 .375 .333 .500
14 Charles, Tina 4.0 15.0 2 .250 .000 .000
15 Griner, Brittney 15.0 7.0 1 .667 .000 .750
No. Name PPG RPG AST FG% 3P% FT%
07 Krnjic, Sara 7.0 5.0 1 .400 .000 .750
09 Milovanovic, Jelena 16.0 2.0 3 .615 .000 .000
10 Butulija, Dajana 15.0 1.0 5 .545 .500 .500
13 Dabovic, Milica 9.0 4.0 1 .667 .000 .500
14 Dabovic, Ana 12.0 1.0 6 .500 1.000 1.000