USA Women’s National Team Erupts For 99-75 Victory Over China
The 2014 USA Basketball Women’s National Team (3-0) took a double-digit lead six minutes into the first quarter and pulled away from China (2-0) for an overwhelming 51-24 halftime advantage before easing up in the second half for a 99-75 victory. The game, played on Saturday afternoon at Pierre de Courbetin Stadium in Paris, France, is part of the France International Tournament, which will see France (1-0) take on Australia (0-1) in the day’s second game.
“Coach told us that we needed to redeem ourselves from yesterday,” said Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), who scored a game-high 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field. “Yesterday we weren’t really taking great shots. Our shot selection was a little bit poor. Today he made an emphasis on us getting inside and finishing at the basket, not fading away. I think we did a great job of doing that today.”
Never trailing, the U.S. women jumped to a 6-0 lead in the first two minutes of the contest as China missed its first five attempts. Finally getting one to go in, China swapped buckets with the USA and with 4:27 left in the quarter, the USA held a 14-8 advantage.
The score would never again get closer.
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), who scored all nine of her points in the first quarter, nailed a pair of free throws, Charles recorded a three-point play and the USA was off and running. Those five points kicked-off a 13-2 spurt that closed the stanza with the red, white and blue on top 27-10.
“I thought we played better than we did yesterday,” said USA coach Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut). “Our offense, we got into some transition stuff. We made shots, which we didn’t do yesterday at the beginning of the game. We had a really good flow. We got contributions from a lot of people. I thought that first half was about as well as we’ve played.
“And then the second half, we are trying to get as many people in as we can, which I think disrupted a little bit of the flow. And China made every shot in the second half – God bless them. All the shots they missed in the first half, they made every one in the second. So, it was good for us to be in that situation where it forced us to score every time down the court, because we couldn’t stop them.
“I think it was a good experience for us to go through some things we probably are going to face when we get to Turkey. Every time we are in a situation that we haven’t seen before and one that forces us to react, I think it’s good preparation.”
In addition to Ogwumike, Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks) finished with 14 points, and Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) and Tina Charles (New York Liberty) were the only other USA players in double digits with 10 points apiece. Odyssey Sims (Tulsa Shock) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) dished out five assists, each and Augustus added four steals.
China scored the first two baskets of the second quarter, but a 15-2 run took the wind out of China’s sails, and put the Americans well in control of the game, 42-16. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, the USA led 51-24.
In the first half alone, the USA hit 51.2 percent (21-41 FGs) of its shots from the field, while limiting China to 32.3 percent (10-31 FGs). The U.S. overpowered China on the glass 22-13, outscored China 28-16 in the paint and 24-14 off the bench.
China, which missed all five of its 3-point attempts in the first half, came out of the locker room on fire. The Asian side netted 9-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-5 from afar, which helped the team from Asia outscore the USA 28-18 in the third.
“We knew they were a team that plays well in the second half, and we knew that coming into the second half,” said Lavender. “It was just about rotating to those 3-point shots. They were in a rhythm. They were making extra passes. It was just about us having some breakdowns on defense, but I think in the coming games we'll fix that. It's good that we have these games to be able to know what we have to fix.”
China’s onslaught in the third quarter was too little too late as the Americans regrouped defensively and outscored China 30-23 in the fourth quarter for the eventual 99-75 victory.
The U.S. closed the night shooting 53.2 percent (42-79 FGs) from the field, while China in the second half improved its overall shooting to 47.5 percent (28-59 FGs) on the night. The Americans outrebounded China 41-29, dished out 27 assists
, and had 14 steals and six blocked shots. The U.S. also dominated in the paint, outscoring China 56-28, while holding a 25-2 advantage on second-chance points and 22-14 in points off turnovers.
The 2014 USA World Championship Team will wrap up the 2014 France International Tournament against host France, silver medalist at the 2012 Olympics, on Sept. 21 (11 a.m. EDT).
“They are younger than they were at the Olympics,” said Auriemma on France. “They are trying to make that transition, but they still have a couple of experienced players. And they are home. They are going to have a great crowd helping them. They are very well organized. They run their stuff, and they try to get you to play defense for the whole shot clock. Hopefully, we can speed them up a little bit, like we did in London two years ago.”
From there, the Americans will head to Prague, Czech Republic, for an exhibition against Czech Republic on Sept. 23 (1 p.m. EDT) at Tipsport Arena, before traveling to Istanbul for their final pre-World Championship preparations.
The FIBA World Championship will be held Sept. 27-Oct. 5 in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey.
Auriemma is being assisted on the sideline by DePaul University head coach Doug Bruno, Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve and University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley; while University of Hartford head coach Jennifer Rizzotti serves as an advance scout and court coach for the 2014 USA squad.
The USA owns a record eight gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in FIBA World Championship play, while compiling an all-time 97-21 record at the event. In 2010, the most recent World Championship, the U.S. finished with a perfect 9-0 record and the gold medal.