USA Women's National Team Ready To Take On Canada In Exhibition
There is no question that the USA Basketball Women’s National Team respects each of its opponents. Yet, with just more than a week before the start of play in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, the U.S. is not preoccupied with who is seated on the opposing bench.
The U.S. will host Canada tonight at 7 p.m. (EDT) at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, simply looking to improve in a number of areas.
“In our current state, whether it’s a practice, a shootaround or a game, we’re really focused on ourselves,” U.S. guard Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) said. “We’re really just trying to get comfortable, trying to develop chemistry, get to know each other and see what we’re going to be about once we get to Rio. So even though, yes, it’s a game, and, yes, we’re competitive athletes, yes, we want to win, we are a hundred percent focused on us.”
Australia will face France in today’s first game at 4:30 p.m. EDT).
The U.S. defeated Canada 91-48 in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympics in London. Following tonight’s match-up the teams will next meet during preliminary round play in Group B in Rio Aug. 12.
Canada, who finished fifth at the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul, currently is ranked ninth in the FIBA world rankings. It suffered an 80-67 loss to Australia in Newark, Delaware, Wednesday.
Shona Thorburn had 13 points in 15 minutes off the bench for Canada.
“We know they’re a tough, gritty team,” U.S. guard Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) said. “We’ve played them plenty of times. Obviously, they have WNBA talent. They have European talent. They have probably the best point guard in college right now. So, they’re a good team, and they showed it against Australia (Wednesday) night who’s probably one of the Top 2 teams in the world. So it’s going to be a tough game.”
The U.S. showed improvement in the second half of Wednesday’s 84-62 win over France. Taurasi said the team will look to improve its spacing offensively and its communication defensively against Canada.
With five former UConn players on the U.S. roster, head coach Geno Auriemma will coach against one of his current players tonight. Canadian Kia Nurse is a rising junior guard with the Huskies.
“I love when we get to play (the U.S.),” Nurse said. “Obviously, it’s a lot of fun, and you get to see some of your friends, and your coaches and those kinds of things. It’s a great test before the Olympics.”
You can watch the USA women take on Canada via Facebook Live.