USA defeats China 83-46 in Seattle Exhibition
Getting 16 points from Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx), 14 points from both Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), and 10 points by Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream), the USA Women's National Team stormed past China 83-46 Thursday night in an exhibition game in Seattle, Washington.
Closing out its three-day minicamp with a friendly against the Chinese National Team, the USA led 19-12 after first quarter, however, China went on a 13-6 scoring run to battle back and even the score 25-25 in the second quarter. The USA closed out the second period with 17-straight points to grab control 42-25 at halftime and strolled on in the second half to record the 83-46 victory.
“I thought we had a good showing,” said Dawn Staley, USA and University of South Carolina head coach. “We got off to a fast start, slowed down a little bit in the second quarter, and then we picked it back up. A true part of what USA Basketball is all about is being able to insert a lot of talent into the game.
Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) dished out a game-high five assists and Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky) and Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun) grabbed a game-high tying six boards.
“I thought this game was great,” stated Bird. “You know Dawn [Staley] said it in her pre-game talk, we beat up on each other for two days and now we got to beat up on somebody else. And more than anything, it’s just building blocks, you know, today and really the last three days we’ve been able to set the foundation, set the ground work for what will be, hopefully, the building blocks for the World Cup and beyond. So this is just the first step but I think it was a pretty good one.”
Shooting 49.3 percent from the field, the U.S. defense stifled China’s offense into shooting just 26.6 percent. The American women outrebounded China 44-30 and outscored the Chinese 52-18 in the paint and 18-4 on second-chance points.
“Well I think that is one of the strengths of our basketball team,” said Staley of her team’s inside game. “I thought we did a great job of just moving the basketball, getting us into our high-low looks. I think this team is a very unselfish basketball team with a lot of weapons. Tonight, we did our job, we got the ball into the paint and I think that is a place in which we have the advantage over a lot of teams.”
The USA team featured five Olympic gold medalists – Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Bird, Fowles, Stewart and Taurasi; six athletes playing in their first official USA National Team game - Layshia Clarendon (Atlanta Dream); Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream); Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm); Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever); Tuck and Williams; as well as two, Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings) and Dolson, who competed in their first USA National Team game in 2014.
The five Olympians started the game and set the tone by running out to a 14-2 lead.
“You can just tell those are veteran players with Sue, Stewie, Syl and Seimone (Augustus) and myself,” said Taurasi on the veteran leadership. “We’ve been on this team for a long time and we know what’s expected. We always tell each other to just stay out of each other’s way. Sometimes it’s just as easy as that. When you have talent like that on the court, you just have to make sure you use it.”
Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics) suffered a neck strain in practice April 24 and did not play.
Assisting Staley and the USA National Team through the 2018 FIBA World Cup are a trio of head coaches, Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm), Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington).
USA Basketball Women’s National Team
Members of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team will compete in the 2018 FIBA World Cup and, if the USA qualifies, the 2020 Summer Olympic Games (July 24-Aug. 9 in Tokyo), as well as additional USA training camps and exhibition games.
The U.S. and Staley first will look to capture the title at the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup of Basketball, with an automatic berth to the 2020 Olympic Games being awarded to the gold medalist. Should the U.S. not finish with the gold medal in 2018, it would have two additional opportunities to qualify for the Olympics: the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup (dates and site TBD) and the 2020 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD).
2018 FIBA World Cup
Winners of back-to-back World Cup titles and four of the past five FIBA World Cups, the USA owns a record nine gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in FIBA World Cup play, while compiling an all-time, 103-21 record at the event. In 2014, the most recent World Cup, the U.S. took the gold medal, while Spain captured silver and Australia won bronze.
The USA will compete in preliminary round Group D and will play Senegal on Sept. 22, China on Sept. 23 and Latvia on Sept. 25.
Group A includes Canada, France, Greece and South Korea; Group B is comprised of Argentina, Australia, Nigeria and Turkey; while Group C features Belgium, Japan, Puerto Rico and Spain.
Following the preliminary round, teams will be seeded, and the top team from each group will earn an automatic berth to the quarterfinals, while the No. 2 and No. 3 teams from each group will advance to the Sept. 26 quarterfinals play-in round. From there, winners will compete in the Sept. 28-30 medal round.