USA Women Close Out Two-Game Exhibition Series Against Australia With 70-66 Victory
Candace Parker's 23 Points helped Team USA to the victory
Sept. 20, 2007
UNCASVULLE, Conn. (Sept. 19, 2007)--Behind a game-high 23 points fromCandace Parker(University of Tennessee), the 2007 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team (6-0) upped its exhibition record on the year to 6-0 and capped its two-game exhibition series with a second victory against Australia, 70-66, on Wednesday night. Played at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., in front of 5,054 fans, the USA also received 12 points from Seimone Augustus(Minnesota Lynx), who left the game with 3:20 in the third quarter after suffering a bruised left shoulder.
"Australia played a very good game and really tested us," said USA and Seattle Storm head coachAnne Donovan. "I feel good walking away with the win, and a good win in the fourth quarter and also recognizing that there are things we need to continue to work on and build on. Defensively we were having a hard time staying with them. Losing Seimone (Augustus) was a big blow to us, but hopefully she's going to be all right. She was playing some good basketball, and was by far our best perimeter defender."
The USA Women's Senior National Team next heads to Valdivia, Chile, for its final preparations for the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship. Contested Sept. 26-30, the tournament's gold medal winner will earn one of 12 qualifying berths for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
In a completely different showing than the 96-64 win the U.S. earned over Australia on Sunday in the first of two exhibition games, Australia came out fighting and the U.S. was sluggish and flat. However, the USA managed a 24-23 edge at the end of the first quarter.
Australia opened the second with a 10-2 run and at 5:23 the USA was in the hole 33-26. The U.S. was given its requested time out following the second Hollie Grima bucket and Donovan regrouped her troops. Returning to the court with more focus, the Americas erased the deficit and evened the score at 33-all with 2:16 to go. By halftime Australia owned a 36-35 and a 6-11 turnover margin.
"We opened a little slow, but after the first quarter, we wanted to focus on the backboard and getting back in transition," said Parker. "We fixed that, and it came out our way."
The second half, which saw the USA turn the ball over only four times, remained a battle. Neither team was able to hold onto more than a five-point lead in the third quarter, which ended with the United States up by two points, 53-51.
Australia knotted the score twice early in the fourth quarter, but a pair ofKara Lawson(Sacramento Monarchs) free throws at 8:33 gave the U.S. the lead for good, 57-55.Rebekkah Brunson(Sacramento Monarchs), who grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, got a steal on Australia's next possession and got the ball to Parker for the first of back-to-back Parker buckets that put the red, white and blue up 61-55 with 7:41 to play. Australia would not give up and inched back to within two points three times and with 1:54 to play the U.S. was up 68-66. After misses on both ends and an offensive foul committed by Brunson, she was fouled with 26.6 ticks remaining. Brunson sunk both for the game's final points. Australia managed to get off a 3-point attempt with under 10 seconds to play, but it was off the mark and Parker grabbed the rebound to seal the win.
"I think what tonight's game was for us was growing pains," said veteran USA guardSue Birdof the Seattle Storm. "Us getting used to each other. There were times on offense where little things could have gone either way and because we're not used to playing with each other all that much, they didn't go our way. But that's going to happen. That's just the way it is and that's what we're fighting."
In addition to the combined 35 points from Augustus and Parker, the USA received nine points apiece from Bird, Lawson andTina Thompson(Houston Comets).