The USA Basketball Women’s National Team overcame a 16-point deficit in a 74-68 win over Canada on Saturday night at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
“I thought it was a bad half that we played,” head coach Dawn Staley opened. “Obviously, we couldn’t get the shots to fall, but coming out of the locker room at halftime, we knew that it couldn’t get any worse. I think we just needed to stay the course. We have players that are poised. They’ve been in these situations before, and, obviously, we found our rhythm a little bit and got control of the game.”
The USA outscored Canada by 18 points in the final two quarters to avoid its first loss on home soil since a 65-64 exhibition defeat at the University of Tennessee on Nov. 7, 1999.
Canada’s Kia Nurse and guard for the New York Liberty, netted a game-high 22 points and three rebounds on the night. Liberty teammate and USA representative, Tina Charles, put up six points and collected five rebounds in 16 minutes out on the floor. Nurse logged 35 minutes in the exhibition.
“Obviously it was a battle out there and I think that was something that was great for us as a team,” Nurse stated. “We’ve only had our 12 in the last two games we’ve played. To get that chemistry, to get that battle of this game itself, in a test like that, was great for us.”
The USA was trailing 62-58 with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter when it closed the game on a 16-4 run and outscored Canada by 14 points in the period. The USA made 80.6 percent of its free throws.
“Our camp wouldn’t be as productive without Tina [Charles] and Nneka [Ogwumike], Staley explained. “They’ve been around the block. They’ve been WNBA MVPs. They are ones we will lean on, with or without those playing in the WNBA Finals. They are respected players and players that have played at the top. They are two of our country’s best players, and we need to follow their lead.
Prior to tip-off, Charles and Nurse addressed the crowd and thanked them for their support.
USA will be looking to keep that rhythm when it faces Japan on at 7 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
FIBA World Cup of Basketball
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.
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