By Brad G. Faye, phoenixmercury.com
Posted: Aug. 12, 2008
The USA National Team continued to roll Monday night with an impressive 108-63 victory over Olympic host, China. Led by Tina Thompsons 27 points and a solid 23-0 run in the opening quarter, the team never looked back as it improved to 2-0 in Bejing.
Both players representing the Phoenix Mercury contributed in the victory. Diana Taurasi finished with seven points on 3-for-5 shooting, while Cappie Pondexter came off the bench to collect five points and five assists.
We were focused and our defense today was brilliant, Pondexter said after the win. Just to watch it for three quarters and to be a part of it was great. Hopefully we can carry it on to the next one.
For Team USA, the win avenged a shorthanded loss to China that took place in an April tune-up tournament.
This is a very different team, USA Basketball Head Coach Anne Donovan said. That team in particular, I think we had six players in training camp and we ended up coming with eight and we added two more once we got here. It was very much a team in flux.
But despite the victory, Taurasi and her American teammates understand their work is far from done.
I guess the goal every time you step on the court is to get better, the guard said. We dont have that much prep time so when we get to spend some court time together whether its a game or practice, weve got to take full advantage of it. Today was a little better than the first game, we need to improve little by little.
Other key contributions for the team were made by center Lisa Leslie who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, as well as Chicago Skys Sylvia Fowles, who scored 18.
Next up for USA National Team is a contest against winless Mali, a ballclub making its first-ever Olympic appearance. Mali earned its berth to Bejing after winning the 2007 FIBA Africa Championship.
That August 13 contest will be followed by what could be a highly competitive contest against Spain on August 15 a team which has climbed to fourth in the FIBA world rankings.
This group is really hungry and theyre very knowledgeable, Donovan said. Theyve all been on teams that have lost games. In the past, our USA team has just won every tournament we went to. But, every one of our 12 players have lost in the last two years so I think that is going to keep us focused.