Saturday, September 29, 2007

U.S. Women Blow Out Argentina, Face Cuba Rematch

For the third straight day, the U.S. Senior Women's National Team rolled at the FIBA Americas Championship, beating Argentina 104-53 in their semifinal matchup. The U.S. defense once again proved stout, holding Argentina to 15 first-half points as the Americans took an insurmountable 41-point lead to the locker room. The U.S. Women racked up 24 steals and forced 28 turnovers against the overmatched opposition.

"I thought it was another great effort on our part," said Storm and U.S. Head Coach Anne Donovan. "Defensively we came out focused and took charge of the game right from the beginning, I was really pleased with that. Our running game was top notch. From start to finish I thought we handled it well."

Rebekkah Brunson powered the U.S. with 20 points off the bench on 7-for-9 shooting. Candace Parker added 17 and Seimone Augustus, also off the bench, 15. All 12 players scored as Donovan was able to continue the democratic distribution of playing time she has favored over the last three blowout wins.

Storm guard Sue Bird handed out four assists and had three steals, scoring two points in 18 minutes.

The final test for the U.S. comes tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. against Cuba, which proved a troublesome opponent in a six-point U.S. win in the first game of the tournament for both teams. Cuba reproved its legitimacy Saturday by upsetting Brazil 69-67 in the other semifinal matchup to advance to the finals.

Storm forward and leading Brazilian scorer Iziane Castro Marques had a weird game in scoring 16 points. She made eight of her 11 two-point attempts, but was a dismal 0-for-9 from long distance. Meanwhile, U.S. nemesis Yakelyn Plutin had a huge game, scoring 28 points on 12-for-19 shooting.

"They're playing with such confidence and with an intelligence we haven't always seen from them before," said Donovan, who has cited the scare from Cuba as sharpening the team's focus over the last three games. "We're going to have to come out and play just as intelligent, take care of the basketball and take advantage of some of the things they do and switch defensively. We really didn't capitalize on that the first time out. The second time out we need to take advantage of the mismatches that they give us."

"I think it served as a wake-up call," confirmed Bird. "The bottom line is that we really haven't played together that much. The Cuba game, when we went back and watched film we saw a lot of miscommunications. Passes that people thought players were cutting one way when they weren't. Little things like that. I really think we've been able to sharpen things up since then."

We'll see just how much the U.S. has improved over the course of this tournament tomorrow. A spot in the Olympics is on the line. The loser of this game will have to attempt to qualify for the Olympics via a worldwide qualifying tournament which will be held next summer.

As always, the links: and Adam Hirshfield's live blog for

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the daily updates and links to more news. I missed the Jamaica game but got the next ones on NBA tv because you mentioned the times. The USA site is not the easiest to get info from ! Love your commentary !