Jul 19, 2012 at 7:22 am
MANCHESTER, England -- Maya Moore scored 18 points and Minnesota Lynx teammate Lindsay Whalen added 13 to help the U.S. women's basketball team overcome a sluggish start to beat Britain 88-63 on Wednesday night, July 18, in an exhibition game.
The Americans trailed by 11 points in the first seven minutes before taking control of the game.
Sue Bird still wasn't back with the team after the death of her stepfather, Dennis, over the weekend. She practiced with the team Saturday and Sunday, but missed the exhibition game Monday against Brazil to be with her family. Coach Geno Auriemma said he thinks Bird will rejoin the team this weekend when it travels to Istanbul for the next leg of its pre-Olympic training tour.
Jo Leedham scored 21 points to lead Britain, and Stef Collins added 14.
Britain got off to a great start in front of its home crowd, outhustling the Americans. The British opened up a 21-10 advantage behind Leedham with three minutes left in the first half. That prompted Auriemma to go with a more defensive lineup. The group of Moore, Whalen, Angel McCoughtry, Swin Cash and Tina Charles quickly responded by scoring the final 15 points of the quarter to make the score 26-21.
The Americans scored the first six points of the second quarter to make the run 21 straight points before Leedham hit a tough runner. That run got the U.S. men's team excited. The men, who will play Britain in an exhibition game Thursday night, were sitting courtside for the
game and left with about four minutes left and the women up 25 points.
The U.S. only led 47-32 at the half behind Moore, who had 14 at the break. Britain cut the deficit to seven midway through the third quarter. That's when Auriemma put the group that sparked the earlier run back in the game, and the U.S. went on a 19-4 run to close the period. Whalen started the burst with a reverse layup, scoring eight of her points during the spurt that ended any hopes of a British upset.
The Americans will play Turkey and Croatia in exhibition games before heading to London for the Olympics on July 25.
The U.S. has won four straight Olympic gold medals.
While the U.S. has dominated Olympics play, Britain is a newcomer playing in its first Games. The coach is no stranger to the Games. Tom Maher has led four different countries to the Olympics. He guided Australia to the bronze medal in 1996 and a silver in 2000. He then took New Zealand (2004) and China (2008) to the Games.
The British have a tough draw, playing in a group with Australia, Russia, France, Canada and Brazil.
The Americans open Olympic play on July 28 against Croatia. Other teams in the Americans' group are China, Angola, the Czech Republic and Turkey.
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