In front of a sold out crowd of 9,518 and an ESPN nationally televised audience, the 2010 USA Basketball Women's National Team struck first and never trailed en route to a 99-72 victory over a team comprised of WNBA stars. Played Saturday afternoon at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., the WNBA vs. USA Basketball:
The Stars at the Sun Game saw five USA players score in double digits, led by game MVP Sylvia Fowles' (Chicago Sky) 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field.
"Coming into today (I was) not exactly sure what we were gonna see," said USA and University of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, who will guide the USA National Team through 2012. "We kind of had an idea going in that some of the older players would play really well. They've been together awhile. They know each other. They feed off each other pretty well.
"I thought the fact that we had 30 assists, 32 assists, something like that, is just an incredible number. To be able to spread the ball around like that, share, make the extra pass, all the things you would want to see a team do. Obviously we got a lot of work to do, but for the first time being with this group, we got a chance to be pretty good."
Fowles hit the first bucket of the game on a feed from former Marshall High School star Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty), who dished out a game-high six assists in all. After the WNBA squad tied up the score, Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) hit a 16-footer, followed by a lay-up and a 3-pointer in just under a minute as the U.S. went up 9-2. The red, white and blue continued to slowly pull away and by the end of the first quarter led 29-9, thanks in part to 10 points from Fowles.
"It's a big role that I have to take on, but at the same time I played under Lisa (Leslie) and Tina (Thompson) for a year to learn a couple of things," said Fowles regarding having to step into the starting role in the post for the USA National Team. "When you got great teammates like Diana to stay in your ear and get things done on the floor, I don't think you have no choice but to go out and compete to the best of your abilities every night."
With Pondexter and Indiana's Tamika Catchings, 40 percent f the Team USA starting lineup were native Chicagoans. And DePaul's Doug Bruno is a Team USA assistant coach.