Jul 26, 2016
The USA Select team used the three point shot to their advantage, giving fits to the USA Olympic team before falling to the senior players 88-84 at the Galen Center in California last night.
Consisting of younger players the USA basketball committee felt have potential to be future Olympians, the select team hit 10-of-25 three-pointers, while the Olympians only hit 4-of-14.
Jewell Loyd of Seattle scored 20 points and dished seven assists to be our Disher of the Night, playing virtually the entire game for the Select team. Loyd and Dallas' Odyssey Sims, a member of the 2014 World Championship team, both played over 36 minutes, as the Select team opted for backcourt continuity while rotating in the rest of the roster in the frontcourt.
Natasha Howard, coming off the bench against her Minnesota Lynx Olympic teammates Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore, and Sylvia Fowles plus Olympic assistant coach Cheryl Reeve, was the shooting star of the night.
Howard hit 8-of-13 shots, including 3-of-5 three-pointers to lead everyone with 24 points in only 22 minutes of play. For her efforts Howard is our Swisher of the Night.
Olympic coach divided his team's minutes almost equally, with only Maya Moore of the Lynx and Phoenix's Diana Taurasi playing 30 minutes, and only Fever forward Tamika Catchings playing less than 10 minutes.
Moore and Chicago's Elena Delle Donne each had eleven to lead the Olympic team, who dominated in the paint, outscoring the select team 44-20 inside.
While the final score was closer than many expected, Olympic point guard Sue Bird was not concerned at all.
"For us, we are focused on the whole process, the whole journey, and this was just the first game," Bird said. "We’ve only had a couple practices together, so it was really good to be challenged in that way by the Select Team. It really showed what we’re going to need to work on and the level that we have to play at moving forward."
Still, one could not help but feel that the Olympians may have taken the select team for granted.
In fact, Tina Charles commented, "The Select team did a great job on challenging us. It was something I definitely didn’t expect. They are a hungry group. Very young, very talented."
Auriemma summarized the night when he said postgame, "For the future of USA Basketball, there were some unbelievably positive signs out there of what the next group could potentially look like. It was a good day, I think, all the way around."
Photo courtesy of USA Basketball