Tamika Catchings celebrated her 33rd birthday with a win over Croatia.
July 21, 2012
ISTANBUL, Turkey -- The USA Basketball Women's National Team improved to 4-0 in exhibition games leading up to the Olympic Games, rolling past Croatia, 109-55, Saturday night at Abdi Pekci Arena.
Team USA shot a sizzling 70.8 percent from the field in the first quarter, bolting out to a 38-13 advantage. The Americans followed that great start with a 24-10 second stanza to take a 62-23 lead into the locker room at the half and never looked back.
The game was a preview of the USA's first contest of the 2012 London Olympic Games. The USA will open its preliminary round play against Croatia at 4:45 p.m. (11:45 a.m. EDT) on July 28.
Former Tennessee standout Candace Parker was a key contributor for the USA women in this meeting, connecting on six of 10 shots from the field and both free throw attempts to tally 14 points. In addition to being the team's second-leading scorer, the Lady Vol alum grabbed six rebounds and added an assist in 17 minutes on the floor.
"It was lot of fun tonight," Parker said. "It was good team win. I think everybody has fun when everybody touches the ball. We had movement, we were pressing. Defensively, we did a lot better on our screen-and-roll coverage and our rotation, talking and getting out in passing lanes."
Another product of the Big Orange, Tamika Catchings celebrated her 33rd birthday by tossing in nine points. She helped spur a game-opening 10-0 USA run by knocking down a three-pointer. Catchings also snared five caroms and totaled four steals in 16 minutes.
"We had a great team effort, just moving the ball, especially early on getting that lead up," Catchings said. "Anytime you score 38 points in one quarter, that's a huge accomplishment. That's just a testament to playing with such great players and being able to move the ball and everybody hitting open shots."
One of four USA players scoring in double figures, former LSU standout Sylvia Fowles led the squad with 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting from the field. All 12 U.S. players had put points on the board by the second stanza.
On Sunday, the USA will play its final exhibition game, facing off vs. Turkey at 11 a.m. Eastern time. The Women's National Team will then head to London, where it will practice on July 26 and 27 before opening Olympic competition.