Women's Olympic Team Buries US Select Team in Hawaii
Sept. 3, 2000
Honolulu - The USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team (34-2) posted its fifth pre-Olympic Tour win on Sunday with a 97-31 thrashing of the USA Basketball Women's Select Team at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. Comprised of some of the nation's top collegians, the Select Team fell behind early and was never able to recover in Sunday's ESPN2 nationally televised contest. The U.S. relied on a balanced offensive attack that featured six players scoring in double figures, including a game high 14 points from Chamique Holdsclaw (Washington Mystics / Astoria, N.Y.). Sunday's game also marked a coaching milestone for USA head coach Nell Fortner, who became USA Basketball's all-time winningest coach (89-14, .864) with the win, surpassing Stanford University (Calif.) head coach Tara VanDerveer's record of 88 USA Basketball head coaching victories.
Washington sophomore Loree Payne (Havre, Mont.) scored five points in 11 minutes of action in the game. She was 2-of-7 from the field, with one three pointer.
"I'm really proud of how this team came out and played today," said Fortner. "I thought it was important that everyone came out and played hard for 40 minutes. We maintained our intensity and focus for 40 minutes and I really think that says a lot about the leadership on this team."
The Select Team scored the game's first basket 57 seconds into the game to take a 2-0 advantage. That was the only lead they would have the entire game. After scoring its first basket at the 18:47 mark to knot the game at 2-2, Team USA went on a 26-3 tear and led 28-5 at the 10:06 mark. The collegians never managed to get on track as the Senior National Team continued its first half onslaught and carried an insurmountable 50-17 advantage into the locker room.
The USA Senior Team continued to blast away at the Select Team as their lead ballooned to 76-23 midway through the second half. The U.S. limited the collegians to 14 points in the second half to cap the 97-31 victory.
It feels really good to have all 12 players here," commented USA team member Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks / Hawthorne, Calif.). "We're really looking forward to getting to Australia. It's going to be three games back-to-back-to-back so that'll be a big challenge for us, but it will also be a great opportunity for us to see where we're at."
Joining Holdsclaw in the double figures scoring column for the U.S. were Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento Monarchs / Chicago, Ill.) with 12 points, Leslie with 12, DeLisha Milton (Los Angeles Sparks / Riceboro, Ga.) with 11, Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets / Brownfield, Texas) with 11 and Ruthie Bolton-Holifield (Sacramento Monarchs / McClain, Miss.) with 10. Leslie also earned game high rebounding honors with six while Teresa Edwards (Cairo, Ga.) dished out a game high seven assists.
As a team, the USA Senior National Team dominated in every phase of the game as they shot a scorching 67.7 percent from the field which marks the team's best shooting percentage since the beginning of its 36-game tour. Team USA also forced the Select Team into committing 26 turnovers and outrebounded the collegians 39-23.
Following today's contest, the U.S. will travel to Adelaide, Australia, where it is scheduled to play three exhibition games Sept. 5-7 against a trio of 2000 Olympic teams beginning with France on Sept. 5. The U.S. will then take on the Slovak Republic on Sept. 6 and close out its three game Adelaide stint against Poland on Sept. 7. Closing out its pre-Olympic competition in Melbourne, the U.S. will take on 1996 Olympic and 1998 World Championship bronze medalists Australia at the Melbourne Park (15,114) in a 5:00 p.m. game on Sept. 9. The USA versus Australia contest will be televised in the United States by PAX TV on Sept. 10 at 4:00 p.m. (ET), as part of the U.S. Olympic Committee's pre-Olympic television package.
The 2000 Sydney Olympics are being held Sept. 15-Oct. 1, with women's basketball being conducted Sept. 16-30. The defending Olympic champs, the USA women initiate their preliminary play in the 2000 Olympics on Sept. 16 against South Korea, then play Cuba on Sept. 18, Russia on Sept. 20, New Zealand on Sept. 22 and the U.S. concludes its preliminary play facing 1999 European champion Poland on Sept. 24. Quarterfinals play will be held Sept. 27, with semifinals action being contested on Sept. 29 and the gold and bronze medal games are slated for Sept. 30.