The Americans used a big third quarter to create some separation from France. After a disappointing first half, full of sloppy play on both ends of the floor, the defensive intensity ratcheted up a few notches. They pushed a one point lead to 17 in the period, starting on the defensive end. Hitting a few of those shots that were missed in the second quarter didn’t hurt either, for the quarter they shot 70%. Maya Moore (13 points) led the charge, doing what she does in iso situations with Diana Taurasi (1o points) getting in the action near the close of the period. Sylvia Fowles (7 points, 5 rebounds) was the one that finished the quarter strong with a few strong inside baskets. The Americans would leave Delaware with a 84-62 win, making sure that Elena Delle Donne’s homecoming wasn’t ruined.
The United States National team didn’t look sharp to start their exhibition game with France. To their credit, France wasn’t in awe by the American side and came out prepared to battle tooth and nail. It was clear France planned to ruin Elena’s homecoming and the USA did little to stand in their way after a half of play.
After a close game with the Select team in Los Angeles, many expected a better showing, but it didn’t happen in the first stanza. It was a balanced effort from France who had six players score at least four points in the half. The Americans weren’t able to get stops on the defensive end, couple that with poor shooting and it was a perfect recipe for a France upset. The visitors did a great job of moving the ball and finding open shooters, unlike the USA, they knocked those shots down. Marine Johannes led France with 13 points, she and a few other reserves really excelled against the USA.
The Americans would build off their big third quarter, forcing France into several shot clock violations. Their stellar defense led to transition opportunities and no one in the world can really get out in transition like them. Which definitely makes you wonder exactly what Geno Auriemma said to his group. Several members of the team after the game alluded to this group just needing more time together, they’re stacked 1-12, but haven’t gotten used to everyone’s strengths and found a perfect fit yet.
Center Tina Charles started the game strong and finished it in the same manner, she had nine points in the fist half. Her improved offensive game was on full display, the only thing she didn’t do was step out beyond the arc and hit a three. Tina led the team with 17 points and five rebounds, she will be a problem for opposing bigs to solve both on the remainder of this exhibition tour and in Rio.
During the last few offensive possessions of the game, the Americans made it a point to get Delle Donne some shots in front of her home crowd. Having addressed the crowd before the start of the game, they went bonkers as she made a couple of shots before the clock hit triple zeroes. Elena finished with 10 points.
The exhibition tour’s next stop is in Bridgeport, Connecticut and the crowds should be just as loud in Uconn Country.