It was in Uconn Country, maybe not the heart of it, but Bridgeport is still in Connecticut. The home of Husky faithful and a place that truly loves Women’s basketball, the crowd enjoyed a dominant showing from the US National Team. They jumped on Canada early and never looked back, winning in blowout fashion 83-43. It was more of what fans expect our of a team with this type of talent, the offense isn’t quite there but the defense was amazing.
Geno started the game with a Uconn themed lineup: Bird, Taurasi, Moore, Stewart, and Charles. That group set the tone on the defensive end, in time the Americans found their offense. But it was their defense that stole the show on the night. It was a great sight after an inconsistent defensive outing against France, they turned it on in the third quarter, but that effort was there from start to finish in Bridgeport.
Defense. First time this exhibition schedule that the US got off to a good start on the defensive end. Geno used a series of traps both full court and half court to keep Canada off their rhythm. The visitors never got on track as the length and athleticism of the American side was too much, they were deflecting passes, rotating when needed and rarely let a shot go up uncontested. A much more cohesive showing on that side of the floor, a great showing as they continue to gel on their road to Rio. Canada shot just 12.5% from the floor in the first quarter and finished the game shooting just 32.7%.
Big Syl. Every time she enters the game, her presences i immediately felt. Her tenacity seems infectious and the US feeds off of it. The Americans deployed a full court and half court trap at times, Fowles was a terror in those situations, as the 5 (center) she covered ground and made things hard on both the in-bounder and their primary target.
Elena. Defensive effort has been impressive, she also picked her spot and got things going offensively. It was different seeing her as the stretch 4, which gives the US a very distinct advantage on the offensive end. The Americans also used her as the screener in pick and roll situations, putting an insane amount of pressure on the defense. Rarely was it stopped, the University of Delaware product played a very clean game finishing with 12 points.
Angel. For the second straight game, her defensive ability and instincts stood out. She didn’t play many minutes, but one of the league’s deadliest scorers was using her blend of size, length, and athleticism to lock up opposing offensive players. She picked her spots from a scoring standpoint, similar to Maya Moore she only looked to score when needed. She did a great job of hitting the offensive glass and moving the ball. The Atlanta Dream star talked about her role after the game and took pride in her defensive ability, she still finished the game with 8 points and 7 rebounds.
Whalen. The floor general of the Minnesota Lynx really got it going against Canada. After a rough outing against France in Delaware, the crowd was given a more “vintage” Whalen performance. She was more aggressive and far more decisive on the offensive end, probing the defense as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the years. Lindsay finished with 11 points, more importantly she was aggressive, getting to the line five times.