Sunday October 9, 2011, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team closed out its Eurpoean tour in Hungary again the Hungarian Cup and Hungarian Championship winners UNIQA-Euroleasing Sopron in Sopron Hungary 73-63.
The two previous games with Valencia’s Ros Casares and USK Prague were losses, so the team knew they had to step up their game. Against Prague, Tina Charles, WNBA’s 2010 Rookie of the Year for the Connecticut Sun, had 28 points but there were too many turnovers. US lost to 83-77 to the Czech League champion USK Prague on Saturday.
“We talked about letting everything go and just play,” said Renee Montgomery of the Connecticut Sun during halftime. Montgomery scored nine points during the game. “No matter, we can’t think about the two games we already lost, the two games we won. Right now, we’re in a position where it’s tied. The score is zero-zero and we control the outcome.”
The US netted 51.7% (30-58 FGs) of tried from the field, while limiting Sopron to 42.4% and 25-59 FGs.
“Winning makes everything easier,” added Cappie Pondexter of the New York Liberty who, with Swin Cash from the Seattle Storm, scored 14 points each. “Winning makes everybody happy. Coming off two losses was tough for us, so we definitely needed to close this road trip with a win.”
The game was tied at 41 at the half, but the US team got aggressive with a 21-9 in the third quarter where all seven US players scored.
“It was the complete opposite of the way we started (the second half) the other night,” said Geno Auriemma, 2009-12 USA National Team and University of Connecticut head coach. “There was a much better focus on the defensive end to kind of limit what the other team was doing. Because the defensive stops were there, we were then able to convert that into good offense. I think we took them out of their rhythm. They had a really nice flow offensively in the first half. And then, some defensive things that we did really caused them some problems. We had great ball movement in the third quarter and got open shots. It sounds so simple, but that’s basically what it was.”
Tina Charles had a game-best nine rebounds, and Sophia Young of the San Antonio Silver Stars and an All-Amerian at Baylor, had eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals. The two ladies scored twelve points each. Brittney Griner from Baylor had a pair of blocked shots, and with Asjha Jones of the Connecticut sun got six points each. Cappie Poindexter had three assists.
The US is a four-time defending Olympic gold medalist with high hopes for a fifth straight gold medal in the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London.