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Minus Bird, USA women still soar

Minus Bird, USA women still soar

Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 7:00 pm

By DOUG FEINBERG
AP Basketball Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Lindsay Whalen scored 21 points and Diana Taurasi added 16 to help the U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team rout Brazil 99-67 on Monday night in an exhibition game.
Whalen started in place of Sue Bird, who missed the game because of a death in her family.
Bird, who will be playing in her third Olympics at the London Games, practiced with the team this weekend before leaving Sunday.
USA Basketball officials did not say when Bird would be rejoining the team.
The U.S. men’s national team sat behind the bench and watched the second quarter of the women’s game before returning to the locker room.
Whalen had 10 points and three assists in the first quarter to help the Americans jump out to a quick 13-2 lead. The U.S. led 27-14 after one period and built the advantage to 51-31 at the half.
They coasted the rest of the way.
Iziane Castro Marques led Brazil with 21 points and Karla Costa added 19.
Taurasi looked sharp despite missing the last month of the WNBA season while recovering from a variety of injuries. She hit her first few shots and ran the point when Whalen was out. Taurasi fnished with seven assists, Whalen had five.
Angel McCoughtry, who was sidelined for the final few games of the first half of the WNBA season with a left knee sprain, saw her first action late in the third quarter.
Mccoughtry’s knee looked fine when she missed a dunk attempt late in the fourth quarter.
Asjha Jones, who injured her left ankle last Wednesday was the only U.S. player not to see time.
The Americans had a busy morning visiting Arlington National Cemetary. Coach Geno Auriemma, Catchings, Taurasi and Swin Cash placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.
The U.S. women’s national team will head overseas to train in Manchester and Istanbul before getting to London on July 25. The Americans open up their Olympic play on July 28 against Croatia. Other teams in the Americans’ group are China, Angola, the Czech Republic and Turkey.
Brazil is in the other group with Australia, Russia, Britain, Canada and France.
The Americans have won the last four gold medals at the Olympics and boast a 33-game winning streak in Olympic play. Published in The Messenger 7.17.12

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