U.S. routs China in exhibition
SEATTLE -- Geno Auriemma knows that the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team is a work in progress. After all, they've only been together for 24 hours.
Tamika Catchings scored 19 points and Maya Moore added 15 to help the United States rout China 100-62 on Saturday night in an exhibition game.
"When you only had one practice with the team and it's our first game, we talked this morning it's not going to look great. After only going for an 1½ hours last night and an hour this morning, the things we wanted to get accomplished, which was setting a tone for how this U.S. team will play -- we did that."
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Inside and out, bench players or starters, the U.S. women's basketball team dominated China in a 100-62 exhibition victory in Seattle on Saturday, writes Meri-Jo Borzilleri. Story
The game against came in the middle of a three-day training camp for the Americans. They got together Friday night for practice and will scrimmage Japan on Sunday before breaking. The Japanese national team watched the game Saturday night.
The United States and China are in the same pool in the London Olympics and will square off again in July. They played each other in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the U.S. routed China 108-63. China finished fourth at those Olympics before coming in a disappointing 13th at the world championship in 2010.
"Both teams already have their tickets for London," China's coach Sun Fengwu said through a translator. "This game is a great preparation for both the teams. Both teams played great tonight. This definitely will be a great help to us."
Ma Zengyu scored 20 points to lead China.
The Chinese team hung with the Americans for the first 15 minutes before the U.S. used its depth to pull away. Leading 29-23 early in the second quarter, the U.S. went on a 21-6 run to take control. Catchings had eight points during the burst and the Americans had eight consecutive points off steals.
The Americans led 52-33 at the half and coasted to the win. The U.S. was missing Tina Charles, who is still recovering from a groin injury. China played without its top two players, Miao Lijie and Chen Nan.
Former Seattle Storm player Swin Cash, who was traded in the offseason to Chicago, received huge applause in pregame introductions. She helped guide the Storm to a WNBA title in 2010.
"It was good to come back and have the training camp here in Seattle," Cash said. "The fans have proven they truly support the WNBA and women's basketball in general. It was a treat to be back here and play in front of all the Seattle fans."
Cash's former Seattle coach Brian Agler was in the crowd as well as three-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith, who plays for the Storm. WNBA president Laurel Richie also was in attendance.
Auriemma hoped his team would bond during the brief camp.
"The biggest thing we can get out of this weekend is getting our guys used to playing with each other," he said.
This will be the only time the Americans are together before the WNBA takes a monthlong break from its season for the Olympics. The team will get together again July 14. The Americans will spend three days in Washington, D.C., before heading to Manchester, England. The U.S. will then play in a tournament in Istanbul before returning to London at the start of the Olympics, which begin July 27.
The Americans will be trying for an unprecedented fifth straight gold medal in London. The U.S. has won 33 straight Olympic contests.
The U.S. Olympic team returned to Seattle to train for the first time since 1995 when they played an exhibition game against the University of Washington.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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