Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
For the USA Women’s National team, forming a roster by September 20th for World Cup play requires you to have the best players on the court at all times for International play, it doesn’t mean just let teams like Japan come to the United States and embarrass you in the first half of a game. That’s why we have four quarters to work with as the USA did tonight as late in the fourth they were able to put away Japan 102-87.
Japan took a 24-22 lead after the first quarter and held a narrow 46-45 lead at the half. But as was the case on Saturday against Canada, the U.S. began to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter.
Trailing by two at the start of the final quarter, Team USA went on a 21-2 run as Odyssey Sims (5 points), Ogwumike (4 points), Kelsey Plum (6 points), Wilson (4 points) and Tiffany Mitchell (2 points) combined for the U.S. on that big run. They kept running and never looked back.
“We didn’t play the best we could in the first half and we make quite a few mistakes early in the third quarter, but A’ja and Kelsey stepped up the play on a few turnovers that helped in the fourth to give us a little more breathing room,” said USA Head Coach Dawn Staley.
Japan had their fair share of open looks from long range and buried quite a few three pointers to keep the game close in the final three minutes.
Nneka Ogwumike had a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds for the USA Team.
Notables in the crowd tonight were UCONN Head Coach Geno Auriemma along with his former superstars in Sue Bird and Brianna Stewart, who will take on the Mystics on Wednesday night in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals.
Maryland Head Coach Brenda Freese was also in attendance. She took the Maryland squad overseas for some International play in 2016.