Despite a very short preparation for the 2012 London Olympics, the USA Women’s basketball squad showed how dangerous they can be after dismantling Brazil, 99-67, in an exhibition match on Monday night in Washington, DC.
Playing without starting point guard Sue Bird, who had to leave due to the death of his stepfather, Lindsay Whalen rose to the occasion to finish with 21 points and five assists to go with five rebounds, providing the much-needed floor leadership for the powerhouse squad.
“I wanted to come out and make sure we got some good looks, move the ball, be aggressive when the time presents itself,” Whalen said. “I think it was a good start for us.”
Diana Taurasi also had an impressive outing despite coming from a long layoff, finishing with 16 points and seven assists, while Tina Charles finished with a double-double, 11 points and 10 rebounds for USA, who were in cruise control right from the opening period.
Iziane Castro Marques, on the other hand, led Brazil with 21 points, while Karla Costa added 19, but it was not enough to pull off a close fight against the defending Olympic champions.
“We see this game as a preparation for the Olympics,” Castro Marques said. “We did our best. Did what we were supposed to do. I think our second half was much better.”
After the game, US president Barack Obama visited the women’s squad after arriving in time for the men’s squad’s duel against the Brazilian men’s team.
“The president is a huge basketball fan and everyone knows that,” USA women’s coach Geno Auriemma said. “He came in to congratulate the players and wish them luck. He spent a lot more time than he wanted to down there just being a regular guy. Some of the players had already met him.”
USA will be playing in Group A in London together with China, Angola, Czech Republic, Turkey, and Croatia, while Brazil is drawn in Group B along with Australia, Russia, Great Britain, Canada, and France.