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US Women Overcome Sloppy Play to Top Croatia

Americans go on 16-0 run to put game out of reach

By Frank Heinz
|  Saturday, Jul 28, 2012  |  Updated 1:06 PM CDT
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Team USA held off a rally from Croatia to win 81-56 Saturday.

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It wasn't a 54-point win, but a 25-point win is still a pretty good start. Team USA's women's basketball team beat Croatia for the second time in as many weeks by a score of 81-56 Saturday morning.

The teams met only a few days ago for a lopsided warm-up match in which the Americans pounded the Croatian national team.  

Coach Geno Auriemma had said he was hoping that the Americans could play a style of basketball that would be entertaining and help grow the game internationally. That didn't happen Saturday as the U.S. struggled for the first three quarters before pulling away to win.

The American's sloppily held off a strong Croatian rally in the 4th. Up only 53-49, the American team woke up and went on a 16-0 run that put the game out of Croatia's reach.

McCoughtry started the burst with consecutive layups and Tamika Catchings, of Duncanville, capped it with a three-point play that made it 69-49. Swin Cash, who hadn't played in the first few quarters also had a three-point play in the spurt.

Catchings knocked down 10 points in her 22 minutes on the court.  She went 4-for-7 from the field, 2-for-5 from the line and missed both of her 3-point attempts.  She had 2 assists and 5 rebounds. The 33-year-old, who also plays for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA, had a +1 turnover ratio with 2 steals and 1 turnover.

Teammates Tina Charles added 14 points and Angel McCoughtry added another 13 to the eventual 81.

Team USA next faces Angola at 4:15 p.m. CT Monday. Angola lost to Turkey 72-50 in its first Olympic debut. The Americans will also face China, Turkey and the Czech Republic in pool play.

Associated Press writer Doug Feinberg contributed to this report.

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