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Olympians Beat All-Stars

U.S. team, in its first exhibition, easily wins against WNBA squad, 74-58. However, the 28 turnovers committed are a concern.

August 06, 2004|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Despite an easy victory against the WNBA All-Stars, members of the U.S. Olympic team know they have some things to work on before the Athens Games.

Lisa Leslie had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Tamika Catchings had 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Olympians to a 74-58 victory over the WNBA All-Stars on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall.

The United States, made up of most of the best players in the WNBA, outrebounded the All-Stars, 62-30, and outscored them 42-22 in the paint and 32-9 on second-chance points. However, the Olympians also committed 28 turnovers.

"Having 20-plus turnovers shows we don't quite have that chemistry yet," Leslie said. "It's our first exhibition game, and we'll continue to get better. We have to take much better care of the ball and just continue to make that extra pass."

Tina Thompson scored 11 points, and Yolanda Griffith had 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds -- 11 offensive -- for the U.S. team. The Americans, expected to dominate at Athens, head to Europe this weekend.

"We're a better basketball team than we were tonight," U.S. Coach Van Chancellor said. "Our defense was excellent. I thought we were championship-caliber. Offensively, we have to work and we have to cut this rotation out. I played too many five-at-a-time" substitutions.

Mwadi Mabika scored 11 points -- all in the second half -- and Cheryl Ford had 10 for the WNBA All-Stars, overmatched by their bigger opponents.

"They played harder than us," said Bill Laimbeer, the All-Stars' coach. " ... There was nothing that they did to us that stopped us from scoring, except our own missed shots."

The U.S. will face France on Sunday in the opener of a tournament in Salamanca, Spain. It begins Olympic play against New Zealand on Aug. 14.

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